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Statue of Antonio de Nebrija, outside of the Biblioteca Nacional de España, in Madrid.

Antonio de Nebrija (1441 – 5 July 1522), also known as Antonio de Lebrija, Elio Antonio de Lebrija, Antonius Nebrissensis, and Antonio of Lebrixa, was a Spanish Renaissance scholar. He was a teacher, historian, poet and astronomer, best known for writing a grammar of the Castilian language. His grammar is often credited as the first published grammar of a Romance language and set the standard for subsequent modern Spanish language grammars.


Nebrija's given name was Antonio Martínez de Calá. In typical Renaissance humanist fashion, he latinized his name as Aelius Antonius Nebrissensis by taking Aelius from the Roman inscriptions of his native Lebrija, the Roman Nebrissa Veneria. He also signed his books as Antonius Lebrixen (1481) and Antonius Nebrissen (1501).


He was born in the former Nebrissa Veneria, known today as Lebrija, in the Province of Seville, almost bordering the Province of Cádiz. His father was Juan Martínez de Cala and his mother was Catalina de Xarana y Ojo. He was the second of five children.

After studying at Salamanca Nebrija resided for ten years in Italy he received a scholarship from the diocese of Córdoba to study theology in Colegio de San Clemente in Bologna. He completed his education at Bologna University. On his return to Spain (1473), he devoted himself to the advancement of classical learning among his fellow countrymen. After obtaining the professorship of poetry and grammar at Salamanca, he was transferred to the university of Alcalá de Henares.

Nebrija wrote about a variety of subjects including cosmography, botany and theology. In 1481 he published a grammar entitled, introductiones latinae.

Nebrija's services to the cause of classical literature in Spain have been compared with those rendered by Valla, Erasmus and Scidaeus to Italy, the Netherlands and France. In 1492, he published the first grammar of the Spanish language. He dedicated this book to Isabella I of Castile, the catholic queen. When the book was presented to her, she asked: “Why would I want a work like this? I already know the language.” He answered: “Majesty, the language is the instrument of the empire.” Moreover he said of his intentions: “Presently, they [the people] waste their leisure on novels and fancy stories full of lies. I have decided, therefore, that my most urgent task is to transform Castilian speech into an artifact so that whatever henceforth shall be written in this language may be of one standard tenor, one coinage that can outlast the times. Greek and Latin have been governed by art, and thus have kept their uniformity throughout the ages. Unless the like of this be done for our language, in vain Your Majesty's chroniclers ... shall praise your deeds. Your labor will not last more than a few years, and we shall continue to feed on Castilian translations of foreign tales about our own kings. Either your feats will fade with the language or they will roam among aliens abroad, homeless, without a dwelling in which they can settle... Your Majesty, I want to lay the foundations for the dwelling in which your fame can settle... Now, Your Majesty, let me come to the last advantage that you shall gain from my grammar. For the purpose, recall the time when I presented you with a draft of this book earlier this year in Salamanca. At this time, you asked me what end such a grammar could possibly serve. Upon this, the Bishop of Avila interrupted to answer in my stead. What he said was this: "Soon Your Majesty will have placed her yoke upon many barbarians who speak outlandish tongues. By this, your victory, these people shall stand in a new need; the need for the laws the victor owes to the vanquished, and the need for the language we shall bring with us." My grammar shall serve to impart to them the Castilian tongue, as we have used grammar to teach Latin to our young.”

Nebrija produced a large number of works on a variety of subjects, including a Latin-Spanish dictionary, and commentaries on Sedulius and Persius. He was also in charge of correcting the Latin text of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible.

He died in Alcalá de Henares.

Grammatical ideas[edit]

Nebrija's work on grammar was mainly based on the classical Latin authors Priscian, Diomedes Grammaticus and Aelius Donatus but he also introduced new concepts to the field. He considered grammar to be the highest science. He subdivided it into Orthography, Prose, Etymology and Syntax. He was the first author to make claims of intellectual property.


  • Introductiones latinae, 1481
  • Gramática de la lengua castellana, 1492
  • Latin-Spanish (1492) and Spanish-Latin (1495) dictionaries.
  • Reglas de ortografía española (1517)
  • Posthumously published Reglas de ortografía en la lengua castellana (1523).

Nebrija also wrote minor works on pedagogy, weights, measurements, numberation, etc.


  • Nicolás Antonio, Bibliotheca Hispana Nova, i. 132 (1888)
  • Prescott, History of Ferdinand and Isabella, i. 410 (note)
  • Thomas McCrie, The Reformation in Spain in the Sixteenth Century (1829).
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_de_Nebrija — Please support Wikipedia.
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192 news items

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 08:22:30 -0700

El plan de barrio de Villaverde Bajo, suscrito por el Ayuntamiento de Madrid y la Federación Regional de Asociaciones de Vecinos de Madrid, mantendrá abierto el CEIP Antonio de Nebrija en festivos y julio, y fomentará la información sobre la Ley de ...
Te Interesa
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:37:30 -0700

14/07/2014 - EUROPA PRESS, MADRID. El expresidente José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero participa este martes en un simposio en la universidad Antonio de Nebrija sobre la Paz Mundial, como ha informado la institución educativa a través de un comunicado.


Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:22:30 -0700

Hoy nos hemos ido de paseo por el barrio de Lomo de los Frailes, donde vamos en busca de la calle Lope de Rueda, encontrando su inicio en la calle Antonio de Nebrija, desde la cual parte con orientación Naciente-Poniente y, tras recorrer unos 80 metros ...
El Mundo
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:10:48 -0700

Se hicieran caballeros los que anduvieron a pie y Antonio de Nebrija inventó la Gramática, base de todos los conocimientos. Escribió: «Los miembros y pedazos de España que estaban por todas partes derramados, se redujeron y juntaron en un cuerpo y ...
PR Noticias (Comunicado de prensa)
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 04:00:43 -0700

Es diplomado en Derecho por la Universidad San Pablo CEU y tiene estudios de Periodismo por la Universidad Antonio de Nebrija. En septiembre de 2008 asumió la dirección de Producción Ejecutiva de Deportes y en julio de 2009 asumía como director de ...
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:52:59 -0700

A la celtíbera Salmántica y posterior enclave estratégico romano también hay quien la llama Atenas de occidente, puesto que estamos ligados a la historia universal con los lazos de Fray Luis de León, Francisco de Vitoria, Antonio de Nebrija, Santa ...
Diario de Burgos
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 21:07:40 -0700

... pueden desmontarse sin interrumpir su funcionamiento (algo hasta ahora inexistente en el mercado) y fue inicialmente concebido por un equipo de la Universidad Antonio de Nebrija que posteriormente ha continuado su proyecto en una empresa privada.


El Confidencial
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 05:33:45 -0700

De esta forma, según ha anunciado a los periodistas el director de Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, Eduardo Azofra, se recuerda a quien fue premio Elio Antonio de Nebrija en 2001, un galardón instituido por esa institución académica como ...

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