Excerptiones de Arte Grammatica Anglice
The Excerptiones de Arte Grammatica Anglice or Excerpts of the Art of Grammar in English, is a Latin grammar book originally written in Old English by the English monk, Ælfric of Eynsham, around 998AD. It is an introduction to the basics of Latin grammar, starting with the alphabet and continuing through more difficult aspects like cases and conjugations.
There are fifteen surviving copies of the Grammar, though not all are complete editions. However, the number of surviving copies is not the only sign of how popular and important this work was. The preface to the text found in Bodleian Library MS. Hatton 20 was glossed in Latin in the 13th century, showing not only its continued use but also how much the English language had shifted by this point, since Latin was more intelligible to an English monk than Old English. In the 16th century, ælfric's Grammar was also instrumental in allowing scholars to reconstruct the Old English language, serving as an entry point to the largely forgotten language of Old English for those already trained in Latin.
The following is a small excerpt from Ælfric’s preface to the grammar in which he lays out his reasoning for composing the text. It was transcribed from f.1v and f.2r of Cambridge MS Hh.1.10.Return to Text Selection Continue to Text