Polyglot (Gr. , many, and , a tongue), a book with versions of its text in several languages. In common use the word is generally restricted to the Bible. The Bib-Ma Hexapla of Origen is regarded as the first polyglot, though only two languages, Hebrew and Greek, are used in it. Only some fragments of this work have come down to us, and these were published by Montfaucon under the title Hexaplorum Originis gum supersunt (2 vols, fol., Paris, 1714). In 1501 Aldus Manu-tius planned a polyglot in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, but only one sheet of it was printed. The Complutensian polyglot is the earliest of the several Bibles properly called polyglots. It was printed at Complutum, the Latin designation of Alcala de Henares, in Spain, at the expense and under the superintendence of Cardinal Ximenes. Though begun in 1502 and finished in 1517, it was not published till 1522, appearing in 6 vols. fol. The first four contain the Hebrew text, with Hebrew primitives in the margin, and ancient versions of the text.
The first contains the Pentateuch in four languages on each page, namely, the Hebrew text, the Latin Vulgate, the Septuagint Greek version with interlinear Latin translation in parallel columns, and below them the Chaldee Targum of Onkelos with a Latin translation side by side. Vols, ii., iii., and iv. contain the rest of the Old Testament in three languages on a page, Hebrew text, Latin Vulgate, and Septuagint Greek version, with interlinear Latin translations in parallel columns; vol. iv. containing the 1st, 2d, and 3d books of Maccabees, in Greek with interlinear Latin translation, and the Latin Vulgate. Vol. v. contains the New Testament in two languages, the Greek text and the Latin Vulgate, side by side on the same page, with marginal references. Vol. vi. contains a Hebrew lexicon and grammar, a. Latin and Hebrew vocabulary, proper names with their derivation and meaning, etc. Of this work only 600 copies were printed. Cardinal Ximenes spared no expense in securing the best scholars of the age and the best manuscripts accessible for their use. The current Greek text of the New Testament is largely indebted to that of the Complutensian polyglot.
The Antwerp polyglot was printed by Christopher Plantin (8 vols, fol., 1569-'72). The work was conducted by Arias Mon-tanus, who had about 60 assistants, and was published under the sanction of Philip II. of Spain. It contains the whole Complutensian polyglot, with a second Chaldee paraphrase of a part of the Old Testament, a Sy-riac version 'of the New Testament, and the Latin translation of Sanctes Pagninus, altered by Arias Montanus. Vols, vi., vii., and viii. consist of lexicons and grammars. Of this polyglot only 500 copies were printed, and the greater number of these were lost at sea on their way to Spain. The third great polyglot, the Parisian, published by Gui Michel le Jay, was printed at Paris by Antoine Vitre (10 vols, largest fol., 1628-'45). It contains all that is in the Complutensian and Antwerp polyglots, with an Arabic version of the Old and New Testaments, a Syriac version of the former, and the Samaritan Pentateuch. A work superior to all these is the London polyglot, edited by Brian "Walton (6 vols, large fol., 1654-'7). In the course of this work nine languages are used, viz.: Hebrew, Chaldee, Samaritan, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopic, Greek, and Latin. No one book is given in all these, but portions of the work are printed in seven languages all presented at one view.
It was printed during the protectorate of Cromwell, who allowed the paper to be imported free of duty. For this the lord protector received in the preface a merited acknowledgment, which was cancelled at the restoration, and another leaf was substituted, with a paragraph reflecting severely on the anti-royalist party. Copies containing the expunged paragraph are called republican, in distinction from the substituted royalist copies. There are also several minor polyglots. Two editions of the Pentateuch were printed in Constantinople, one in 1547, the other in 1551, with versions in four languages, but all in Hebrew characters. The first edition of the Heidelberg polyglot, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, appeared in 1586. In 1596 a polyglot by David W older, in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and German, was published at Hamburg. The improved polyglot of Elias Hutter, containing the Old Testament as far as the end of Ruth, in Hebrew, Chaldee, Greek, Latin, German, and French, appeared at Nuremberg in 1599. In the following year Hutter printed the New Testament in 12 languages: Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, English, French, Danish, Bohemian, and Polish. The polyglot of Christian Reineccius (Leipsic, New Testament 1712, Old Testament 1750-'51) is in Syriac, Greek, Latin, and German. The polyglot most accessible to scholars is Bag-ster's, published by the London bookseller of that name (1 vol. fol., 1831). This gives the Old Testament in eight languages, and the New Testament in nine.
Eight languages are exhibited at one view, viz.: Hebrew, Greek, English, Latin, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. The New Testament in Syriac, the Samaritan Pentateuch in Hebrew characters, the notes and readings of the Masoretic and other variations, are appended. The Lord's prayer was printed in Paris in 1805, by M. Marcel, in 90 languages, with characters proper to each. The Mithridates of Adelung (4 vols., Berlin, 1806-'17) contains the Lord's prayer in nearly 500 languages and dialects.