Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Vinet, Élie (1509–1587)

  • Luigi-Alberto SanchiEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_315-1


Professor at the Collège de Guyenne, Élie Vinet was a scholar with a manifold knowledge: he pioneered archaeological studies, wrote innovative books on antiquities in Bordeaux and its surroundings as well as on sundials and on land surveying; prepared editions or translations of classical and medieval texts, especially Ausonius; and exchanged philological matters with the best scholars in his time, like de Thou, Cujas, and Scaliger. His international experience includes a period in Coimbra, Portugal, with André de Gouveia and other professors, invited by King John III.


Classical Text Historical Research Archaeological Research Archaeological Study Land Surveying 
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Vinet’s birth year, 1509, is obtained by deduction, since we know he died in 1587 at the age of 78. His birthplace, Les Planches, is in Barbezieux – Saint-Hilaire, in the ancient Saintonge area, which explains the form “Santonensis” in his name. As he recalls (Vinet 1568), his ancestors came from the Poitou region and turned the village’s name into “Les Vinets.”

After studying at the Poitiers University, Vinet had the opportunity to stay in Paris and learn Greek and mathematics to a high level. In 1539, he was appointed as a professor at the Collège de Guyenne, in Bordeaux, by its principal, the famous humanist André de Gouveia (Gaullieur 1874).

Vinet took soon a pause from teaching, 1542–1547, in order to prepare classical text editions for his students and colleagues (Desgraves 1977a); he thus published his first edition, Theognis, with a Latin translation (Vinet 1543). Then, André de Gouveia proposed him and other professors at Guyenne like George Buchanan and Diogo de Teive to found a College at Coimbra, Portugal, on the demand of King John III. This appointment lasted until Gouveia died, in June 1548, and Vinet returned to France the next year. During his stay, Vinet visited Evora’s site (Vinet 1565) and met the mathematician Pedro Nunes, from which he learned how the sundial’s theory; later on, he wrote a treaty on this subject (Vinet 1564).

In 1556, the town council chose Vinet to become principal at his Collège de Guyenne, but he had to wait until 1562 to obtain the appointment (Desgraves 1977a); in the meantime, he retired and wrote essays on his area’s antiquities (Vinet 1565, 1567, 1568). He kept working on his philological editions and other historical research (see full bibliography in Desgraves 1977a); the discovery of a new Ausonius manuscript, acquired by Jacques Cujas, stimulated the critical work on the ancient Gallo-Roman poet. After a first edition (Vinet 1551), Vinet prepared a new one (Vinet 1580), which will be published only after Joseph Scaliger set out his one, incomplete but with several “silent borrowings” from Vinet’s scholarship (de La Ville de Mirmont 1917–1919; Desgraves 1977a; Grafton 1983), as it happened for other ancient authors Vinet studied (Grafton 1993). On his death in 1587, the best French scholars honored his memory.

Vinet’s manifold scholarship and industrious work set new standards for historical and archaeological research (Cooper 2005) and for the study of ancient and modern sciences and techniques, like land surveying (Vinet 1577). His editions and translations into Latin or French were often reprinted and obtained international success; his letters (Desgraves 1977b; Banderier 2004; Girot 2004) show the range of his philological discussions with scholars of the day, like Pierre Daniel, Cujas, or Henri de Mesmes. Vinet published the first French translation of Eginhard’s Life of Charlemagne (Vinet 1546) and of Proclus’ Sphaera (Vinet 1544).



Primary Literature

  1. Banderier G (2004) Une lettre inédite d’Élie Vinet. Revue d’Humanisme et Renaissance 56:117–118Google Scholar
  2. Desgraves L (ed) (1977b) La Correspondance d’Élie Vinet. In: Id., Élie Vinet, humaniste de Bordeaux (1509–1587). Vie, Bibliographie, Correspondance, Bibliothèque, pp 99–152. GenèveGoogle Scholar
  3. Girot J-E (2004) Deux lettres inédites d’Élie Vinet. Revue française d’histoire du livre 121–125:99–106Google Scholar
  4. Vinet E (ed) (1543) Theognidis Megarensis Sentientiae elegiacae. ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. Vinet E (1544) La Sphaire de Procle… translatee de grec en françois. PoitiersGoogle Scholar
  6. Vinet E (1546) La Vie du roy et empereur Charle-Maigne composee jadis en langaige latin par Eginhart. PoitiersGoogle Scholar
  7. Vinet E (ed) (1551) Ausonii… Opera diligentius iterum castigata. ParisGoogle Scholar
  8. Vinet E (1564) La maniere de fere les Solaires, que communement on appelle Quadrans. PoitiersGoogle Scholar
  9. Vinet E (1565) L’Antiquité de Bordeaus. IbidGoogle Scholar
  10. Vinet E (1567) Recherche de l’antiquité d’Engoulesme. IbidGoogle Scholar
  11. Vinet E (1568) L’Antiquité de Saintes [et de Barbezieus]. BordeauxGoogle Scholar
  12. Vinet E (1577), L’Arpanterie, livre de geometrie, enseignant à mezurer les champs. IbidGoogle Scholar
  13. Vinet E (ed) (1580) Ausonii… Omnia opera… ad varia vetera novaque exemplaria emendata commentariisque illustrata. IbidGoogle Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Cooper R (2005) Histoire et archéologie de la Gascogne antique au XVIe siècle. In: Bohler D, Magnien C (ed) Écritures de l’histoire (XIVe–XVIe siècle). Genève, pp 143–166Google Scholar
  2. de La Ville de Mirmont H (1917–1919) Le Manuscrit de l’Île Barbe et les travaux de la critique sur le texte d’Ausone, 3 vol. Bordeaux/ParisGoogle Scholar
  3. Desgraves L (1977a), Élie Vinet, humaniste de Bordeaux (1509–1587). Vie, Bibliographie, Correspondance, Bibliothèque. GenÒveGoogle Scholar
  4. Gaullieur E (1874) Histoire du Collège de Guyenne d’après un grand nombre de documents inédits. ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. Grafton A (1983) Joseph Scaliger: a study in the history of classical scholarship. Textual criticism and exegesis, vol. 1. OxfordGoogle Scholar
  6. Grafton A (1993) Joseph Scaliger: a study in the history of classical scholarship. Historical chronology, vol. 2. OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS, Institut d’histoire du droitParisFrance