Science Translated

Science Translated: Latin and Vernacular Translations of Scientific Treatises in Medieval Europe

Michèle GOYENS
Pieter DE LEEMANS
An SMETS
Volume: 40
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 489
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qf0d5
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  • Book Info
    Science Translated
    Book Description:

    Medieval translators played an important role in the development and evolution of a scientific lexicon. At a time when most scholars deferred to authority, the translations of canonical texts assumed great importance. Moreover, translation occurred at two levels in the Middle Ages. First, Greek or Arabic texts were translated into the learned language, Latin. Second, Latin texts became source-texts themselves, to be translated into the vernaculars as their importance across Europe started to increase. The situation of the respective translators at these two levels was fundamentally different: whereas the former could rely on a long tradition of scientific discourse, the latter had the enormous responsibility of actually developing a scientific vocabulary. The contributions in the present volume investigate both levels, greatly illuminating the emergence of the scientific terminology and concepts that became so fundamental in early modern intellectual discourse. The scientific disciplines covered in the book include, among others, medicine, biology, astronomy, and physics.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-046-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Michèle Goyens, Pieter De Leemans and An Smets
  4. MEDIEVAL TRANSLATIONS AND TRANSLATION STUDIES: SOME PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS
    (pp. 1-10)
    José LAMBERT

    It is not at all difficult to collect impressive quotes and slogans about translation from the work of established scholars or from the ideas of great intellectuals (according to I.A. Richards, translation is even supposed to be one of the most sophisticated linguistic activities of the human brain). The trouble is that these generally impressive statements tend not to be compatible with each other (anything goes?), and for rather simple reasons. They are usually the result of interesting intuitions, but hardly ever stem from systematic investigation nor familiarity with research on the field. This is of course a paradox when...

  5. Translations into Latin

    • SCIENTIFIC TRANSLATIONS FROM ARABIC: THE QUESTION OF REVISION
      (pp. 11-34)
      Charles BURNETT

      In 1997 Jef Brams published ‘L’édition critique de l’Aristote latin: Le problème des révisions’¹. In this he pointed out that the ‘Medieval Aristotle’ consisted largely of revisions by William of Moerbeke of previous translations, whether those of Boethius (e.g.Analytica Secunda, De sophisticis elenchis) or those of his medieval predecessors (e.g.Physics, De generatione et corruptione, De anima, Parva naturalia, Metaphysics, andNicomachean Ethics). There is no question here of Williampretendingto make translations of works which he merely revised. His contemporary, Roger Bacon, reports that William himself promised ‘to revise (‘immutare’) all the existing translatins’, and the...

    • LE BONHEUR PERDU: NOTE SUR LA TRADUCTION LATINE MÉDIÉVALE DU TALKHÎS KITÂB AL-ḤISS WA-L-MAḤSÛS (EPITOMÉ DU LIVRE DU SENS ET DU SENSIBLE) D’AVERROÈS
      (pp. 35-46)
      Carla DI MARTINO

      Les traducteurs médiévaux étaient conscients de l’importance de leur travail, et, ici comme ailleurs, ils suivaient des modèles classiques. Le modèle classique de traduction était, évidemment, celui des traductions du grec en latin, théorisé d’une part par Boèce¹, d’autre part par Saint Jérôme², modèle qui privilégiait la méthode de traductionverbum de verboet qui a été suivi, par exemple, par un grand traducteur comme Burgundio de Pise. Mais les premiers à traduire de l’arabe en latin furent aussitôt confrontés au problème qui avait bouleversé, trois siècles auparavant, leurs collègues arabes: la langue arabe a une syntaxe fort différente des...

    • HERMANN OF DALMATIA AND ROBERT OF KETTON: TWO TWELFTH-CENTURY TRANSLATORS IN THE EBRO VALLEY
      (pp. 47-58)
      Michelle Reichert

      When I initially broached this topic, it was my intention to demonstrate what I believed to be the importance of the institutional affiliations of the two twelfth-century scholars, Hermann of Dalmatia and Robert of Ketton, in determining the kinds of philosophical and scientific works they chose to translate. I had taken as my working hypothesis that their association with the Benedictine order, and more specifically their punctual collaboration with Cluniac prelates, such as Peter the Venerable, somehow facilitated the production and transmission of the kinds of scientific translations and redactions made by these two Spanish-based scholars. However, in the course...

    • SHADHĀNIQĀT AL-BALANSIYYA OR SHADHĀNIQĀT AL-BAḤRIYYA: ON THE ARABIC TEXT AND THE LATIN TRANSLATIONS OF THE CALENDAR OF CORDOVA
      (pp. 59-72)
      José Manuel FRADEJAS RUEDA

      In 1961 Charles Pellat published a new trilingual edition of the Arabic text known as theCalendar of Cordovaand Gerard of Cremona’s Latin translation¹. Pellat based his edition on R. Dozy’s² and, with the aid of the Latin text, was able to add a French translation of the Arabic text, thus offering a very useful piece of research. Four years later, the French Arabist François Viré published a very interesting article in which he explained the ornithological and falconry data present in the monthly agricultural epilogue. These explanations allowed Viré to propose some corrections to the text, as some...

    • THE TEXTUAL AND PICTORIAL METAMORPHOSES OF THE ANIMAL CALLED CHYROGRILLIUS
      (pp. 73-90)
      Ilya DINES

      The small animal calledshafan sela(Fig. 1), or alternativelyHyrax Syriacus or Procavia Capensis Syriacus¹, hides itself among the rocks in the Middle East, and is not particularly noteworthy in itself except for two rather curious facts. First, from a zoological point of view this animal is the smallest elephant in the world; and second, according to a wide-spread but incorrect belief, the country of Spain took its name from the name of this animal. These facts are well known to two categories of scientists, zoologists and linguists. I am not in a position to add something to the...

    • TRACING THE TRAIL OF TRANSMISSION: THE PSEUDO-GALENIC DE SPERMATE IN LATIN
      (pp. 91-104)
      Outi MERISALO and Päivi PAHTA

      Our contribution deals with the pseudo-Galenic treatise on human generation and embryology known asDe spermate. The text has its roots in the intellectual traditions of learned medical and natural-philosophical writings of the antiquity, but the actual origin of the text and the earliest phases of its transmission are not known. In modern scholarship the text is usually referred to as a Latin translation. It has been suggested that it may have been composed in late antiquity; according to Kudlien¹ it may be a deliberate forgery under Galen’s name produced in the Neoplatonist circles connected with the school of Alexandria....

    • ARISTOTLE, HIS TRANSLATORS, AND THE FORMATION OF ICHTHYOLOGIC NOMENCLATURE
      (pp. 105-122)
      Pieter BEULLENS

      According to the book ofGenesis, on the fifth day of creation God made the creatures of the water and the air according to their species, and He saw that it was good¹.

      Creavitque Deus cete grandia et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem, quam produxerant aquae in species suas, et omne volatile secundum genus suum. Et vidit Deus quod esset bonum.

      However, when He brought all living beings to man in order to have them named, there is no trace of the water animals².

      Formatis igitur Dominus Deus de humo cunctis animantibus terrae et universis volatilibus caeli, adduxit ea...

    • TRANSLATING, COMMENTING, RE-TRANSLATING: SOME CONSIDERATIONS ON THE LATIN TRANSLATIONS OF THE PSEUDO-ARISTOTELIAN PROBLEMATA AND THEIR READERS
      (pp. 123-154)
      Iolanda VENTURA

      In the last decades, both medieval and Renaissance translations have been a topic of particular interest to many scholars. Several studies have been dedicated to Greek-Latin, Arabic-Latin, and Latin-vernacular translations; the aim of these studies was the analysis of the specific vocabulary employed by the different translators, the strategies they developed in order to reproduce and adapt the internal structure of the original text in the new language, and the relationship between text and translation. Last but not least, some studies attempted an evaluation of the success achieved by translations, and their diffusion among medieval and Renaissance libraries¹.

      Moreover, the...

    • SCIENTIFIC TERMINOLOGY AND THE EFFECTS OF HUMANISM: RENAISSANCE TRANSLATIONS OF METEOROLOGICA IV AND THE COMMENTARY TRADITION
      (pp. 155-180)
      Craig MARTIN

      A recent study on scientific translations has called these products a result of ‘a zone of cultural and linguistic collision’¹. The crossing of linguistics and culture is particularly apparent for translations of Greek science into Latin. We have available two cultures separated by centuries that attempted to bring Aristotle’s corpus into the same language. The differences in their results can be best explained by differing cultural understandings of ideals of language. What were seen as successes in linguistic style were also rejected by others, particularly those who dedicated themselves to the study and explication, who saw medieval translations as no...

  6. Translations into the Vernacular

    • TRADUIRE LA SCIENCE EN LANGUE VERNACULAIRE: DU TEXTE AU MOT
      (pp. 181-196)
      Joëlle DUCOS

      La traduction médiévale, ses pratiques et sa théorie sont, depuis plusieurs années, un objet d’intérêt pour les chercheurs¹. Par ailleurs, les traductions scientifiques latines sont de mieux en mieux connues, en particulier grâce à un travail important d’édition et de nombreux travaux sur les procédures, la transmission des textes, les erreurs, les compléments et les écoles de traduction. C’est qu’elles constituent l’un des vecteurs privilégiés du savoir au moyen âge, qu’il s’agisse de traductions arabolatines ou gréco-latines. Elles s’insèrent dans les pratiques universitaires de la communication scientifique, le commentaire et l’interrogation en étant les fondements. Les entreprises de traduction vernaculaire...

    • TRADUIRE DES MOTS ET TRANSPORTER DES CHOSES: QUELQUES RÉFLEXIONS SUR LA LITTÉRATURE SAVANTE ET L’EXPÉRIENCE MARCHANDE DANS LA FORMATION DU LEXIQUE
      (pp. 197-220)
      Alessandro VITALE-BROVARONE

      L’activité de traduction est un fait de médiation linguistique qui met en contact deux systèmes linguistiques, en ayant recours à un rôle que nous pourrions dire professionnel, celui du traducteur. Les acteurs de ce fait de transmission de culture sont clairs, ainsi que leurs actes et les résultats de leur intervention, qui sont homogènes, par exemple de texte écrit à texte écrit. Les diagrammes auxquels on était habitué à l’époque du structuralisme peuvent facilement nous aider a représenter ce fait:

      d’une macrostructure au niveau de la langue:

      1 Langue A ➙ Traduction ➙ Langue B

      à une microstructure au niveau...

    • L’UROSCOPIE EN VULGAIRE DANS L’OCCIDENT MÉDIÉVAL: UN TOUR D’HORIZON
      (pp. 221-242)
      Laurence MOULINIER-BROGI

      L’image du médecin portant un flacon d’urine à hauteur de ses yeux pour examiner son contenu est emblématique du médecin médiéval¹: dans tel manuscrit duTrésorde Brunetto Latini, n’est-ce pas un urinal qui symbolise la ‘fisique’, située en dessous du droit canon et au-dessus du droit civil²? Pourtant la science des urines, d’une part n’a pas toujours été un des piliers de la sémiologie médicale et, d’autre part, n’a pas toujours eu la préséance que suggère le stéréotype du médecin à l’urinal. Dans l’Antiquité, l’inspection des urines n’était qu’un des éléments de l’examen clinique, sans faire l’objet de traités...

    • LE LEXIQUE MATHÉMATIQUE AU MOYEN ÂGE ENTRE LATIN ET LANGUES VERNACULAIRES: QUELQUES PROBLÈMES POSÉS PAR LES TRADUCTIONS
      (pp. 243-262)
      Silvia TONIATO

      Les premiers textes mathématiques en français et en anglais connus à présent¹ font l’objet de cet article: il s’agit de l’Algorisme² conservé dans les manuscrits fr. 2021 de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France à Paris, (XIIIe siècle, ff. 154r-155v) et 2200 de la Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (XIII e siècle, ff. 150r-151r), et des traitésThe Crafte of Nombrynge³ etThe Art of Nombrynge⁴, respectivement conservés dans les manuscrits Egerton 2622 (XV e siècle, ff. 136r-156r) de la British Library et Ashmole 396 (XV e siècle, ff. 48r-56r) de la Bodleian Library. Les trois textes traduisent des algorismes latins et demeurent...

    • LA TRADUCTION FRANÇAISE DE QUELQUES TERMES D’ASTRONOMIE DU COMPENDIUM THEOLOGICAE VERITATIS (ENVIRON 1265) DANS LE SOMME ABREGIET DE THEOLOGIE (1481)
      (pp. 263-286)
      Hiltrud GERNER

      Un projet d’inventaire du lexique de l’astronomie/astrologie avant 1500 m’a incitée à comparer leCompendium theologicae veritatis¹ et laSomme abregiet de theologie. En effet, après la parution en 1996 de l’ensemble des sept livres de laSomme, par Christine Michler, j’ai pu relever dans le livre II, intituléDe la creation des choses, et plus particulièrement dans les chapitres 3 à 9, le vocabulaire de la cosmologie et intégrer les exemples repérés dans mon inventaire en cours dont j’extrais les matériaux de cet exposé.

      Avant d’aborder l’étude des mots, je voudrais rapidement situer les deux oeuvres: leCompendium theologicae...

    • THE OLD FRENCH TRANSLATION OF THE ‘FOUR MASTERS GLOSS’ IN WELLCOME MS 546
      (pp. 287-296)
      Tony HUNT

      Editors of scientific texts face a particular problem when the agreed principles of textual criticism yield a result which knowledge of the natural sciences forbids us from accepting. What are they to do? Declare that their author was not in all respects a competent scientist and retain his scientific errors? Or should they correct his text, introducing, as tactfully as possible, what their author ought to have said (conceivably what he in fact intended to say) into their edition? The historicism involved in valuing the study of what people actually read (sometimes nonsense) and believed, as revealed by individual manuscripts...

    • LA TRADUCTION FRANÇAISE DU MOAMIN DANS SES RAPPORTS AVEC LA VERSION LATINE DE THÉODORE D’ANTIOCHE
      (pp. 297-310)
      Sara MARRUNCHEDDU

      Le traité de fauconnerie connu commeMoaminnous offre la possibilité de faire quelques réflexions à propos de l’importance de la figure du traducteur et des buts d’une traduction, qui nous donnent des textes différents entre eux, bien qu’ils partent de la même source.

      La traduction duMoaminen latin pour Frédéric II est achevée par Théodore d’Antioche en 1241 et l’empereur la corrige personnellement pendant le siège de Faenza. On peut donc observer qu’il s’agit d’une traduction qui naît dans le milieu de la cour, commandée par un souverain, et que le commanditaire connaissait si bien la matière traitée...

    • LES ACCESSOIRES DES FAUCONS ET DES FAUCONNIERS DANS LES TRADUCTIONS FRANÇAISES DU DE ARTE VENANDI CUM AVIBUS DE FRÉDÉRIC II ET DU DE FALCONIBUS D’ALBERT LE GRAND
      (pp. 311-330)
      An SMETS and Magali TOULAN

      La tradition latine des traités de fauconnerie culmine au XIIIe siècle avec deux ouvrages majeurs: leDe arte venandi cum avibusde Frédéric II et leDe falconibusd’Albert le Grand. Il s’agit de véritables manuels où le fauconnier trouve à la fois des données ornithologiques, thérapeutiques et cynégétiques. Les deux premiers éléments occupent une place importante chez Albert le Grand, tandis que Frédéric II s’intéresse essentiellement à la cynégétique. Ainsi, leDe arte venandiest le traité qui consacre le plus de place aux accessoires dont le fauconnier a besoin pour dresser les oiseaux². Si Albert le Grand ne...

    • LE LIVRE DES PROPRIETÉS DES CHOSES DE JEAN CORBECHON (LIVRE VI), OU LA VULGARISATION D’UNE ENCYCLOPÉDIE LATINE
      (pp. 331-360)
      Géraldine VEYSSEYRE

      C’est à la demande du roi Charles V qu’en 1372, un moine augustin du nom de Jean Corbechon entreprit de traduire leLiber de proprietatibus rerumde Barthélemy l’Anglais¹. Cette commande prend place au cours d’une période particulièrement active de ce règne dont les enjeux intellectuels sont bien connus² : elle est effectuée la même année que celle duPolycraticusde Jean de Salisbury par Denis Foulechat³ et au moment où Nicole Oresme et Raoul de Presles sont en train de traduire respectivement les oeuvres d’Aristote⁴ et la Cité de Dieu de saint Augustin⁵.

      Cette date est mentionnée dans la...

    • INFINITI INGEGNI DA’ PIU NON SAPUTI: LA PRIMA TRADUZIONE ITALIANA DEI RURALIA COMMODA DI PIETRO DE’ CRESCENZI (LIBRO X)
      (pp. 361-376)
      Francesco CAPACCIONI

      ‘The typical Knight of the Middle Ages was far more interested in pigs than in tournaments’, forse questa frase del medievalista Alexander J. Carlyle, citata da C.S. Lewis in un suo celebre saggio¹, parodia un poco la reale portata della conoscenza del mondo animale da parte dell’uomo medievale. In realtà, ogni cavaliere possedeva una solida cultura ‘naturalistica’ che comprendeva, tra le altre cose, la conoscenza approfondita dei rapaci, dei cavalli, dei cani e degli svariati tipi di selvaggina che era solito cacciare. Non si può quindi escludere che qualche cavaliere potesse nutrire un interesse particolare anche per i maiali, animali...

    • THE EARLY MEDIEVAL LATIN AND VERNACULAR VOCABULARY OF ABORTION AND EMBRYOLOGY
      (pp. 377-414)
      Marianne ELSAKKERS

      Some legal, philosophical and theological texts on abortion distinguish between early and late termination of pregnancy¹. This is done by choosing an important stage of embryological development as a criterion that defines the difference between an abortion that is regarded as murder and one that is regarded as a less serious offence. The criteria used to differentiate between early term and late term abortion are usually based on earlier descriptive and normative sources. In the early medieval period the main sources used are the available classical works on medicine, gynecology, biology and philosophy and the texts and commentaries they inspired²....

    • UNINTENDED SIGNATURES: MIDDLE DUTCH TRANSLATORS OF SURGICAL WORKS
      (pp. 415-448)
      Erwin HUIZENGA

      Around 1300 there lived in the small town of Ypres, in Flanders, a surgeon who set down his professional expertise in an original Middle Dutch work. His name was Jan Yperman, and his work was simply calledCyrurgie(‘Surgery’)². Modern medical-historical research in the Netherlands considers him to be the first surgeon to write his work in his vernacular. But this does not mean that in doing so, Yperman became detached from the Latin tradition, which up until then had dominated surgery. The question is, what it meant to write such a text in the vernacular. The beginning of Yperman’s...

    • WOMEN’S MEDICINE IN MIDDLE DUTCH
      (pp. 449-466)
      Orlanda S.H. LIE

      In the thirteenth century, an anonymous Latin scholar wrote a treatise on the secrets of the female body that has survived in more than 80 manuscripts and more than 120 printed editions. The ideas propagated in this immensely popular text left an indelible mark on the medieval notion of sexuality and the tradition of women’s medicine. The female body is described as a flaw of nature, a deformed male¹:

      Thus, according to Aristotle in the 16th book On Animals, woman is a failed male, that is, the matter that forms a human being will not result in a girl except...

  7. Index codicum manu scriptorum
    (pp. 467-471)
  8. INDEX AUCTORUM OPERUMQUE ANONYMORUM
    (pp. 472-478)