Ascham, Roger

Ascham, Roger ăsˈkəm [key], 1515–68, English humanist and scholar, b. Yorkshire. Ascham was a major intellectual figure of the early Tudor period. His Toxophilus (1545), an essay on archery, proved him a master of English prose; in it he urged the importance of physical recreation for students and scholars. The essay won him the favor of Henry VIII, and Ascham became tutor (1548–50) to Princess Elizabeth. He seems to have been largely responsible for her love of the classics and her proficiency in Greek. As a member of a diplomatic mission Ascham spent several years on the Continent, in contact with other scholars, and in 1553 was appointed Latin secretary to Queen Mary. He continued as secretary and private tutor to Elizabeth I after Mary's death. The Scholemaster (1570), his treatise on the teaching of Latin, urged the use of the double translation method. Dr. Johnson's life of Ascham (1761), included in many editions of Ascham's collected works, is a classic.

See W. F. Phelps, Roger Ascham and John Sturm (1879); study by L. V. Ryan (1963).

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