48. Arabic-Italian dictionary by Pietro Niccodemi

Adami-Lami archive, Florence
document 1, archival unit 179
SENDER: Pietro Niccodemi
ADDRESSEE: Domenico Adami
GENERAL INFORMATION: Dated between late seventeenth and early eighteenth century

This first-aid glossary was elaborated by Pietro Niccodemi, a Livornese merchant in the Levant, and a partner of Domenico Adami (the younger of the two Adami brothers) in the Adami & Niccodemi company in Aleppo. This partnership was active between 1706 and 1709. Domenico Adami and Pietro Niccodemi were close friends, and Adami was godfather to the children that Niccodemi bore with a local partner. A short handbook for use in the Levant, the dictionary is composed in Italian and Syrian Arabic, with a section that gives a rough phonetic transcription in Latin characters of the Arabic vocabulary. The dictionary is divided into different sections: one lists all the different parts of the human body (pp. 34–40), another has a lexicon in Italian and Arabic on plants (pp. 10–31). See for example the image of pp. 19–20, with products such as the fico d’India, (Barbary fig) a plant originally from Central America which became naturalised in all those regions around the Mediterranean basin which enjoy a similarly warm climate. Another section lists a combination of different products (pp. 2–9) which include mercury, laudanum, nutmeg and opium (pp. 5–6).

(Matteo Calcagni)