Peiresc's Europe: Learning and Virtue in the Seventeenth Century

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Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580-1637) was, during his lifetime, one of Europe's most famous men. A friend of Pope Urban VIII and Galileo, of Peter-Paul Rubens and Hugo Grotius, of Tommaso Campanella and Marin Mersenne, Peiresc played an important role in the intellectual culture of his time. This book is the first study in English of this extraordinary man, as well as a vivid portrait of his whole circle. Looking through the lens of Peiresc's life, Peter N. Miller brings into focus the early-seventeenth-century world of learning--its people, places, and ideas.

Drawing on the extensive Peiresc archive (more than 50,000 pieces of paper), Miller brilliantly evokes the lives of antiquaries, philosophers, theologians, and politicians of Peiresc's day, only some of whom remain known today. He explores the age in which Peiresc's toleration and sociability, his political action and cosmopolitanism, and his serious scholarship without dogmatism were identified as a set of virtues and practices by which to live. Peiresc's notion of scholarship as a moral exercise, the sweep of his interests, and the cross-Continental reach of his intellectual life show with new clarity what it meant to be a man of learning during the decades around 1600.
 

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Contents

Peiresc Free Mind and Friend
16
Constancy Conversations and Friendship The Civil Life of Private Men
49
The Ancient Constitution and the Aniquarian Peiresc in Politics
76
The Theology of a Scholar Antiquaries and Accommodation
102
History as Philosophy Time and the Antiquarian
130
Conclusion
155
Notes
161
Index
225
Copyright

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Page viii - Home is where one starts from. As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living. Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered. TS Eliot, Four Quartets

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