Capperonnier, Claude

, an eminent classical scholar and Greek professor, was born at Mondidier, a small town in Picardy, May 1, 1671. For some time his father, who was a tanner, employed him in that business, but he early contracted a fondness for reading, and even taught himself, at his leisure hours, the elements of Latin. About the beginning of 1685, Charles de St. Leger, his uncle, a Benedictine of the abbey of Corbie, happening, on a visit to Mondidier, to discover his nephew’s predilection, advised his parents to send him to the college of Mondidier, where the Benedictines of Cluny then taught Latin. There Capperonnier studied for eighteen months, and by an un% common effort of diligence combined the study of Greek with Latin, two languages which he considered as mutually aiding each other, and which he made the subject of all his future researches. In 1686 he continued his education at Amiens among the Jesuits, for two years, under father Longuemare, who observing his application to be far more incessant than that of his fellow-scholars, gave him private lessons in Greek. In 1688 he came to Paris, where at the seminary of the Trente-trois, he entered upon a course of philosophy and theology, during which he never failed to compare the fathers of the church with the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. In 1693 and 1694 he studied the Oriental languages in the college of Ave-Maria, and in the latter year, the bishop of his diocese sent him to | the community of St. George d' Abbeville to assist the ecclesiastical students in the Greek language, and in 1695 to that of St. Valois cle Monstreuil to teach humanity and philosophy; but the sea air and his excessive application disagreeing with his health, he returned to Paris in 1696, took the degree of master of arts, and followed the business of education until he found that it interfered too much with his studies. Contenting himself, therefore, with the small profits arising from giving a few lessons, he took up his abode, in May 1697, in one of the colleges, and when he had taken his bachelor’s degree in divinity went to Amiens to take orders. Returning to Paris, he became a licentiate, and obtained the friendship and patronage of cardinal Rohan, the abbe Louvois, and other persons of note. At this time, some lessons which he gave in the Greek, and a chapel ry of very moderate income in the church of St. Andr6 des Arcs, were his only resources, with which he lived a life of study and temperance, defrayed the expences of his licentiate, and even could purchase books. Mr. Colesson, however, a law- professor, and who from being his scholar had become his friend, seeing with what difficulty he could maintain himself, made him an offer of his house and table, which, after many scruples, he consented to accept. He went to his new habitation in 1700, and in the following year resigned his duty in the chapel, the only benefice he had, because it took up that time which he thought completely lost if not employed in study. In 1706, M. Viel, then rector of the university of Paris, and M. Pourchot, t.he syndic, admiring his disinterested spirit, procured him a pension of four hundred livres on the faculty of arts, to which no other condition was annexed than that he should revise the Greek booksused in the classes. M. Capperonnier expressed his gratitude on this occasion in a Greek poem, which was printed with a Latin translation by M. Viel, 4to, a pamphlet of six pages.

During his residence -with M. Colesson, which lasted more than ten years, he read with that professor whatever he could find in the Greek authors respecting the law, and acquired a very profound knowledge of the subject; nor was he less skilled in what the ancients have conveyed to us on the arts and sciences; and the assistance he afforded to many eminent writers j*as been amply acknowledged, | particularly by Montfaucon, Baudelot de Dairvil, Kuster, Tournemine, and many others. In 1702 he engaged with Tournemine and Dupin in an edition of Photius, of which Dupin was to be principal editor, Tournemine was to furnish the notes, and Capperonnier the translations. This work was considerably advanced, and some part printed, when it was interrupted by the banishment of Dupin to Chatelleraut, and was never afterwards completed; a circumstance which the learned world has to regret, as Capperonnier had employed three years in collating the best editions and manuscripts, and Photius still remains without an editor.

Capperonnier was an inmate with M. Colesson when the university of Basil invited him to the chair of the Greek professor, with a liberal salary, and freedom of conscience; but this he did not think proper to accept. About the end of 1710 he was induced to undertake the education of the three sons of M. Crozat, who, on his removing to his house, settled a pension of one hundred pistoles upon him, which, with his usual moderation, Capperonnier made sufficient For all his wants, until in Oct. 1722 he was appointed royal professor of Greek. On this occasion he delivered a Latin discourse on the use and excellence of the Greek language. In 1725 he published at Paris his edition of “Quintilian,” fol. dedicated to the king, who bestowed on him a pension of 800 livres. Burman, who had published an edition of Quintilian. thought it incumbent to attack this of our author, who answered his objections with temperate and sound reasoning. Capperonnier’s is a splendid book, and particularly useful in illustrating the author by references to the Greek orators. In 1719 our author published “Apologie tie Sophocle,” a pamphlet, 8vo, in answer to some objections of Voltaire tothe CEdipus. M. Capperonnier died at Paris, July 24, 1744, leaving a character of amiable simplicity, great piety and probity, and singular benevolence and kindness. He was distinguished by a very retentive memory. Among various works which he left for the press were an edition of the “Antiqui Rhetores Latini,” with notes and illustrations, published at Strasburghin 1756, 4to; and “Philological Observations” on Greek and Latin authors, which would amount to several volumes in 4to. He also completed a “Treatise on the ancient pronunciation of the Greek language,” and | made great additions and corrections to Stephens 1 s Latirt Thesaurus. 1