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Adrian Turnebus

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Philologist, b. at Andely in Normandy in 1512; d. in Paris, 12 June, 1565. The accounts of the life of the great scholar are scanty and in part even contradictory. Neither is it easy to interpret the name Turnebus , in French Turnèbe . It is said that his father was a Scottish gentleman named Turnbull, who settled in Normandy and gave his name the French form of Tournebæuf . From this it became Tournebu, then Turnèbe, in Latin Turnebus. Whatever may have been the derivation of his name, Turnebus came from a noble though poor family. When eleven years old he was sent to Paris to study. Here his ability and industry enabled him not only to surpass his fellow-pupils but even also his teachers. In 1532 he received the degree of Master of Arts at the University of Paris, and one year later he became professor of humanities at Toulouse. Having held this position for fourteen years, he next became professor of Greek at Paris, and in 1561 exchanged this professorship for that of Greek philosophy. For a time (1552-55) he and his friend William Morel supervised the royal printing press for Greek works. It is said, and can easily be believed of so distinguished a scholar, that important professorships in other places were declined by him while he taught at Paris. As an illustration of his remarkable industry a well-authenticated story is told, that he devoted several hours to study even on his wedding-day. Over-study, however, wore out his strength prematurely, and he died at the age of fifty-three. In accordance with his own testamentary directions, his body was placed in the ground without any religious ceremony on the very evening of his death. This curious proceeding, as well as various utterances and a severe poem on the Jesuits, raised the much controverted question, whether Turnebus remained a Catholic or became an adherent of the new heresy. It seems at least probable that he inclined to Protestant views, even though he did not break completely with the Church, as his Catholic friends steadily maintained. In other respects his character was blameless. His reputation rests not only on his lectures, but also in equal measure on his writings. His numerous works, including commentaries on the ancient classics, short treatises, and poems, were collected and published (2 vols., Strasburg, 1600) with the co-operation of his three sons.

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