Henri II was the eldest son of Robert I and like his father he received an education in languages and literature. We know that his father taught him but in addition to this familial instruction Henri II was also taught Greek by Pierre Danès (1497-1577), professor of Greek at the Collège Royal. As Armstrong notes, he therefore shared a teacher with the future dauphin. This multi-lingual education laid the bedrock for his later translations. His career mirrored that of his father in many ways: when his father fled to Geneva in 1550 Henri II followed him there. In the late 1540s and early 1550s Henri, while helping his father with his press, also journeyed all over Europe in search of as many rare and precious books and manuscripts as he could find. When he returned to Geneva, he translated, corrected and published many of them. Some of his most famous publications may be found in the Edward Worth Library.
[Anakreontos Teiou mele]: Anacreontis Teij odæ. Ab Henrico Stephano luce & Latinitate nunc primùm donatæ (Paris,1554), title page bearing Estienne device 7.
Worth owned a copy of Henri II’s first publication, a translation of the ancient lyric poet Anacreon’s poetry. This was published in 1554 and the imprint names the place of publication as Paris (his brother Robert II would reprint it there in 1556). Schreiber notes that Henri II did not in fact own a press in Paris and that this edition, which bears his name, was probably printed for him by Guillaume Morel (1505-64), who was also involved in the 1556 edition of Robert II. By 1557 we know that Henri II had opened his own printing house in Geneva and he would prove to be a prolific printer, editing more than 170 editions in several languages, without even counting translations and commentaries. The scale of his work is mirrored in Worth’s collections where Henri II’s publications account for the lion’s share of the Estiennes. For example, Worth owned three publications from 1557, the year his press opened: [Maximou Tyriou philosophou Platönikou Logoi má: Maximi Tyrii philosophi Platonici Sermones sive Disputationes XLI. Græcè nunc primùm editæ ([Geneva], 1557); [Ek ton Aristotelous kai Theophrastou]: Aristotelis et Theophrasti scripta quædam, quæ uel nunquam antea, uel minus emendata quam nunc, edita fuerunt ([Geneva], 1557) and [Ek ton Ktesiou, Agatharchidou, Memnonos historikon eklogai. Appianou Iberike kai Annibaike]: Ex Ctesia, Agatharcide, Memnone excerptæ historiæ. Appiani Iberica. Item, De gestis Annibalis. Omnia nunc primùm edita. Cum Henrici Stephani castigationibus ([Geneva], 1557).
[Ek ton Aristotelous kai Theophrastou]: Aristotelis et Theophrasti scripta quædam, quæ uel nunquam antea, uel minus emendata quam nunc, edita fuerunt (Geneva, 1557), title page bearing device 12.
It’s interesting to notice that on most of these 1557 publications, the imprint reads ‘Ex officina Henrici Stephani, Parisiensis typographi’, (Parisian printer), even though his address was in Geneva. This may be read as a desire to highlight links between his new press and that of his grandfather, Henri I (1460-1520), who was a well-known Parisian printer. The new press did not fare well but luckily Henri II was rescued from financial difficulties by the patronage of Huldrich Fugger (1526-84), a rich landlord of the famous Augsburg banking family. Fugger, who already had his own precious collection of ancient manuscripts, provided Henri II with vital financial aid and access to texts. This arrangement was reflected in the imprints of Henri II’s publications as may be seen in image 3 below.
Dictionarivm medicum, vel, expositiones vocum medicinaliu[m], ad verbum exerptæ ex Hippocrate, Aretaeo, Galeno, Oribasio, Rvfo Ephesio, Aetio, Alex. Tralliano, Pavlo Aegineta, Actvario, Corn. Celso. Cum Latina interpretatione. Lexica duo in Hippocratem huic Dictionario præfixa sunt, vnum, Erotiani, nunqua[m] antea editu[m], alteru[m], Galeni, multo emendatius quàm antea excusum (Geneva, 1564), title page showing Fugger link. Device 9.
On the death of Robert I in 1559, Henri II was named as his sole beneficiary. He therefore decided to unite his father’s press and his own under his own name and, following this unification, his publications more closely mirrored those of his father. More emphasis was laid on pedagogic works and especially linguistic texts. In 1563, he published one of his most famous treatises: De Abusu linguæ Græcæ, in quibusdam vocibus quas Latina usurpat (Geneva, 1563). This was followed in 1564 by a medical dictionary. Given its subject matter it is unsurprising that a copy of this large Greek-Latin dictionary with accompanying explanation of medical terms may be found in the Worth Library.
Works such as these display Henri II’s commitment to philological studies. As an editor printer he devoted extraordinary care to the presentation of the text on the printed page and introduced a completely new system of punctuation in an attempt to aid the reader’s understanding of ancient authors. His religious publications were equally important and, in many ways, reflect his commitment to continue the work of his father. In 1565 he produced a folio edition of the Bible translated into French with additional marginal notes which likewise illuminated the text for readers. His 1565 folio edition of the New Testament in Greek, and his up-dated Latin translations of the text and a new commentary all brought his philological skills to bear on biblical texts in order to provide new insights for readers.
[Hoi tes heroikes poieseos proteuontes poietae, kai alloi tines. Homeros, Hesiodos, Orpheus, Kallimachos, Aratos, Nikandros, Theokritos, Moschos, Bion, Dionysios, Kolouthos, Tryphiodoros, Mousaios, Theognis, Phokylides, Pythagorou chrysa ep]): Poetae Graeci principes heroici carminis, & alii nonnulli. Homerus, Hesiodus, Orpheus, Callim. Aratus, Nicand. Theocrit. Moschus, Bion, Dionysius, Coluthus, Tryphiodorus, Musaeus, Theognis, Phoclydes, Pythagorae aurea carmina. Fragmenta aliorum. Henrici Stephani Tetrastichon de hac sua editione … (Geneva, 1566), detail of spine of Worth’s copy.
Of course, Henry II Estienne did not just slavishly follow his father’s projects. He also expanded his catalogue and now literature played an even greater role. In 1566, he published Poetae Graeci principes which Schreiber calls his ‘typographical masterpiece’. Here he presented an innovative system involving diacritical notation. The Poetae Graeci principes was an enormous endeavor but Henri was also known for his much smaller editions of classical works, editions in formats as small as 24o. but which were still readable.
Medicae artis principes post Hippocratem & Galenum. Græci Latinitate donati : Aretæus, Ruffus Ephesius, Oribasius, Paulus Ægineta, Aëtius, Alex. Trallianus, Actuarius, Nic. Myrepsus. Latini : Corn. Celsus, Scrib. Largius. Marcell. Empiricus. Aliíque præterea, quorum unius nomen ignoratur. Index non solùm copiosus, sed etiam ordine artificioso omnia digesta habens. Hippocr. aliquot loci cum Corn. Celsi interpretatione. Henr. Stephani de hac sua editione tetrastichon … (Geneva, 1567), p. 174: an illustration of traction from Oribasius.
From 1567 onwards we can see that he was also developing an interest in medical and botanical texts (possibly influenced by his uncle Charles’s preoccupations). Works such as his Medicae artis principes post Hippocratem & Galenum. Græci Latinitate donati (Geneva, 1567) were, of course a particular delight for Edward Worth. They would have fitted in neatly with Worth’s Aldine editions of Galen (1525) and Hippocrates (1526).
[Thesauros tes Ellenikes glosses]. Thesavrvs Græcæ linguæ, ab Henrico Stephano constructus. In quo præter alia plvrima quæ primus præstitit (paternæ in Thesauro Latino diligentiæ æmulus) vocabula in certas classes distribuit, multiplici deriuatorum serie ad primigenia, tanquam ad radices vnde pullulant, revocata. Thesaurvs Lectori. Nunc alii intrepidè vestigia nostra sequantur : Me duce plana via est quæ salebrosa fuit (Geneva, 1572), p. vi detail.
Worth also owned Henri II’s most famous work, his Thesavrvs Græcæ linguæ (Geneva, 1572). It is because of works such as this that Henri II is known today as ‘one of the greatest and one of the last scholarly editors and publishers of the Renaissance’. This work is one of the most famous publications of the Estienne’s family. In many ways it followed on the work of his father exemplified in Worth’s copy of the Dictionarium, seu Latinæ linguæ Thesaurus, non singulas modo dictiones continens, sed integras quoque Latinè & loquendi. & scribendi formulas ex optimis quibusque authoribus, ea quidem nunc accessione, vt nihil propemodum obseruatu dignum sit apud Oratores, Historicos, Poetas, omnis denique generis scriptores, quod hic non promptum paratúmque habeat (Paris, 1543). The 1572 Thesavrvs Græcæ linguæ was therefore very much an Estienne family project, continued over two generations. It was a major work which Henri II heralded in a number of forewords, introductions or after-words in other publications prior to 1572.
Luckily Henri II provides us with important testimony concerning his printing methodology. His Artis Typographicae Querimonia, de illiteratis quibusdam Typographis, propter quos in contemptum venit (Geneva, 1569), a text writen in verse whose title can be translated as ‘Typography’s complaint against ignorant printers who compromise this art’ and his Henrici Stephani Epistola, qua ad multas multorum amicorum respondet, de suæ typographiæ statu, nominatimque de suo Thesauro Linguæ Græcæ (Geneva, 1569), a letter written in answer to questions concerning the production of the Thesavrvs Græcæ linguæ, shed vital light on his life as a printer.
[Platonos apanta sozomena]: Platonis opera quæ extant omnia. Ex nova Ioannis Serrani interpretatione, perpetuis eiusde[m] notis illustrata: quibus & methodus & doctrinæ summa breuiter & perspicuè indicatur. Eiusdem Annotationes in quosdam suæ & illius interpretationis locos. Henr. Stephani de quorundam locorum interpretatione iudicium, & multorum contextus Græci emendation. (Geneva, 1578), title page. The Stephanus Plato bears a different variation on the usual Estienne device, device 19.
1572 was a year of triumph and disaster for Henri II. The triumph was bringing his Thesavrvs Græcæ linguæ to press, the disaster was the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. We can see the impact of the massacre of French Calvinists on some of Henri II’s subsequent publications, for now tracts attacking the royal family issued from his press. A satirical attack against the queen mother, Catherine de Medicis (1519-89), has been attributed to him. He certainly published several dialogues relating to the massacre. One of them, more famous than the rest, was his Deux Dialogues du nouveau François italianizé (Geneva, 1578), a sharp critique of the court, criticizing their incorrect use of French. Unfortunately, his tracts not only enraged the French court – they also alienated the Genevan Council who saw in them a lack of faith. The result was a loss of sales in Geneva and a brief return to Paris to escape the wrath of the Council.
This contretemps exacerbated his already existing financial difficulties. The printing of the 1572 Thesaurus, coupled with another magisterial work, his 1578 Stephanus Plato, were ground-breaking works but they were also very costly to produce. The Stephanus Plato, which introduced a system of referencing Plato’s works which was highly influential, was an enormous undertaking but there was a limited market for it. This was not his only problem: as Renouard notes, abbreviated versions of his works, sold cheaper by other printers who didn’t respect his production values, were his undoing.
Herodoti Halicarnassei historiæ lib. IX & de vita Homeri libellus. Illi ex interpretatione Laur. Vallæ adscripta, hic ex interpret. Co[n]radi Heresbachii: vtraque ab Henr. Stephano recognita. Ex Ctesia excerptæ historiæ. Icones quarunda[m] memorabiliu[m] structuraru[m]. Apologia Henr. Stephani pro Herodoto. Eiusde[m] H. Steph. De hac sua editione disticho[n], Herodoti Latium possederat hactenus vmbram, Nunc Latium corpus possidet Herodoti (Geneva, 1566), title page and front cover.
By the early 1590s, he had given up his career as a pamphleteer and returned to printing classics. Worth owned three of these: [Ioustinou tou philosophou kai martyros epistolē pros Diognēton, kai logos pros Hellēnas]: Ivstini philosophi & martyris Epist. ad Diognetu[m], & Oratio ad Græcos, nunc primùm luce & Latinitate donatæ ab Henrico Stephano. Eiusdem Henr. Stephani annotationibus additu[m] est Io. Iacobi Beureri de quoru[m]dam locorum partim interpretatione partim emendatione judicium. Tatiani, discipuli Iustini, quædam (Geneva, 1592); [Appianou Alexandreos Romaika]: Appiani Alexandrini Rom. Historiarvm, Punica, siue Carthginiensis, Parthics, Iberica, Syriaca, Mithridatica, Annibalica, Celticae & Illyricae fragmenta quædam. Item, de bellis ciuilibus libri V. Henr. Steph. annotationes in quasdam Appiani historias & in conciones per totum opus sparsas (Geneva, 1592) and his [Hērodotou Halikarnassēos Historiōn logoi, epigraphomenoi musai tu autu exēgēsis peri tēs Homērou biotēs]. Herodoti Halicarnassei Historiarum lib. IX, IX Musarum nominibus inscripti. Eiusdem Narratio de vita Homeri. Cum Vallæ interpret. Latina historiarum Herodoti, ab Henr. Stephano recognita. Item cum iconibus structurarum ab Herodoto descriptarum. Ctesiae quædam de reb. Pers. & Ind. Editio secvnda (Geneva, 1592). The last of these was a reprise of his famous 1566 edition, which Worth also collected and which is bound in a contemporary French binding.
Herodoti Halicarnassei historiæ lib. IX & de vita Homeri libellus. Illi ex interpretatione Laur. Vallæ adscripta, hic ex interpret. Co[n]radi Heresbachii: vtraque ab Henr. Stephano recognita. Ex Ctesia excerptæ historiæ. Icones quarunda[m] memorabiliu[m] structuraru[m]. Apologia Henr. Stephani pro Herodoto. Eiusde[m] H. Steph. De hac sua editione disticho[n], Herodoti Latium possederat hactenus vmbram, Nunc Latium corpus possidet Herodoti (Geneva, 1566), foldout plate of the Tower of Babel.
The last work printed by Henri II which Worth possessed was his Poemata varia : Sylvae. Elegiae. Epitaphia. Epigrammata. Icones. Emblemata. Cato Censorius : Omnia ab ipso auctore in vnum nunc corpus collecta & recognita (Geneva, 1597), printed in the year before his death. In all, Worth owned 43 items printed by Henri II, a testament to his enduring status as one of the greatest editor printers of all time.
Amert, Kay, The Scythe and the Rabbit. Simon de Colines and the Culture of the Book in Renaissance Paris, edited by Robert Bringhurst (New York, 2012).
Armstrong, Elizabeth, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer (Cambridge, 1954).
Bernard, Auguste, Les Estienne et les types grecs de François Ier, complément des annales stéphaniens (Paris, 1856).
Beza, Theodore, Les vrais portraits des hommes illustres (Geneva, 1581), pp 158-159.
Didot, Ambroise Firmin, ‘Les Estienne. Henri I, François I et II, Robert I, II et III, Henri II, Paul et Antoine…’, Nouvelle bibliographie générale, (Paris, 1856; Copenhagen, 1965 reprint), vol. 15-16, pp 518-53.
Renouard, Antoine, Annales de l’imprimerie des Estienne (Geneva, 1971 reprint).
Rott, Jean & Peter, Rodolphe, ‘Exposition Jean Calvin’, Revue d’histoire et de philosophie religieuse, 45 (1965), 128-155.
Schreiber, Fred, The Estiennes. An annotated catalogue of 300 highlights of their various presses (New York, 1982).
Schreiber, Fred, Simon de Colines (Utah, 1995).
 Armstrong, Elizabeth, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer (Cambridge, 1954), p. 61.
 Schreiber, Fred, The Estiennes. An annotated catalogue of 300 highlights of their various presses (New York, 1982), p. 131.
 This work is not in the Worth Library.
 Worth appears to have been more interested in owning Robert I’s biblical editions than those of his son.
 Schreiber,, The Estiennes. p. 143.
 Amert, Kay, The Scythe and the Rabbit. Simon de Colines and the Culture of the Book in Renaissance Paris, edited by Robert Bringhurst (New York, 2012), p. 16.
 Neither text is in the Worth Library.
 Schrieber, The Estiennes, p. 165: [Estienne, Henri]. Catharinae Mediceae reginae matris, vitae, actorum, & consiliorum … stupenda eaque vera enarratio [Geneva: H. Estienne?] 1575.
 Renouard, Antoine. Annales de l’imprimerie des Estienne (Geneva, 1971 reprint), pp 401-402.