Conrad Lycosthenes

Conrad Lycosthenes (1518 — 1561) was a humanist and an encyclopedist. He was born in Ruffach in Alsace on August 8 1518. He was the son of Theobald Wolffhart and Elizabeth Kürsner, sister of the protestant theologian Conrad Pellicanus, he later changed his German name, Wolffhart, to Lycosthenes. He belongs to the numerous polyhistorians of the 16th century. Being an erudite, he mastered Latin and Greek and was particularly fond of curiosities. His works are as varied as editorial works, translations and compilations.


From 1535 to 1539, Conrad studied philosophy in Heidelberg. In 1542, he left Heidelberg for Basel where he began teaching Grammar and Dialectics. In 1545, at the age of 27, he became Deacon in the Church of Saint-Leonard. On December 21 1554, he suffered from hemiplegia and lost the ability to use his right hand. He learned to write with his left hand and continued his literary works until his death from apoplexia on March 25, 1561, at the age of 43. In the meantime he had married Chretienne Herbster, sister of the famous Basel book printer Johannes Oporinus (Oporin) and widow of Leonard Zwinger, father of Theodor Zwinger, author of the Theatrum vitae humanae.,


  • 1547 Commentaries on De viris illustribus, Basel, in-8°.
  • 1551 Elenchus scriptorum omnium, Basel, in-4°.
  • 1551 Gnomologia ex AEneae Sylvii operibus collecta, Basel, edit.1555, in 4°.
  • 1552 Iulii Obsequentis Prodigiorum liber, ab urbe condita usque ad Augustum Caesarem, cujus tantum extabat Fragmentum, nunc demum Historiarum beneficio, per Conradum Lycosthenem Rubeaquensem, integrati suae restitutus. Basilae, ex off. Ioannis Oporinii, Anno Salutis humanae, M.D.LII. Mense Martio, in-8°.
  • 1552 J. Ravisii Textoris officina, Basel.
  • 1555 Apophthegmatum sive responsorum memorabilium, ex probatissimis quibusque tam graecis quam latinis auctoribus priscis pariter atque recentioribus, collectorum Loci communes ad ordinem alphabeticum redacti, Basel, in fol.
  • 1557 Epitome Stobaei Sententiarum, Basel, in -8°.
  • 1557 Parabolae sive similitudines ex var. auct. ab Erasmo collectae, in locos communes redactae, Berne in-4°; Basel, 1575, 1602, in-8°.
  • 1557 Prodigiorum ac ostentorum chronicon, quae praeter naturae ordinem, et in superioribus et his inferioribus mundi regionibus, ab exordio mundi usque ad haec nostra tempora acciderunt. Basileae per H. Petri, fol, 672 p. fig. et pl. (64).
  • 1559 Dom. Brusonii Facetiarum lib. VII, Basel, in-4°.
  • 1560 Regula investigationis omnium locorum in tabula Helvetiae contentorum, Basel, in-4°.


  • Lucio D. Brusoni, An extracte of examples, apothegmes, and histories Collected out of Lycosthenes, Brusonius and others, London 1572
  • Jürgen Beyer, 'Lycosthenes, Conrad', in Enzyklopädie des Märchens. Handwörterbuch zur historischen und vergleichenden Erzählforschung, vol. 8 (Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1994-96), coll. 1323-6

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