Antonio de Nebrija

Antonio de Nebrija

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Antonio de Lebrija also known as Antonio de Nebrija, Elio Antonio de Lebrija, Antonius Nebrissensis, and Antonio of Lebrixa, (1441–1522) was a Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 scholar, known for writing a grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 of the Castilian language, credited as one of the first published grammars of a Romance language. The first grammar of a Romance language ever published was that
of the Occitan language in the work "Donatz proensals" by Hugues Faidit (circa 1240).


Nebrija's given name was Antonio Martínez de Calá. In typical humanist
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 fashion, he latinize
Latinisation (literature)
Latinisation is the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style. It is commonly met with for historical personal names, with toponyms, or for the standard binomial nomenclature of the life sciences. It goes further than Romanisation, which is the writing of a word in the Latin alphabet...

d his name as Aelius Antonius Nebrissensis by taking Aelius
Aelia (gens)
The gens Aelia, occasionally written Ailia, was a plebeian family at Rome, which flourished from the 5th century BC until at least the 3rd century AD, a period of nearly eight hundred years. The archaic spelling Ailia is found on coins, but must not be confused with Allia, which seems to be a...

from the Roman inscriptions of his native Lebrija, the Roman Nebrissa Veneria. He also signed his books as Antonius Lebrixen (1481) and Antonius Nebrissen (1501).


After studying at Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

 Nebrija resided for ten years in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, and completed his education at Bologna University. On his return to Spain (1473), he devoted himself to the advancement of classical learning among his fellow countrymen. After obtaining the professorship of poetry and grammar at Salamanca, he was transferred to the university of Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares
Alcalá de Henares , meaning Citadel on the river Henares, is a Spanish city, whose historical centre is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, and one of the first bishoprics founded in Spain...


Nebrija's services to the cause of classical literature in Spain have been compared with those rendered by Valla
-People:*Esat Valla, Kosovar Albanian painter* Gerd-Liv Valla, Norwegian trade union leader*Kristin Valla, Norwegian writer and journalist*Kristin Hille Valla, Norwegian politician for the Centre Party...

, Erasmus and Scidaeus to Italy, the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. In 1492, he published the first grammar of the Spanish language
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

. He dedicated this book to Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

, the catholic queen. When the book was presented to her, she asked: "Why would I want a work like this? I already know the language." He answered: "Majesty, the language is the instrument of the empire."

Nebrija produced a large number of works on a variety of subjects, including a Latin-Spanish dictionary
A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically, with usage information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, and other information; or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, also known as a lexicon...

, and commentaries on Sedulius
Sedulius may refer to:* Coelius Sedulius, Christian poet of the 5th century* Sedulius Scottus, grammarian of the 9th century...

 and Persius.


  • Introductiones latinae, 1481
  • Gramática de la lengua castellana
    Gramática de la lengua castellana
    Gramática de la lengua castellana is a book written by Antonio de Nebrija and published in 1492...

    , 1492
  • Latin-Spanish (1492) and Spanish-Latin (1495) dictionaries.

Grammatical Ideas

Nebrija's work was mainly based on the previous works by Latin authors like Prisciano, Dimedes or Donato
-People:* Donato da Cascia , Italian composer of trecento madrigals* Donato Bramante , Italian architect* Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi , Italian sculptor* Donato Bilancia, Italian serial killer...

, but introducing new concepts. He considered the grammar to be the highest science. To him, it was divided in Ortography, Prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

, Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 and Syntax
In linguistics, syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages....

. He was the first author to make claims on intellectual property
Intellectual property
Intellectual property is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of exclusive rights are recognized—and the corresponding fields of law...


External links

Etext of Nebrija's Gramática de la lengua castellana.