Serranus, Joannes

, or John de Serres, a learned Frenchman, was born in the sixteenth century, and was of the reformed religion. His parents sent him to Lausanne, where he was taught Latin and Greek, and attached himself much to the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle; but, on his return to France, he studied divinity, in order to qualify himself for the ministry. He began to distinguish | himself by his writings in 1570; and, in 1573, was obliged to take refuge in Lausanne, after the dreadful massacre on St. Bartholomew’s day. Returning soon to France, he published a piece in French, called “A Remonstrance to the king upon some pernicious principles in Bodin’s book de Republica:” in which he was thought to treat Bodin so injuriously, that Henry III. ordered him to prison. Obtaining his liberty, he became a minister of Nismes in 1582, but never was looked upon as a very zealous protestant; and some have gone so far as to say, but without sufficient foundation, that he actually abjured it. He is, however, supposed to have been one of those four ministers, who declared to Henry IV. that a man might be saved in the popish as well as the protestant religion; a concession which certainly did not please his brethren. He published, in 1597, with a view to reconcile the two religions, “De Fide Catholica, sive de principiis religionis Christiana?, communi omnium consensu semper et ubique ratis;” a work as little relished by the catholics, as by the protestants. He died suddenly in 1598, when he was not more than fifty, and the popish party circulated a report that his brethren of Geneva had poisoned him.

He published several works in Latin and in French, relating to the history of France among the rest, in French “Memoires de la troisieme Guerre Civile, et derniers troubles de France sous Charles IX., &c.” “Inventaire general de l‘Histoire de France, illustre par la conference de i’Eglise et de i’Empire, &c.” “Recueil des choses memorables avenues en France sous Henri II. Francois II. Charles IX. et Henri III.” &c. These have been many times reprinted, with continuations and improvements; but it is objected that Serranus is not always impartial. Besides his theological works, he is perhaps best known for his “Latin version of Plato,” which was printed with Henry Stephens’s magnificent edition of that author’s works, 1578, 3 vols. fol. This translation, although more elegant, is not thought so faithful as that of Ficinus. Stephens had a very high opinion of Serranus, and printed in 1575, twenty-four of the Psalms, translated by Serranus into Greek verse, with two “Idyllia” from Daniel and Isaiah. Of this very rare volume, Francis Okely published anew edition at London in 1772, 12mo. 1

1 Niceron, vol. IV. —Moreri.