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NICOLAS SANSON (1600-1667)

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 183 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NICOLAS SANSON (1600-1667), French cartographer, wrongly termed by some the creator of French geography, was born of an old Picardy family of Scottish descent, at Abbeville, on the 20th (Or 31st) of December 1600, and was educated by the Jesuits at Amiens. In 1627 he attracted the attention of Riche-lieu by a map of Gaul which he had constructed (or at least begun) while only eighteen. He gave lessons in geography both to Louis XIII. and to Louis XIV.; and when Louis XIII., it is said, came to Abbeville, he preferred to be the guest of Sanson (then employed on the fortifications), instead of occupying the lodgings provided by the town. At the conclusion of this visit the king made Sanson a councillor of state. In 1647 Sanson accused the Jesuit Labbe of plagiarizing him in his Pharus Galliae Antiquae; in 1648 he lost his eldest son Nicolas, killed during the Fronde. Among the friends of his later years was the great Conde. He died at Paris on the 7th of July 1667. Two younger sons, Adrien (d. 1708) and Guillaume (d. 1703), succeeded him as geographers to the king. Sanson's principal works are: Galliae antiquae descriptio geographica (1627); Graeciae antiquae descriptio (1636); L'Empire romain (1637); Britannia, ou recherches de l'antiquile d'Abbeville (1638), in which he seeks to identify Strabo's Britannia with Abbeville; La France r(1644); Tables methodiques pour les divisions des Gaules . . . (1644); L'Angleterre, l'Espagne, l'Italie et l'Allemagne (1644); Le Colas du Rhin (1646); In Pharum Galliae antiquae Philippi Labbe disquisitiones (1647—1648); Remarques sur la carte de 1' ancienne Gaule de Cesar (1651); L'Asie (1652); Index geographicus (1653); Geographia sacra (1653); L'Afrique (1656). In 1692 Hubert Jaillot collected Sanson's maps in an Atlas nouveau. See also Niceron, ' The Aryabhaflya, edited by H. Kern (1874). 2 The Brihat-samhitei and Yogayatra, edited and translated by H. Kern; the Laghu-jataka, edited by A. Weber and H. Jacobi. ' A translation of both treatises, as well as of the respective chapters of Brahma-gupta's work, was published (1817) by H. T. Colebrooke, with an important " Dissertation on the Algebra of the Hindus," reprinted in the Misc. Essays, ii. pp. 375 seq. Memoires, vols. xiii. and xx.; the 18th-century editions of some of Sanson's works on Delamarche under the titles of Atlas de geographie ancienne and Atlas britannique; and the Catalogue des cartes et livres de geographie de Sanson (1702).
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