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Justus Lipsius (Joest Lipsor Joost Lips; 18 October 1547 – 23 March 1606) was a Flemish philologist, philosopher and humanist. Lipsius wrote a series of works designed to revive ancient Stoicism in a form that would be compatible with Christianity. The most famous of these is De Constantia (On Constancy). His form of Stoicism influenced a number of contemporary thinkers, creating the intellectual movement of Neostoicism. He taught at the universities in Jena, Leiden and Leuven.
Lipsius was born in Overijse, Brabant (in modern Belgium). His parents sent him early to the Jesuit college in Cologne, but they feared that he might become a member of the Society of Jesus, so when he was sixteen they removed him to the University of Leuven in Leuven.
The publication of his Variarum Lectionum Libri Tres (1567), which he dedicated to Cardinal Granvelle, earned him an appointment as a Latin secretary, and a visit to Rome in the retinue of the cardinal. Here Lipsius remained for two years, devoting his spare time to the study of the Latin classics, collecting inscriptions and examining manuscripts in the Vatican. After he returned from Rome, he published a second volume of miscellaneous criticism (Antiquarum Lectionum Libri Quinque, 1575); compared with the Variae Lectiones of eight years earlier, it shows that he had advanced from the notion of purely conjectural emendation to that of emending by collation.
In 1570 he travelled through Burgundy, Germany, Austria, and Bohemia, where the University of Jena engaged him as a teacher for more than a year, a position which implied conformity to the Lutheran Church. On his way back to Leuven, he stopped some time in Cologne, where he must have comported himself as a Catholic.
He then returned to Leuven, but the Eighty Years' War soon drove him to take refuge via Antwerp to the Northern Netherlands, where, in 1579, the newly founded University of Leiden appointed him professor of history. He held the position of rector of the university for four terms and was a driving force behind the growth and innovation in the early years.
The eleven years that Lipsius spent in Leiden were the period of his greatest productivity. It was during this time that he prepared his Seneca, and perfected, in successive editions, his Tacitus, and brought out a series of other works. Some were pure scholarship, some were collections from classical authors, and others were of general interest. One of this latter class was a treatise on politics (Politicorum Libri Sex, 1589), in which he showed that, though a public teacher in a country which professed toleration, he had not departed from the state maxims of Alva and Philip II. He wrote that a government should recognize only one religion, and extirpate dissent by fire and sword. This avowal exposed him to attacks, but the prudent authorities of Leiden saved him, by prevailing upon him to publish a declaration that his expression Ure, seca ("Burn and carve") was a metaphor for a vigorous treatment.
In the spring of 1590, leaving Leiden under pretext of taking the waters in Spa, he went to Mainz, where he reconciled with the Roman Catholic Church. This event deeply interested the Catholic world, and invitations from the courts and universities of Italy, Austria and Spain poured in on Lipsius. But he preferred to remain in his own country, and he finally settled in Leuven, as professor of Latin in the Collegium Buslidianum.
He was not expected to teach, and appointments as privy councillor and historiographer royal to King Philip II of Spain eked out his trifling stipend. He continued to publish dissertations as before, the chief being his De militia romana (1595) and his Lovanium (1605), intended as an introduction to a general history of Brabant.
Lipsius died in Leuven.
The former headquarters of the European Council (2004-2017) and the Council of the European Union (1995-2017), the Justus Lipsius building, bears his name, having been constructed over the site of Rue Juste Lipse, which linked Rue Belliard to Rue de la Loi in the European Quarter of Brussels. The building is still used by both institutions for offices and low-level meetings and so Justus Lipsius features heavily in the EU-lexicon.
In 2006, he was selected to appear on the 10 euro Justus Lipsius Silver commemorative Coin, minted by Belgium. The reverse side of the coin shows his portrait together with the years of his life (1547–1606).
One of the main buildings of Leiden University which serve as the Faculty of Humanities was named after Lipsius.
The German historian Gerhard Oestreich has argued that Lipsius's ideas about the ideal citizen, a man who acts according to reason, is answerable to himself, is in control of his emotions, and is ready to fight, had found wide acceptance in the turbulent times of the Reformation. The Lipsian view, translated to politics, would have been at the basis of rationalisation of the state and its apparatus of government, autocratic rule by the prince, discipline dispensed to subjects, and strong military defence. The principles would have laid the foundation for military revolution that transformed first European warfare and then the internal organisation of the European states themselves.These conclusions of Oestreich have met with some scepticism in the academic community, and the notion that Lipsius' political ideas had a decisive influence on political developments and military reforms in the Dutch Republic has been challenged.
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1583.
The 1711 Sales Auction Catalogue of the Library of Sir Thomas Browne highlights the erudition of the physician, philosopher and encyclopedist, Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682). It also illustrates the proliferation, distribution and availability of books printed throughout 17th century Europe which were purchased by the intelligentsia, aristocracy, priestly, physician or educated merchant-class.
Martin Delrio was a Jesuit theologian, born in the Low Countries but of Spanish descent. He studied at numerous institutions, receiving a master's degree in law from Salamanca in 1574. After a period of political service in the Spanish Netherlands, he became a Jesuit in 1580.
Charles de l'Écluse,L'Escluse, or Carolus Clusius, seigneur de Watènes, was an Artois doctor and pioneering botanist, perhaps the most influential of all 16th-century scientific horticulturists.
Christophe Plantin was an influential French Renaissance humanist and book printer and publisher living and working in Antwerp.
Rembert Dodoens was a Flemish physician and botanist, also known under his Latinized name Rembertus Dodonaeus. The standard author abbreviation Dodoens is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a printing museum in Antwerp, Belgium which focuses on the work of the 16th-century printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, the Plantin Press, at the Vrijdagmarkt in Antwerp, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005.
Neostoicism was a syncretic philosophical movement, founded by Flemish humanist Justus Lipsius, that attempted to combine the beliefs of Stoicism and Christianity. In his seminal period in the Northern Netherlands, Lipsius published two most significant works: De Constantia (1583) and Politica (1589).
Bonaventura Vulcanius was a Flemish humanist who played a leading role in Northern humanism during the 16th and 17th century. He was a professor of Latin and Greek at Leiden University for 30 years and published various books in the Latin language. He was also a poet.
Aubert le Mire, Latinized Aubertus Miraeus was an ecclesiastical historian in the Spanish Netherlands.
Justus de Harduwijn, also written Hardwijn, Herdewijn, Harduyn or Harduijn, was a 17th-century Roman Catholic priest and poet from the Southern Netherlands. He was the poetic link between the Renaissance and the Counter-Reformation in the Netherlands.
Balthasar Moretus or Balthasar I Moretus was a Flemish printer and head of the Officina Plantiniana, the printing company established by his grandfather Christophe Plantin in Antwerp in 1555. He was the son of Martina Plantin.
De Constantia in publicis malis was a philosophical dialogue published by Justus Lipsius in two books in 1583. The book, modelled after the dialogues of Seneca, was pivotal in establishing an accommodation of Stoicism and Christianity which became known as Neostoicism. De Constantia went through over eighty editions between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.
Josse van der Baren was a Flemish painter of history paintings and a draughtsman active in the Leuven area around the turn of the 17th century.
Philip Numan was a Flemish lawyer and humanist, a writer in prose and verse, sometimes under the pen name Hippophilus Neander.
Maximilien de Wignacourt, alternatively Vignacourt or Vignacurtius (1560–1620) was a writer in Latin and French in the Spanish Netherlands.
Philip Rubens (1574–1611), the elder brother of Peter Paul Rubens, was a scholar and administrator.
Joannes Woverius (1576-1636), the Latinized name of Jan van den Wouwer, was a civic and royal office-holder in the Spanish Netherlands.
Jean de Chokier, Baron de Surlet (1571-1656) was a canon lawyer and political writer in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. He is considered as "perhaps [Justus] Lipsius's most important disciple".
Jan Leernout, Latinized Janus Lernutius (1545–1619) was a Latin poet from the Habsburg Netherlands.