‘A Storehouse of Learned Vocabulary: the Abbo Glossaries in Anglo-Saxon England’,

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The entire textual transmission of a late ninth-century poem, the Bella Parisiacae urbis by Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, is indissolubly tied with glosses and glossaries. The peculiarity of its composition as well as its large circulation makes this poem a perfect case study for the role and development of medieval glossography. The essay is divided into three sections devoted to the relationship between the poem and the products of medieval glossography: 1. glossaries were a source of Abbo’s poem, which in turn was, from the very outset, provided with glosses; 2. in England the third book of Abbo’s poem became a source of glossaries itself, and, 3. in the course of its transmission, Abbo’s poem tended to cluster alongside a number of less studied and still unprinted glossaries. The three sections also deal with the main typologies of medieval glossaries and their changing nature, moving from large-size Continental glossaries to the small-scale Anglo-Saxon compilations of glossae collectae and, finally, to the larger and advanced glossaries of the late Anglo-Saxon period.Glosses represent one tangible approach to the works circulating in the Middle Ages and are closely connected with the practice of learning. The essay is included in a miscellaneous volume which is the second publication of ‘Storehouses of Wholesome Learning’, a joint research project of Dutch and Italian scholars aimed at the study of the transmission, development and dissemination of encyclopaedic knowledge up to 1200. The project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (through the Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies) and the University of Palermo.The volume, which includes essays by international (x7) and Italian scholars (x5) was published within the series ‘Mediaevalia Groningana’ by the Beligian publishers Peeters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPractice in Learning: The Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages,
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameMediaevalia Groningana, Storehouses of Wholesome Learning, 2


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