صور الصفحة

the “Codicil of John de Meun,” a satirical piece, and other poems of the same author. He also translated “Boethius de Consolatione,” the “Letters of Abelard,” and a work on the * Responses of the Sybils.” Moreri. Nouv. IXct. Hist. //arton's Hist. of Engl. Poetry. —A. MEURSIUS, Joris, a very learned philologist, was born in 1579 at Losdun, near the Hague. He was so early a proficient in classical literature, that he composed Latin orations and wrote Greek verses with facility at twelve or thirteen years of age. After finishing his academical studies at Leyden, he was engaged by the celebrated pensionary Barneveldt to assist in the education of his sons, whom he accompanied on their travels. He passed some time in the study of the law at Orleans, where, in 1608, he was made doctor of that faculty. He visited, with his pupils, several of the courts of Europe, made acquaintance with

many learned foreigners, and examined the

most celebrated libraries. On his return to Holland he was appointed to the professorship of history at Leyden in 1610, and afterwards of the Greek language; and in 16: I the states of Holland nominated him their historiographer. He married a lady of good family in the following year. The unhappy fate of Barneveldt in 1619 threw a cloud over ail who had been connected with him, and the violence of the triumphant party marked them for persecution. Meursius, as having been in a confidential situation in his family, became an object of suspicion, though in the religious dis

utes which had brought on this catastrophe F. had carefully abstained from taking any part. His assiduity in performing his professorial duties had given his enemies no pretext for depriving him of his chair; but they found means to render his situation so uneasy, that he only waited for an occasion to quit it with honour. This, at length, offered in 1625, when he received an invitation from Christiern IV. king of Denmark, to occupy the professorship of history and politics in his newly founded university of Sora, together with the post of royal historiographer. He willingly accepted it, and removed to Denmark, where he continued to support his high reputation, and obtained the esteem of the king and court. He suffered much from the stone in the latter years of his life, which terminated at Sora in I 639.

Marius made himself known to the learncd world by many publications, in which he

displayed deep research and profound erudition. The most valuable of these related to the language and antiquities of Greece, of which some of the principal were “De Populis Atticis;” “Atticarum Lectionum Lib. IV. ;” “Archontes Athenienses;” “ Fortuna Attica;" “, Athenie Atticae;’ “De Festis Graccorum ;” all which have been admitted into the collections of Graevius and Gronovius: he also edited several Greek works with annotations, and published a “ Glossarium Graecobarbarum,” quarto. Of his other works were “Historia Danica,” folio, and “ Athenae Batavae,” quarto. All the writings of Meursius were published collectively in twelve volumes folio at Florence, 1741. His son, of his own name, a very promising youth, had begun to follow his father's footsteps as a writer on learned topics, when he was cut off by an untimely death. An obscene work, entitled “Meursii Ele. gantiae Latini Sermonis,” was written, according to some, by John Westrea, a lawyer at the Hague, according to others, by Nicholas Chorigr, an attorney at Grenoble, and was by way of jest attributed to our grave professor. Moreri. Bibliogr. Dict.—A. MEXIA, PEDRo, chronicler to Charles V., is one of the few Spanish writers whose works have found their way into English. His history of the Caesars, which includes the German emperors, is one of the many translations of Edward Grimeston, a man not inferior to Philemon Holland in useful and honourable industry: and his “Silva de varia Leccion,” with the additions of its Italian and French translators Sansovino, Verdier, &c., is that “Treasury of ancient and modern Times,” which is sometimes referred to by Grose, and of which the two parts having been separately published, are not often to be found in company. Besides these works, Mexia wrote certain colloquies (Seville, 1547) to the praise of the ass, in imitation of Lucian and Apuleius, which is printed at the end of this last work; and a history of Charles V. which he left unfinished, and which has never been edited. He was born at Seville, of good family, and died in or about the year 1552. His learning was considerable; but he is a credulous writer, and valued himself greatly upon his astrological skill.—R. S. MEYER, JAMEs, a historian, was born in 1491 at Vleteren in Flanders, near Bailleul, where he took the name of Balliolanus. He studied in the university of Paris, and entered into holy orders. For several years he taught

school at Ypres and Bruges, and in the latter city had a benefice in the church of St. Donatian. He died at Blankenberg, in 1552. He was on terms of intimacy with Erasmus and other learned men, and wrote several works,

of which the principal are “Flandricarum

Rerum Decus,” quarto, 1531, being an account of the origin, antiquity, nobility and genealogy of the counts of Flanders; and “Annales Rerum Flandricarum,” 1561, folio: these begin with the year 445, and come down to 1477; they are written in a pure and easy style, and have been reprinted in the collection of Belgic historians, Franc. 1580. Moreri. Saxii Onomast. Nouv. Dict. Hist.—A. MEZERAI, FRANcis EUDF's DE, a celebrated French historian, born in 1610 at Ry in Lower Normandy, was son of a surgeon in that place. After studying at Caen, he came to Paris, where he cultivated an acquaintance with, des Ivetaux, who had been preceptor to Lewis XIII., and by his advice quitted poetry, in which he had made some essays, for history and politics. He obtained the post of an officer of artillery, in which capacity he served two campaigns. He then quitted the army in disgust, and shut himself up in the college of St. Barbe, where he applied with great ardour to study, having then projected a history of France. Cardinal Richelieu, informed of his designs and of his indigent circumstances, made him a present of five hundred crowns, which animated his progress so much that in 1643 he published the first folio volume of his history of France. The two others appeared in 1646 and 1651. This work was regarded as much superior to any of the kind which had before been offered to the public, and the court recompensed his labours by a pension of four thousand livres, with the title of historiographer. His success engaged him to compose an abridgment of it under the title of “Abregé chronologique de l’Histoire de France,” three volumes quoto, 1668, reprinted in Holland in six volumes 12mo., 1673. In this work he was assisted by the advice of his learned friends Dupuy, Launoi, and Dirois, and it is reckoned much superior to his great history. He gave in it an account of the origin of all the public imposts, with some very free reflections, which so much offended the minister Colbert, that he remonstrated with the author, who promised to correct it in a second edition. This he performed, but at the same time informed the readers that he was compelled to do so; and his corrections, moreover, were WOL. WII,


only palliations ; he was therefore punished by withdrawing half his pension. On his complaint, the other half was also suppressed; upon which he declared that he should not continue his history. He put by in a separate drawer the last payment of his appointment as

historiographer, with this note, “this is the riograp

last money I have received of the king ; he has ceased to pay me, and I to speak of him, either well or ill.” On the death of Conrart in 1675, the French academy gave him the vacant place of perpetual secretary, in which quality he prepared a sketch of the projected dictionary of the academy. He died in 1683. Mezerai was a man of many singularities of temper and manners. He was caustic and censorious, and paid little regard to the common forms of social life. In his dress he was so negligent, or rather squalid, that he was once taken up by the police for a beggar ; an adventure that gave him much amusement. He was fond of low company, and formed an unaccountable attachment to one le Faucheur, the master of a public-house on the road to St. Denis, with whom he would spend whole days, and whom he left the general heir of his property, with the exception of his patrimonial estate, which was small. He never wrote but by candlelight, even in the day-time in the midst of summer, and had always a bottle on the table. He affected a sceptical philosophy, and spoke very freely on religious topics; but in his last illness his early impressions recurred, and he desired his friends to forget his impieties, and to recollect “that Mezerai dying was more to be believed than Mezerai in health.” At the ballots of the academy for new members, he always gave a black ball, “to leave to posterity (as he said) a monument of the freedom of the academic elections.” His histories are strongly marked with the same spirit. Voltaire (siecle de Louis XIV) testifies to his freedom and veracity by saying that “he lost his pensions for having written what he thought to be the truth”—he adds, that “he is more bold than accurate, and is unequal in his style.” The latter is characterised as being harsh, ignoble, and incorrect, but clear, energetic, and descriptive. He sometimes emulates Tacitus in vigour and expressive conciseness. There are many mistakes in his histories, which have been partly corrected in successive editions. Of the “Histoire de France,” the second edition in three volumes folio, 1685, is more correct and ample than the first; but several of the freest passages have L

been suppressed. Of the “Abrégé,” the latest edition is of 1755, in fourteen volumes 12mo. In this, the suppressed passages of that of 1668 are restored. Mezerai also wrote “Traité de l'Origine des François,” a work much valued for its erudition: “L’Histoire des Turcs, depuis 1612 jusqu’en 1649," folio: a translation of John of Salisbury “De Nugis Curialium ;” and of Grotius “De Veritate Relig, Christ.” A number of satirical pieces against the government, published under the name of Sandricourt, are also attributed to him. Moreri. Nowv. Dict. Hist.—A. MEZIRIAC, CLAUDE-GAsPARD BAcHET DE, a man of letters of the seventeenth century, was born in 1581 of a noble family at Bourgen-Bresse. He entered among the Jesuits, and at the age of twenty was professor of rhetoric at their house in Milan. Want of health induced him to quit the society, and he passed much of his time at Paris and Rome in literary pursuits. His reputation caused him to be mentioned for preceptor of Lewis XIII.; but his apprehension of such a burthensome office induced him to quit Paris and retire to his native place. The French academy nominated him a member during his absence, and he sent his acknowledgment in a discourse read to the assemply by Vaugelas. He married and had several children, and died at Bourg-en-Bresse in 1638. Meziriac was a man of great and various erudition. He wrote verses in French, Latin, and Italian, was a profound Greek scholar, an excellent grammarian and critic, a philosopher, theologian, and mathematician. He published “Problèmes plaisans et delectables qui se font parles Nombres,” 1613, of which an augmented edition was printed in 1624 : “ Diophanti Alexandrini Arithmeticorum Lib. VI., & de Numeris multangulis Lib. I.” 1621 folio, translated from the Greek with commentaries; of this work a new edition was given by Fermat in 1670: “La Vie d'Esope,” 1632; in this he refutes the fables of Planudes concerning Esop, and endeavours to prove that he was in no respect deformed. “Eight of Ovid's Heroic Epistles translated into French Verse, with Commentaries;” the latter are more valued than the version: “A Treatise on Tribulation, translated from the Italian of Cacciaguerra:” “Epistolæ et Poemata varia.” Bayle. Nouv. Dict. Hist.—A. MICAH, the fourth in number of the minor Hebrew prophets, was a native of Maresha, a town belonging to the tribe of Judah, and flourished between 757 and 698 B. C. He

prophecied under the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah; but his mission extended to Israel, as well as to Judah. Like Amos and Hosea, he reproves and threatens a corrupt people with great spirit and energy; and, like the latter prophet, he inveighs against the oppression, profligacy, and hypocrisy, of the princes and false prophets, with the highest indignation. The reader will observe, however, that these similar topics are treated of by each prophet, with remarkable variety and copiousness of expression. His predictions foretell the ruin of both kingdoms, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the people. But to console them in the prospect of those calamities, he also predicts their restoration, upon their repentance; and the coming of the Messiah, together with the extent and glory of his spiritual kingdom. It is remarkable, that there is a very striking conformity in the language of this prophet relating to the establishment and progress of the Messiah's kingdom, as we have it in the first four verses of the fourth chapter, and that of Isaiah, predicting the same events, in chapter II. verses 2, 3, and 4, of his prophecy. Bishop Lowth, in his notes on this passage of Isaiah, supposes that Micah copied it from that prophet; observing that Micah has added a sentence, containing a description of well-established peace, for imagery and expression worthy even of the elegance of Isaiah. Bishop Newcome is of opinion, that the divine spirit may have inspired both prophets with this prediction; or, that both may have copied some common original, the words of a prophet well known at that time. “The style of Micah,” says Dr. Lowth, “is for the most part close, forcible, pointed, and concise; sometimes approaching the obscurity of Hosea : in many parts animated and sublime, and in general truly poetical.” Book of Micah. Newcome's Attempt towards an improved Version. Lowth de sacri Poesi Heb. Prel. xxi. Gregory's Trans. Blair’s Chron. Tab.-M. MICHAEL I., surnamed Rhangabe, emperor of the East, was son of Theophylact governor of the isles, and married Procopia, daughter of the emperor Nicephorus I., by whom he was raised to the office of curopalates, or great master of the palace. He was present at the battle against the Bulgarians in which Nicephorus was slain, A. D. 81 1. Stauracius, the son of that emperor, had received a severe wound in the battle, and was, besides, universally hated. The empire was therefore offered to Michael, who at first hesitated to accept it; but finding that Stauracius designed to put out his eyes, he obliged him to retire to a convent, where he soon after died. Michael was possessed of private virtues, but wanted vigour to controul the masculine spirit of his wife, who excited the indignation of the soldiers by appearing at the head of the army, and he was deficient in the military talents requisite at such a crisis. He marched against the Bulgarians, ventured an engagement, in which he was defeated, and returned with shame and disgrace to Constantinople, leaving a discontented army under the command of disaffected generals. By their intrigues the soldiery proceeded to the deposition of Michael, and offered the imperial crown to Leo the Armenian. The senate, clergy, and people of the capital still adhered to Michael, but he declared that not a drop of christian blood should be shed on his account; and resigning the ensigns of sovereignty, retired to a monastery with his family, after having filled the throne less than two years. He was permitted to live and retain his eye-sight, and he passed in peace and religious retreat the thirty-two years during which he survived his abdication. Univers., Hirt. Gibbon.—A. MICHAEL II., emperor, surnamed the Stammerer, was a native of Amorium in Phrygia. Educated among Jews and heretical Christians, he adopted opinions which have subjected him to the censure of the orthodox, and probably influenced their account of his life and actions. He was an officer of rank under Nicephorus, and was a principal instrument in raising to the throne Leo the Armenian. During the reign of this emperor he was employed in high offices, and made patrician; but having incurred the suspicion of conspiring against his sovereign, he was arrested, convicted of treason, and condemned to the cruel death of being burnt in the furnace of the private baths. The execution of this sentence, which had been fixed for Christmas-day, was suspended through the devout scruples of the empress; and in the mean time Michael informed his accomplices of his danger, and threatened them with detection if they should not effect his delivery. The murder of Leo was the consequence (see his article), and Michael, with irons still on his legs, was seated on the imperial throne, in December 820. One of his first acts was to recal a number of bishops and other ecclesiastics who had been banished for not complying with the late emperor's edict against the worship of images. Michael was,

however, no friend to this worship, and only permitted it without the precincts of the capital. He is therefore reckoned among the enemies of the catholic church, and the calamities of his reign are by the monk Cedrenus ascribed to his heresy. In its second year, the revolt of one Thomas in the Asiatic provinces was the commencement of a civil war which was near subverting the throne of Michael. At the head of a great army of barbarians, Thomas over-ran Lesser Asia and Syria, defeated the troops sent against him, and laid siege to Constantinople. After some unsuccessful attempts to storm the capital, he was obliged to march against the king of the Bulgarians, who was bringing an army to its relief. He was defeated in the encounter, and afterwards fell into the emperor's hands, who put him to a cruel death. During this state of confusion, the Saracens landed in Crete and

, formed a settlement in that island, from which

Michael in vain attempted to expel them. Becoming a widower in the sixth year of his reign, he took from a convent Euphrosyne the daughter of Constantine VI. and married her; and though he might plead the request of the senate for this act, it is looked upon by the ecclesiastical historians as an additional instance of his disregard to religion. He gave an example to Euphemius, an officer in the army, to gratify a licentious passion by forcibly taking a nun from her convent in Sicily, an outrage which caused the loss of that island also. For Euphemius, in order to avoid punishment, fled to the Saracens in Africa, and returning with a body of troops of that nation, endeavoured to gain possession of Syracuse. He lost his life in the attempt; but the Saracens, thus introduced into Sicily, by degrees made themselves master of it, as well as of the neighbouring provinces of Italy. Michael closed his unfortunate reign of eight years and nine months ifi 829, and was succeeded by his son Theophilus. Univers. Hist. Gibbon.—A. MICHAEL III. emperor, grandson of..the p. and son of Theophilus, was born in 36, and succeeded his father in 842. He was placed under the guardianship of his mother Theodora, a woman of virtue and piety, who has obtained the applause of the catholic church by her zeal in combating heresy and restoring the worship of images. Michael, as he grew up, displayed that love of dissolute pleasure and at. to trifling amusements, which has placed him in the list of the most unworthy of the Roman emperors. He was at first under the influence of Bardas, his mother's brother, who persuaded him in his twentieth year to assume the reins of government Theodora quitted the court, and with her daughters was obliged to enter a monastery, where she soon died of grief. Nothing was now left to restrain the vicious inclinations of the emperor, who lavished in a course of profligacy all the treasures which his mother had accumulated. In imitation of Nero, he pursued with great ardour the sports of the circus, assuming the colours of one of the factions, and bestowing his favour and confidence on the most skilful charioteers. He was guilty of great excess in wine, and frequently in the hours of intoxication issued the most sanguinary commands, which his servants ventured to disobey. It was one of his amusements to profane with mock solemnities the most sacred ordinances of religion. He arrayed a buffoon in the robes of the patriarch, surrounded him with his twelve counterfeit metropolitans, of whom himself was one, went in procession through the streets, and even administered a pretended sacrament in a mixture of mustard and vinegar. While the buffoon was in his patriarchal vestments, he sent for his mother in the name of the true patriarch, the holy Ignatius; and when the pious lady threw herself on her knees before the mimic, he received her with an indecent laugh, in which the whole assembly joined. Amidst these follies he undertook an expedition to the Euphrates against the Saracens, who put his army to flight, the emperor himself setting the example. Two years afterwards he incurred the disgrace of a second rout by the same enemy, had entered his dominions; but his broth tronas reurievo the honour of the empire"oy a splendid victory, in which the Saracen caliph was slain and his son made prisoner. Bardas still governed the weak emperor with absolute sway, and was raised b him to the dignity of Caesar. Through his influence the patriarch Ignatius was deposed and imprisoned, and the learned Photius placed in his chair. In 866, Michael was induced by Bardas to undertake an expedition against the Saracens of Crete, who had made a descent in Thrace and were ravaging the country. It proved fatal, however, to the adviser, who having excited the jealousy of his nephew the emperor, was stabbed by his orders in the tent of audience. The discontent of the soldiers at this arbitrary deed caused Michael to return privately to Constantinople, where he soon after raised Basil the Macedonian, who had been the cause and instrument of the execution of Bardas, to a parnership with him in the throne,

and devolved upon him all the business of the state. Basil (see his article), who had just ideas of the imperial character and duties, endeavoured by remonstrances to reclaim Michael from his abandoned course of conduct, and proved so disagreeable a censor, that his ruin was determined upon. Apprized cf his danger, Basil resolved to strike the first blow. With somc accomplices, he entered by night the chamber of the emperor, who was intoxicated and asleep, and having first cut off his hands as he held them up, dispatched him with many wounds, A. D. 867, in the thirty-first year of his age. Univers. Hist. Gibbon.—A. MICHAEL IV. emperor, a native of Paphlagonia, of obscure birth, was by trade à money-changer, when he was introduced at the court of the emperor Romanus III. by his brother John, an eunuch, in great favour with that prince. His personal beauty caught the eye of the licentious empress Zoe, who made him her chamberlain and paramour. Proceeding to a higher degree of guilt, she poisoned her husband, and immediately celebrated her nuptials with Michael, and raised him to a partnership in the throne. This event took place, A. D. Io94. The empress's amorous expectations were disappointed, for Michael soon fell into a bad state of health, whilst his mind was tortured with remorse on account of the crimes in which he had participated. All the authority was in the hands of his brother John, who reduced Zoe to a state of insignificance, surrounded with spies, and made a kind of prisoner in her own palace. As Michael's disorder of body and mind increased, he chiefly spent his time in pilgrimages, processions, and o: exercises, and endeavoured to atone for his guilt by liberalities to the poor, and the endowment of churches and hospitals. A revolt of the Bulgarians led him into the field at the head of his army, but on the sudden approach of the enemy, they all took to an ignominious flight. The death of the leader of the Bulgarians gave him the opportunity of a second more successful expedition against them, from which he returned in triumph to Constantinople. In the prospect of his speedy dissolution, he had persuaded Zoe to adopt his sister's son, Michael, whom he created Caesar, and appointed his successor. He then retired to a monastery of his own foundation, where he died in 1041. Univers. Hist. Gibbon.—A. MICHAEL. V. emperor, surnamed Calaphates from his father's occupation of a caulker of ships, was proclaimed emperor in 1041, after

« السابقةمتابعة »