Gruterus, Janus

, a celebrated philologer, was born December 3, 1560, at Antwerp. He was the son of John Walter Gruter, burgomaster of Antwerp; who, having, among others, signed the famous petition tq the duchess of Parma, the governess of the Netherlands, which gave rise to the word Gueux (Beggars), was banished his country. He crossed the sea to Norwich in England, taking his wife (who was an English woman) and family along with him. Young Gruter was then but an infant; he had the peculiar felicity, like Cicero, of imbibing the elements of learning from his mother, Catharine Tishem; who, besides French, Italian, and English, was complete mistress of Latin, and so well skilled in Greek that she could read Galen in the original. The family found an hospitable asylum in England, where they resided several years, and at a proper age sent their son to complete his education at Cambridge. His parents, after some time, repassing the sea to Middleburg, the son followed them to Holland and, going to Leyden, studied the civil law, and took his doctor’s degree there in that faculty but, | applying himself at the same time to polite literature, he became an early author, as appears by some Latin verses which he published, under the title of “Ocelli,” at twenty years of age.

After taking his degree, he went to Antwerp, to his fa ther, who had returned thither as soon as the States had possessed themselves of it; but, when the city was threatened with a siege by the duke of Parma in 15S4-, was sent to France, where he resided some years, and then visited other countries. The particular route and circumstances of his travels afterwards are not known; but it appears that he read public lectures upon the Classics at Rostock, particularly on Suetonius. He was in Prussia, when Christian, duke of Saxony, offered him the chair of hi story -professor in the university of Wittemburg; which place he enjoyed but a few months: for, upon the death of that prince, his successors desiring the professors to subscribe the act of concord on pain of forfeiting their places, Gruterus chose rather to resign than subscribe a confession of faith which he could not reconcile to his conscience. He was treated with particular seventy on this occasion for, while two others who were deprived on the same account, had half a year’s salary allowed them by way of gratification, according to the custom of those countries, with regard to persons honourably discharged; yet in the case of Gruterus, they did not defray even the expences of his journey. Where he went immediately after this does not appear; but we are told, that, being at Padua at the time of Riccoboni’s death, that professor’s place was offered to him, together with liberty of conscience: the salary too was very considerable, yet he refused all these advantages. He was apprehensive that so profitable and honourable an employment would expose him to the attacks of envy, and he would not submit to the bare exercise of his religion in private. He was therefore much better pleased with an invitation to Heidelberg, where he filled the professor’s chair with great reputation for many years; and, in 1602, had the direction of that famous library, which was afterwards carried to Rome.

This employ suited his genius, and soon after he published the most useful of his works, his large collection of inscriptions, whjch is dedicated to the emperor Rodolphus II. who bestowed great encomiums upon it, and gave Gruterus the choice of his own reward. He answered that he | would leave it to the emperor’s pleasure, only begged it might not be pecuniary. In the same temper, upon hearing there was a design to give him a coat of arms, in order to raise the dignity of his extraction, he declared, that, so far from deserving a new coat of arms, he was too much burthened with those which had devolved to him from his ancestors. The emperor was then desired to grant him a general licence for all the books of his own publishing, which he not only consented to, but also granted him a privilege of licensing others. His majesty also intended to create him a count of the sacred palace; and the patent was actually drawn, and brought to be ratified by his sign manual; but this monarch happening to die in the interim, it was left without the signature, which it never afterwards received. Yet Gruterus bestowed the same encomiums on the good emperor as if it had been completed; and his privilege of licensing books continued to be of great advantage to him, being one of the most voluminous writers of his age. This task he was the better enabled to execute by the help of his library, which was large and curious, having cost him no less than twelve thousand crowns in gold; but the whole was destroyed or plundered, together with the city of Heidelberg, in 1622. Oswald Smendius, his son-in-law, endeavoured in vain to save it, by writing to one of the great officers of the duke of Bavaria’s troops; but the licentiousness of the soldiers could not be restrained. Afterwards he went to Heidelberg, and having witnessed the havock that had been made at his father’s house, he tried to save at least what Gruterus’s amanuensis had lodged in the elector’s libra^, and brought the Pope’s commission to give him leave to remove them. He received for answer, that as to the Mss. the pope had ordered them all to be sought for carefully, and carried to Home; but as to the printed books, leave would be given to restore them to Gruterus, provided it was approved by Tilly under his hand: but this pretended favour prove4 of no effect, as no access could be had to Tilly,

Gruterus had left Heidelberg before it was taken, and retired to his son-in-law’s at Bretten, whence he went to Tubingen, where he remained some time. He made several removes afterwards, and received invitations to read lectures at various places, and particularly one from Denmark, to enter into the service of the constable D’Esdiguieres. The curators also of the university of Frauecker | offered him the professorship of history in 1624; but, when the affairs of the palatinate were a little settled, he returned to Bretten; where, however, he found himself very mucli teazed by some young Jesuits who were fond of disputing. Gruterus, who never loved controversy, especially upon religious subjects, could think of no other way of getting rid of their importunities than by living at a distance from them. He retired therefore to a country-house, which he purchased near Heidelberg, where he used to make visits occasionally. He came from one of these, September 1627, and going to Bernhelden, a country seat belonging to his son-in-law Smendius, about a league’s distance from Heidelberg, he fell sick Sept. 20, and expired. His corpse was carried to Heidelberg, and interred in St. Peter’s church.

He wrote notes upon the Roman historians and several of the poets; and published all the works of Cicero, with notes, in '2 vols. folio. That printed in 1618 is a good edition but the London edition of 1681 is incorrect. His “Florilegium magnum, seu Polyanthea,” is a voluminous common-place book, formerly valued as a treasure. His 4< Chronicon Chronicorum“is a proof of his industry in history; but the chief of all his performances is his” Collection of Ancient Inscriptions,“a work not only estimable for the historical knowledge contained in it, but because it throws the clearest light upon a multitude of obscure passages in classic authors. This was published in 1601, and afterwards in a more perfect and splendid form by Grsevius at Amsterdam in 1707, 4 vols. folio. He published also a collection of scarce critical treatises, under the title of” Thesaurus Criticus,“6 vols. 8vo. To this Daniel Pareus added a seventh.” Delicise Poetarum Gallorum, Italorum, Belgarum, 1608 14, 9 vols. 8vo. In this last publication he assumed the name of Ranutius Gerus, the anagram of his name. An ample list of his works may be seen in Niceron. His private character appears to have been excellent. He was very liberal both in giving and lending money, on which he set no other value than as affording him the means of doing good. As a student, few men have been more indefatigable, employing not only the whole of the day, but a considerable part of the night on his literary researches, in which he always preferred a standing posture. 1


Niceron, vols. IX and X. Gen. Dict. —Foppen, Bihl. B.-lz. Arrh. X T >hers Life and Letters, p. 538, 547 v5 Saxii Onora. where it a profusion of r^VreHcc