Claudius Salmasius

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Claudius Salmasius is the Latin name of Claude Saumaise (15 April 1588 – 3 September 1653), a French classical scholar.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.



Claudius Salmasius ClaudiusSalmasius.jpg
Claudius Salmasius

Salmasius was born at Semur-en-Auxois in Burgundy. His father, a counsellor of the parlement of Dijon, sent him, at the age of sixteen, to Paris, where he became intimate with Isaac Casaubon (1559–1614). In 1606 he went to the University of Heidelberg, where he studied under the jurist Denis Godefroy, [1] and devoted himself to the classics, influenced by the librarian Jan Gruter. [2] Here he embraced Protestantism, the religion of his mother. [3]

Semur-en-Auxois Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Semur-en-Auxois is a commune of the Côte-d'Or department in eastern France. The engineer Edmé Régnier L'Aîné (1751–1825) and the Encyclopédiste Philippe Guéneau de Montbeillard (1720–1785) were born in Semur-en-Auxois, while the military engineer Vauban (1633-1707) was educated at the Carmelite college.

Dijon Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Dijon is a city in eastern France, capital of the Côte-d'Or département in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region.

Isaac Casaubon French academic

Isaac Casaubon was a classical scholar and philologist, first in France and then later in England, regarded by many of his time as the most learned man in Europe.

Returning to Burgundy, Salmasius qualified for the succession to his father's post, which he eventually lost on account of his religion. In 1623 he married Anne Mercier, a Protestant lady of a distinguished family. After declining overtures from Oxford, Padua and Bologna, in 1631 he accepted the professorship formerly held by Joseph Scaliger at Leiden. Although the appointment in many ways suited him, he found the climate trying. He became involved in a vicious controversy, over the Greek of the New Testament , with Daniel Heinsius. The quarrel became both highly personal and widely known, and Heinsius as university librarian refused him access to the books he wished to consult. [3] Salmasius had an ally in Gerardus Vossius, on religious grounds. [4]

University of Oxford University in Oxford, United Kingdom

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as early as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly called 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

University of Padua university in Italy

The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. Padua is the second-oldest university in Italy and the world's fifth-oldest surviving university. In 2010 the university had approximately 65,000 students, in 2016 was ranked "best university" among Italian institutions of higher education with more than 40,000 students, and in 2018 best Italian university according to ARWU ranking.

University of Bologna university in Bologna, Italy

The University of Bologna, founded in 1088, is the oldest university in continuous operation, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe. It is one of the most prestigious Italian universities, commonly ranking in the first places of national rankings.

Following his polemical Defensio Regis of 1649, a flattering invitation from Queen Christina induced him to visit Sweden in 1650. Christina loaded him with gifts and distinctions. [3] Salmasius had enemies there: Nikolaes Heinsius, son of his foe Daniel, but also Isaac Vossius (son of Gerardus) with whom he had fallen out. They circulated gossip about him. [5] Salmasius withdrew from Sweden in 1651; Christina sent warm letters and pressed him to return. [3]

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.4 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

Isaac Vossius Dutch classical scholar

Isaak Vossius, sometimes anglicised Isaac Voss was a Dutch scholar and manuscript collector.

Salmasius died on 3 September 1653, at Spa.


De usuris, 1638. Saumaise - De vsuris liber, 1638 - 377.tif
De usuris, 1638.

He was a prolific author and textual critic. He first published (1608) an edition of a work by Nilus Cabasilas, (archbishop of Thessalonica in the 14th century) against the primacy of the pope (De primatu Papae), and an edition of a similar tract by the Calabrian monk Barlaam of Seminara (ca. 1290-1348). In 1609 he brought out an edition of Florus; [3] a later edition (1638) included also the editio princeps of the Liber Memorialis of Lucius Ampelius. [6]

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Calabria Region of Italy

Calabria, known in antiquity as Bruttium, is a region in Southern Italy.

Barlaam of Seminara, c. 1290–1348, or Barlaam of Calabria was a southern Italian scholar and clergyman of the 14th century, as well as a Humanist, a philologist, and a theologian. When Gregory Palamas defended Hesychasm, Barlaam accused him of heresy. Three Orthodox synods ruled against him and in Palamas's favor.

In 1606 or 1607 Salmasius had discovered in the library of the Counts Palatine in Heidelberg the only surviving copy of Cephalas's 10th-century unexpurgated copy of the Greek Anthology , including the 258-poem anthology of homoerotic poems by Straton of Sardis that would eventually become known as the notorious Book 12 of the Greek Anthology. Salmasius made copies of the newly discovered poems in the Palatine version and began to circulate clandestine manuscript copies of them as the Anthologia Inedita. His copy later appeared in print: first in 1776 when Richard François Philippe Brunck included it in his Analecta; and also when Friedrich Jacobs published the full Palatine Anthology as the Anthologia Graeca (13 vols. 1794-1803; revised 1813-1817). The remains of Straton's anthology became Book 12 in Jacob's standard critical Anthologia Graeca edition. Only in 2001 did a full Greek-to-English translation of Book 12 appear (from Princeton University Press).

Heidelberg Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg is a university town in Baden-Württemberg situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, with roughly a quarter of its population being students.

<i>Greek Anthology</i>

The Greek Anthology is a collection of poems, mostly epigrams, that span the classical and Byzantine periods of Greek literature. Most of the material of the Greek Anthology comes from two manuscripts, the Palatine Anthology of the 10th century and the Anthology of Planudes of the 14th century.

Straton of Sardis was a Greek poet and anthologist from the Lydian city of Sardis. He is thought to have lived during the time of Hadrian, based on Straton's authorship of a poem about the doctor Artemidorus Capito, a contemporary of Hadrian. Straton is mentioned by Diogenes Laërtius, at the beginning of the 3rd century AD.

In 1620 Salmasius published Casaubon's notes on the Augustan History , with copious additions of his own. In 1629 he produced his magnum opus as a critic, his commentary on Gaius Julius Solinus's Polyhistor, or rather on Pliny the Elder, to whom Solinus is indebted for the most important part of his work. Greatly as his contemporaries may have overrated this commentary, it stands as a monument of learning and industry. Salmasius learned Arabic to qualify himself for the botanical part of his task. [3]

Shortly after his removal to the Netherlands, Salmasius composed (at the request of Prince Frederick Henry of Nassau) his treatise on the military system of the Romans (De re militari Romanorum), which remained unpublished until 1657. Other works followed, mostly philological, but including a denunciation of wigs and hair-powder. [3]

The De usuris liber (1630) and subsequent writing was a vindication of moderate and lawful interest for money. [7] Although it was opposed by lawyers and theologians, the Dutch Reformed Church began to admit money-lenders to the sacrament. His treatise De primatu Papae (1645), accompanying a republication of the tract of Nilus Cabasilas, excited controversy in France, but the government declined to suppress it. [3]

In 1643 he published De Hellenistica Commentarius, including linguistic theories of Johann Elichmann on the origins of the Greek language. [8] In 1649, in November, appeared the work for which many remember Salmasius best: his royalist tract Defensio regia pro Carolo I provoked by the execution of Charles I.

His advice had already been sought[ by whom? ] on English and Scottish affairs, and, inclining to Presbyterianism or to a modified episcopacy, he had written against the English religious Independents. It remains unknown whose influence induced him to undertake the Defensio regia, but Charles II defrayed the expense of printing, and presented the author with £100. The first edition appeared anonymously, but the author was universally known. A French translation (which speedily appeared under the name of "Claude Le Gros") was the work of Salmasius himself. This celebrated work provoked from John Milton the Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio , including attacks on Salmasius's wife along with much other vituperation. [9] Milton also claimed that Salmasius's withdrawal from Sweden in 1651 was due to the attack, but Christina's continued warmth in letters to him argue against that cause. His reply to Milton remained unfinished at his death: his son published it in 1660. [3]

He is the author of Simplicii Verini, sive Claudii Salmasii, de Transsubstantiatione liber, ad justum pacium, contra H. Grotium. .


Philibert de La Mare, counsellor of the parlement of Dijon, inherited Salmasius' manuscripts from his son and wrote a very lengthy life of Salmasius. Papillon says that this biography left nothing to desire, but no printed edition has ever appeared. However, Papillon himself used de la Mare's work for his account of Salmasius in his Bibliothèque des auteurs de Bourgogne [10] — by far the best extant. Papillon included an exhaustive list of Salmasius' works, both printed and in manuscript. [3]

Antoine Clément prefixed a eulogy to his edition of Salmasius's Letters (Leiden, 1656), and C. B. Morisot inserted another into his own Letters (Dijon, 1656). See also Eugène Haag, La France protestante, (ix. 149-x73); and, for the Defensio regia, David Masson's Life of Milton. [3]


  1. de Vries, Tieman (1916). Holland's Influence on English Language and Literature. Hammond Press. pp. 298–300.
  2. Bresson, Agnès. "Les correspondants de Peirsec" (in French). Archived from the original on 29 November 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Salmasius, Claudis"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 81.
  4. William Bridges Hunter, A Milton Encyclopedia: Sm-Z (1983), p. 148.
  5. Barbara Lewalski, Life of John Milton (2002), p. 256.
  6. Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ampelius, Lucius"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 878.
  7. Rothbard, Murray N. (2006). Economic Thought Before Adam Smith. Ludwig von Mises Institute. pp. 144–. ISBN   978-0-945466-48-2 . Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  9. Bryson, Michael. "Background for the Defense of the English People" . Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  10. Papillon, Philbert (1745). Bibliothèque des auteurs de Bourgogne[Library of Burgundy authors] (in French). Dijon: F. Desventes.

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