Charles de Brosses

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Engraved portrait of de Brosses

Charles de Brosses (French: [də bʁɔs]), comte de Tournay, baron de Montfalcon, seigneur de Vezins et de Prevessin (7 February 1709 – 7 May 1777), was a French writer of the 18th century.


He was president of the parliament of his hometown Dijon from 1741, a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres from 1746, and a member of the Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles-Lettres de Dijon from 1761. He was a close friend of Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, the naturalist who wrote the Histoire Naturelle, and a personal enemy of Voltaire, the famous philosopher, who barred his entry in the Académie française in 1770. Because he opposed the absolute power of the king, he was exiled twice, in 1744 and 1771. He wrote numerous academic papers on topics concerning ancient history, philology and linguistics, some of which were used by Denis Diderot and D'Alembert in the Encyclopédie (1751-1765).[1]


De Brosses published five books:

  • Lettres sur l'état actuel de la ville souterraine d'Herculée et sur les causes de son ensevelissement sous les ruines du Vésuve (1750). This contains a list of archeological discoveries from the excavation of Herculaneum, including some ancient inscriptions in the Oscan language.
  • Histoire de la République romaine, dans le cours du VIIe siècle, par Salluste, en partie traduite du latin sur l'original, en partie rétablie et composée sur les fragmens qui sont restés de ses livres perdus (1777). This is a French translation of Sallust’s Historia, partially restored with the help of ancient fragments, and illustrated with topographical maps and archaeological founds.

De Brosses is also remembered for his posthumously published letters:


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