Sebastian Gryphius  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Sebastian Gryphius ( c. 1492 in Reutlingen, Germany - 1556 in Lyon, France) was a German bookseller-printer and humanist.


He was the son of Michael Greyff (Greif, Gryff, Gryph), and learned from him the new craft of printing, in Germany and then in Venice. Around 1520 he came to Lyon and settled there, on behalf of a Venetian firm of booksellers.

Initially Gryphius mostly published works on law and administration, in Gothic script. He then moved to Latin classics. He also translated classical Greek authors into Latin. He published his contemporaries Erasmus, Guillaume Budé and Poliziano.

In 1536 he went into business with Hugues de la Porte, who financed him in an independent venture. He founded l'Atelier du Griffon, with a griffin mark. Around this time he introduced the Italic type of Aldus Manutius.

In the 1540s he was the highly-reputed 'Prince of the Lyon book trade'. He promoted the local humanist culture, and his books were prized for their clean lay-out and accuracy. The nineteenth-century scholar Henri Baudrier spoke of the Atelier du Griffon as a « société angélique pour les libres-penseurs ».

His friends included André Alciat, Étienne Dolet, Guillaume Scève and Barthélémy Aneau, and they wrote highly of his work, even helping out in practical printing tasks. Their linguistic input was also of benefit to the works printed. Gryphius printed suspect texts and even sheltered authors in trouble for heretical writing. Étienne Dolet, an academic and satirical poet, came fresh from jail in Toulouse, and was burned as a heretic in 1546.

From 1540, François Rabelais came to Gryphius to publish his translations of Hippocrates, Galen and Giovanni Mainardi.


His brother Franz (François) was a printer in the rue des Carmes in Paris from 1532. Another brother, Johann (Jean), remained in Venice, also as a printer.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sebastian Gryphius" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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