Plantin, Christophe

Plantin, Christophe a celebrated printer, was born in 1514 at Mont-Louis, in the French province of Touraine, of poor parents. He went to Paris in his youth, and worked there some time in a bookbinder's shop; but afterwards went to Caen, in Normandy, where he learned the art of printing. After working in several of the printing-offices of France, and especially at Lyons, he returned to Paris; but the religious disturbances which commenced about that time induced him to remove to Flanders, and he is known to have been a master-printer at Antwerp in 1555. Besides his printing establishment at Antwerp, he had one at Paris and another at Leyden. The beauty as well as the correctness of the works which issued from his presses extended his reputation rapidly, and he soon acquired a considerable fortune. He employed as correctors of the press several men distinguished for their learning, and Plantin's house was resorted to by learned men from all countries. He died July 1, 1589. The work which has given most celebrity to Plantin's printing establishment at Antwerp is the edition which he printed of the great Polyglot Bible, which had previously been printed at Alcala, in Spain, under the direction of cardinal Ximenes. Plantin was engaged to perform the work by Philip II of Spain, who sent Arius Montanus to superintend it, and he was employed four years (1568 to 1572) in this occupation. SEE ARIUS MONTANUS. Guillaume Lebe was sent for from Paris to engrave the punches and superintend the casting of the type. The work, in addition to the contents of the Alcala Polyglot, gave a Chaldaic paraphrase and a Syriac version of the New Testament in Hebrew and Syriac characters. The proofs of the Antwerp Polyglot were all revised by Raphelengius, and the work was published in eight large folio volumes (1568-1572). Plantin was not so learned as the Aldi of Venice or the Estiennes of Paris, but his Latin prefaces to several of the works which he printed seem sufficiently to establish that he had acquired a considerable scholarship.

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