Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Louis Moréri

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An encyclopaedist, b. at Bargemont in the Diocese of Frejus, France, 25 March, 1643, d. at Paris, 10 July, 1680. His grandfather Joseph Chatranet, a native of Dijon, had settled in Provence under Charles IX and taken the name of the village of Moréri, the seigniory of which he had acquired through marriage. Young Moréri studied humanities at Draguignan, rhetoric at the Jesuit College of Aix and theology at Lyons. During his stay in this city, he published several works, among them "Pratique de la perfection chretienne et religieuse" (1667), a translation from the Spanish of Alphonso Rodriguez's work. After his ordination, he preached in Lyons for five years with great success. It was about that time that he formed the design of publishing a dictionary that that would contain all the interesting data of history and mythology. In 1673 he was as appointed chaplain to Gaillard de Longjumeau, Bishop of Apt, to whom he dedicated the first edition of his encyclopaedia. In 1675 he accompanied that prelate to Paris where he became acquainted with de Pomponne, who gave him employment in his offices. After the downfall of that minister in 1678, he returned to his studies, but overwork had undermined his constitution and he died of consumption in 1680.

Moréri was a man of great erudition but, lacked taste and judgment. His name is connected with a work that can hardly be considered as his own after all the changes which it has undergone. Bayle, who intended to make up the deficiencies of Moréri's dictionary, said of it: "I share the opinion of Horace on those who lead the way. The first compilers of dictionaries made many errors, but they deserve a glory of which their successors ought never to deprive them. Moréri has given himself a great deal of trouble, has been useful to everybody, and has sufficient information to many. "Moréri's encyclopaedia appeared for the first time in Lyons in 1671, under the title: "Le grand Dictionnaire historique, ou melange curieux de l'histoire sacrée et profane." It was defective in many respects and was greatly improved in later editions which appeared in Paris or Amsterdam. The best edition is the twentieth and last, published at Paris, in 1759.

P. J. Marique.