Symphorien Champier

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Symphorien Champier (1471–1538), a Lyonnese doctor born in Saint-Symphorien, France, was a relation of the Chevalier de Bayard through his wife, Marguerite Terrail.


A doctor of medicine at Montpellier, Champier was the personal physician of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine, whom he followed to Italy with Louis XII, attending to several battles, and finally settling in Lyon. He worked in Lyon alongside François Rabelais (who wrote satirically of him in Gargantua and Pantagruel), where he established the College of the Doctors of Lyon. There he fulfilled the duties of an alderman and contributed to numerous local foundations, in particular L'Ecole des médecins de Lyon ("The School of the Doctors of Lyon").

His fame was considerable in Lyon, which in the 16th century was the greatest manufacturer of medical books in France, with editors such as Sébastien Gryphe. In addition to medicinal science, Champier studied Greek and Arab scholars and composed a great number of historical works, including Chroniques de Savoie in 1516 and Vie de Bayard in 1525.

He was also associated with Renaissance occultism.

See also[edit]


  • Champier, Symphorien. Dictionnaire Bouillet.
  • Copenhaver, Brian. Symphorien Champier and the Reception of the Occultist Tradition in Renaissance France. The Hague: Mouton, 1979.