Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/613

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

for him. A better-known tribute is that paid by Montaigne, his junior by twenty-one years, who declares that "Adrianus Turnebus knew more, and knew it better, than any man of his century, or for ages past." He was entirely free, as Montaigne testifies, from pedantry: "his quick understanding and sound judgment" were equally remarkable, whether the subject of conversation was literary or political. Lambinus (Denys Lambin, 1520-72), who in 1561 became a professor at the Royal College, published editions of Horace and Cicero which made a new epoch in the study of those authors. Auratus (Jean Dorat, 1507-88), poet and scholar, who taught Greek at the College, shone especially in the criticism of Aeschylus. Mention is due also to the ill-fated Estienne Dolet (1509-46), who took up the cause of the Ciceronians against Erasmus, and in 1536, at the age of twenty-seven, published his two folio volumes Commentariorum Linguae Latinae. Ten years later, he was unjustly condemned by the Sorbonne on a charge of atheism, and put to a cruel death. It should be noted that French scholars won special distinction in the study of Roman Law. Instead of relying on commentators who had merely repeated the older glossatores, they turned to the original Roman texts. Cujacius (Jacques Cujas, 1522-90), the greatest interpreter of the sources of law, struck out a new path of critical and historical exposition. Donellus (Hugues Doneau, 1527-91) introduced systematic arrangement by his Commentarii luris Civilis. Brissonius (Barnabe Brisson, 1531-91) was pre-eminently the lexicographer of the civil law. Gothofredus (Denys Godefroy, 1549-1621) produced an edition of the Corpus Juris Civilis which is still valued. His son Jacques (1587-1652) edited the Theodosian Code.

During the century which followed the death of Turnebus, the history of French humanism is illustrated by names of the first magnitude. Such are those of Joseph Scaliger, Salmasius, and Casaubon; but these great scholars stand beyond the borders of the Renaissance, and belong, like Bentley, to a maturer stage in the erudite development of classical philology. In them, however, the national characteristics of humanism were essentially the same that had appeared in French scholars of the preceding period. These characteristics are alert intelligence, fine perception, boldness in criticism, and lucid exposition. There is a notable difference between the Italian and the French mind of the Renaissance in relation to the antique. The Italian mind surrendered itself, without reserve, to classical antiquity: the Italian desire was to absorb the classical spirit, and to reproduce it with artistic fidelity. The French mind, on the other hand, when brought into contact with the antique, always preserved its originality and independence. It contemplated the work of the ancients with intelligent sympathy, yet with self-possessed detachment, adopting the classical qualities which it admired, but blending them with qualities of its own; so that the outcome is not a reproduction, but a new result. This may be traced in