Ramus, Petrus - Nancel, Nicolas de
Petri Rami … vita — Paris 1599
Petri Rami Veromandui, eloquentiae et philosophiae apud Parisios professoris Regii vita … — Paris, Claude Morel, 1599.
8vo (163 x 101 mm). 85 pp. Later wrappers. Rare. Not found in Adams, BL/STC, USTC.
The first substantial biography of Pierre de la Ramée by his pupil, friend, and secretary Nicolas de Nancel.
¶ „The life of Peter Ramus (1515-1572), the controversial Renaissance teacher, philosopher, mathematician and educational reformer, has been written several time. Not long after his murder at the massacre of St. Bartholomew there appeared two short Latin accounts, the first by Johann Freige in 1575, and the second by Théophile de Banos in 1576, each of which was published as an introduction to one of Ramus‘ books … Perhaps it was the existence of these brief and inadequate biographies that persuaded Nicolas de Nancel (1539-1610) to turn his hand to the task of producing something more worthy of the subject. This Petri Rami vita appeared in 1599 … Nancel’s version is much longer than the other two, more detailed, more sensitive, and altogether better written, in a fascinating and sometimes even entertaining manner. It is also much more informativ since Nancel had been a student of Ramus, then his secretary, editor and collaborator, and his close friend for a period of twenty years and more. He was thus particularly suited to write about Ramus. The fact that he was himself a teacher of Greek and Latin, a scholar, humanist and amateur theologian, as well as being a practising doctor and author of medical treatises added much to the quality of the life he composed … His book does … contain much information that is to be found nowhere else …
Nancel was born in 1539 … at Tracy near Noyon, the country of Calvin and Ramus, and in 1548 became a pupil at Ramus’s College des Presles. He stayed there until 1568, apart from a period of two years when he held a post of visiting Professor at the new university of Douai. After leaving Presles he took up the practice of medicine in Soissons, very briefly, and then in Tours from 1580 to 1587. From that time until his death in 1610 he worked at Fontevrault. He was a prolific writer, and there is a considerable body of his published works … His published works range from a schoolboy Latin exercie in rhetoric (1554) to his monumental Analogia microcosmi ad macrocosmon which was pubished in 1611, the year after his death, by Claude Morel … the Petri Rami vita, Nancel’s first-hand account, (is) a valuable source-book not only for the life of Ramus but also for Parisian university life in the Renaissance.“ (P. Sharrat, Introduction to his translation of the Nancel’s biography of Ramus into English, in: Humanistica Lovaniensia, vol 24 (1975), pp. 161ff.)