- Gaguin, Robert
- (ca. 1423-1501)French monk, diplomat, and humanist, generally considered the leading figure among the first generation of Paris humanists. Born in the Pas-de-Calais and educated at a school of the Trinitarian order, he entered a monastery of that order and in 1457 went to Paris to study at the university. In 1480 he received a doctorate in canon law. From 1463, frequent travel on business for his order, which was active in ransoming captives of the Turks and other prisoners of war, took him to many parts of Europe. In 1473 Gaguin was chosen general of his order. This new prominence and his French patriotism led to frequent service as an ambassador for French kings. He was a close friend of Guillaume Fichet and probably was involved in the creation of the first French printing press at the University of Paris as well as in bringing the printer Josse Bade to Paris.Gaguin was devoted to the study of classical Latin literature and produced French translations of Caesar (1485) and Livy (1493). His literary fame, however, rested mainly on his Compendium de origine et gestis Francorum / Compendium on the Origins and Deeds of the Franks (1497). The work was strongly pro-French and aroused criticism in England by Thomas More, John Colet, and John Skelton. Gaguin was an important influence on the early career of the Dutch humanist Erasmus, who at that period was still just an obscure young monk with a taste for Latin literature. Gaguin encouraged Erasmus' classical studies and provided him his first chance to appear in print.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.