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Arias Mantanus
Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > Spanish and Portuguese linguists > Arias Mantanus

The name of Benedict Arias Mantanus, editor of the so-called " King of Spain's Polyglot Bible," is better known to Biblical students. He was born at Frexenal in Estremadura in 1527 and studied in the university of Alcala, then in the first freshness of the reputation which it owed to the magnificence of the great Cardinal Ximenes. Montanus entered the order of St. James, and after accompanying the Bishop of Segovia to the Council of Trent, where he appeared with great distinction, returned to the Hermitage of Nuestra Seņora de los Angelos near Aracena, with the intention of devoting himself entirely to study and prayer. From this retreat, however, he was drawn by Philip II, who employed him to edit a new Polyglot Bible on a more comprehensive plan than the Complutensian Polyglot. On the completion of this task, Philip sought to reward the learned editor by naming him to a bishopric; but Montanus had humility and self-denial enough to decline the honour, and died an humble chaplain, in 1598. The estimate formed by his contemporaries of Montanus's attainments in languages falls little short of the marvellous. Le Mire describes him as omnium fere gentium linguis et literis raro exemplo excultus ; but we may more safely take his own modest statement in the preface of his Polyglot, that he knew ten languages.

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