previous next

Salmasius

Claudius (Claude de Saumaise). A classical scholar, born at Semur in Burgundy, April 15th, 1588. His father, Bénigne de Saumaise, himself an accomplished scholar, gave him his first instruction, and at the age of ten the boy translated Pindar and wrote both Greek and Latin verse. He studied philosophy at Paris under the direction of Casaubon (q.v.), and later (1606) went to Heidelberg, where he took a course in jurisprudence, and studied so hard as greatly to injure his health, sitting at his desk through the whole of two nights out of every three, and adding to his linguistic resources a knowledge of Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic, and other languages. In 1631 he was called to Leyden to succeed Scaliger. He spent a year in Sweden (1650) at the solicitation of Queen Christina, but returned to Holland at the end of that time. In 1606 he discovered the Greek anthology of Kephalas at Heidelberg. (See Anthology.) He died at Spa, September 6th, 1658.

Salmasius enjoyed a wide reputation for his great learning, which has been equalled by few. He was styled “the miracle of the world,” “the most learned of all living men,” but he lacked critical insight and system, so that he left nothing of lasting value to the world of learning. He is best remembered to-day for his abusive controversy with Milton over the question of the death of Charles I., and Milton's blindness was the result of excessive labour in the production of his answer to Salmasius.

Salmasius published Plinianae Exercitationes (1629); an edition of the Augusta Historia (1620); Florus (1629); De Lingua Hellenistica (1643); De Re Militari Romanorum (1657). See the eulogistic life of Salmasius prefixed to the collection of his letters (Leyden, 1656); L. Müller, Geschichte der class. Philogie in den Nieder landen (Leipzig, 1869); and for his controversy with Milton, Masson's Life of Milton (1876-79).

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: