- Beatus Rhenanus
- (Beat Bild von Rheinau, 1485-1547)German humanist, closely linked to the greatest of the northern humanists, Erasmus, and to the press of Johann Froben at Basel. Although Erasmus was the star of the Froben press, known internationally for his textual editions, Beatus handled much of the laborious detail involved in making the editions excellent. He was born in the Alsatian city of Sélestat and received an excellent humanistic education in the city's distinguished school. He studied at Paris (1503-1507), where his talent was recognized by leading humanists such as Lefèvre d'Etaples. In 1511 he moved to Basel and began working as an editor and proofreader for Froben. Although he became closely identified with the scholarship of Erasmus, Beatus was also a productive editor in his own right, preparing important editions of the Roman historian Velleius Paterculus (1520), the patristic theologian Tertullian (1521), and an influential collection of historical texts on the early church, Auctores historiae ecclesiasticae (1523), as well as an influential commentary (1526) on the Natural History of Pliny the Elder.Beatus remained in touch with his home town of Sélestat, which was easily accessible from Basel, and in 1527 he moved back there, though he still did work for the Froben press and made occasional visits to Basel. In his later years, he produced a scholarly book on early German history, Rerum Germanicarum libri tres / Three Books of German Affairs (1531) and also published editions of two major Roman historians, Tacitus and Livy. Since Beatus was a strong supporter of Erasmus' hopes for a peaceful reform of the church, his initial reaction to Martin Luther was favorable. Concern about the division of the church, the uprising of the peasants in 1525, and the growing strength of the Evangelical reformers in Basel itself gradually alienated him from the Protestant movement, even though his own private opinion inclined toward Reformation doctrines.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.