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RUHLA

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 823 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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RUHLA  , a

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town of Germany, partly in the duchy of Saxe-
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Weimar and partly in that of Saxe-
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Coburg-
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Gotha . Pop . (1905) 7017 . It stretches along the valley of the Erb in the Thuringian
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forest 8 m . S. of
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Eisenach, and attracts a number of visitors owing to its beautiful natural surroundings and its
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mineral springs . Its
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staple industry is the making of wooden and
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meerschaum pipes; it has also electrical
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works, and some small manufactures . Ruhla, which is known locally as Die Ruhl, was famous in the
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middle ages for its armourers, and subsequently for its cutlers . See Ziegler, Das Thiiringerwalddorf Ruhla (
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Dresden, 1876) . RUHNKEN, DAVID (1723-1798), one of the most illustrious scholars of the
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Netherlands, was of German origin, having been born in Pomerania in 1723 . His parents had him educated for the church, but after two years at the university of
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Wittenberg he determined to live the
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life of a scholar . At Wittenberg Ruhnken lived in close intimacy with the two most distinguished professors, Ritter and Berger . To them he owed a thorough grounding in ancient
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history and
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Roman antiquities and literature; and from them he learned a pure and vivid Latin style .

At Wittenberg, too, Ruhnken derived valuable

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mental training from study in mathematics and Roman law . Probably nothing would have severed him from his surroundings there but a
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desire which daily grew upon him to explore the inmost recesses of Greek literature . Neither at Wittenberg nor at any other German university was Greek in that age seriously studied . It was taught in the main to students in divinity for the
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sake of the Greek Testament and the early fathers of the church . F . A . Wolf is the real creator of Greek scholarship in
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modern Germany, and
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Poison's gibe that " the Germans in Greek are sadly to seek " was barbed with truth . It is significant of the state of Hellenic studies in Germany in 1743 that their leading exponents were Gesner and Ernesti . Ruhnken was well advised by his friends at Wittenberg to seek the university of
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Leiden, where, stimulated by the influence of Bentley, the
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great scholar Tiberius Hemsterhuis had founded the only real school of Greek learning which had existed on the Continent since the days of Joseph
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Scaliger and Isaac Casaubon . Perhaps no two men of letters ever lived in closer friendship than Hemsterhuis and Ruhnken during the twenty-three years which passed from Ruhnken's arrival in the Netherlands in 1743 to the
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death of Hemsterhuis in 1766 . A few years made it clear that Ruhnken and Valckenaer were the two pupils of the great master on whom his
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inheritance must devolve . As his reputation spread, many efforts were made to attract Ruhnken back to Germany, but after settling in Leiden, he only
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left the country once, when he spent a
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year in Paris, ransacking the public
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libraries (1755) .

For

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work achieved, this year of Ruhnken may compare even with the famous year which Ritschl spent in Italy . In 1957 Ruhnken was appointed lecturer in Greek, to assist Hemsterhuis, and in 1761 he succeeded Oudendorp, with the title of " ordinary professor of history and eloquence," but practically as Latin professor . This promotion drew on him the enmity of some native Netherlanders, who deemed themselves (not without some show of reason) to possess stronger claims for a chair of Latin . The only defence made by Ruhnken was to publish works on Latin literature which eclipsed and silenced his rivals . In 1766 Valckenaer succeeded Hemsterhuis in the Greek chair . The intimacy between the two colleagues was only broken by Valckenaer's death in 1785, and stood without strain the test of
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common candidature for the office (an important one at Leiden) of university librarian, in which Ruhnken was successful . Ruhnken's later years were clouded by severe domestic misfortune, and by the
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political commotions which, after the outbreak of the war with England in 178o, troubled the Netherlands without ceasing, and threatened to extinguish the university of Leiden . He died in 1998 . Personally, Ruhnken was as far as possible removed from being a recluse or a
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pedant . He had a well-knit and even hand-some
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frame, attractive manners (though sometimes tinged with irony), and a nature
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simple and healthy, and open to impressions from all sides . Fond of society, he cared little to what rank his associates belonged, if they were genuine men in whom he might find something to learn . His biographer even says of him in his early days that he knew how to sacrifice to the Sirens without proving traitor to the Muses .

Life in the open

air had a great attraction for him; he was fond of sport, and would sometimes devote to it two or three days in the week . In his bearing towards other scholars Ruhnken was generous and dignified, distributing
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literary aid with a
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free hand, and meeting onslaughts for the most
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part with a smile . In the records of learning he occupies an important position . He forms a
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principal
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link in the chain which connects Bentley with the modern scholarship of the Continent . The spirit and the aims of Hemsterhuis, the great reviver of
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Continental learning, were committed to his
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trust, and were faithfully maintained . He greatly widened the circle of those who valued taste and precision in classical scholarship . He powerfully aided the emancipation of Greek studies from
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theology; nor must it be forgotten that he first in modern times dared to think of rescuing
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Plato from the hands of the professed philosophers—men pre-sumptuous enough to interpret the ancient sage with little or no knowledge of the language in which he wrote . Ruhnken's principal works are
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editions of (1) Timaeus's
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Lexicon of Platonic Words, (2) Thalelaeus and other Greek commentators on Roman law, (3) Rutilius Lupus and other grammarians, (4) Velleius Paterculus, (5) the works of
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Muretus . He also occupied himself much with the history of Greek literature, particularly the oratorical literature, with the Homeric
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hymns, the scholia on Plato and the Greek and Roman grammarians and rhetoricians . A
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discovery famous in its time was that in the text of the work of
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Apsines on rhetoric a large piece of a work by Longinus was embedded . Modern views of the writings attributed to Longinus have lessened the
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interest of this discovery without lessening its merit . The biography of Ruhnken was written by his great pupil, Wyttenbach, soon after his death .

(J . S .

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