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GAYOT DE PITAVAL (FRANCIS), a French author, remarkable rather for the magnitude of his work entitled “ Causes Célèbres,” in twenty volumes duodecimo, than for
any merit as a writer, was born at Lyons in 1673, of a noble family of the robe, and was educated at Paris, but seemed destined to fail in every walk of life. He began by taking orders, and became an abhé; he then quitted the church for the army, where he obtained no distinction, and at the age of fifty, became an advocate. Not succeeding in this occupation, he applied himself diligently to his pen; in which employment he rather proved his assiduity than his powers. His great work, though interesting in its subject, is rendered intolerable by the heaviness and badness of the style, with the puerilities and bad verses interspersed. It has been two or three times abridged. His other works are not more admired. They are, 1. “An Account of the Campaigus of 1713 and 1714;" a compilation from the Memoirs of Vilbart. 2. “ The Art of adorning and improving the Mind," a foolish collection of witticisms; and 3. A compilation entitled
Bibliotheque des Gens de Cour.” He died in 1743, after repeated strokes of palsy.'
GAYTON (EDMUND), or, as he sometimes styled himself, De SPECIOSA VILLA, one of those authors of the seventeenth century, who contributed somewhat to the amusement of the republic of letters, without adding much to its credit, was the son of George Gayton of Little Britain, in London, where he was born in 1609. educated at Merchant Taylors' school, whence, in 1625, he was elected scholar of St. John's college, Oxford, became a fellow of that house, and master of arts. afterwards superior beadle of arts and physic, and took the degree of M. B. in 1647; but next year the parliamentary visitors ejected him from the beadleship. He now went to London, married, and maintained himself and wife by his writings. After the restoration, he was replaced in his office of beadle; but, according to Wood's account, followed more “the vices of poets." His residence, however, was still at Oxford, where he died in Cat-street, Dec. 12, 1666, and was buried in St. Mary's church, at the expence of the vice-chancellor, Dr. Fell, not having “but one farthing in his pocket when he died."
I Moreri.—Dict. Hist.
Among his works Wood enumerates, 1. “Chartæ Scriptæ, or a New Game at cards, called Play by the Book," 1645, 4to. 2. “Pleasant notes upon Don Quixote," 1654, folio, which have been often reprinted, and are not without humour, although not of the most refined cast. Prior's story of the ladle was taken from this work. 3. “ Hymna de febribus," Lond. 1655, 4to. 4. “ Will Bagnal's Ghost, or the Merry Devil of Gadmunton,” ibid. 1655, 4to. 5. “ The Art of Longevity, or a dietetical institution," Lond. 1659. 6. “Walk, Knaves, walk," a discourse intended to have been spoken at court; the name of Hodge Turbervil is in the title of this work, but it was written by Gayton, when in the king's bench prison, and published in 1659. 7. “ Wit revived; or a new excellent way of Di. vertisement, digested into most ingenious questions and answers," Lond. 1660, 12mo, published under the name, very allusive to the author's habits, of Asdryasdust Tossof
8. “ Poem upon Mr. Jacob Bobart's Yew-men of the Guards to the Physic garden, &c.” Oxon. 1662. Most of the above are in prose and verse, and he wrote also many single songs for satirical or festival purposes, which are now objects of expensive curiosity with collectors.'
GAZA (THEODORE), a very eminent promoter of the revival of letters in Europe, was born at Thessalonica in Greece in 1398. Some have erroneously called him Theodore de Gaza, as if he had been a native of that village. His country being invaded by the Turks in 1430, he went into Italy, and applied himself, immediately on his arrival there, to learn the Latin tongue, under the tuition of Victorinus de Feltre, who taught it at Mantua. He was, indeed, past the age when languages are usually attained, yet he made himself such a master of Latin, that he spoke and wrote it with the same facility and elegance as if it had been his native tongue: though Erasmus is of opinion, that he could never fairly divest himself of his Greek idiom. His uncommon parts and learning soon recommended him to public notice; and particularly to the patronage of cardinal Bessarion. Gaza had taken a very fair and exact copy of Homer's “ Iliad,” which the cardinal was extremely desirous to purchase; and he obtained either that, or one like it, which was long extant in his library at Venice.
1 Ath. Ox. vol. II.-Gent. Mag. vol. LVII. p. 399.
About 1450, Gaza went to Rome, in consequence of an invitation from pope Nicholas V. with many other professors of the Greek language, scattered about Italy, to translate the Greek authors into Latin, but unfortunately jealousies and dissensions arose among them, and in particular a quarrel between Gaza and George Trapezuntius. Paul Jovius assures us, that Gaza not only far surpassed all the Greeks, bis fellow-labourers and contemporaries, in learning and solidity of judgment, but also in the knowledge of the Latin : which, says Jovius, he attained to that degree of perfection, that it was not easy to discern, whether be wrote best in that or his native tongue. On account of these extraordinary qualities probably, he was admitted to such a familiarity with cardinal Bessarion, as to be called by him in some of his writings his friend and companion.
Nicholas V. dying in 1456, Gaza went to Naples, where he was honourably received by king Alphonsus, to whom he had been well recommended ; but this prince dying in 1458, he returned to his patron the cardinal at Rome, who soon after
him a benefice in Calabria. This would bave been a very competent provision for a man of his temperance, but he was always poor and in distress; for he was so extremely attentive to letters, that he left the management of his substance to servants. It is related, that towards the latter end of his life he went to Rome, with one of his performances finely written upon vellum, which he presented to Sixtus IV. expecting to receive from his holiness an immense reward for so curious and valuable a present. But the pope, baving coolly asked him the expence he had been at, gave him but just what was sufficient to defray it: which moved him to say, with indignation, that “it was high time to return to his own country, since these over-fed asses at Rome had not the least relish for any thing but weeds and thistles, their taste being too depraved for what was good and wholesome.” Pierius Valerianus, who relates this in his book " De Infelicitate Literatorum,” adds, that Gaza Aung the money into the Tiber, and died of disappointment and grief, at Rome, in 1478. There is not, however, much reason to credit this cause of his death, as he had attained the eightieth year
of his age.
His works may be divided into original pieces and translations. Of the former are, 1.“ Grammaticæ Græcæ Libri quatuor.” Written in Greek, and printed first at Ve
nice in 1495 : afterwards at Basil in 1522, with a Latin translation by Erasmus. 2. “Liber de Atticis Mensibus Græcè;" by way of supplement to his grammar, with which it was printed with a Latin version. 3. “ Epistola ad Franciscum Philelphum de origine Turcarum, Græcè, cum Versione Leonis Allatii.” Printed in the Symmicta of the translator at Cologne in 1653. His translations are also of two sorts ; from Greek into Latin, and from Latin into Greek Of the latter sort are Cicero's pieces, “ De Senectute,” and “ De Somnio Scipionis :" both printed in Aldus's edition of Cicero's works in 1523, 8vo. Of the former sort are, “ Aristotelis Libri novem Historiæ Animalium : de Partibus Animalium Libri quatuor : & de Ge. neratione Animalium Libri quinque. Latinè versi. Venet. 1476.” It was Aristotle's “ History of Animals,” which is said to have caused the enmity between Gaza and Trapezuntius. Trapezuntius, it was alleged, had translated the same work before Gaza: and though Gaza had made great use of Trapezuntius's version, yet in his preface he boasted, that he had neglected to consult any translations whatever; and declared contemptuously, that his design was not to enter the list with other translators, or to vie with those whom it would be so easy to conquer. This conduct, if the statement be true, Trapezuntius might very justly resent. The same “ History of Animals," or rather, as P. Valerianus says, his divine lucubrations upon it, were memorable on another account; for it is said to have been the work which he presented in a Latin translation to pope Sixtus, and for which he underwent so severe a disappointment. He translated also other Greek books into Latin : as, “ Aristotelis Problemata,” Theophrasti Historiæ Plantarum Libri decem,” “ Alexandri Problematum Libri duo," "Ælani Liber de Instruendis Aciebus," “ J. Chrysostomi Homiliæ quinque de incomprehensibili Dei Natura." There are extant also some works of Gaza which have never been published.
There is no man of learning spoken of in higher terms, and more universally, than Gaza. Scaliger used to say, that “ Of all those who revived the belles lettres in Italy, there were not above three that he was inclined to envy: the first was Theodore Gaza, who was certainly a great and learned man, though he has committed some mistakes in his version of Aristotle's “ History of Animals.” The second was Angelus Politianus; and the third was Picus of
Mirandula.” In another place, be calls him “ doctissimus," a most learned man; commends his grammar, and says, that he ought to be ranked among the best translators of Greek authors into Latin." Huetius observes, that though he does not differ from the judgment of Joseph Scaliger, in regard to Gaza's translations, where he allows that some things might be better, and soine entirely altered; yet, that upon the whole he should be glad, if all translators would do as well, would exhibit the same fidelity, perspicuity, and elegance, that Gaza has displayed.” He is with propriety recorded by Pierius Valerianus in his work “ De infelicitate literatorum.'
GAZA (Æneas). See ÆNEAS.
GEBELIN (ANTHONY COURT de), an eminent French writer of the last century, was born at Lausanne in 1727. His father, who was a protestant clergyman of that place, took extraordinary pains in cultivating his mind, and at the age of twelve years, young Gebelin could read German, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; and at fifteen, he spoke German and Latin with ease, as well as French in compliment to his parents, who were natives of France, but had left it on account of their religion. His thirst of knowledge was such as to prevent his hours of rest; and when his parents, in order to break him of the habit of studying at night, would not allow him candles, he used to pore over his books as well as he could by moon-Jight. In 1763, after the death of his father, he came to Paris, bringing with him nothing but a great stock of learning, and the greatest simplicity of manners; and as the persons to whom he had recommendations happened to be absent, he remained for some time alone and friendless in that great metropolis. The first acquaintances he made were two ladies who lived opposite to him, and who lived together in such harmony as to desire no other connections, but were yet so pleased with Gebelin's amiable manners, as to admit him into their friendship, and furnish him with every assistance he could wish in carrying on his great work, “ Le monde primitif,” in digesting the materials of which he employed ten years. One of these ladies, mademoiselle Linot, learned engraving solely with the view of being useful to him in his labours, and actually engraved
| Hodius de Græcis illustribus.-Niceron, vol. XXIX.-Moreri. --Saxii Onomasticon.