Isaak Vossius, sometimes anglicised Isaac Voss (1618 in
Leiden ( , ; in English language, English and Archaism, archaic Dutch language, Dutch also Leyden) is a List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the Provinces of the N ...
– 21 February 1689 in
Windsor is a historic market town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, British monarch. ...
) was a Dutch scholar and
A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter
A typewriter is a or machine for characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array ...
He was the son of the
Humanism is a philosophy, philosophical stance that emphasizes the individual and social potential and Agency (philosophy), agency of Human, human beings. It considers human beings as the starting point for serious moral and philosophical ... Gerhard Johann Vossius
Gerrit Janszoon Vos (March or April 1577, Heidelberg – 19 March 1649, Amsterdam), often known by his Latin name Gerardus Vossius, was a Netherlands, Dutch classical scholar and theology, theologian.
He was the son of Johannes (Jan) Vos, a ...
. Isaak formed what was accounted the best private
A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...
in the world (Massil 2003). He had a contemporary reputation for eccentricity, refusing the
A sacrament is a Christian
Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ...
on his deathbed, it was reported, until reminded that to do so would reflect unfavorably on the canons
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a at in the English county of . It is strongly associated with the and succeeding , and embodies almost a millennium of .
The original castle was built in the 11th century a ...
, to which chapter he belonged.
He was raised in the atmosphere of a scholarly household, familiar with
Greek may refer to:
Anything of, from, or related to Greece
Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, ancient geography, and
Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language
The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East
The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...
from an early age. In 1641, he undertook a European tour, in which he visited England, France and Italy (notably
Florence ( ; it, Firenze ) is a city in Central-Northern Italy
Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Al ...
), making the acquaintance of scholars of the elder generation such as
James Ussher (or Usher; 4 January 1581 – 21 March 1656) was the Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland ( ga, Eaglais na hÉireann, ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to:
* Ulster Scots pe ...
Hugo Grotius (; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot () and in Dutch as Hugo de Groot (), was a Dutch humanist
Humanism is a philosophical
Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundam ...
and beginning his lifelong collecting of manuscripts and books before he returned to Amsterdam in 1644 to take up a position as city librarian.
In 1648, he went to Sweden, summoned by Queen Christina
to take up a position as her court librarian, and was accompanied by Cornelius Tollius
as his amanuensis. There he enriched the library that had been founded by
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, partly as booty of war from the library of
Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city
A city is a large human settlement
In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...
, with judicious purchases, but incurred the enmity of the French philologist
Claude Saumaise (15 April 1588 – 3 September 1653), also known by the Latin name Claudius Salmasius, was a French classical scholar.
Salmasius was born at Semur-en-Auxois in Burgundy (region), Burgundy. His father, a counsellor of the parl ...
. At the death of his father in 1650, he returned briefly to Amsterdam to oversee the shipping of his father's library to Stockholm. He determined to leave Sweden in 1654, and after Christina abdicated upon her conversion to
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised
Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
, he followed her to
Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...
, where he took his leave of her. The impecunious queen paid her former librarian's outstanding back pay in books, among which was the ''
The Codex Argenteus (Latin for "Silver Book/Codex") is a 6th century, 6th-century illuminated manuscript, originally containing Gospel#Canonical gospels, part of the Gothic Bible, 4th-century translation of the Christian Bible into the Gothic ...
''. In 1664 Vossius was elected a
Fellow of the Royal Society
Fellowship of the Royal Society (FRS, ForMemRS and HonFRS) is an award granted by the judges of the Royal Society
The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a and the 's national . Found ...
After his brilliant, though at times controversial, career of scholarship in Sweden, Vossius went to
England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
in 1670, received a degree in
Civil law may refer to:
* Civil law (common law)
Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town
In the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...
, and became residentiary canon at Windsor in 1673, a post he held until 1688, shortly before his death. In the later stage of his life, his interests turned to mathematics and natural history.
After his death, his heirs sold his library of books and manuscripts to the
University of Leiden
Leiden University (abbreviated as ''LEI''; nl, Universiteit Leiden) is a Public university, public research university in Leiden, Netherlands. Founded in 1575 by William the Silent, William, Prince of Orange as a reward to the city of Leiden for ...
. Still today, the 729 ''Codices Vossiani'' are catalogued under shelfmarks identifying his collection:
*VLF, VLQ, VLO – Latin folio, quarto and octo
*VGF, VGQ, VGO – Greek folio, quarto and octo
*VMI – miscellenae (mixed Latin and Greek)
*VGG F, VGG Q – Germano-Gallico (Germanic and Romance languages) folio and quarto
*VCF, VCQ, VCO – medical, pharmaceutical and alchemical manuscripts, folio, quarto and octo.
He was the author of ''De septuaginta interpretibus'' (1661), ''De poematum cantu et viribus rhythmi'' (1673), and ''Variarum observationum liber'' (1685).
Coenraad van Beuningen
Coenraad van Beuningen (1622 – Amsterdam, 26 October 1693) was the Dutch Republic's most experienced diplomat, burgomaster of Amsterdam in 1669, 1672, 1680, 1681, 1683 and 1684, and from 1681 a Dutch East India Company director. He probably wa ...
*''The Cambridge History of English and American Literature''(1907–21). Volume VII. xiii Scholars and Scholarship, 1600–60: § 2. Close relations between English and continental scholars.
Brief sketch of Vossius' intellectual milieu.Steven Massil, 2003. "Immigrant librarians in Britain: Huguenots and Some Others"
* F.F. Blok: ''Isaac Vossius and his circle, His life until his farewell to Queen Christina of Sweden, 1618-1655''. Groningen, Forsten, 2000.
*P.R. Sellin, 2004. "Isaac Vossius and his Circle: His Life until his Farewell to Queen Christina of Sweden, 1618–1655" in ''English Historical Review'', 119, June 2004, pp. 720–722.
*Jan Willem De Crane, ''Oratio de De Vossiorum Juniorumque Familia'' (Francker, 1821)
* J. E. Sandys
, ''A History of Classical Scholarship'', volume ii (Cambridge, 1908)
External links''Castigationes ad scriptum Georgii Hornii de ætate mundi''
(1659) - full digital facsimile from
Linda Hall Library
The Linda Hall Library is a privately endowed A financial endowment is a legal structure for managing, and in many cases indefinitely perpetuating, a pool of financial
Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money and i ...The Correspondence of Isaac Vossius
People from Leiden
17th-century Latin-language writers
Dutch classical scholars
Dutch music theorists
Fellows of the Royal Society
People associated with the Royal Society
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as ...
Canons of Windsor