Pieter Burman the Elder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Pieter Burmann the Elder)
Jump to: navigation, search
Pieter Burmann the Elder

Pieter Burman (1668 – March 31, 1741), often called Burmann, and known as the Elder, to distinguish him from his nephew, was a Dutch classical scholar.


He was born at Utrecht, the son of Frans Burman I and Maria, daughter of Abraham Heidanus.[1][2] At the age of thirteen he entered the university where he studied under Graevius and Gronovius. He devoted himself particularly to the study of the classical languages, and became unusually proficient in Latin composition. As he was intended for the legal profession, he spent some years in attendance on the law classes. For about a year he studied at Leiden, paying special attention to philosophy and Greek.

On his return to Utrecht he took the degree of doctor of laws (March 1688), and after travelling through Switzerland and part of Germany, settled down to the practice of law, without, however, abandoning his classical studies. In December 1691 he was appointed receiver of the tithes which were originally paid to the bishop of Utrecht, and five years later was nominated to the professorship of eloquence and history. To this chair was soon added that of Greek and politics. In 1714 he paid a short visit to Paris and ransacked the libraries. In the following year he was appointed successor to the celebrated Perizonius, who had held the chair of history, Greek language and eloquence at Leiden.

He was subsequently appointed professor of history for the United Provinces and in 1724 he became the 9th Librarian of Leiden University. His numerous editorial and critical works spread his fame as a scholar throughout Europe, and engaged him in many of the stormy disputes which were then so common among men of letters. Burman was rather a compiler than a critic; his commentaries show immense learning and accuracy, but are wanting in taste and judgment. He died on 31 March 1741.


Title page of Burman’s Quintilian edition (Leiden 1720)

Burman edited the following classical authors:

In his edition of Petronius's Satyricon he demonstrated that the supplementary material recently added to the text by François Nodot was in fact a forgery.[citation needed]

He also published an edition of George Buchanan's works, continued Graevius's major work, Thesaurus Antiquitatum et Historiarum Italiae, and wrote a treatise De Vectigalibus Populi Romani (1694) and a short manual of Roman antiquities, Antiquitatum Romanarum Brevis Descriptio (1711). His Sylloge epistolarum a viris illustribus scriptarum (1725) contains biographical material on scholars.

The list of his works occupies five pages in Christoph Gottlieb Saxe's Onomasticon. His poems and orations were published after his death. There is an account of his life in the Gentleman's Magazine for April (1742) by Samuel Johnson.


  1. ^ Wiep van Bunge et al. (editors), The Dictionary of Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Dutch Philosophers (2003), Thoemmes Press (two volumes), article Burman Primus or Sr., Pieter, p. 193–5.
  2. ^ d:s:ADB:Burmann, Franz

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Burmann, Pieter". Encyclopædia Britannica 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.