International Journal of the Classical Tradition

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 241–261 | Cite as

Guillaume Budé and the Uses of Greek

  • Gerald Sandy

French Literary Culture Before Guillaume Budé

Prominent French intellectuals younger than Guillaume Budé (1467–1540) often refer to the earlier period as a quagmire of scholastic logic-chopping. Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) refers to Plutarch at least 500 times in his Essays. He writes that he did not know Greek but that he had come to know Plutarch through Jacques Amyot’s translations. He awards Amyot the palm for, above all, choosing a Greek author of such utility to France, adding: ‘Nous autres ignorans estions perdus, si ce livre ne nous eust relevez du bourbier’ (‘We other ignorant people would have been lost if that book had not lifted us from the quagmire’, Essais II.4).

Montaigne’s use of the word ‘quagmire’ ( bourbier) refers to France before François I erand Guillaume Budé, before the study of ancient Greek became established there. The remnants of this earlier period, which was marked by scholastic teaching, persisted at the Sorbonne. In a letter of 1516 to Erasmus, Budé...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British Columbia, Classical, Near Eastern and Religious StudiesVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations