Study at Academie de Puy Laurens and Académie de Saumur.
- Professional Experience:
Member, Académie des Inscriptions, 1695; Académie Française, 1695; perpetual secretary, 1713.
Oeuvres d’Horace, 10 vols. (Paris, 1681-9; partially translated by J. Browne as Several Odes of Horace Translated into English Verse (London, 1705)); Pomponius Festus and Verrius Flaccus (Paris, 1681; Amsterdam, 1699) "Marcus Antoninus" (Paris, 1690); Reflexions morales de l'Empereur Marc Antonin (with A. Dacier) (Paris, 1691); La Poétique d’Aristote (Paris, 1692; partially translated as The Preface to Aristotle’s Art of Poetry (anon.) (London, 1705); Oedipe et l’Electre de Sophocle (Paris, 1692); Les Vies des Hommes illustrés de Plutarque (five lives, Paris, 1694; complete, Paris, 1721; Amsterdam, 1723); Les Oeuvres d'Hippocrate, 4 vols. (Paris, 1697); Platon (selections; Paris, 1699); Les Commentaires D'Hierocles Sur Les Vers Dorez De Pythagore (Paris, 1706); Nouveaux eclaircissemens sur les oeuvres d'Horace: avec la réponse a la critique de M. Masson ... (Paris, 1708); Le manuel d'Epictète, et les commentaires de Simplicius (with A. Dacier) (Paris, 1715).
Born to a Protestant family, Dacier’s father sent him to the Huguenot university at Saumur in order that he might study with the Protestant classicist editor and translator Tanneguy Le Fèvre (1615-72). When Le Fèvre died suddenly in 1672, Dacier moved to Paris where Charles de Sainte-Maure, Duc de Montausier (1610-90) commissioned him to create an edition of Pomponius Festus for the Delphin Classics series of annotated and paraphrased Latin texts begun in 1674 for the use of “Le grand Dauphin” (ad usum delphini), Louis, the son and heir of Louis XIV. Dacier later added an edition of Marcus Aurelius to the series. In the same year that he published his Festus, he began a translation and commentary on Horace (1681-4) using Le Fèvre’s 1671 text, and in 1683 he married Le Fèvre’s widowed daughter, Anne (1654-1720), who would come to be known as Madame Dacier. Accuracy in his Horace translation is sometimes sacrificed on the then-fashionable altar of allegory and claimed that Horace used the books of Moses and the Song of Solomon to castigate adultery. In 1685 he and his wife converted to Catholicism. He is best remembered as a translator mainly of Greek authors, especially his translation of Aristotle’s Poetics, which he followed in the same year with translations of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos and Electra to exemplify Aristotle’s theories. He also rendered Plutarch, Hippocrates, and Plato, among others. In return for his assistance in compiling Louis XIV’s “medallic history” of his reign, published in 1702, he was named librarian of the Louvre in 1720. With his wife he translated Horace, Plutarch, Marcus Antoninus, Epictetus, and Hippocrates and many of his works were contemporaneously translated into English. Though Wilamowitz said that the chief value of the Delphins “is purely typographical,” he calls the “moderate productions” of Le Fèvre and the Daciers as “the only works in the series worth mentioning.”
Sandys, 2:291-2; Wilamowitz, 63; G. Chiarini, Enciclopedia Oraziana (1998) 3:186-7.
- Author: Ward Briggs