Tenth-Century Byzantine Encyclopedia

Suda Lexicon.
Milan: Joannes Bissolus and Benedictus Mangius, for Demetrius Chalkokondyles, 15 November 1499.

The Suda is a comprehensive etymological dictionary dating to tenth-century Byzantium. The name Suda, sometimes appearing as Suida, was once mistakenly thought to be the name of the author but actually means “treasury” or “stronghold.” Edited by Demetrius Chalkokondyles (1423–1511), this printing represents the editio princeps of an important work of Greek scholarship.

The opening of each major section includes a large blank space which was intended to be filled with a colorful, hand-drawn initial. A small guide letter printed in the center of each space was meant to tell the illuminator what letter to draw. Although the Suda is a dictionary, it does not include features modern readers expect to help locate individual entries. All the entries are printed in one continuous paragraph and no distinctive color or typeface is used to distinguish one entry from another.

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Scholarship and Learning
Tenth-Century Byzantine Encyclopedia