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Johannes Meursius

Johannes Meursius (van Meurs) (February 9, 1579September 20, 1639), Dutchmarker classical scholar and antiquary, was born at Loosduinen, near the Haguemarker.

He was extremely precocious, and at the age of sixteen produced a commentary on the Cassandra of Lycophron. In 1610 he was appointed professor of Greek and history at Leiden, and in the following year historiographer to the States-General of the Netherlands. In consequence of the disturbed state of his country during the Eighty Years War, he welcomed the offer (1625) of Christian IV of Denmark to become professor of history and politics at Soro, in Zealandmarker, combined with the office of historiographer royal, in which role he produced a Latin history of Denmark (1630-38), Historia Danica.

Meursius was the author of classical editions and treatises, many of which are printed in J.F. Gronovius's Thesaurus antiquitatum graecarum. Their lack of arrangement detracts from their value, but they are a storehouse of information, and Meursius does not deserve the epithets of "pedant" and "ignoramus" which Joseph Justus Scaliger applied to him. Meursius also wrote on the troubles in the Netherlands.

Complete edition of his works by J. Lami (1741-1763). See Van der Aa's Biographisch Woordenboek der Nederlanden (1869), and J.E. Sandys, History of Classical Scholarship (1908), ii. 311.


  1. The influence of Tacitus' Germania on Meursius' history is examined in K. Skovgaard-Petersen, "Tacitus and Tacitism in Johannes Meursius’ historia danica (1630–38)" Symbolae Osloenses, 1995.

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