The "most accurate and best equipped" polyglott bible.

Biblia Sacra Polyglotta complectentia textus originales, Herbraicum, cum Pentateucho Samaritano, Chaldaicum, Graecum; versionumque antiquarum, Samaritanae, Graecae LXXII Interp., Chaldaicae, Syriacae, Arabicae, Aethiopicae, Persicae,, Vulg. Lat. Quicquid comparari poterat; cum textuum et versionum orientalium translationibus Latinis… Edidit Brianus Waltonus.

Social & Political
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Thomas Roycroft
  • Publication date: 1655-57.
  • Physical description: 6 volumes, folio (450 by 270mm). Title printed in red and black, rubricated throughout, engraved portrait frontispiece of Walton by Pierre Lombart, engraved title, three engraved maps of the Holy Land, (one double-page), four architectural plates (3 double-page), all by Hollar; contemporary blind stamped calf, spines gilt in 8 compartments, double red and green morocco labels, sprinkled edges, with early re-backs and sliful repairs to spine.
    Collation: (vol.I) 4 ff., A2-D [D2], 50 pp., 865 pp.; (vol.II) 889 pp. [1], 29 pp., [1]; (vol.III) 447 pp. [1], 389 pp., [1], 227 pp., [1], 149 pp., [1]; (vol.IV) 87 pp., [5], 128 pp., [1] 23 pp., [1], 20pp., 159 pp. [1], 390 pp.; (vol. V) [1], 390 pp.; (vol. VI) title, 72 pp., 56 pp., 68 pp. (misnumbered 98), 80 pp., 196 pp. 140 pp., 24 pp., 58 pp. (recte 60 pp. cause pp. 47-48 are repeated)
  • Inventory reference: 18635


According to Darlow and Moule, the “most accurate and best equipped” polyglott bible.

In completing this monumental undertaking Brian Walton (1600-1661) had the help of nearly all contemporary English scholars, particularly the Orientalists Edmund Castell, Thomas Hyde, and Samuel Clarke. The excellence of this Polyglot over others consists in the greater number of translations of the Old Testament from many languages, and the much greater and more intelligent work of the editor. For example, Walton’s apparatus, a critical-historical introduction in volume one was not superseded for more than a century, and was several times republished.
The first four volumes contain the Old Testament in the Hebrew with the Antwerp interlinear version. These texts form the Old Testament with their translation in Latin and Greek are arranged side by side or one under the other. The New Testament appears in volume 5, the text with few changes from Robert Stephen’s folio edition of 1550. Edmund Castell wrote in his Lexicon Heptaglottum that this Bible was “probably the greatest and most perfect work of the kind ever performed by human industry and learning”.

The publication dates on the title of Vols. I & VI and colophons of Vols II-V may be slightly spurious as COPAC notes that “although dated 1657, the work was printed between 1653 and early 1658. It was apparently published later in 1658 though some copies were not issued until after the Restoration in 1660. The copies have a variant form of the preface (cf. Darlow & Moule)”. The British and Foreign Bible Society’s Historical Catalogue of the Printed Editions of Holy Scripture, 1911 (Vol. II, p.26) also gives the dates of publication of the Bible as 1655-57, the whole being issued in 1658, although Vol.I. had been completed in 1654. This may be the source of Darlowe & Moule’s assertion.


Weston Library (bookplates in each volume).
Weston Park, Staffordshire, seat of the Earls of Bradford


  1. NHG Hollar 638, 1629, 1640, 1642, 1641, 1643, 1637 II
  2. Pennington 692, 1129, 1132-1135, 2649ii
  3. Wing B2797
  4. Darlow & Moule 1446.

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