Ducange, Charles Du Fresne

Ducange, Charles Du Fresne an eminent French scholar, was born at Amiens December 18, 1610. His name was really Du Fresne; but as he was sieur Du Cange, he is generally named by the latter title. He studied at the Jesuits College in Amiens, and afterwards pursued law studies at Orleans. He was received as advocat au parlement at Paris in 1631. In a few years he abandoned the bar, returned to Amiens, and devoted himself to the study of history and philosophy. In 1668 he was driven back to Paris by the plague, and died there October 23, 1688. His works, which in number and extent are almost incredible, abundantly prove his right to be considered a consummate historian, an exact geographer, and a good lawyer, genealogist, and antiquary. He knew nearly every language, and derived, from his researches into an infinite number of ancient monuments, a singular acquaintance with the manners and usages of the Middle Ages." Among his publications are Histoire de l'Einpire de Constantinople sous les Empereurs Francois (Paris, 1657, fol.): — Traite historique du chef de S. Jean Baptiste (Paris, 1666, 4to): Glossarium ad scriptores medice et infimae Latinitatis (Paris, 1678, 3 volumes, fol.; Frankfort, 1681, and again in 1710; Benedictine edition, 6 volumes, fol., 1733-36, to which Peter Carpentier published a Supplement, Par. 1766, 4 volumes, fol.; new edition, by Henschel, Paris, 1840-48, 7 volumes, 4to; also supplementary volume by Diefenbach, Frankf. 1857; abridgment by Adelung, Halae, 1772, 6 volumes, 8vo): Glossarium ad scriptores mediae et inimae Grecitatis (Par. 1688, 2 volumes, fol.). The Glossarium Latinitatis is "a most useful work for the understanding of the numerous writers of the Dark or Middle Ages, when, for many centuries, a corrupt and barbarous Latin was the only literary language of Europe. All the words used by these writers, which are not found in classical Latinity, are ranged in alphabetical order, with their various meanings, their etymology, and references to the authorities. This work is also useful for understanding old charters, and other legal documents of an early date. The labor and research required for the compilation of such a work can be best appreciated by those who have frequent occasion to consult it" (Engl.

Cyclopaedia, s.v.). Many MS. works of Ducange are preserved in the royal library at Paris. See Faugere, Essai sur la vie et les ouvrages de Ducange (Par. 1852); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 14:911.

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