used, e.g., here and here

does it mean "pages"? how come?

checked all the entries beginning with "plag" on Logeion and the only one that could possibly fit is plaga

what's a good resource for expanding Latin abbreviations. I'm only aware of Cappelli's Lexicon Abbreviaturarum which is of limited use when working with printed texts

1 Answer 1


It means plagulae, printing sheets. These are not pages (one sheet contains several pages). 23 plagulae are one bookbinder's alphabet (as the sheets are labelled with the letters A–Z, no J, V, W). The examples you found are book descriptions, so I suspect something like

  1. Alph. IV. plagg. 13


A book made from quarto sheets (4 pages on both sides of each sheet = 8 pages per sheet), 4 × 23 + 13 = 105 sheets, so 105 × 8 = 840 pages.

  • If I'm understanding right, each sheet is consecutively labelled with one letter of the alphabet (a "signature"), so 23 sheets is referred to as an alphabet. Right? May 9, 2020 at 10:39
  • 3
    @ExpeditoBipes Yes, and the second alphabet is labelled Aa, Bb, …, the third Aaa, Bbb, … and so on. An example: First alphabet starts here, second here. The New Testament has its own alphabet (A), (B), … starting here. Newer books do not use this system and have simple Arabic numbering. May 9, 2020 at 11:14
  • Thanks. It's right here, kinda, but somehow I missed it. Seems to be a hapax legomenon in this sense in Roman literature. However, the modern meaning that you provided isn't given by any dictionary I've consulted. Hats off for figuring it out. May 10, 2020 at 7:43

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