Ad Iulium Scaligerum (1574)

Melville developed a close friendship with the renowned classical philologist Joseph-Juste Scaliger (1540-1609) when the latter arrived in Geneva in October 1572, fleeing the persecution of protestants in the aftermath of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacres, to lecture on Cicero and Aristotle in the schola publica of the Genevan Academy. Both men would only be in Geneva for a further two years - Melville returning to Scotland, Scaliger to France - but their time together was productive. Scaliger greatly infuenced Melville's views on sacred chronology and history, and later in his life Melville drew heavily on Scaliger's masterly comparative studies of world calendrical systems, the De Emendatione Temporum (1583) and the Thesaurus Temporum (1606), to produce poetic commentaries on the historical prophecies in Daniel and Revelation (see d2_MelA_054). Melville also suggested textual emendations to Scaliger's edition of Manilius' Astronomicon, and appended a series of three epigrams praising Scaliger and his father, the equally famous humanist and Latin scholar Julius Caesar Scaliger (1484-1558), to the collection of Scaliger pere's poetry produced by his son at Geneva under the title Iulii Caesaris Scaligeri viri clarissimi poemata in duas partes divisa (2 vols, n.p., 1574; epigrams appended to vol. 1, sig. [3*v]). Two of these poems are reproduced in the DPS (for the other see d2_MelA_038). For more on Melville and Scaliger, see Reid, Humanism and Calvinism, pp. 70-71; Holloway, Andrew Melville, pp. 131-136; Anthony Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, vol. 1: Textual Criticism and Exegesis (Oxford, 1983), esp. pp. 102, 109-11, 118-20. Metre: elegiac couplets.

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Ad Iulium Scaligerum

Caesar, Aristoteles, Maro; Mavors, Pallas, Apollo;
tres sub Sole viri, tres super astra Dei
te genuere; vel hos genuisti Scaliger unus
Link to an image of this page  [p117] tres sub Sole viros, tres super astra Deos.
Immo omnes superas unus quos fama sacravit
vel sub Sole viros, vel super astra Deos.

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To Julius Scaliger

Caesar, Aristotle, Maro; a Mars, Pallas, Apollo; three men beneath the sun and three gods above the stars begot you; or else you, a single Scaliger, begot these Link to an image of this page  [p117] three men under the sun, and three gods above the stars. Nay indeed, as a single man you surpass all others whose fame rendered them sacred, whether they were men under the sun, or gods above the stars.



a: A cognomen of the Roman poet Virgil (70-19BC), whose full name was Publius Vergilius Maro.