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James Crichton

Crichton, James (krĪˈtən) [key], 1560?–1583?, Scottish adventurer and scholar, called the Admirable Crichton. A graduate of the Univ. of St. Andrews, he spent some time in France, possibly in military service. By 1579 he was in Italy, where he attracted attention by his scholarly accomplishments and personal charm. Reputedly he spoke 12 languages and displayed amazing erudition and powers of memory in public disputations. He entered the service of a Mantuan nobleman as tutor to his son and was slain by his charge in a street brawl. His fame is due to the extravagant praise given him by Aldus Manutius (grandson of the famous printer of the same name) and by his 17th-century biographer, Sir Thomas Urquhart.

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

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