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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > H > Lucas Holstenius

Lucas Holstenius

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German philologist, b. at Hamburg, 1596; d. at Rome, 2 February, 1661. He studied at the gymnasium of Hamburg, and later at Leyden, where Vossius, Heinsius, Meursius, and Scriverius then taught. In 1618 Cluver induced him to accompany him on a journey to Italy and Sicily, thus giving him a taste for the study of geography. He returned for a short time to Leyden, failed to be accepted as professor in the gymnasium of Hamburg, and went to England in 1622, where he gathered materials for his "Geographi Minores". At Paris in 1624, he became librarian to the president de Mesmes, the friend of the scholarly brothers Dupuy, and the correspondent of Peiresc. At this time he was converted to Catholicism. The liking he had always displayed for Platonic philosophy impelled him to read eagerly the Greek and Latin Fathers, especially those who treated of contemplative and mystical theology. This led him quite naturally to the Catholic Church. In 1627 he went to Rome, and through the influence of Peiresc was admitted to the household of Cardinal Barberini, becoming his librarian in 1636. Finally, under Innocent X, he was placed over the Vatican Library. The popes sent him on various honorable missions, such as bearing the cardinal's hat to the nuncio at Warsaw (1629), receiving the abjuration of Queen Christina at Innsbruck, acting as intermediary in the conversion of the Landgrave of Darmstadt and of Ranzau, a Danish nobleman. Mostly, however, he was occupied with his studies. He had formed great projects; he desired to correct Cluver's errors and complete his work; to edit, translate and comment the works of the Neoplatonists; to form a collection of the unedited homilies of the Greek Fathers; to collect inscriptions; to write a critical commentary on the Greek text of the Bible; to form a collection of all the monuments and acts of the history of the popes. These diverse undertakings consumed his energies and filled his notebooks, but without profit to scholarship. His notes and collations have been used by various editors. His principal works are an edition and a life of Porphyry (1630), the "Thoughts" of Democritus, Demophilus and Secundus, little mythological works (1638), an edition of Arrian's treatise on the Chase (1644), and the "Codex regularum monasticarum", a much used collection of monastic rules (1661; edited anew by Brockie, Ratisbon, 1759). He also edited for the first time the "Liber Diurnus", a collection of ancient chancery formulae used in the administration of the Roman Church (1660); this edition, however, was immediately suppressed by Alexander VII (see LIBER DIURNUS). After his death there were published from his papers collections of synods and ecclesiastical monuments, the "Collectio romana bipartita" (1662), also the acts of the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas, Boniface, Tarachus, Probus and Andronicus (1663). His observations on the geography of Italy appeared in 1666, in the form of notes on the previously published works of Charles de Saint-Paul, Cluver and Ortelius. The notes on Stephen of Byzantium were published at Leyden in 1684 by Rycke. Lambecius was the nephew of Holstenius, but they quarrelled towards the end of his life.


CRUEGER, Holstenii Epistolae XXII ad Pt. Lambecium (Jena, 1708); PELISSIER, Les amis d'Holstenius in Melanges d'archeologie et d'histoire, published by the Ecole francaise de Rome, VI (1886), 554; VII (1887), 62; VIII (1888), 323, 521; and in the Revue des langues romanes, XXXV (1892); BOISSONADE, Lucae Holstenii epistolae ad diversos (Paris, 1817); TAMIZEY DE LARROQUE, Lettres de Peiresc a Holstenius in Lettres de Peiresc, V (Paris, 1894), 245-488; NICERON, Mémoires, XXXIX.

About this page

APA citation. Lejay, P. (1910). Lucas Holstenius. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Lejay, Paul. "Lucas Holstenius." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Don Ross.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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