ELYOT, Sir Thomas

(c. 1490-1546)
Ambassador, scholar, and humanist, Thomas Elyot advocated humanist edu­cation and through his writings and translations brought classical works to the literate English. The only son of Richard Elyot, Thomas Elyot learned English common law, was educated at the Middle Temple, and rode with his father as one of the justices of assize for the Western Circuit. In 1525 Cardinal Thomas Wolsey appointed Elyot to a senior clerkship on King's Council. This led him to a short-lived ambassadorship at the court of Emperor Charles V,* a nephew to Catherine of Aragon. Upon Henry VIII's* instruction, Elyot was to "fish out and know what opinion the Emperor is of us," or, in other words, discover the emperor's opinion of the king, especially concerning Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine. Although Elyot was an advocate of Catherine of Aragon—his 1540 The Defence of Good Women includes veiled praise of the queen—a religious conservative, and a critic of the Crown, he was not a martyr and worked to maintain his position and keep his head.
Governmental service and private life after 1532 saw Elyot a member of Parliament and a reluctant sheriff. With an impressive public career that led to his being knighted in 1530, Elyot used his works to bring to England classical ideas previously unavailable. Elyot's work The Castel of Helth (1536) popular­ized the ancient theory of the humors for an English audience. Printed in 1538, his Latin-English Dictionary was the first such dictionary to appear in English based on humanism and served to give the English language a new standard on which to be based. Probably his most familiar work, The Boke Named the Governour (1531) was a training manual for the prince and advocated instruction from moral, religious, intellectual, and physical perspectives. Written to influ­ence Henry VIII, The Boke Named the Governour recommended that a good ruler's manners, education, and virtues be grounded in the classics. His trans­lation of Isocrates, The Doctrinall of Princis (c. 1533), was probably the first from Greek into English. Through his writing, grounded in Renaissance hu­manism, Elyot brought new ways of learning to the literate English.
Bibliography
S. E. Lehmberg, Sir Thomas Elyot: Tudor Humanist, 1960.
Megan S. Lloyd

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Elyot, Sir Thomas — ▪ British author born c. 1490 died March 26, 1546, Carleton, Cambridgeshire, Eng.       English author and administrator, memorable for his championship and use of English prose for subjects then customarily treated in Latin. Both as a… …   Universalium

  • ELYOT, SIR THOMAS —    author and ambassador, born in Wiltshire; ambassador to the court of Charles V.; celebrated as the author of The Governour, the first English work on moral philosophy, and also of the first Latin English dictionary (1490 1546) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Elyot, Sir Thomas — (1490 1546)    Diplomatist, physician, and writer, held many diplomatic appointments. He wrote The Governor (1531), a treatise on education, in which he advocated gentler treatment of schoolboys, The Castle of Health (1534), a medical work, and A …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Thomas Elyot — Sir Thomas Elyot (c. 1490 ndash; March 26, 1546), was an English diplomat and scholar.Thomas was the child of Sir Richard Elyot s first marriage with Alice De la Mare, but neither the date nor place of his birth is accurately known. Anthony Wood… …   Wikipedia

  • Elyot — Sir Thomas Elyot in einer Zeichnung von Hans Holbein d.J. Sir Thomas Elyot (* um 1490 in Wiltshire; † 20. März 1546 in Carleton (Cambridgeshire)) war ein humanistischer englischer Schriftsteller. .1531 erschien sein wichtigstes Werk The book… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas Elyot — Sir Thomas Elyot in einer Zeichnung von Hans Holbein d.J. Sir Thomas Elyot (* um 1490 in Wiltshire; † 20. März 1546 in Carleton (Cambridgeshire)) war ein humanistischer englischer Schriftsteller. .1531 erschien sein wichtigstes Werk The book… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas Cooper (bishop) — Thomas Cooper (or Couper) (c. 1517 April 29, 1594), English bishop, lexicographer, and writer, was born in Oxford, where he was educated at Magdalen College.He became master of Magdalen College school, and afterwards practised as a physician in… …   Wikipedia

  • Elyot — /el ee euht, el yeuht/, n. Sir Thomas, c1490 1546, English scholar and diplomat. * * * elyot obs. form of Helot …   Useful english dictionary

  • Elyot — biographical name Sir Thomas 1490? 1546 English scholar & diplomat …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Elyot — /el ee euht, el yeuht/, n. Sir Thomas, c1490 1546, English scholar and diplomat. * * * …   Universalium

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