Heyne, Christian Gottlob
university dresden studies history valuable
HEYNE, CHRISTIAN GOTTLOB (1729-1812), one of the most distinguished critics and archeologists of the Modern school of which Ernesti and Gesner were the founders, was born on the 25th of September 1729, in a suburb of the city of Chemnitz in Saxony-, where his father, who had been compelled by some religious persecutions to abandon his native country of Silesia, earned a precarious support for his family by exercising the trade of a weaver. It was only by the liberality of his godfathers that Heyne was enabled to obtain his primary instruction in the elementary school of Chemnitz, and afterwards to prosecute his classical studies in the gymnasium of that city. In 1748 he entered the university of Leipsic, with the professed intention of studying for the legal profession. There he was so scantily supported by those on whose assistance he relied that he was frequently in want even of the common necessaries of life, and was sometimes indebted for food to the generosity of kmaid-servant in the house where he lodged. In this situation, without even the hope of future distinction, he continued to struggle on against every difficulty and disappointment in the acquisition of knowledge. For six months he is said to have allowed only two nights in the week to sleep, and he was at the same time forced to endure his godfather's reproaches for negligence in the prosecution of his studies. His distress had almost amounted to despair, when lie procured the situation of tutor in the family of a French merchant resident in Leipsic. He was thus enabled to continue his studies, though with much interruption, - the emoluments of his appointment being sufficient to support him in what was at least comparative comfort. Under Ernesti he was initiated into the criticism of the classical authors ; from the prelections of the celebrated Bach he acquired a competent knowledge of Roman jurisprudence ; and by Christius, who lectured on archaeology, his attention was strongly directed. to the works of ancient art. Even after he had finished his studies at the university, he was exposed for many years to all the accumulated distresses of poverty and neglect. The first situation he was able to procure was that of copyist in the library of Count von Briihl in Dresden, with a salary of somewhat less than twenty pounds sterling, which he obtained in the year 1753. From the necessity of adding something to this scanty pittance, he was forced to employ himself in . the drudgery of translation ; and, besides some French novels, he rendered into German the Greek romance of Chariton. He published his first edition of Tibvllus in 1755, and in 1756 his Epictetus. In the latter year the Seven Years' War broke out ; Dresden was entered, and the Saxon archives seized ; the Briihl ministry fell ; and Heyne was once more in a state of absolute destitution. In 1757 he was offered a tutorship in the household of Frau von Schonberg, and there he first became acquainted with Teresa Weiss, whom he subsequently married. In January 1759 he accompanied his pupil to the university of Wittenberg; at which more than a year was spent in the study of philosophy and German history, but from which he was driven in 1760 by the Prussian cannon. The bombardment of Dresden (to which city he had meanwhile returned) on July IS, 1760, destroyed not only his humble lodging but also all his worldly possessions, which included amongst other valuable papers an almost finished edition of Lucian based on a valuable codex of the Dresden Library. In the summer of 1761 he married, although still without any fixed means of support ; and for some time he found it necessary wholly to suspend his literary pursuits that he might devote himself to the duties of the office of land-steward, to which he had been charitably appointed in the household of the Baron von Loben in Lusatia. He was enabled, however, to return to Dresden in the end of 1762, where he was commissioned by Lippert to prepare the Latin text of the third volume of his Dact yliothcca. At length, in the commencement of the year 1763, Heyne's merit met with its reward, and a new and illustrious career was opened to him. On the death of Johann Matthias Gesner at G8ttingen in 1761, the appointment to the vacant chair had been first offered to Ernesti, who, however, declined leaving the university of Leipsic, but proposed Ruhnken of Leyden or Saxe of Utrecht for the appointment. Ruhnken likewise refused it, but having been strongly impressed with the taste and learning displayed by the editor of Tibullus and Epictetus, he advised Mfinchhausen, the Hanoverian minister and principal curator of the university of Gottingen, to bestow the professorship on Heyne, whose merit, though known to few, he was confident would do honour to the choice. The minister had the good sense to acquiesce in the recommendation of this great scholar, and Heyne, after some delay, became professor of eloquence in Gottingen. Though his appointments were at first few and his emoluments inconsiderable, these were gradually augmented in proportion as his usefulness was proved, and his growing celebrity rendered it an object with the other Governments of Germany to secure the services of so distinguished a scholar. He refused the most advantageous and honourable overtures from Cassel, Berlin, and Dresden. As professor, principal librarian, member of the Royal Society, and chief editor of the Gelehrte Anzeigen, and still more by his publications, he greatly contributed to raise the university of Gottingen to the distinguished rank it still holds among the seminaries of Europe. After a long and useful career, graced with all the distinctions which in Germany are conferred on literary eminence, he died, full of years and honour, on the 14th of July 1812.
Besides Tibullus (1755 ; 4th ed. by Wunderlich in 1817) and the Essehiridiom of Epictctus (1756 ; 2d ed. 1776), he edited Virgil (1767-75 ; new ed. by Wagner, 1830-44), Pindar (1773 ; 3d ed. 1817), the Bibliotheca Greene of Apollodorus (1782 ; 2d ed. 1803), and the Iliad (1802), - all illustrated. with copious commentaries. His Opuseula Academics, in six vols. (1785-1812), contain a series of snore than a hundred academical dissertations, of which the most valuable are those respecting the colonies of Greece and the antiquities of Etruscan art and history. He left also a great number of papers on almost every subject of erudition, more especially on ancient mythology, among the Conzmentationes Societal is Regice Gottingensis. His Antiguarisehe Aufseitze, in two vols., comprise a valuable collection of essays connected with the history of ancient art. His contributions to the Giittinger Gelehrte Anzeigen are said by Heeren to have been between 7000 and 8000 in number. In the earlier part of his life he translated, or rather wrote anew, a great part of the Universal history. Sco Heeren, Heyne,'s Biographic (1813), which forms the basis of the interesting essay by Carlyle, originally published in the Foreign, Review (1828), and now reprinted in his Miscellanies, vol. ii.