Pope Nicholas I
Pope Nicholas I called Saint Nicholas the Great, was Pope from 24 April 858 to his death in 867. He is remembered as a consolidator of papal authority and power, exerting decisive influence upon the historical development of the papacy and its position among the Christian nations of Western Europe. Nicholas I asserted that the pope should have suzerain authority over all Christians royalty, in matters of faith and morals, he is venerated with a feast day on 13 November. He refused to grant an annulment to King Lothair II of Lotharingia from Teutberga so that Lothair could marry his mistress Waldrada; when a Council pronounced in favor of annulment, Nicholas I declared the Council to be deposed, its messengers excommunicated, its decisions void. Despite pressure from the Carolingians, who laid siege to Rome, his decision held. During his reign, relations with the Byzantine Empire soured over his support for Ignatius, Patriarch of Constantinople, removed from his post in favor of Photius. Born to a distinguished family in Rome, son of the Defensor Theodore, Nicholas received excellent training.
Distinguished for his piety, competence and eloquence, he entered the service of the Church at an early age. He was made a subdeacon by Pope Sergius II and a deacon by Leo IV. After the death of Benedict III, Holy Roman Emperor Louis II came to Rome to exert his influence upon the election. On 24 April Nicholas was elected pope and enthroned in St. Peter's Basilica in the presence of the emperor. Three days after, Nicholas held a farewell banquet for the emperor and afterward, accompanied by the Roman nobility, visited him in his camp before the city, on which occasion the emperor came to meet the pope and led his horse for some distance. To a spiritually exhausted and politically uncertain Western Europe beset by Muslim and Norse incursions, Pope Nicholas appeared as a conscientious representative of Roman primacy in the Church, he was filled with a high conception of his mission for the vindication of Christian morality and the defence of God's law. His co-operation with Emperor Louis II and Byzantine forces temporarily stemmed the Muslim advance in southern Italy.
He strengthened the Ostian fortifications against any future Muslim raids. Archbishop John of Ravenna oppressed the inhabitants of the papal territory, treated his suffragan bishops with violence, made unjust demands upon them for money, illegally imprisoned priests, he forged documents to support his claims against the Roman See and maltreated the papal legates. As the warnings of the pope were without result, the archbishop ignored a thrice-repeated summons to appear before the papal tribunal, he was excommunicated. Having first visited the Emperor Louis at Pavia, the archbishop repaired with two imperial delegates to Rome, where Nicholas cited him before the Roman synod assembled in the autumn of 860. Upon this John fled from Rome. Going in person to Ravenna, the pope investigated and equitably regulated everything. Again appealing to the emperor, the archbishop was recommended by him to submit to the pope, which he did at the Roman Synod of November 861. On, however, he entered into a pact with the excommunicated Archbishops of Trier and Cologne, was himself again excommunicated, once more forced to make his submission to the pope.
Another conflict arose between Nicholas and Archbishop Hincmar of Reims: this concerned the prerogatives of the papacy. Bishop Rothad of Soissons had appealed to the pope against the decision of the Synod of Soissons of 861, which had deposed him. Hincmar opposed the appeal to the pope, but had to acknowledge the right of the papacy to take cognizance of important legal causes and pass independent judgment upon them. A further dispute broke out between Hincmar and the pope as to the elevation of the cleric Wulfad to the archiepiscopal See of Bourges, but here again, Hincmar submitted to the decrees of the Apostolic See, the Frankish synods passed corresponding ordinances. Nicholas showed the same zeal in other efforts to maintain ecclesiastical discipline as to the marriage laws. Ingiltrud, wife of Count Boso, had left her husband for a paramour; as she paid no attention to the summons to appear before the Synod of Milan in 860, she was put under the ban. The pope was involved in a desperate struggle with the bishops of Lotharingia over the inviolability of marriage.
King Lothair II, not having any children by his lawful wife Teutberga, had abandoned her to marry his mistress Waldrada. At the Synod of Aachen on 28 April 862, the bishops of Lotharingia approved this union, contrary to ecclesiastical law. At the Synod of Metz, June 863, the papal legates, bribed by the king, assented to the Aachen decision, condemned the absent Teutberga, who took refuge in the court of Lothair's uncle, Charles the Bald, appealed to the Pope. Upon this the pope brought the matter before his own tribunal; the two archbishops, Günther of Cologne and Thietgaud of Trier, both relatives of Waldrada, had come to Rome as delegates, were summoned before the Lateran Synod of October 863, when the pope condemned and deposed them as well as John of Ravenna and Hagano of Bergamo. The Emperor Louis II took up the cause of the deposed bishops, while King Lothair advanced upon Rome with an army and laid siege to the city, so that the pope was confined for two days in St. Peter's without food.
Yet Nicholas did not waver in his determination.
Louis Marie Olivier Duchesne was a French priest, teacher and a critical historian of Christianity and Roman Catholic liturgy and institutions. Descended from a family of Breton sailors, he was born on 13 September 1843 in Saint-Servan, Place Roulais, now part of Saint-Malo on the Breton coast, was orphaned in 1849, after the death of his father Jacques Duchesne. Louis' brother, Jean-Baptiste Duchesne, settled in Oregon City, Oregon in 1849. Louis Duchesne was ordained to the priesthood in 1867, he taught for many years in Saint-Brieuc went to study in Paris. From 1873 to 1876, he was a student at the École française in Rome, he was an amateur archaeologist and organized expeditions from Rome to Mount Athos, to Syria, Asia Minor, from which he gained an interest in the early history of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1877, he obtained the chair of ecclesiastical history of the Catholic Institute, but left the theological faculty in 1883, he taught at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, where he influenced Alfred Firmin Loisy, a founder of the movement of Modernism, formally condemned under Pope Pius X.
In 1895, he was appointed director of the École française. In 1887, he published the results of his thesis, followed by the first complete critical edition of the Liber Pontificalis. At a difficult time for critical historians applying modern methods to Church history, drawing together archaeology and topography to supplement literature and setting ecclesiastical events with contexts of social history, Abbé Duchesne was in constant correspondence with like-minded historians among the Bollandists, with their long history of critical editions of hagiographies, he wrote Les Sources du martyrologe hyéronimien, Origines du culte chrétien, Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule, Les Premiers temps de l'État pontifical. These works were universally praised, he was appointed a commander of the Legion of Honor. However, his Histoire ancienne de l'Église, 1906‑11 was considered too modernist by the Church during the "Modernist crisis" and was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1912. In 1888, he became a member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres, in 1910, he was elected to the Académie française.
Abbe Duchesne was made an apostolic prothonotary in 1900. He died in 1922, in Rome, is buried in the cemetery of Saint-Servan. Mémoire sur une mission au mont Athos Les Nouveaux textes de Saint Clément de Rome, 1877 De codicibus MSS Graecis Pii II in bibliotheca Alexandrino-Vaticana, Paris 1880 Origines du culte chrétien: etude sur la liturgie latine avant Charlemagne Christian worship: its origin and evolution: a study of the Latin liturgy up to the time of Charlemagne. M. L. McClure. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 1903. P. 557.. Next printing 1919 and 1931 in New York: Macmillan Company; the churches separated from Rome. Arnold Harris Mathew. K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & co. ltd. 1907. P. 224. Duchesne, Louis. Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule: I. Provinces du Sud-Est. Paris: Fontemoing. Second edition Early history of the Christian church from its foundation to the end of the third century. 1–2. London: J. Murray. 1909. P. 428. Vol. III Duchesne, Louis. Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule: II.
L'Aquitaine et les Lyonnaises. Paris: Fontemoing. Second edition Duchesne, Louis. Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule: III. Paris: Fontemoing. Second edition Scripta minora: études de topographie romaine et de géographie ecclésiastique. Rome: École française de Rome. 1973. - commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Louis Duchesne. Hill, Harvey; the Politics of Modernism: Alfred Loisy and the Scientific Study of Religion. Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press. Pp. 23–31, 55–56. ISBN 978-0-8132-1094-0. Harvey Hill. J. T. Talar. By Those Who Knew Them: French Modernists Left and Center. Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press. Pp. 42–66, 74–76, 82–88. ISBN 978-0-8132-1537-2. Joassart, B. editor Monseigneur Duchesne et les Bollandistes: Correspondance 2002. Waché, Brigitte. Monseigneur Duchesne et son temps Rome: École française de Rome. Waché, Brigitte. Monseigneur Louis Duchesne Rome: École française de Rome. Table of "Personalities and interpreters of the modernist movement" in the Roman Catholic Church
Eusebius of Caesarea known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an learned Christian of his time, he wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. During the Council of Antiochia he was excommunicated for subscribing to the heresy of Arius, thus withdrawn during the First Council of Nicaea where he accepted that the Homoousion referred to the Logos. Never recognized as a saint, he became counselor of Constantine the Great, with the bishop of Nicomedia he continued to polemicize against Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, Church Fathers, since he was condemned in the First Council of Tyre in 335. Little is known about the life of Eusebius.
His successor at the See of Caesarea, wrote a Life of Eusebius, a work that has since been lost. Eusebius' own surviving works only represent a small portion of his total output. Beyond notices in his extant writings, the major sources are the 5th-century ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Theodoret, the 4th-century Christian author Jerome. There are assorted notices of his activities in the writings of his contemporaries Athanasius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, Alexander of Alexandria. Eusebius' pupil, Eusebius of Emesa, provides some incidental information. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius writes of Dionysius of Alexandria as his contemporary. If this is true, Eusebius' birth must have been before Dionysius' death in autumn 264, he was born in the town in which he lived for most of his adult life, Caesarea Maritima. He was baptized and instructed in the city, lived in Syria Palaestina in 296, when Diocletian's army passed through the region. Eusebius was made presbyter by Agapius of Caesarea.
Some, like theologian and ecclesiastical historian John Henry Newman, understand Eusebius' statement that he had heard Dorotheus of Tyre "expound the Scriptures wisely in the Church" to indicate that Eusebius was Dorotheus' pupil while the priest was resident in Antioch. By the 3rd century, Caesarea had a population of about 100,000, it had been a pagan city since Pompey had given control of the city to the gentiles during his command of the eastern provinces in the 60s BC. The gentiles retained control of the city for the three centuries to follow, despite Jewish petitions for joint governorship. Gentile government was strengthened by the city's refoundation under Herod the Great, when it had taken on the name of Augustus Caesar. In addition to the gentile settlers, Caesarea had large Samaritan minorities. Eusebius was born into the Christian contingent of the city. Caesarea's Christian community had a history reaching back to apostolic times, but it is a common claim that no bishops are attested for the town before about 190 though the Apostolic Constitutions 7.46 states that Zacchaeus was the first bishop.
Through the activities of the theologian Origen and the school of his follower Pamphilus, Caesarea became a center of Christian learning. Origen was responsible for the collection of usage information, or which churches were using which gospels, regarding the texts which became the New Testament; the information used to create the late-fourth-century Easter Letter, which declared accepted Christian writings, was based on the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, wherein he uses the information passed on to him by Origen to create both his list at HE 3:25 and Origen's list at HE 6:25. Eusebius got his information about what texts were accepted by the third-century churches throughout the known world, a great deal of which Origen knew of firsthand from his extensive travels, from the library and writings of Origen. On his deathbed, Origen had made a bequest of his private library to the Christian community in the city. Together with the books of his patron Ambrosius, Origen's library formed the core of the collection that Pamphilus established.
Pamphilus managed a school, similar to that of Origen. Pamphilus was compared to Demetrius of Phalerum and Pisistratus, for he had gathered Bibles "from all parts of the world". Like his model Origen, Pamphilus maintained close contact with his students. Eusebius, in his history of the persecutions, alludes to the fact that many of the Caesarean martyrs lived together under Pamphilus. Soon after Pamphilus settled in Caesarea, he began teaching Eusebius, somewhere between twenty and twenty-five; because of his close relationship with his schoolmaster, Eusebius was sometimes called Eusebius Pamphili: "Eusebius, son of Pamphilus". The name may indicate that Eusebius was made Pamphilus' heir. Pamphilus gave Eusebius a strong admiration for the thought of Origen. Neither Pamphilus nor Eusebius knew Origen personally.
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II, born Odo of Châtillon or Otho de Lagery, was Pope from 12 March 1088 to his death in 1099. Urban II was a native of France, he was a descendant of a noble family in Châtillon-sur-Marne. Reims was the nearby cathedral school that Urban, at that time Eudes, began his studies at 1050. Before his papacy he was the abbot of Bishop of Ostia under the name Eudes; as the Pope he would have to deal with many issues including the antipope Clement III, infighting of various christian nations, the Muslim incursions into Europe. He is best known for initiating the First Crusade and setting up the modern-day Roman Curia in the manner of a royal ecclesiastical court to help run the Church, he promised forgiveness and pardon for all of the past sins of those who would fight to reclaim the holy land, free the eastern churches. This pardon would apply to those that would fight the Moors in Spain. Urban, baptized Eudes, was born to a family of Châtillon-sur-Marne, he was prior of the abbey of Cluny Pope Gregory VII named him cardinal-bishop of Ostia c. 1080.
He was one of the most prominent and active supporters of the Gregorian reforms as legate in the Holy Roman Empire in 1084. He was among the three. Desiderius, the abbot of Monte Cassino, was chosen to follow Gregory in 1085 but, after his short reign as Victor III, Odo was elected by acclamation at a small meeting of cardinals and other prelates held in Terracina in March 1088. From the outset, Urban had to reckon with the presence of Guibert, the former bishop of Ravenna who held Rome as the antipope "Clement III". Gregory had clashed with the emperor Henry IV over papal authority. Despite the Walk to Canossa, Gregory had backed the rebel Duke of Swabia and again excommunicated the emperor. Henry took Rome in 1084 and installed Clement III in his place. Urban took up the policies of Pope Gregory VII and, while pursuing them with determination, showed greater flexibility and diplomatic finesse. Kept away from Rome, Urban toured northern Italy and France. A series of well-attended synods held in Rome, Amalfi and Troia supported him in renewed declarations against simony, lay investitures, clerical marriages, the emperor and his antipope.
He facilitated the marriage of Matilda, countess of Tuscany, with duke of Bavaria. He supported the rebellion of Prince Conrad against his father and bestowed the office of groom on Conrad at Cremona in 1095. While there, he helped arrange the marriage between Conrad and Maximilla, the daughter of Count Roger of Sicily, which occurred that year at Pisa; the Empress Adelaide was encouraged in her charges of sexual coercion against her husband, Henry IV. He supported the theological and ecclesiastical work of Anselm, negotiating a solution to the cleric's impasse with King William II of England and receiving England's support against the Imperial pope in Rome. Urban maintained vigorous support for his predecessors' reforms and did not shy from supporting Anselm when the new archbishop of Canterbury fled England. Despite the importance of French support for his cause, he upheld his legate Hugh of Die's excommunication of King Philip over his doubly bigamous marriage with Bertrade de Montfort, wife of the Count of Anjou.
The Pope's movement took its first public shape at the Council of Piacenza, where, in March 1095, Urban II received an ambassador from the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos asking for help against the Muslim Seljuk Turks who had taken over most of Byzantine Anatolia. A great council met, attended by numerous Italian and French bishops in such vast numbers it had to be held in the open air outside the city of Clermont. Though the Council of Clermont held in November of the same year was focused on reforms within the church hierarchy, Urban II gave a speech on 27 November 1095 to a broader audience. Urban II's sermon proved effective, as he summoned the attending nobility and the people to wrest the Holy Land, the eastern churches from the control of the Seljuk Turks. There exists no exact transcription of the speech; the five extant versions of the speech were written down some time and they differ from one another. All versions of the speech except that by Fulcher of Chartres were influenced by the chronicle account of the First Crusade called the Gesta Francorum, which includes a version of it.
Fulcher of Chartres was present at the Council, though he did not start writing his history of the crusade, including a version of the speech until c. 1101. Robert the Monk may have been present, but his version dates from about 1106; the five versions of Urban's speech reflect much more what authors thought Urban II should have said to launch the First Crusade than what Urban II did say. As a better means of evaluating Urban's true motives in calling for a crusade to the Holy Lands, there are four extant letters written by Pope Urban himself: one to the Flemish. However, whereas the three former letters were concerned with rallying popular support for the Crusades
A biography, or bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work and death. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae, a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, may include an analysis of the subject's personality. Biographical works are non-fiction, but fiction can be used to portray a person's life. One in-depth form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing. Works in diverse media, from literature to film, form the genre known as biography. An authorized biography is written with the permission, at times, participation of a subject or a subject's heirs. An autobiography is written by the person himself or herself, sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator or ghostwriter. At first, biographical writings were regarded as a subsection of history with a focus on a particular individual of historical importance; the independent genre of biography as distinct from general history writing, began to emerge in the 18th century and reached its contemporary form at the turn of the 20th century.
One of the earliest biographers was Cornelius Nepos, who published his work Excellentium Imperatorum Vitae in 44 BC. Longer and more extensive biographies were written in Greek by Plutarch, in his Parallel Lives, published about 80 A. D. In this work famous Greeks are paired with famous Romans, for example the orators Demosthenes and Cicero, or the generals Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. Another well-known collection of ancient biographies is De vita Caesarum by Suetonius, written about AD 121 in the time of the emperor Hadrian. In the early Middle Ages, there was a decline in awareness of the classical culture in Europe. During this time, the only repositories of knowledge and records of the early history in Europe were those of the Roman Catholic Church. Hermits and priests used this historic period to write biographies, their subjects were restricted to the church fathers, martyrs and saints. Their works were meant to be inspirational to the people and vehicles for conversion to Christianity.
One significant secular example of a biography from this period is the life of Charlemagne by his courtier Einhard. In Medieval Islamic Civilization, similar traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad and other important figures in the early history of Islam began to be written, beginning the Prophetic biography tradition. Early biographical dictionaries were published as compendia of famous Islamic personalities from the 9th century onwards, they contained more social data for a large segment of the population than other works of that period. The earliest biographical dictionaries focused on the lives of the prophets of Islam and their companions, with one of these early examples being The Book of The Major Classes by Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi, and began the documentation of the lives of many other historical figures who lived in the medieval Islamic world. By the late Middle Ages, biographies became less church-oriented in Europe as biographies of kings and tyrants began to appear; the most famous of such biographies was Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory.
The book was an account of his Knights of the Round Table. Following Malory, the new emphasis on humanism during the Renaissance promoted a focus on secular subjects, such as artists and poets, encouraged writing in the vernacular. Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists was the landmark biography focusing on secular lives. Vasari made celebrities of his subjects, as the Lives became an early "bestseller". Two other developments are noteworthy: the development of the printing press in the 15th century and the gradual increase in literacy. Biographies in the English language began appearing during the reign of Henry VIII. John Foxe's Actes and Monuments, better known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs, was the first dictionary of the biography in Europe, followed by Thomas Fuller's The History of the Worthies of England, with a distinct focus on public life. Influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates, A General History of the Pyrates, by Charles Johnson, is the prime source for the biographies of many well-known pirates.
A notable early collection of biographies of eminent men and women in the United Kingdom was Biographia Britannica edited by William Oldys. The American biography followed the English model, incorporating Thomas Carlyle's view that biography was a part of history. Carlyle asserted that the lives of great human beings were essential to understanding society and its institutions. While the historical impulse would remain a strong element in early American biography, American writers carved out a distinct approach. What emerged was a rather didactic form of biography, which sought to shape the individual character of a reader in the process of defining national character; the first modern biography, a work which exerted considerable influence on the evolution of the genre, was James Boswell's The Life of Samuel Johnson, a biography of lexicographer and man-of-letters Samuel Johnson published in 1791. While Boswell's personal acquaintance with his subject only began in 1763, when Johnson was 54 years old, Boswell covered the entirety of Johnson's life by means of additional research.
Itself an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography, it has been claimed to be the greatest biography writte
Edward Gibbon FRS was an English historian and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, its polemical criticism of organised religion. Edward Gibbon was born in 1737, the son of Edward and Judith Gibbon at Lime Grove, in the town of Putney, Surrey, he had six siblings: one sister, all of whom died in infancy. His grandfather named Edward, had lost all of his assets as a result of the South Sea Bubble stock market collapse in 1720, but regained much of his wealth. Gibbon's father was thus able to inherit a substantial estate. One of his grandparents, Catherine Acton, descended from 2nd Baronet; as a youth, Gibbon's health was under constant threat. He described himself as "a puny child, neglected by my Mother, starved by my nurse". At age nine, he was sent to Dr. Woddeson's school at Kingston upon Thames, shortly after which his mother died.
He took up residence in the Westminster School boarding house, owned by his adored "Aunt Kitty", Catherine Porten. Soon after she died in 1786, he remembered her as rescuing him from his mother's disdain, imparting "the first rudiments of knowledge, the first exercise of reason, a taste for books, still the pleasure and glory of my life". By 1751, Gibbon's reading was extensive and pointed toward his future pursuits: Laurence Echard's Roman History, William Howel's An Institution of General History, several of the 65 volumes of the acclaimed Universal History from the Earliest Account of Time. Following a stay at Bath in 1752 to improve his health, at the age of 15 Gibbon was sent by his father to Magdalen College, where he was enrolled as a gentleman-commoner, he was ill-suited, however, to the college atmosphere and rued his 14 months there as the "most idle and unprofitable" of his life. Because he himself says so in his autobiography, it used to be thought that his penchant for "theological controversy" bloomed when he came under the spell of the deist or rationalist theologian Conyers Middleton, the author of Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers.
In that tract, Middleton denied the validity of such powers. The product of that disagreement, with some assistance from the work of Catholic Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, that of the Elizabethan Jesuit Robert Parsons, yielded the most memorable event of his time at Oxford: his conversion to Roman Catholicism on 8 June 1753, he was further "corrupted" by the'free thinking' deism of the playwright/poet couple David and Lucy Mallet. David Womersley has shown, that Gibbon's claim to having been converted by a reading of Middleton is unlikely, was introduced only into the final draft of the "Memoirs" in 1792–93. Bowersock suggests that Gibbon fabricated the Middleton story retrospectively in his anxiety about the impact of the French Revolution and Edmund Burke's claim that it was provoked by the French philosophes, so influential on Gibbon. Within weeks of his conversion, the adolescent was removed from Oxford and sent to live under the care and tutelage of Daniel Pavillard, Reformed pastor of Lausanne, Switzerland.
It was here that he made one of his life's two great friendships, that of Jacques Georges Deyverdun, that of John Baker Holroyd. Just a year and a half after his father threatened to disinherit him, on Christmas Day, 1754, he reconverted to Protestantism. "The various articles of the Romish creed," he wrote, "disappeared like a dream". He remained in Lausanne for five intellectually productive years, a period that enriched Gibbon's immense aptitude for scholarship and erudition: he read Latin literature, he met the one romance in his life: the daughter of the pastor of Crassy, a young woman named Suzanne Curchod, to become the wife of Louis XVI's finance minister Jacques Necker, the mother of Madame de Staël. The two developed a warm affinity. Gibbon returned to England in August 1758 to face his father. There could be no refusal of the elder's wishes. Gibbon put it this way: "I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son." He proceeded to cut off all contact with Curchod as she vowed to wait for him.
Their final emotional break came at Ferney, France in early 1764, though they did see each other at least one more time a year later. Upon his return to England, Gibbon published his first book, Essai sur l'Étude de la Littérature in 1761, which produced an initial taste of celebrity and distinguished him, in Paris at least, as a man of letters. From 1759 to 1770, Gibbon served on active duty and in reserve with the South Hampshire militia, his deactivation in December 1762 coinciding with the militia's dispersal at the end of the Seven Years' War; the following year he embarked on the Grand Tour. In his autobiography Gibbon vividly records his rapture when he neared "the great object of pilgrimage":...at