Fabrica, or Dictionary of Vernacular Arabic and Italian Language


Dominicus Germanus de Silesia (1588–1670) was a German priest and missionary. Born in Schurgast (present-day Skorogoszcz, Poland), he entered the Franciscan order in 1624 and devoted himself to learning Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. In 1630 he went to Palestine as a pastor, where he continued with his language studies. In 1635 he returned to Rome where he joined the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda de Fide (Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith). In 1636 he became a teacher at the Mission of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, and published his grammar of Arabic and Italian, Fabrica overo dittionario della lingua volgare arabica, et italiana (Fabrica, or dictionary of vernacular Arabic and Italian language). Shown here is the rare first edition of his Fabrica, printed by the press of the Propagande de Fide. Dominicus was also the editor of the famous Arabic–Latin dictionary printed at the same press in 1639, and the author of a polemical work, Antitheses Fidei, published in 1638. In 1645 he was sent to Persia on a political mission by King Wladyslaw IV of Poland. Although his destination was Samarkand, he appears to have reached no further than Isfahan, where he remained, studying Persian and Turkish, before returning to Rome in 1651. In 1652 he went to Spain to the court of Philip IV as teacher and translator. A number of his translations survive at the Escorial Palace. In Madrid he completed a translation of the Bible into Arabic, which the Vatican published in 1671. His translation of the Qurʼan appears to have been incomplete at his death in 1670, in Madrid.

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Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, Rome

Title in Original Language

Fabrica overo dittionario della lingua volgare arabica, et italiana


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112 pages

Last updated: February 2, 2016