Celebrities in Switzerland: Robert Estienne
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Estienne, Robert (1503 - 1559) France / BusinessmanGenève / GE

From a noble family of Parisian typographers, Robert Estienne was in contact with humanist circles throughout Europe. He adopted the Reformists' beliefs early on and in 1528 he started editing the Bible in Latin.

Quickly suspected of heresy, he received threats from the Sorbonne who criticised him for circulating Bible texts in their original language and making translations available to the masses.

After battling for 20 years, he fled Paris in 1550 to go to Geneva where he could freely follow the religion of his choice and continue his trade. Robert Estienne published in Geneva, under the olive tree name :

Works of Christian theology ( the first one published was a Greek translation of Calvin's catechism)
Works destined for teaching, dictionaries, of which the most famous is his Thesaurus latinae linguae
Secular works by Greek and Latin authors.

This was in Geneva, during the golden age of Reformist printing. In 1556 Geneva freely awarded him "bourgeoisie" status in recognition of the fame that his activity had brought to the Republic.


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