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HEGIUS [VON HEEK], ALEXANDER (c. 1433-1498), German humanist, so called from his birthplace Heek in Westphalia. In his youth he was a pupil of Thomas a Kempis, at that time canon of the convent of St Agnes at Zwolle. In 1474 he settled down at Deventer in Holland, where he either founded or succeeded to the headship of a school, which became famous for the number of its distinguished alumni. First and foremost of these was Erasmus; others were Hermann von dem Busche, the missionary of humanism, Conrad Goclenius (Gockelen), Conrad Mutianus (Muth von Mudt) and pope Adrian VI. Hegius died at Deventer on the 7th of December 1498. His writings, consisting of short poems, philosophical essays, grammatical notes and letters, were published after his death by his pupil Jacob Faber. They display considerable knowledge of Latin, but less of Greek, on the value of which he strongly insisted. Hegius's chief claim to be remembered rests not upon his published works, but upon his services in the cause of humanism. He succeeded in abolishing the old-fashioned medieval textbooks and methods of instruction, and led his pupils to the study of the classical authors themselves. His generosity in assisting poor students exhausted a considerable fortune, and at his death he left nothing but his books and clothes.

See D. Reichling, " Beitrage zur Charakteristik des Alex. Hegius," in the Monatsschrift fur Westdeutschland (1877) ; H. Hamelmann, Opera genealogico-historica (1711); H. A. Erhard, Geschichte des Wiederaufbluhens wissenschaftticher Bildung (1826); C. Krafft ancl W. Crecelius, " Alexander Hegius und seine Schiller," from the works of Johannes Butzbach, one of Hegius's pupils, in Zeitschrift des bergischen Geschichtsvereins, vii. (Bonn, 1871).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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