1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Villoison, Jean Baptiste Gaspard d'Ansse de
VILLOISON, JEAN BAPTISTS GASPARD D'ANSSE (or Dannse) DE (1750-1805), French classical scholar, was born at Corbeil-sur-Seine on the 5th of March 1750 (or 1753, authorities differ). He belonged to a noble family (De Ansso) of Spanish origin, and took his surname from a viUage in the neighbourhood. In 1773 he published the Homeric Lexicon of Apollonius from a MS. in the abbey of Saint Germain des Pres. In 1778 appeared his edition of Longus's Dap/mis and Ckloe. In 1781 he went to Venice, where he spent three years in examining the library, his expenses being paid by the French government. His chief discovery was a 10th-century MS. of the Iliad, with ancient scholia and marginal notes, indicating supposititious, corrupt or transposed verses. After leaving Venice, he accepted the invitation of the duke of Saxe-Weimar to his court. Some of the fruits of his researches in the library of the palace were collected into a volume (Epistolae Vinarienses, 1783), dedicated to his royal hosts. Hoping to find a treasure similar to the Venetian Homer in Greece, he returned to Paris to prepare for a journey to the East. He visited Constantinople, Smyrna, the Greek islands, and Mount Athos, but the results did not come up to his e. expectation. In 1786 he returned, and in 1788 brought out the Codex Venetus of Homer, which created a sensation in the learned world. When the revolution broke out, being banished from Paris, he lived in retirement at Orleans, occupying himself chiefly with the transcription of the notes in the library of the brothers Valois (Valesius). On the restoration of order, having returned to Paris, he accepted the professorship of modern Greek, established by the government, and held it until it was transferred to the Collège de France as the professorship of the ancient and modern Greek languages. He died soon after his appointment, on the 25th of April 1805. Another work of some importance, Anecdota Graeca (1781), from the Paris and Venice libraries, contains the Ionia (violet garden) of the empress Eudocia, and several fragments of Iamblichus, Porphyry, Procopius of Gaza, Choricius and the Greek grammarians. Materials for an exchaustive work contemplated by him on ancient and modern Greece are preserved in the royal library of Paris.
See J. Dacier, Notice historique sur la vie et les ouvrages de Villoison (1806); Chardon de la Rochette, Mélanges de critique et de philologie, iii. (1812); and especially the article by his friend and pupil E. Quatremère in Nouvelle biographie générale, xiii., based upon private information.