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George Buchanan

Buchanan, George, 1506–82, Scottish humanist. Educated at St. Andrews and Paris, he became (1536) tutor to James V's illegitimate son James Stuart (later earl of Murray). He was imprisoned (1539) for satirizing the Franciscans but escaped to the Continent. He taught at Bordeaux, where Montaigne was among his pupils, and at Coimbra and became highly regarded as a Latin poet. Returning to Scotland in 1560, Buchanan declared himself a Protestant. He became an opponent of Mary Queen of Scots after the murder (1567) of Lord Darnley and in 1571 published the Detectio Mariae Reginae, a bitter attack on the queen. From 1570 to 1578 he was tutor of the young king James VI (later James I of England). Buchanan's Rerum Scoticarum historia (1582) is a useful source for his time, but his most influential work was the De jure regni apud Scotos (1579), which argued that the king rules by popular will and for the general good.

See I. D. McFarlane, Buchanan (1981); P. J. Ford, George Buchanan: Prince of Poets (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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