George Buchanan (George Buchanan)

George Buchanan

Scholar, poet, author, and humanist. Born in Stirlingshire, Scotland, one of eight children of a small farmer who died when George Buchanan was 7, leaving the family in poverty. George received a grammar school education before being sent by his uncle to study at the University of Paris when he was 14. Returning to Scotland, he served as a soldier and continued his education at the University of Edinburgh until 1526, when he began teaching in Paris. He returned again to Scotland in 1537 and served as tutor to one of the sons of King James V. He wrote a satire against Cardinal Beaton in 1567, which led to his being denounced as a heretic.  George escaped to England, then Bordeaux, where he taught until moving on to Portugal where he taught at the University of Coimbra.  While there he was condemned by the Inquisition, and while in prison he translated the Psalms into Latin.  He was released in 1553, and after 10 years teaching in France and Spain, finally returned to Scotland, where he became the tutor of Mary, Queen of Scots (though he would become one of her most vocal and ardent opponents) and later her son, King James VI.  During this time he also served as the Moderator of the Church of Scotland and Keeper of the Privy Seal.  He remained active in politics and the church until his death in Edinburgh at the age of 76.  Buchanan’s works, nearly all in Latin, include countless poems and treatises, several plays, and a 20-volume history of Scotland.  He is considered to have been one of the greatest Latinists of his time.  (bio by: Kristen Conrad)

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  • February, 01, 1506
  • Killearn, Stirlingshire, Scotland


  • September, 09, 1582
  • Edinburgh, Scotland


  • Greyfriars Kirkyard
  • Edinburgh, Scotland

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