Denis Lambin (Dionysius Lambinus) (~1516/1519 - 1572)

Although we are not sure if, or how, Denis Lambin is related to our line, it certainly seems a possibility as he was born in Montreuil-sur-Mer in Picardie in northern France, which is the region where our first known LAMBING ancestors came from. He died in Paris in September 1572.

Denis Lambin was a French humanist, famous for his editions of Latin authors. He first studied in Amiens and then at the Collège du Cardinal Lemoine in Paris. As a student and teacher in Paris, he associated with a group of young men who were to become illustrious in the history of French literature as the Pléiade poets. He was a close friend of their leader, Pierre de Ronsard.

In 1548 Denis Lambin left Paris to become a lecturer at the University of Toulouse. The following year he became secretary to Cardinal de Tournon and joined him on an extended trip to Italy. Denis Lambin spent the years between 1544 and 1553 and from 1555 to 1560 in Italy. While in Rome, he worked extensively on the Vatican MSS and was to draw upon his notes for his editions of the Latin classics.

Upon returning to Paris, Denis Lambin was named Royal Reader in Greek at the Collège de France (1560-1572). The subsequent years of his life were spent on scholarly editions and dissertations. Denis Lambin's death was hastened by his grief at the violent death on St. Bartholomew's Day of Peter Ramus and by his apprehension lest he share the same fate.

Denis Lambin's  most celebrated works are his editions of Aristotle's Ethics (1558) and Politics, of Horace, of Demosthenes (1570), and of Cicero. Above all, he is famous for an edition of Lucretius (1563), which still elicits the admiration of classical scholars.

The last years of his life were spent on editions of Plautus and of Cornelius Nepos, and in preparing a study on the utility of Greek and the proper translation of Greek authors into Latin. The wealth of accurate information in Denis Lambin's editions won him a lasting reputation as a scholar.

The etymology of the verb 'lambiner', meaning 'to dawdle', and the noun 'lambin(e)' meaning 'slowcoach' is apparently derived from the manner in which Denis Lambin worked, i.e. at a very slow pace.

I have managed to procure a copy of 'Lettres Galantes de Denys Lambin 1552-1554', which is written in Latin and Greek, together with a French translation, which I am translating into English!


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