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Polignac, Melchior de

Melchior de Polignac (mĕlkyôr´ də pôlēnyäk´), 1661–1742, French diplomat, churchman, and author, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. As ambassador to Poland he directed (1697) the unsuccessful candidacy of François Louis de Conti for the Polish crown. He was one of the negotiators of the Peace of Utrecht (1713–14). After being in disgrace during the regency of Philippe II d'Orléans, he served as ambassador to the Holy See. His Anti-Lucretius (1745, in Latin; tr. 1757) is a philosophical poem attacking materialism from the Cartesian viewpoint.

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Mey, Johann Melchior van der

Mey, Johann Melchior van der or Johann Melchior van der Meij, (1878–1949). Dutch architect, he worked with de Klerk and Kramer on the brick- and terracotta-clad Expressionist Scheepvaarthuis (Navigation House), Amsterdam (1912–16), and designed housing in the Titianstraat (1925–30) and Hoofdorpplein (1928–30), Amsterdam.

Bibliography

Fanelli (1968);
Zuydewijn (1969)

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Polignac, Melchior de

POLIGNAC, MELCHIOR DE

Cardinal, diplomat, and apologist; b. PuyenVelay, Oct. 11, 1661; d. Paris, Nov. 20, 1742. Polignac studied at the Collège de Clermont and later at the Sorbonne, excelling in Cartesian philosophy. While at Rome in 1689, he refused to subscribe to the four Gallican Articles of 1682, thereby disavowing the schism (see assemblies of french clergy). In 1693 he was made ambassador to Poland by louis xiv, and at the death of King John Sobieski (1696) he succeeded in having Prince François Louis de Conti chosen as candidate for the throne. When the Prince de Conti was displaced by Augustus II, Elector of Saxony, Polignac was recalled and confined to the Abbey of Bomport from 1698 to 1702. In 1704 he was elected to the French Academy to succeed Bossuet; two years later he was named auditor of the Rota and took up residence in Rome. He participated in the conferences of Gertruydenberg and in the Peace of Utrecht (1713). On March 8, 1712, he was created cardinal, and later became archbishop of Auch (1726).

Because he was involved in the conspiracy of A. Cellamare during the minority of Louis XV, he was confined to the Abbey of Auchin in Flanders. While in exile, he composed the famous poem Anti-Lucretius sive de Deo et natura libri novem. In this poem, containing nine books of 1,000 verses each, he refuted the ancient materialism of Lucretius and Epicurus, and that of his contemporary P. Bayle, and demonstrated the existence of God, the supernatural world, and the immortality of the soul.

Bibliography: Anti-Lucretius sive de Deo et natura libri novem, 2 v. in 1 (Paris 1247). j. carreyre, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, eds., a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350),12.2:241618. p. paul, Le Cardinal Melchior de Polignac (Paris 1922).

[i. j. calicchio]

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