- Vossius, Gerardus Joannes
- (1577-1649)Dutch humanist, a major representative of the late flowering of Renaissance culture in the independent Netherlands. In his lifetime he was recognized as a great scholar, and his publications summed up much of what Renais-sance humanistic scholarship had achieved. His widespread corre-spondence extended his influence throughout Europe. Born at Hei-delberg, where his father, a prominent Dutch Calvinist, had taken refuge during the war for independence, Vossius received his educa-tion at the Latin school in Dordrecht and in 1595 entered the Uni-versity of Leiden, where he received the M.A. degree. He became rector of the Latin school at Dordrecht (1600-1615) and then regent of a college for ministers at Leiden. Although he preserved neutrality in the conflict between the Arminians and the strict Calvinists, he was dismissed after the latter faction gained political control of the re-public. In 1622 he became professor of eloquence and history at Lei-den and in 1632 became the first rector and professor of history and politics in the Athenaeum Illustre at Amsterdam.Several of Vossius' publications dealt with church history, includ-ing Historia Pelagianismi / History of Pelagianism (1618) and Dis-sertationes tres de tribus symbolis / Three Disquisitions on the Three Creeds (1642). In secular history he wrote Ars historica / The Art of History (1625), De historicis Graecis / The Greek Historians (1623), and De historicis Latinis / The Latin Historians (1627). His works as a rhetorician and grammarian included Institutiones oratoriae / In-troduction to Oratory (1606), Poeticarum institutionum libri tres / Three Books of Lessons on Poetics (1647), Aristarchus, sive de arte grammatica libri septem (1635, a work on Latin grammar), De vitiis sermonis / On Errors in Language (1645), and Etymologicon linguae Latinae / Etymological Dictionary of the Latin Language (1662). He also published a work on classical mythology, Theologia gentilis (1641), a work on the structure of the arts and sciences, De artium et scientiarum natura ac constitutione (posthumous, 1695), and a num-ber of highly successful textbooks.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.