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  • Author or Editor: Gerald Toomer x
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Christianus Ravius (Christian Raue, 1613-1677) led a life of remarkable variety, which illustrates many aspects of the career of a scholar in seventeenth century Europe. This biography, the first full-length treatment of him since 1744, covers the first three decades of his eventful career, from the Gymnasium in his native Berlin through Germany, Scandiniavia, Holland, England and the Ottoman Empire. Drawing on much previously unexploited evidence, and on detailed analyses of his numerous published works, it presents a picture of a scholar trying to establish himself in the Republic of Letters, cultivating the acquaintance of many contemporary scholars, including such great names as Hugo Grotius, John Selden, James Ussher, Claudius Salmasius, Johannes Buxtorf II, G. J. Vossius and Jaobus Golius.
In the background of his precarious existence looms the Thirty Years’ War, which was a cause not only of his parents’ early death but also of the devastation of his family’s estate and his persistent poverty. Despite his failure to obtain a permanent position in any 0f the universities with which he was associated during this time, he persisted in promoting the study of oriental languages, especially Arabic. This led to his stay of two years in Constantinople and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, where he managed to acquire the remarkable collection of oriental manuscripts which was an important element in his attempts to attain employment and recognition. This study includes an account of the identity and present location of almost three hundred of those manuscripts, and also an edition of many unpublished letters from his extensive correspondence which are relevant to the narrative of his life. Ravius’s idiosyncratic theories on linguistic history receive due attention.
In: Scholarship between Europe and the Levant


This article consists of an annotated edition and translation of a previously unpublished Latin letter to G. J. Vossius from Christianus Ravius, refuting the accusation made by Johann Seyffert in his pamphlet attacking Grotius, Classicum Belli Sacri adversus Hugonem Grotium Papistam ([Amsterdam], 1642), that Grotius, while representative of the Swedish government in Paris, had advised Ravius to convert to Catholicism. The historical introduction outlines the details of and probable reasons for Seyffert's published attacks on Grotius, Grotius's attitude towards those attacks (as expressed in his correspondence), and the implications for his relationship with the Swedish government and Baron von Degenfeld, commander of the German Protestant mercenary soldiers in the service of the French crown. It also recounts what is known of Ravius's stay in Paris during which he met Grotius, and raises the question why Ravius delayed making a response to Seyffert until well after Grotius was dead.

In: Grotiana