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CHARLES ROLLIN (1661-1741)

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 468 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHARLES ROLLIN (1661-1741), French historian and educationist, was born at Paris on the 3oth of January 1661. He was the son of a cutler, and at the age of twenty-two was made a master in the College du Plessis. In 1694 he was rector of the university of Paris, rendering great service among other things by reviving the study of Greek. He held that post for two years instead of one, and in 1699 was appointed principal of the College de Beauvais. Rollin held Jansenist principles, and even went so far as to defend the miracles supposed to be worked at the tomb of Francois de Paris, commonly known as Deacon Paris. Unfortunately his religious opihions deprived him of his appointments and disqualified him for the rectorship, to which in 1719 he had been re-elected. It is said that the same reason prevented his election to the French Academy, though he was a member of the Academy of Inscriptions. Shortly before his death (14th December 1741) he protested publicly against the acceptance of the bull Unigenitus. Rollin's literary work dates chiefly from the later years of his life, when he had been forbidden to teach. His once famous Ancient History (Paris, 1730-38), and the less generally read Roman History, which followed it, were avowed compilations, uncritical and somewhat inaccurate. But they instructed and interested generation after generation almost to the present day. A more original and really important work was his Traite des etudes (Paris, 1726-31). It contains a summary of what was even then a reformed and innovating system of education, including a more frequent and extensive use of the vulgar tongue, and discarded the medieval traditions that had lingered in France. See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, vol. vi.
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