Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient
BARK GALIANOSI: The Greek-Armenian Dictionary to Galen
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BARK GALIANOSI: The Greek-Armenian Dictionary to Galen

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Edited by John A. Greppin

The Armenian Galen Dictionary is a collection largely of Greek pharmaceutical terms, both plant and chemical. These Greek words, written in Armenian script and glossed in the Armenian language, number about 500 and can largely but not wholly be found in Galen's de simplicium medicamentorum temperamentibus ac faculatibus. In addition to Greek terms, there are perhaps 50-75 Arabic terms.

The main body of the dictionary is not precisely dated, but might have been composed as early as the 6th century, during the Hellenizing period of Armenian literature. During this period, numerous Greek culture was eagerly studied. It was during the second stage (10th-11th century) of this dictionary's life that the Arabic material was added.

The dictionary's ultimate source is usually considered to be found in the Greek medical writings of Galen. Certainly the best known of the Greek physicians along with Dioscorides, he lived from 129-210. His philosophical and scientific production was extraordinary and too vast to translate readily into Armenian. This lexicon was perhaps prepared to make his technical vocabulary more accessible, though there remains the possibility that it is only coincidentally connected with the Galenic corpus.  

 Caravan Books (1985)