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Abudacnus, Josephus (fl. 1595–1643), scholar of oriental languages, was born in Cairo. His parents were Copts, his father probably connected with the Ottoman administration. His Arabic name, Yusuf ibn Abu Dhaqn, was Latinized as Josephus Abudacnus (or Barbatus). In 1595, after a rudimentary education in ...

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Adgar [William] (fl. 1150x1200), Anglo-Norman translator, was baptized Adgar but reveals that he was more commonly known as William; Trouvère (roughly meaning ‘poet’) is a later and inauthentic epithet. As the author of the first vernacular rendering of the miracles of the Virgin Mary...

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Alfonsi, Petrus (fl. 1106–1126), scholar and translator of scientific works, was born in northern Spain, to Jewish parents. He was baptized a Christian on 29 June 1106 in Huesca, Aragon, with the names of the apostle on whose feast day the baptism took place and of his godfather, ...

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Allies, Mary Helen Agnes (1852–1927), historian and translator, was born possibly at St John's Wood, London, on 2 February 1852, the eldest daughter of Thomas William Allies (1813–1903) and his wife, Eliza Hall (d. 1902), second daughter of Thomas Harding Newman of ...

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Armour, Peter James (1940–2002), Italian scholar, was born on 19 November 1940 at the Victoria Nursing Home, Cleveleys, Fleetwood, Lancashire, the elder son and eldest of three children of James Armour, a gas company cashier, and his wife, Anne Mary, née Monaghan of ...

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Atkinson, William (d. 1509), translator, lived in the diocese of York, and was one of the original fellows of Jesus College, Cambridge, by 1499. He gained the degrees of BA in 1475, MA in 1478, BD in 1489, and DD in 1497. He was appointed fellow of ...

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Backhouse, Sir Edmund Trelawny, second baronet (1873–1944), Sinologist and fraudster, eldest of the four surviving sons of Jonathan Edmund Backhouse, first baronet (1849–1918), a banker, and Florence (1845–1902), youngest daughter of Sir John Salusbury Salusbury-Trelawny, was born on 20 October 1873 at The Rookery, Middleton Tyas, Yorkshire...

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Robert Speaight

revised by Annette Peach

Baring, Maurice (1874–1945), poet and author, was born at 37 Church Street, Mayfair, London, on 27 April 1874, the fifth son of Edward Charles Baring (1828–1897), who became first Baron Revelstoke, banker, and his wife, Louisa Emily Charlotte (d. 1892), daughter of ...

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Maurice Baring (1874–1945) by Howard Coster, 1934 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barker, William (fl. 1540–1576), translator and member of parliament, was humbly born but through the patronage of Anne Boleyn was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, graduating MA in 1540. A Roman Catholic, Barker left for Italy, probably in 1549, and travelled widely throughout the peninsula collecting Latin epitaphs (his ...

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Barker, Sir William (1909–1992), diplomatist and Russian scholar, was born on 19 July 1909 at 3 Plank Lane, Leigh, Lancashire, the eldest of the three children of Alfred Barker, master baker and later licensed victualler, and his wife, Annie, formerly Arden (née...

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Bassett [née Roper], Mary (d. 1572), translator, was the second of five children of Margaret Roper (1505–1544), favourite daughter of Sir Thomas More, and her husband, William Roper (1495x8–1578). Herself a fine classicist, Margaret Roper was determined that her daughter should be taught Latin and Greek by the most distinguished scholars and approached ...

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Bath, Adelard of (b. in or before 1080?, d. in or after 1150), scientist and translator, was a pioneer in introducing Arabic mathematics into England.

Although absolute confidence cannot be placed in the autobiographical details included within the fictitious context of his literary works, ...

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Bedingfield, Thomas (early 1540s?–1613), translator, was born probably in the early 1540s at Oxburgh Hall, Oxburgh, Norfolk, the second of the five sons of Sir Henry Bedingfeld (1509x11–1583), administrator, and his wife, Katherine (d. 1581), daughter of Sir Roger Townshend of ...

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Bellenden [Bannatyne], John (c. 1495–1545x8), poet and translator, may have been born in Lothian. He was probably a younger son of Patrick Bellenden (fl. 1486–1520), steward to Margaret Tudor, and Marion Douglas (fl. 1490–1542), nurse to James V. He belonged to a family prominent in royal service throughout the sixteenth century and his parentage also linked him firmly to the ...

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Belzoni, Giovanni Battista (1778–1823), performing artist and Egyptologist, was born on 5 November 1778 in Padua, the son of a barber, Giacomo Belzoni, and his wife, Teresa. He went to Rome aged sixteen to prepare himself for monastic orders; he claimed also to have studied hydraulics. The French invasion of ...

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Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778–1823) by Maxim Gauci, pubd 1821 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bentley, Catharine [name in religion Magdalen Augustine] (1591–1659), abbess and translator, may have been the younger sister of Ann Bentley who entered the same convent on 3 May 1611, aged twenty-two; nothing further is known of her family. She took vows at the English convent of the Poor Clares at ...

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See Bernard, Jeffrey Joseph

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Blandy [Blandie], William (fl. 1563–1581), translator, was born in Newbury, Berkshire, the son of William Blandy. He was elected to a probationer fellowship at New College, Oxford, in 1563. Following his admission to a full fellowship on 8 June 1565, he graduated BA a year later, on 3 July 1566. A devoted Catholic, he was stripped of his degree and fellowship in the same year by the evangelical college visitor, ...