Menestrier, Claude Francis

, a Jesuit, was born at Lyons in 1633. Besides his skill in the ancient languages, and acquaintance with the classic authors, he had a particular talent for heraldry, and for the arrangement and marshalling of all splendid ceremonies, such as canonizations, &c. so that his plans for those occasions were sought with great avidity. The fertility of his imagination constantly displayed itself in an incredible variety of inscriptions, devices, medals, and other ornaments. He travelled in Italy, Flanders, Germany, and England; and in all places gained improvement and amusement. His memory was so prodigious, that, in order to try it, Christina queen of Sweden, pronounced in his presence at Lyons, and had written down, 300 unconnected words, the strangest | she could think of, and it is said that he repeated them all exactly in the same order. This wonderful memory sup-^ plied him with an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes; and he spoke Greek and Latin with as much facility as French. He died Jan. 31, 1705, being then seventy-four. His works that remain are, 1. “History of Louis the Great, by medals, emblems, devices, &c.” 2. “Consular History of the city of Lyons,1693, folio. 3. Several small treatises on devices, medals, heraldry, &c. particularly his “Methode de Blason,” an edition of which was published at Lyons, in 1770, 8vo, with many additions to the original work. 4. “La Philosophic des Images,1694, 12mO, with several others of smaller consequence, which are all enumerated by Niceron. 1