Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/611

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the same period, also show a new mastery, but remain Gothic. Thus the first period of Humanism in Germany presents a strongly-marked character of its own, wholly different from the Italian. So far as concerns the main current of intellectual and literary interests, the German Renaissance is the Reformation.

France had received the influences of Italian Humanism with the facility of a country to which they were historically congenial, and had been penetrated by them before the conflict opened by Luther had become a disturbing force in Europe. In France the basis of the national character was Latin, and no admixture of other elements could overpower the innate capacity of a Latin race to assimilate the spirit of classical antiquity. The University of Paris was one of the greatest intellectual centres in Europe, drawing to itself, in some measure, every new form of knowledge, while it promoted communication between Paris and all foreign seats of literary activity. It was in 1494, when the Italian Renaissance was at its height, that Charles VIII made his expedition to Naples. For nearly a century afterwards, until the line of the Valois Kings ended with the death of Henry III in 1589, the intercourse between France and Italy was close and continuous. A tincture of Italian manners pervaded the French Court. Italian studies of antiquity reacted upon French literature and art. Thus, from the beginning of the sixteenth century, France offered a smooth course to the Classical Revival. Greek studies had, however, been planted in France at a somewhat earlier time. In 1458 Gregory Tifernas, an Italian of Greek origin, had petitioned the University of Paris to appoint him teacher of Greek. He received that post, with a salary, on condition that he should take no fees, and should give two lectures daily, one on Greek and the other on rhetoric. The scholastic theology and logic were then still dominant at Paris, while the humanities seem to have occupied an inferior place. But, at any rate, the University had now given official sanction to the teaching of Greek. The eminent Byzantine, John Lascaris, lectured on that language at Paris in the reign of Charles VIII. His teaching was continued at intervals under Louis XII, who once sent him as ambassador to Venice; and also under Francis I, for whom he supervised the formation of a library at Fontainebleau. A still more eminent name in the early history of French humanism is that of the Italian Jerome Aleander, afterwards so strenuous an antagonist of the Reformation. Coming to Paris in 1508, at the age of twenty-eight, he gave lectures in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, winning a reputation which caused him to be appointed Rector of the University. On his return to Rome in 1516 he became librarian of the Vatican, and in 1538 was made a Cardinal. Aleander, who was fortunate in the time of his work at Paris, has been regarded, probably with justice, as the first scholar who gave a decisive stimulus to philological studies in France.