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Louis-Pierre Anquetil

Priest, French historian (1723-1806)

Anquetil, LOUIS-PIERRE, a French historian, b. in Paris, February 21, 1723; d. September 6, 1806. He entered the Congregation of Sainte-Genevieve when seventeen and became a priest. He taught theology and letters there; then became director of the seminary at Reims, and wrote a history of that city, his first historical work. In 1759 he became prior of the abbey of La Roe, in Anjou, and soon after was appointed director of the college of Senlis, which belonged to his order. Here he wrote his “Histoire de la Ligue”. In 1766 he obtained a priory at Chateau-Renard and abandoned teaching. About the time of the Revolution he became cure of La Villette near Paris. During the Reign of Terror he was imprisoned for some time at Saint Lazare where he worked on his “Histoire Universelle”. When released after 9 Thermidor he finished it. His last work, “Histoire de France”, states in the preface that Anquetil undertook it at Napoleon’s request. It reveals the weakening of his powers by old age. Augustin Thierry (Quatrieme lettre sur l’Histoire de France) calls the work “cold and colorless” and says Anquetil compares unfavorably with the French historians Mezeray, Daniel, and Velly, although he admits that he could freely grasp the manners and spirit of a past age when he studied them in their original sources. Anquetil’s works are: 1. “Memoire servant de reponse pour le sieur Delaistre, libraire a Reims, contre le sieur Anquetil” (Reims, 1758); 2. “Almanach de Reims” (1754); 3. “Esprit de la Ligue, ou Histoire politique des troubles de la Fronde pendant le XVIe et le XVIIe siecle” (1767, 3 vols.); 4. “Vie du marechal de Villars, ecrite par lui-meme”, followed by “Journal le la Cour de 1724 a 1734” (1787); 5. “Louis XIV, sa Cour et le Regent” (1789); “Precis de l’Histoire universelle” (1797); “Histoire de France depuis les Gaules jusqu’a la fin de la monarchie” (1805); “Notice sur la vie de M. Anquetil-Duperron”. This was his brother, a notable Orientalist, his junior by eight years, who died one year before him.

JOHN J. A’ BECKET


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