Louis Sebastien le Nain de Tillemont
French historian and priest, b. November 30, 1637; d. January 10, 1698
Tillemont, LOUIS-SÉBASTIEN LE NAIN DE, French historian and priest, b. at Paris, November 30, 1637; d. there, January 10, 1698; he was educated at the petites écoles of Port-Royal, where Nicole instructed him in logic. His natural inclination was towards history. In reading Baronius he conceived the idea of going back to the sources from which that historian had drawn. At the age of eighteen, therefore, he began to make notes and extracts—a work he continued throughout his life. He spent several years at Beauvais, partly in the seminary and partly with Canon Hermant, who was an authority on the early ages of Christianity. He received Holy orders somewhat late in life, becoming a subdeacon in 1672 and a priest four years later, when he was 39. At that time he resided in Port-Royal, but a little later, in 1679, when its community was dispersed, he withdrew to his small estate at Tillemont, between Montreuil and Vincennes, where he remained till his death twenty years later in 1698, devoting his time to exercises of piety and to historical work. He supplied several of his learned friends with much material for their writings. Thus he spent two years collecting notes on St. Louis for Lemaistre de Lacy, who did not live, however, to make use of them. They were published by the Societé de l’histoire de France in 1847 (6 vols.). Tillemont wrote in addition: “Histoire des empereurs et autres princes qui ont régné pendant les six premiers siècles de l’Eglise” (6 volumes in 4°), and “Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire ecclésiastique des six premiers siècles” (16 volumes in 4°). Only the first four volumes of each of these works appeared in the life-time of the author. Tillemont’s style is dry, but he is an accurate and learned historian.