Lebrija, Aelius Antonius of

Lebrija, Aelius Antonius Of (or LEBRIXA, vulgarly Nebrissensis, from Lebrixa or Lebrija, the old Nebrissa, on the Guadalquivir), "un humanista de prima nota," the Erasmus of Spain, was born at that place in 1442 according to Munnoz (Nichol. Anton and Cave say 1444). He studied in his native city, and afterwards went to the University of Salamanca. In 1461 he went to Italy to perfect himself in the classics. He visited the best schools, heard the most renowned teachers, and made great proficiency in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, etc., and even in theology, jurisprudence, and medicine. After ten years thus employed he returned to Spain, intending to effect a reformation, and with the special aim of promoting classical learning, in the universities of that country. He first labored in an unofficial way, and as teacher in the college of San Miguel at Seville; but Salamanca was the object of his ambition. His lessons met with great success, and he soon became popular throughout Spain, He contributed very largely to the expulsion of barbarism from the seats of education, and to the diffusion of a taste for elegant and useful studies. He also published a large number of philological works, such as Latin, Greek, and Hebrew grammars, and especially a Latin lexicon, which was enthusiastically received by the universities of all countries. He likewise applied philology to theology, and by that means caused it to make a great progress: in order to correct the text of the Vulgate, he compared it with the older texts, the Hebrew and Greek originals, and was one of the chief writers on the Polyglot of the Alcala, prepared under the direction of cardinal Ximenes. This course naturally brought him into conflict with the scholastics, whose system had to his day prevailed. He was charged with having approached the intricate subject of theology without any knowledge of it, and to have undertaken an unprecedented labor on the mere strength of his philological talents. The Inquisition interfered, and part of his Biblical works were prohibited. He, however, protested against this measure in his Apologia, addressed to his protector, cardinal Ximenes, and had it not been for the interference of the latter, and of other influential friends at the court, he would no doubt have suffered severely (compare his Apologia, in Antonii Bibl. Lisp. Vet. 2:310 sq.); as it was, he was appointed, in 1513, professor of Latin literature at the newly established University of Alcala de Henares (Complutum), and here was suffered to end his days in peace. He died July 2,1522, according to Munnoz. Most of his works are still extant, among them a history of the reign of Ferdinand the Catholic, made by order of that prince, under the title Decades duae, etc. (posthumously edited, 1545). See Nicolai Antonii Bibliotheca Hispana (Romans 1672), p. 104 A, 109 B; Du Pin, Nouv. Bibl. des Auteurs Eccles. 14:120-123; Guil. Cave, Scriptor. eccl. Historia litter. (Genevse, 1694), Appendix, p. 116 B, 118 A; Hefele, Cardinal Ximenes, p. 116, 124, 379, 458; Munnoz, Elogio de Antonio de Lebrija, in the Memorias de la real Academia de la Historia, 3:1-30; Herzog, Real- Enzcyklop. 8:265; M'Crie, Reformation in Spain, p. 61, 75,105. (J. H. W.)

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