AMYOT, Jacques

(1513-1593)
Jacques Amyot was a French humanist, bishop, and scholar famous for his translation of classical texts, most notably Plutarch's Lives,or Les vies des hom­mes illustres. Amyot was born of humble parentage in Melun, France, and was educated at the University of Paris and at Bourges. An excellent scholar, he studied Greek with the humanists Danes and Toussain. Marguerite de Navarre* assisted him in becoming a professor of Latin and Greek at Bourges, where he taught for about six years.
Amyot first came to the attention of Francois I* when he translated Heliodorus's Aethiopica in 1547. As a reward for his accomplishment, Amyot was given the abbey of Bellozane and was commissioned to complete his translation of Plutarch's Lives, which he did in 1559. While Amyot was in Italy, where he studied for the next four years at the libraries of St. Mark and the Vatican, he rediscovered and later translated lost books of Diodorus Siculus. Amyot is also known for playing a small role in the Council of Trent, an ecumenical council convened from 1545 to 1563 with the purpose of reforming the Catholic church. Upon his return to France, Amyot was appointed tutor in 1554 to the sons of Henri II, later Charles IX and Henri III. Upon his ascension in 1560, one of Charles IX's first acts as king was to confer upon Amyot the position of grand almoner, a high dignitary of the church responsible for the clergy attached to the court and for supervising charitable works. Amyot became bishop of Auxerre in 1570, where he remained until his death in 1593. Under the reign of Henri III, Amyot was appointed commander of the Order of the Holy Spirit, an honor usually reserved for members of the nobility. These positions offered Amyot the opportunity to devote himself to classical literature. Through his translations, Amyot made the words of the ancients remarkably accessible to his contem­poraries. Also regarded as an elegant stylist, Amyot is equally recognized for increasing the versatility of the French language.
Amyot's Lives was subsequently translated into English by Sir Thomas North in 1579 and became the source for the Roman plays of William Shakespeare.* The Lives had an immense influence upon French literature as well; this work was a source for the tragedies of Pierre Corneille and was quoted by Montaigne* in his Essais. In addition to the Lives, Amyot also translated The Seven Books of Diodorus Siculus (1554), Daphnis and Chloe of Longus (1559), and the Moralia of Plutarch (1572).
Bibliography
A. Tilley, The Literature ofthe French Renaissance, vol. 1, 1959.
Heather J. Murray

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Amyot, Jacques — • Bishop of Auxerre, Grand Almoner of France (1513 1593) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Amyot, Jacques — ▪ French scholar born Oct. 30, 1513, Melun, near Paris, France died Feb. 6, 1593, Auxerre       French bishop and classical scholar famous for his translation of Plutarch s (Plutarch) Lives (Les Vies des hommes illustres Grecs et Romains, 1559),… …   Universalium

  • Amyot, Jacques — (1513 1593)    humanist    Born in Melun, Jacques Amyot is known for his translation from the ancient Greek of Theagenes and Charicles (Théagene et Chariclée)(by Helidorus), completed in 1547, which gained him the favor of the royal court. He… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Amyot, Jacques — (1515 1593)    French humanist scholar and poet, known for his translations of Greek literature into Latin and French, especially his French versions of the Parallel Lives (1559) and Moralia (1572) of Plutarch. In 1557 he became tutor of the sons …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • AMYOT, JACQUES —    grand almoner of France and bishop of Auxerre; was of humble birth; was tutor of Charles, who appointed him grand almoner; he was the translator, among other works, of Plutarch into French, which remains to day one of the finest monuments of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Jacques Amyot (eveque) — Jacques Amyot (évêque) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Jacques Amyot. Statue de Jacques Amyot devant l hôtel de ville de Melun Jacques Amyot, né le …   Wikipédia en Français

  • AMYOT (J.) — AMYOT JACQUES (1513 1593) Humaniste et prélat français, c’est en tant que traducteur que Jacques Amyot s’imposa comme grand écrivain. Né à Melun d’une famille modeste, «le Plutarque françois» fait à Paris de brillantes études, de grec notamment,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Jacques Amyot —     Jacques Amyot     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Jacques Amyot     Bishop of Auxerre, Grand Almoner of France, and man of letters, b. 30 October, 1513; d. 6 February, 1593. He studied in Paris at the Collège de France, where he earned his living… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Jacques Amyot — (* 29. Oktober 1513 in Melun; † 6. Februar 1593 in Auxerre) war ein französischer Kleriker, Humanist und Schriftsteller sowie (ab 1560) Bischof von Auxerre. Mit seinen vielgelesenen Übertragungen griechischer Werke hat er die Entwicklung der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Amyot — (Jacques) (1513 1593) humaniste français, évêque d Auxerre (1570). Ses traductions d Héliodore, de Longus, de Plutarque ont contribué à la formation de la langue classique …   Encyclopédie Universelle


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