The Earliest Grammar of a Romance Language

1437 to 1441
Portraits of Alberti
Composite view of portraits of Alberti from a YouTube video.

A statue of Leon Lattista Alberti in the Uffizi museum. (View Larger)

Between 1437 and 1441 Italian author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer Leon Battista Alberti wrote Grammatica della lingua toscanaThis was the earliest grammar of a Romance language. Also called the Grammatichetta vaticana, it is known from the only surviving manuscript copy included in the codex Reginense Latino 1370 preserved in Rome in the Vatican Library.

Alberti's Grammatica della lingua toscana was not published in print until 1908.

I returned to this entry in September 2020 after the medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the Vatican Library had been digitized. Codex Reginese Latin 1370 was available from DigiVatLib at this link. It was unclear whether Alberti's text was actually included in that codex as it was unidentified as such in the Vatican's cataloguing.

The Italian text of Alberti's work was available from at this link.

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