Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Erycius Puteanus
(ERRIJCK DE PUT)
Born at Venloo, in Dutch Limbourg, 4 Nov., 1574; died at Louvain, 17 Sept., 1646. A Belgian humanist and philologist, he studied at the schools of Dordrecht and Cologne (Collège des Trois-Couronnes), where he took the degree of Master of Arts, 28 Feb., 1595. He then followed, at Louvain, the lectures on ancient history given by Justus Lipsius. In 1597 he repaired to Italy, and lived in intimacy with the learned men of that country, especially the famous Cardinal Federigo Borromeo, through whom he was appointed professor of Latin at the Palatine School of Milan from 1600 to 1606, when the States of Brabant offered him the chair left vacant by Lipsius at Louvain. He taught with éclat at the Collège des Trois-Langues for forty years, and was loaded with favours by reigning princes: the Archduke Albert appointed him his honorary counsellor (1612), and increased his annual pension by 200 ducats (1614), and added the reversion of Château-César. At the same time he filled, after 1603, the post of historiographer to King Philip IV, on behalf of the Milanese, with other appointments, often ill-paid in consequence of a treasury depleted by continual wars. His rash language provoked political animosities, and he was almost driven into exile by request of King James I of England, who wrongly believed him to be the author of an injurious lampoon.
His family numbered seventeen children, of whom four died in infancy. The services he rendered to his native Guelders, the Low Countries, and individuals were considerable. Puteanus was an encyclopedist; his ideal, which saw in numerous and varied acquirements the fullest measure of wisdom and the surest means of arriving at virtue the end of all knowledge, had been suggested to him by his master Justus Lipsius. During a certain period of his literary activity (1603-19), he detached himself from Lipsius by aiming at personal leadership of a school. He dreamed of re-establishing in Belgium the splendid classical period and the cult of eloquence which he had derived from Italy. When he saw the uselessness of his efforts, the indifference of a too utilitarian age inclined towards positive sciences, he again threw himself into encyclopedic authorship and produced his best chronological works. His merit as a philologist is somewhat limited; but his dissertations, reproduced in the Thesauri of Grævius and Gronovius, are of real value and may still be consulted. As a whole, his influence on Belgian philology has been unfortunate.
For the history of the numerous writings and editions of Erycius Puteanus see ROERSCH and VANDERHAEGHEN in Bibliotheca Belgica (1904-5), nos. 166, 167, 168, 171; also ROERSCH in Biographie Nationale de Belgique, XVIII (1904); SIMAR, Etude sur Erycius Puteanus (Louvain, 1909).