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Title: Vézelay
Original Title: Vézelay
Volume and Page: Vol. 17 (1765), pp. 226–227
Author: Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt (biography)
Translator: Warren Roby [John Brown University, wroby@jbu.edu]
Subject terms:
Modern geography
Original Version (ARTFL): Link
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URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.765
Citation (MLA): Jaucourt, Louis, chevalier de. "Vézelay." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Warren Roby. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2007. Web. [fill in today's date in the form 18 Apr. 2009 and remove square brackets]. <http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.765>. Trans. of "Vézelay," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 17. Paris, 1765.
Citation (Chicago): Jaucourt, Louis, chevalier de. "Vézelay." The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Warren Roby. Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2007. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.765 (accessed [fill in today's date in the form April 18, 2009 and remove square brackets]). Originally published as "Vézelay," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 17:226–227 (Paris, 1765).

Vézelay, known in low Latin as Verziliacum, Vizeliacum, Viceliacum, et cetera, is a French hilltop village in the Morvan massif, on the borders of the Niverois and Auxerrois provinces and near the Cure river. It is four leagues west of Avalon, five north of Corbigny, and ten south-east of Auxerre, in the diocese of Autun.

Vézelay owes its origin to an abbey founded in the 9th century under Charles the Bald that was secularized in 1538 during the reign of François I. The abbot is the lord of the village and normal justice is rendered in his name. It has a bailiwick, royal revenue court, salt granary, mounted constabulary, and the Cordeliers have a monastery there. It is at 21.25 longitude and 47.29 latitude.

“A scaffold was erected in the public square of Vézelay in 1146 for the preaching of the second crusade. St. Bernard, the founder of Clervaux, was the organ of this new depopulation. He appeared in the public square of Vézelay beside Louis the Young, king of France. He spoke first and then the king. All who were present took up the cross. Louis first took it from the hands of the Clervaux founder who was at the time the oracle of France and Europe.”

It was also in Vézelay that the famous Théodore de Beze was born in 1519. He was from very good families on both his father’s and mother’s sides. He studied at Orléans under Wolmar, who inspired his religious sentiments. He came to Paris in 1539 where an inheritance awaited him which conflicted with the plan he had made to leave for foreign lands. The pleasures of Paris and the honors that were offered to him did not at all smother his resolution. He went to Lausanne where he taught Greek and gave lessons on the New Testament for nine or ten years. He established himself in Geneva in 1559 and became the colleague of Calvin in the church and academy.

It is known that he attended the Poissy Colloquy and that after its closure Catherine de Medici wanted him to remain in his homeland. He preached often before the queen of Navarre and the prince of Condé. He was a minister in attendance at the battle of Dreux. He then was in the service of Admiral Coligny and did not return to Geneva until after the peace of 1563. He attended the synod of La Rochelle in 1571. The prince of Condé called him to Strasbourg in 1574 to negotiate with prince Casimir. This shows that Beze knew how to do more than teach and write books.

The inconveniences of old age began to attack him in 1597; however, during the same year he composed fiery verses against the Jesuits who had spread the rumor of his death in Roman Catholic circles. These last verses were a votiva gratulatio [an offering of thanks] to Henry IV after the welcome that he had received in Geneva in December, 1600. He did not die until 1605 at the age of 86.

He was a man of extraordinary merit who rendered great services to his party. Sixtus V held two meetings whose purpose was to consider the means of depriving the Protestants of the support they had in the person of Beze. It is glorious for this minister to be represented as a man who troubled the rest of the Pope.

His collection of poems entitled juvenilia , although published in Paris in 1548 with the permission of the parliament, gave rise to much calumny against the author. They consist of sylvan verses, elegies, epitaphs, tableaux, and epigrams. One cannot deny that these poems contained very free verses that were hardly in conformity with the chastity of Christian muses; but they were a youthful deviation of Beze’s and he asked God and the public for pardon. He worked as hard at suppressing them as his enemies did to keep them alive and when he consented, at the age of 78, to do a new edition of them, it was in order to prevent that any new verses be inserted that might cause the slightest scandal. If he had the wisdom to also retract his treatise de haereticis a magistratu puniendis, he would have served the general cause and ennobled his character as a minister of the gospel.