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The Mechitarists
Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > Ancient period > The Mechitarists

Among these the fathers of the celebrated Mechitarist order have earned for themselves, by their manifold contributions to sacred literature, the title of the Benedictines of the East. The publications of this learned order (especially at. their principal press in the convent of San Lazzaro, Venice,) are too well known to require any particular notice. Most of their publications regard historical or theological subjects ; but many also are on the subject of language, as grammars, dictionaries, and philological treatises, A little series of versions, the Prayers of St. Nerses in twenty-four languages, printed at their press, is one of the most beautiful specimens of polyglot typography with which I am acquainted. Among the scholars of the order the names of Somal, Rhedeston, Ingigean, Avedichian, Minaos, and, above all, of the two Auchers, are the most prominent. One of the latter is best known to English readers as the friend of Byron, his instructor in Armenian, and his partner in the compilation of an Anglo-Armenian grammar. The fathers of this order generally, however, both in Vienna and in Italy, have long enjoyed the reputation of being excellent linguists. Visitors of the Armenian convent of St. Lazzaro at Venice cannot fail to be struck by this accomplishment among its inmates. Besides the ordinary Oriental languages, most of them speak Italian French, and often German. I have heard from M. Antoine. d'Abbadie that, in 1837, Dr. Pascal Aucher spoke no less than twelve languages.

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