Gelenius, Sigismund

, a learned German, was born of a good family at Prague, about 1498. He began very early to travel through Germany, France, and Italy; and acquired a familiar knowledge of the languages of those countries. In Italy he confirmed himself in the Latin tongue, and learned the Greek under Marcus Musurus. In his return to Germany, he went through Basil, and became acquainted with Erasmus, who conceived an esteem for him, and recommended him to John Frobenius, as corrector of his printing-house, who employed him in superintending many Hebrew, Greek, and Latin works then in the press; and this employment he continued till his death, at Basil, about 1555. He had married in that city, and left behind him two sons and a daughter. Bayle describes him as tall, and very corpulent-, of an excellent memory, and a ready wit. He was wonderfully mild and good-natured, so that he could scarce ever be put into a passion; but never retained ill-will against any man. He was not curious to pry into other people’s affairs, nor at all mistrustful; but endowed with primitive, yet not weak simplicity.

Gelenius’s fame does not rest entirely on his merit as a corrector of the press. He has also furnished Latin translations of Dionysius Halicarnassensis, Appian, Philo, Josephus, Origen, and others; all which shew him to have been a man of talents and learning. He published likewise an edition of Ammianus Marcellinus, in which he made a great number of judicious and ingenious emendations, and restored the strange transposition of pages, which is to be found in all the manuscript copies, and appears in Accursius’s edition. Besides these he published a dictionary in four languages, Greek, Latin, German, and Sclavonian; after which, he wrote annotations on Livy and Pliny, and gave an edition of Arnobius, with whom he is thought to have taken too many liberties.

Bayle, who seems to delight in Gelenius’s private character, resumes it by informing us that his disregard for riches and honours was extraordinary. The employments | which were offered him in other places, could not tempt him to quit his peaceful situation at Basil. Lucrative professorships he could not be induced on to accept; and when he was invited to the king of Bohemias court, he preferred his own quiet and humble life to the splendid dignities with which he would there have been incumbered. Though Erasmus judged him worthy of a better fortune, yet he durst not wish to see him rich, lest it should abate his ardour for the advancement of learning. According to Thuanus, he struggled all his life with poverty. 1

1 Gen. Dict. —Moreri. —Saxii Onomasticon.