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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > M > Marc-Antoine Muret

Marc-Antoine Muret

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French humanist, b. at Muret, near Limoges, in 1526; d. at Rome, in 1585. He studied at Poitiers and was greatly influenced by Scaliger, whom he twice visited at Agen. He taught successively at Poitiers (1546), Bordeaux (1547), and Paris. Becoming intimate with Dorat, Joachim, du Bellay, and the poets of the Pleiad, he published in French a commentary on the "Amours" of Ronsard (1553) and a collection of Latin verses, the "Juvenilia". His prosperity seemed unclouded, when accusations of heresy and immorality drove him from Paris to Toulouse, and thence to Lombardy. At last he settled in Venice, where he taught for four years (1555-58).

To the Venetian period of Muret's life belong his editions for Paulus Manutius, of Horace, Terence (1555), Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius (1558), to which must be added the three orations "De studiis litterarum" (1555). It was at Venice that he became connected with Lambinus. In 1559 Muret published the first eight books of his "Variae lectiones", which occasioned Lambinus to accuse him of plagiarism and brought their friendship to an end. With the year 1559 began the insecure period of Muret's life, when he devoted himself to private tuition. He next entered the service of Ippolito d'Este, Cardinal of Ferrara, in whose suite he went to Paris, and thence to Rome, where he spent the remainder of his life (1563-85) expounding Aristotle, Cicero, Plato, Juvenal, and Tacitus, and teaching jurisprudence. In 1576 he received Holy orders.

Muret's editions of Latin authors and translations of Plato and Aristotle, while they hardly entitled him to rank with the great Philologists of his time, show good taste, acumen, and care. As a stylist, he was long esteemed one of the modern masters of Latinity. He succeeded in imitating Cicero rather by a felicitous resemblance between his own temperament and that of his model than by any painfully laborious search for Ciceronian locutions, and he felt compelled to protest against the exaggerations of contemporary Ciceronians. He himself tells of an amusing incident when he purposely employed, in speaking Latin, a word not to be found in Nizolius's Ciceronian Lexicon: some of his hearers exclaimed in horror at the apparent slip, and then, when he showed them the word in Cicero's own text, were equally enthusiastic in their plaudits. His most interesting work "Variae lectiones" (1559, 1580, 1585), contains not only observations on ancient authors, but notes of real value in relation to the history of his own times. Such, for instance, is his account of a conversation with his patron, the Cardinal of Ferrara, about St. Pius V, whose election had put an end to the Cardinal's ambitions (XVI, 4). Muret's works were edited by Ruhnken (Leyden, 4 vols., 1789), and another edition appeared at Verona (5 vols., 1727-30). Besides the editions of authors above mentioned, we are indebted to him for Cicero's Catalinian Orations (Paris, 1581), the first book of his Tusculan Disputations, his Philippics (Paris, 1562), Seneca's "De providentia", and some notes on Sallust and Tacitus.


Dejob, Marc-Antoine Muret (Paris, 1881); Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship, II (Cambridge, 1903), 148.

About this page

APA citation. Lejay, P. (1911). Marc-Antoine Muret. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Lejay, Paul. "Marc-Antoine Muret." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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