Joseph Justus Scaliger Biography

Joseph Justus Scaliger

Joseph Justus Scaliger was born in 1540 and died in 1609. Today, he is known by some as the “father of modern chronology”. His Opus de emendatione tempore of 1583 is regarded by Britannica as being the first work that established a scientific chronology. The same article claims he established numismatics as a “new” and “reliable” tool for historical research.

A list of his works can be found here.

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1540 – He is born in Agen, France.

1552? – Two of his brothers and him are sent to attend school at the College of Guienne, in Bordeaux.

1555 – The three brothers return home due to an outbreak of the plague.

1558 – His father, a major figure in his life, dies.

1559 – He goes to Paris to study Greek and Latin, then teaches himself Hebrew, Arabic, Syrian, Persian, and the principal modern languages.

1561 – He begins writing his correspondence, this ends upon his death.

1562 – He converts to Protestantism, and travels to French and German universities and Italy to study their antiquities.

1563 – He becomes a companion of Louis de la Rochepozay (Louis de Chasteigner, the young lord of La Roche-Posay?), a French nobleman.

1570 – He accepts Jacques Cujas invitation to study jurisprudence under the greatest living jurist, he does this for 3 years.

1572/3? – He flees to Geneva because of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.

1574 – He returns to France after teaching at an academy in Geneva.

1575 – His edition of the ‘Catalecta’ and and his edition of ‘Festus’ are both published.

1577 – His editions of ‘Catullus’, ‘Tibullus’, and ‘Propertius’ are published.

1579 – His edition of ‘Manilius’ is published.

1583 – His ‘Opus de emendatione tempore’ (Study on the Improvement of Time) is published.

1590 – He turns down an offer to join the University of Leiden.

1593 – He joins the University of Leiden where he becomes known as a distinguished scholar.

1594 – His ‘Epistola de vetustate et spelndore gentis Scaligerae et JC Scaligeri vita’ is published.

1601 – Gaspar Scioppius publishes his ‘Scaliger Hypobolimaeus’ (The Supposititious Scaliger), allegedly pointing out five hundred lies in Scaliger’s ‘Epistola de vetustate’. This “was crushing” to Scaliger.

1604 – His “treaty 1” is published.

1606/1609 – His ‘Eusebi Pamphili Chronicon’ (The Thesaurus of Time, Including the Chronicle of Eusebius Pamphilus) is published. This allegedly contains every chronological relic extent in Greek or Latin.

1609 – He dies in Leiden, Holland.

1610 – His works are collected and published posthumously.

1616 – His “treaty 2” is published.

1624 – A collection of his correspondence appears.

1627 – A second collection of his correspondence appears.

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