Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bernard de Montfaucon

The Benedictine monk and antiquary Bernard de Montfaucon passed on December 21, 1741.  Montfaucon lived nearly 86 years, joining the Benedictines at about 20 years of age, after having served briefly in the French army.  His fame derives from various scholarly works he published, including an authoritative history of Greek writing, and by 1724, his 15 volume “L'antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures”This work was translated into English as “Antiquity Explained and Represented in Diagrams”

In 1824, Walter Scott received a copy of Montfaucon's Antiquities for his library.  As John Gibson Lockhart says, in his “Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott”,  Such arrivals as that of “the Wallace Chair” were frequent throughout 1824. It was a happy, and therefore it need hardly be added an ineventful year—his last year of undisturbed prosperity. The little incidents that diversified his domestic interior, and the zeal which he always kept up for all the concerns of his friends, together with a few indications of his opinions on subjects of literary and political interest, will be found in his correspondence, which will hardly require any editorial explanations. Within, I think, the same week in January, arrived a copy of Montfauçon’s Antiquities, in fifteen volumes folio, richly bound in scarlet, the gift of King George IV…’

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