Glareanus, Henricus


Glareanus, Henricus
(Heinrich Loriti, 1488-1563)
   Swiss humanist and writer on musical theory. Born near Glarus and educated in both the scholastic and humanist traditions at the University of Cologne, he inclined increasingly to the humanist side, sympathizing with Johann Reuchlin during his controversy with the Cologne theologians, being crowned poet laureate by Emperor Maximilian I in 1512, and becoming a close friend of the future Protestant Reformer Huldrych Zwingli. In 1514 he settled in Basel, where Erasmus hailed him as a leading Swiss humanist. He worked as a schoolmaster in Basel, Paris, and finally Freiburg-im-Breisgau, where he moved in 1529 and remained for the rest of his life, holding a professorship of poetry and training a long line of Swiss humanists. A close friend and admirer of Erasmus, he agreed with the Dutch humanist in rejecting the Protestant Reformation.
   Glareanus was admired for his Latin poems, his editions and commentaries on classical texts (especially works on music, history, and mathematics), and his geographical books, of which the best known is his publication of a map of the world in 1510 derived from the cosmographer Martin Waldseemüller that shows rather accurately the contours and placenames of the Atlantic coast of America. He is most remembered, however, for his publications on musical theory, Isagoge in musicen (1516) and Dodecachordon (1547), in which he defined 12 rather than the usual eight modes of music and strove to bring contemporary musical theory and practice into conformity with classical and early Christian theory. Although he travelled widely, Glareanus was a patriotic Swiss citizen and sought to enhance the cultural life of his homeland. He abandoned his youthful plan to become a priest, but as a firmly Catholic layman, after his settlement in Freiburg he strove to encourage Catholic reform and to strenghen the Catholic party in Switzerland.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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