Puteanus, Erycius

, in Flemish Vander Putten, and in French Dupuy, was born at Venlo, in Guelderland, Nov. 4, 1574. His Christian name was Henry. He studied the classics at Dort, philosophy at Cologne, and law at Louvain, under the celebrated Lipsius, with whom he formed a lasting friendship. He afterwards, in pursuit of knowledge, visited the chief academies of Italy, and heard the lectures of the most learned professors. He remained some months at Milan, and at Padua, where John Michael Pinelli gave him an apartment in his house. In 1601 he accepted the professorship of rhetoric at Milan, and nearly about the same time, was nominated historiographer to the | king of Spain. Two years afterwards he was honoured with the diploma of a Roman citizen, and the degree of doctor of laws. These flattering marks of distinction made him resolve to settle in Italy; and in 1604 he married Mary Magdalen Catherine Turria, of a considerable family at Milan, a very advantageous alliance. But notwithstanding his resolution, he could not resist the offer made to him in 1606 to succeed the now deceased Lipsius, as professor of the belles lettres at Louvain. This office he filled for forty years, although neither with the same success or the same reputation as his predecessor. Puteanus was a man of vast reading, but of little judgment. He was well acquainted with the manners and customs of the ancients, but had little of the spirit of criticism or philosophy, and was incapable of undertaking any work of great extent. Every year he published some small volumes, and such was his desire to increase their number that he even printed a volume of the attestations he used to give to his scholars.

Still he was allowed to have accumulated a great fund of learning. Bullart says, “It was the great learning of Puteanus, which, having won the heart of Urban VIII. deter* mined that great pope to send him his portrait in a gold medal, very heavy, with some copies of his works. It was that same learning, which engaged cardinal Frederic Borromeo to receive him into his palace, when he returned to Milan. It was also his learning, which made him tenderly beloved by the count de Fuentes, governor of Milan and afterwards by the archduke Albert, who, having promoted him to Justus Lipsius’s chair, admitted him also most honourably into the number of his counsellors. Lastly, it was his learning; which made him so much esteemed in the chief courts of Europe, and occasioned almost all the princes, the learned men, the ambassadors of kings, and the generals of armies, to give him proofs of their regard in the letters they wrote to him j of which above sixteen thousand were found in his library, all placed in a regular order. He had the glory to save the king of Poland’s life, by explaining an enigmatical writing drawn up in unknown characters, which no man could read or understand, and which contained the scheme of a conspiracy against that prince.” He was also, in his private character, a man of piety, of an obliging disposition, andremarkable not only for his kindness to his scholars, but for many good offices to his countrymen in every case of need. The archduke | Albert, as Bullart notices, nominated him one of his counsellors, and entrusted him with the government of the castle of Louvain. He died at Louvain Sept. 17, 1646, in the seventy-second year of his age. Nicolas Vernulaeus pronounced his funeral oration, and his life was published by Milser with an engraved portrait.

The works of this author are divided into six classes, eloquence, philology, philosophy, history, politics, and mathematics, which, according to Niceron’s list, amount to 98 articles, or volumes. Those on philology have been for the most part inserted in Graevius’s Antiquities. The others most worthy of notice in the opinion of his biographers, are, 1. “De usu fructuque Bibliothecae Ambrosianae,Milan, 1605, 8vo. This is an essay on the use of public libraries, and not a catalogue, as those who never saw it have asserted. It was afterwards reprinted in the different editions of his “Suada Attica, sive orationes selectee.” 2. “Comus, sive Phagesiposia Cimmeria, de luxu somnium,” Louvain, 1608, 12mo, Antwerp, 1611, and Oxford, 1634. The French have a translation of this in considerable demand, under the title of “Comus, ou banquet dissolu des Cimmeriens.” 3. “Historise insubricae libri sex, qui irruptiones Barbarorum in Italiam continent, abanno 157 ad annum 975.” This has gone through several editions; one at Louvain, 1630, folio, another at Leipsic. It is rather superficial, but the archduchess Isabella was so much pleased with it that she made the author a present of a gold chain. 4. “Pietatis thaumata in Protheum Parthenicum unius libri versum et unius versus librum, Stella-? rum numeris sive formis 1022 variatum,Antwerp, 1617, 4to. This is a remarkable sample of the trifles with which men of learning amused themselves in our author’s days. The whole is a repetition under different forms of the verse “Tot sibi sunt dotes, Virgo, quot sidera ccelo.” This poor verse he has turnedand twisted 1022 different ways, the number of the fixed stars but James Bernouilli has gravely told us that it admits of no less than 3312 changes, which, after all, is nothing to the following verse,

Crux, faex, fraus, lis, mars, morSj nox, pus, sors, mala, Styx, vis.

for this, it is said, admits of 39,916,800 different combinations! 5. “Bruma, sive chimonopsegnion de laudibus hiemis, ut ea potissimum apud Belgas,” Munich, 1619, 8vo, yvith fine engravings by Sadeler, whicji constitute the | principal value of this work. 6. “Circulus urbanianus, sive linea a^^ive compendio descripta,” Louvain, 1632, 4to. almost a copy of that of Bergier entitled “Point du jour,” but without acknowledgment. 7. “Belli et Pacis statera,1635, 4to. In this he shewed himself better acquainted with the true interests of his catholic majesty, than they who applied themselves solely to state affairs’ but he was brought into some trouble for speaking with too much freedom of things which policy should have kept secret. He was ordered to Brussels to explain his sentiments, but came off with honour. Caspar Baerle published a viplent satire against this work, entitled “Anti^Puteanus.” 8. “Auspicia Bibliothecae publicae Lovaniensis,” Louvain, 1639, 4to. and usually to be found at the end of the catalogue of that library. 1

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Biog. Univ. art. Dupuy. —Niceron, vol. XVII. Bullart’s Academic des Sciences. —Foppen Bib). Belg, —Saxii Onomast. Baillet Jugernens.