1526-04-12

MARC-ANTOINE MURET, French humanist and philosopher, born (d: 1586); Known as Muretus, he was a French humanist who was among the revivers of a Ciceronian Latin style and is among the usual candidates for the best Latin prose stylist of the Renaissance. It wasn’t exactly easy to be a humanist in the 16th century. The slightest misstep and you’d end up seeing your entrails popping right before your very eyes as you burned at the stake.

In France, in particular, the Church had a couple of effective ways to dispatch those whose views were too liberal. Charge them with sodomy or Protestantism, much the same abnormality to the official medieval mind. Muret was regularly charged with both offenses.

Only one of them was true. His success made him many enemies, and he was thrown into prison on a charge of homosexuality, but released by the intervention of powerful friends. The same accusation was brought against him at Toulouse. 

Muret had taken up with Memmius Fremot only to face, once again, charges of sodomy. The two men fled the city separately and were convicted in absentia, but Muret continued to communicate with Fremot of their overwhelming love that grew daily. The records of the town show that he was burned in effigy as a Huguenot and as sodomite (1554).

Muret would flee to Venice and later Rome before finding a teaching position in an environment that offered more privacy, After a wandering and insecure life of some years in Italy, he received and accepted the invitation of the Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este to settle in Rome in 1559. In 1561 Muret revisited France as a member of the cardinal’s suite at the conference between Roman Catholics and Protestants held at Poissy.