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Clement Galanus (1611-66)

Armenian Grammar 1645

23.5 x 3.5 cm (book measurement (inventory)) | RCIN 1054946

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  • This interesting book is a guide to Armenian grammar and the liturgy of the Armenian Church. It was printed at Rome from documents translated by Clement Galenus (1611-66), an emissary from the Catholic Church to Armenia. Tasked with reuniting the Catholic and Armenian churches, Galanus travelled first to Armenia in 1636 and then to Constantinople in 1640. At Constantinople he established a missionary school where he taught Armenians resident in the city. In 1644, he was expelled by the Ottoman authorities and returned to Rome, where he printed this book the following year.

    The work combines Galenus's publication of the translation of the Armenian liturgy and his work on the grammar of the Armenian language, both first printed at Constantinople to aid teaching at his school.

    This book was once in the Bibliotheca Colbertina, the library established by the statesman Jean-Baptise Colbert (1619-83) around 1671. Colbert was incredibly influential in the French Court of Louis XIV. As finance minister, he was responsible for stabilising the French economy following the Fronde rebellion which took place during the king's minority. Colbert's successes allowed Louis to establish himself in splendour at Versailles and to pursue expensive wars with Spain. Colbert also took an immense interest in arts and culture, and the foundation of the Colbertina was a part of this. It was an immense collection and for many years served as the principal library and archive in France. Colbert was also director of the French Royal Library for a time and it is likely he took duplicates from that Library to form the basis of this collection. Many of the books in the library were bound or rebound to indicate their provenance and feature the words "Bibliotheca Colbertina" on the title page. This book is no exception, it is bound in red calf and bears the initials "JBC" on the spine and includes Colbert's personal coat of arms on both boards.

    The Colbertina was dispersed in 1728, after being maintained to some extent by Colbert's relatives following his death in 1683.

    The work was later in the possession of the Indologist Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron (1731-1805) whose signature can be found on the title page. Keen to acquire eastern manuscripts to improve the prestige of French scholarship on Asian languages, Duperron sought a commission in the French East India Company and travelled to Pondicherry in 1755. He later became an acknowledged scholar of Zoroastrian texts and built a collection of works on Asian languages.

    Following this, the book found its way into the collection of Henry Drury (1778-1841), master of Harrow School. His marks can be found on the recto of the first flyleaf. It is possible that Drury presented the book to the Royal Library around 1836 as a pencil note on the first flyleaf, in a hand likely to be that of John Hulbert Glover, Royal Librarian between 1836 and 1860, records a date of 28 November 1836. Other marks in the book indicate that is was certainly in the Royal Library before Prince Albert's reorganisation in 1860.


    Formerly part of the Colbertine library established by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Finance Minister to Louis XIV of France. Later owned by the Indologist Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron before passing to Henry Drury, master of Harrow School. Likely acquired for the Royal Library by William IV in 1836.

  • Measurements

    23.5 x 3.5 cm (book measurement (inventory))

  • Alternative title(s)

    Grammaticae et logicae institutiones linguae literalis Armenica : addito Vocabulario Armeno-Latino omnium scholasticarum dictionum / Armenis traditae ad Clemente Galano.