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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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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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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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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, ...

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Bonomi, Joseph (1796–1878), sculptor and Egyptologist, and his twin sister, Mary Anne Bonomi (1796–1872), were born at 76 Great Titchfield Street, London, on 9 October 1796, the eighth and ninth but fourth and fifth surviving children of Joseph (Giuseppe) Bonomi (1739–1808), architect, and ...

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Bromley, John (bap. 1653, d. 1718), translator, was baptized on 5 June 1653 at St Julian's, Shrewsbury, the son of John Bromley, a burgess of the town, and his wife, Isabell. His father had been appointed to a parochial committee in 1647, when the town was in parliamentarian hands. On 9 December 1663 ...

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Bruarne [Bruerne], Richard (1519–1565), Hebrew scholar, was born on 10 March 1519, according to a note by him in Hebrew and Latin in his copy of Giralmo Cardona's Libelli quinti (1546) in the British Library. He studied at Lincoln College, Oxford, taking his BA on 8 February 1537 and his MA on 2 May 1539. He was appointed a fellow of the college in 1538. In March 1546 he was appointed to the living of ...

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Bull, George Anthony (1929–2001), journalist and translator, was born into a working-class Roman Catholic family at 5 Alfred Street, Bow, London, on 23 August 1929, the son of George Thomas Bull, a tramway inspector for the London Passenger Transport Board, and his wife, ...