(It., DELLA SCALA).
Humanist, b. at Riva on Lake Garda in 1484; d. at Agen, France, 21 Oct., 1558. He was brought to France as physician to Antonio de la Rovera, Bishop of Agen, and became a French citizen under the name of Jules Cesar de l'Escale de Bordonis. He took part in the discussion concerning Ciceronianism and began his career as a humanist by a violent work against Erasmus, "Oratio pro Cicerone contra Erasmum" (Paris 1531). He defended the absolute perfection of Cicero's style and denounced Erasmus as a mere proof corrector, a parasite, and a parricide. Erasmus kept silence. In 1536 Scaliger issued a still more violent discourse. The two discourses were combined: "Adversus D. Erasmum orationes duae eloquentiae romanae vindices cum auctoris opusculis" (Toulouse, 1621). He wrote a more solid work in a calmer tone in "De causis linguae latinae libri XIII" (Lyons, 1540; Geneva, 1580), in which he analyzed the correct style of Cicero and indicated 634 mistakes of Valla and his predecessors. He was the first to attempt a systematic treatise on poetry: "Poetices libri octo" (Lyons, 1561; Leyden, 1581; Heidelberg, 1607). The general principles of this work are derived from Aristotle whom he calls "imperator noster; omnium bonarum artium dictator perpetuus". Like Aristotle he makes imitation the basis of all poetry. He spoiled his work by exaggerations; not only does he place Virgil above Homer but he places the Homeric epics below the "Hero and Leander" of Musaeus, a poet of the Byzantine period; it is true that Scaliger identifies him with the legendary Musaeus, a disciple of Orpheus (Poet., V, 2). He declared that Seneca was not surpassed in grandeur by any of the Greek tragedians. This last opinion was not without its consequences; it explains the excessive liking of Shakespeare, Corneille, and many of their contemporaries for the tragedies of Seneca.
Scaliger is also the author of the following works: "De comicis dimensionibus" (Lyons, 1539); "Exotericarum exercitationum de subtilitate ad H. Cardanum" (Paris, 1537; Basle, 1560); "Poemata" (Geneva, 1574; Heidelberg, 1600); "Epistolae et Orationes " (Leyden, 1600). He translated into Latin Aristotle's "Natural History" (Toulouse 1619), the "Insomniae" of Hippocrates, and wrote commentaries on the treatises on plants of Theophrastes and Aristotle. As a physician he was much interested in botany; he demonstrated the necessity of abandoning the classification of plants based on their properties and of establishing one based on their distinctive characteristics. He was violent, vain, and given to exaggeration. His faults spoiled pleasing natural gifts and wide learning.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online