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Johann Georg Graevius

Johann Georg Graevius (properly Guava or Greffe) (January 29, 1632 - January 11, 1703), German classical scholar and critic, was born at Naumburg, Saxony.

He was originally intended for the law, but having made the acquaintance of JF Gronovius[?] during a casual visit to Deventer, under whose influence he abandoned jurisprudence for philology. He completed his studies under D Heinsius[?] at Leiden, and under the Protestant theologians A Morus and D Blondel at Amsterdam.

During his residence in Amsterdam, under Blondel’s influence he abandoned Lutheranism and joined the Reformed Church[?]; and in 1656 he was called by the elector of Brandenburg to the chair of rhetoric in the university of Duisburg[?]. Two years afterwards, on the recommendation of Gronovius, he was chosen to succeed that scholar at Deventer; in 1662 he was translated to the university of Utrecht[?], where he occupied first the chair of rhetoric, and from 1667 until his death (January 11th, 1703) that of history and politics.

Graevius enjoyed a very high reputation as a teacher, and his lecture-room was crowded by pupils, many of them of distinguished rank, from all parts of the world. He was honoured with special recognition by Louis XIV, and was a particular favourite of William III of England, who made him historiographer royal.

His two most important works are the Thesaurus antiquitatum Romanarum (1694-1699, in 12 volumes), and the Thesaurus antIquitatum et historiarum Italiae published after his death, and continued by the elder Burmann (1704-1725). His editions of the classics, although they marked a distinct advance in scholarship, are now for the most part superseded. They include Hesiod (1667), Lucian, Pseudosophisla (1668), Justin, Historiae Philippicae (1669), Suetonius (1672), Catullus, Tibullus et Propertius (1680), and several of the works of Cicero (his best production).

He also edited many of the writings of contemporary scholars. The Oratiofunebris by P Burmann (1703) contains an exhaustive list of the works of this scholar; see also PH Kulb in Ersch and Gruber's Allgemeine Encyklopädie, and JE Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship, ii. (1908).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.



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