Early dictionaries ...


Forum Staff
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
I have wondered about the concept of dictionary, that is to say a collection of translations of words from a language to an other.

When we can say that the first real dictionaries appeared? I mean, not simply compositions of versions of the same text in different languages [like the stela of Champollion]. I’m thinking to proper dictionaries.

Since similar works were enormous and required a long time to be written and then copied, I tend to imagine that the diffusion of dictionaries is connected with the existence of printing systems.

As for I know, one of the first authors of dictionaries was, in Italy, Ambrogio Calepino [still today in some regions of Italy a “Calepino” is a dictionary] in 1502CE. A later version of its dictionary [1590CE] presented 11 languages.