Abril, Pedro Simón
Pedro Simón Abril’s production included grammars for learning Greek and Latin as well as translations of classical works, reading and writing primers, and notes for the improvement of teaching. He is best known for his Spanish version of Aristotle’s Ethics.
KeywordsSpanish Version Teaching Career Classical Language Teaching Position Academic Degree
Most probably of Jewish ascendancy, Pedro Simón Abril acknowledged being 41 years of age in his Latini idiomatis docendi ac discendi methodus, which appeared in 1561. Even though we do not know where Abril took his university studies or which academic degree he obtained, he must have studied at least philosophy, rhetoric, and Greek as he referred to himself as “licenciado” in all these three disciplines in works published in, respectively, 1577, 1584, and 1586. The dedicatory letters appended to his grammar handbooks and to his translations of the classics, as well as other external documents, help us to trace Abril’s teaching career, which took him to several institutions throughout Spain. In 1566 he began his teaching activities in the Studium at Uncastillo (Zaragoza). Four years later he was sued by the University of Huesca in Aragon for teaching Arts when he was only allowed to teach Latin. In 1571 he was hired by the local authorities at Tudela, near Pamplona, to provide teaching in grammar, rhetoric, poetry, Greek, logic, and metaphysics. Three years later Abril was appointed professor of rhetoric at the University of Zaragoza where he remained until 1576. After spending several months at El Escorial, where King Philip II praised his translation of Terence, he relocated to his home town of Alcaraz (Albacete) and became local preceptor. In August 1583 he was appointed professor of grammar at the University of Zaragoza. Information about later teaching positions is scarce. He must have been reacted to institutions in Madrid and Alcalá de Henares, cities where some of his later works were published. Toward the end of his life, he relocated to Medina de Rioseco in whose Studium he must have taught grammar. In 1594 he was summoned by the University of Salamanca to prepare a Latin grammar for the use of local students. This grammar handbook was to be written in Spanish, thus following Abril’s own recommendations to employ the vernacular in the teaching of classical languages.
Reprinted time and again, Pedro Simón Abril’s Latin grammars and translations of Terence’s comedies, Cicero’s letters, Aesop, and Greek drama (Euripides, Aeschylus) are closely linked to his teaching career at different levels in several academic institutions throughout Spain. His teaching materials were designed to teach the usage of classical authors through translation, parallel texts, and comparative grammar. In his best known philosophical translation, his version of Aristotle’s Ethics, whose preface was addressed to King Philip II of Spain, he outlined his translation methodology: “el que vierte ha de transformar en sí el ánimo y sentencia del actor que vierte, y decirla en la lengua en que lo vierte como de suyo, sin que quede rastro de la lengua peregrina en que fue primero escrito.”
- Abril PS (1569) Methodus Latinae linguae docendae atque ediscendae. Zaragoza, Jorge CociGoogle Scholar
- Abril PS (1587) Primera parte de la filosofia llamada la lógica. Alcalá de Henares, Juan Gracián Google Scholar
- Abril PS (1589) Los dieciséis libros de las epistolas, o cartas de M. Tulio Cicerón. Madrid, Pedro MadrigalGoogle Scholar
- Abril PS (1918) Los diez libros de las Éticas o Morales de Aristóteles, escritas a su hijo Nicomaco, traducidos fiel y originalmente del mismo texto griego en lengua vulgar castellana. Madrid, Real Academia de Ciencias Morales y PolíticasGoogle Scholar
- Abril PS Los diez libros de las Éticas o Morales de Aristóteles, escritas a su hijo Nicomaco, traducidos fiel y originalmente del mismo texto griego en lengua vulgar castellana (Biblioteca Nacional de España, Ms. 8651)Google Scholar
- Breva Claramonte M (1995) La didáctica de lenguas en el Renacimiento: J. Luis Vives y Pedro Simón Abril. Deusto, Universidad de DeustoGoogle Scholar
- Cañigral Cortés L (1988) Pedro Simón Abril: Textos de Humanismo y Didáctica. Albacete, Universidad de Castilla La ManchaGoogle Scholar
- Morreale de Castro M (1949) Pedro Simón Abril. Madrid, CSICGoogle Scholar