Scapula, John

, the reputed author of a Greek Lexicon, studied first at Lausanne, but has his name recorded in the annals of literature, neither on account of his talents and learning, nor for his virtuous industry, but for a gross act of disingenuity and fraud which he committed against an eminent literary character of the sixteenth century. Being employed by Henry Stephens, the celebrated printer, as a corrector to his press, while he was publishing his “Thesaurus Linguee Groecoe,” Scapula extracted those words and explications which he reckoned most useful, comprised them in one volume, and published them as an original work, with his own name. The compilation and printing of the Thesaurus had cost Stephens immense labour and expence; but it was so much admired by the learned men to whom he had shown it, and seemed to be of such essential importance to the acquisition of the Greek language, that he reasonably hoped his labour would be crowned with honour, and that the money he had expended would be repaid by a rapid and extensive sale. Before, however, his work came abroad, Scapula’s abridgment appeared; which, from its size, price, and obvious utility, was quickly purchased, while the Thesaurus itself lay neglected in the author’s hands. The consequence was a bankruptcy on the part of Stephens, while he who had occasioned it was enjoying the fruits of his treachery. Scapula’s Lexicon was first published in 15SO, in 4to. It was afterward enlarged, and published in folio. It has gone through several editions, the best of which is the Elzevir of 1652, some copies of which have the following imprint, “Londini, impeusis Josuae Kirkton et Samuelis | Thompson;” but it is the genuine Elzevir edition, the names of Kirkton and Thompson being appended only to the copies they purchased from the Leyden proprietors. Stephens charges the author with omitting a great many important articles, and with misunderstanding and perverting his meaning, and tracing out absurd and trifling etymologies, which he himself had been careful to avoid. Dr. Busby, so much celebrated for his knowledge of the Greek language, and his success in teaching it, would never permit his scholars in Westminster-school to make use of Scapula. 1

1 Clark’s Bibliog. Dict. vol. IV.*-Balllet Jugemens.Morhoff Poly hist.