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Henry Estienne

Henry Estienne, also known as Stephens or Stephanus, is the name of two 16th-century printers of Paris. The first was the father of Robert Estienne, and the second was the son.

Henry, the first printer of this name, had an establishment of his own in Paris from 1503 to 1520. He was on friendly terms with some of the most learned men of the day, Budé, Briconnet, and Faber Stapulensis, and had among his proof-readers Beatus Rhenanus. Among his publications were Faber's editions of Aristotle, the Psalterium quincuplex, and his commentary on the Pauline Epistles.

Henry left three sons, François, Robert, and Charles. François published a number of works (1537-47) which had no bearing upon theology. His few impressions, chiefly issues of the classics, were all in Latin except Psalterium and a Horae Virginis in Greek.

Charles studied medicine, wrote some works on natural history, and gained an honorable position both as scholar and as author. In 1551 he assumed control of the Paris printing establishment, on Robert's departure to Geneva, and printed a number of works till 1561, using the title "royal typographer" (typographus regius). One of his works that long remained an authority was a Dictionarium Latino-Gallicum, 1552. He published a number of smaller editions of Hebrew texts and targums, which were edited by J. Mercier.

Henry, the second, the eldest son of the great Robert, and without doubt the most distinguished member of the family, was born in Paris, 1528, and died at Lyons March, 1598. He displayed in his youth a genuine enthusiasm for Greek and Latin; and his father took special pains with his education, and, as a part of his general training, he undertook in his nineteenth year a protracted journey to Italy, England, and Flanders, where he busied himself in collecting and collating manuscripts for his father's press.

In 1554 he published at Paris his first independent work, the Anacreon. Then he went again to Italy, helping Aldus at Venice, discovered a copy of Diodorus Siculus at Rome, and returned to Geneva in 1555. In 1557 he seems to have had a printing-establishment of his own, and, in the spirit of modern times, advertised himself as the "Parisian printer" (typographus parisiensis). The following year he assumed the title, illustris viri Huldrici Fuggeri typographus, from his patron, Fugger of Augsburg.

In 1559 Henry assumed charge of his father's presses, and distinguished himself as the publisher, and also as the editor and collator, of manuscripts. Athenagoras, Aristotle, AEschylus, appeared in 1557; Diodorus Siculus, 1559; Xenophon, 1561; Thucydides, 1564; Herodotus, 1566 and 1581. He improved old translations, or made new Latin translations, of many Greek authors. His most celebrated work, the Thesaurus linguae graecae, which has served up to the nineteenth century as the basis of Greek lexicography, appeared in 4 vols., 1572, with a supplement in 2 vols.

Of the editions of the Greek New Testament that went forth from his presses, there deserve mention those of Beza, with his commentary, 1565, 1569, 1582, 1588-89, and the smaller editions of 1565, 1567, 1580. A triglot containing the Peshito appeared in 1569, of which some copies are in existence, bearing the date Lyons, 1571. In 1565 a large French Bible was printed.

Henry's own editions of the Greek New Testament of 1576 and 1587 are noteworthy; the former containing the first scientific treatise on the language of the apostolic writers; the latter, a discussion of, the ancient divisions of the text. In 1594 he published a concordance of the New Testament, the preparatory studies for which his father had made. Much earlier he translated Calvin's catechism into Greek, which was printed in 1554 in his father's printing-room.

Henry was married three times, and had fourteen children, of whom three survived him. His son Paul (b. 1567), of whose life little is known, assumed control of the presses. Two of Paul's sons were printers-- Joseph at La Rochelle, and Antoine (d. 1674), who became "Printer to the king" in Paris in 1613. Fronton Le Due's Chrysostom, and Jean Morin's Greek Bible (3 vols., 1628) were issued from Antoine's presses.

His son Henry succeeded to the title of "Printer to the king" in 1649, and his work closed about 1659. He left no children, and was the last of the family who took active interest in editing and printing. The high standard that had been established by the early Stephens was maintained to the last, and the publications of the later publishers were mainly in the division of Greek and Roman classics.



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