If we go back in history to find who was the first journalist or someone in the context of news reporting or chronicling events, we find Jean Lemaire de Belges. He was a Flemish poet and historian who lived during the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Lemaire de Belges is credited with writing a series of works known as “Les Illustrations de Gaule et Singularités de Troie” in the early 16th century. In these writings, he provided detailed accounts of contemporary events and personalities, functioning in a manner that bears some resemblance to modern journalism.
While not a journalist in the contemporary sense, Lemaire de Belges is often mentioned in discussions about the early development of news reporting and historical documentation.
The concept of journalism has evolved significantly since then, but figures like Lemaire de Belges played a role in laying the groundwork for the later development of journalistic practices.
Biography of Jean Lemaire De Belges
Born around 1473, in Hainaut, a region in present-day Belgium, Lemaire de Belges emerged during a period marked by cultural and intellectual transformations in Europe.
Little is known about Lemaire’s early life, but historical records indicate that he entered into service at the Burgundian court, where he would eventually become associated with the court of Margaret of Savoy, Duchess of Savoy and Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands. His connection to the court provided him with opportunities to engage with the political and cultural currents of his time.
Lemaire de Belges gained recognition for his literary talents, particularly as a poet. His poetic works were diverse, ranging from courtly love poetry to moralistic and didactic pieces.
Among his notable works is “Les Illustrations de Gaule et Singularités de Troie,” a significant literary venture that showcased his historical and narrative abilities.
Published in the early 16th century, “Les Illustrations de Gaule et Singularités de Troie” was a collection of writings that delved into historical events and personalities. Lemaire de Belges demonstrated a keen interest in chronicling the happenings of his era.
While not a journalist in the modern sense, his works carried elements of what we now recognize as historical documentation and news reporting.
Lemaire de Belges’ writings offered detailed accounts of the political and cultural landscape of his time.
His observations and narratives provided readers with insights into the events and figures of the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
The nature of his work hinted at an emerging awareness of the importance of recording contemporary happenings, contributing to the broader evolution of historical and journalistic practices.
Despite the recognition he received during his lifetime, Jean Lemaire de Belges is not as widely remembered today as some other historical figures.
Nevertheless, his role in bridging the gap between medieval traditions and the Renaissance period, along with his contributions to early forms of historical and journalistic writing, solidify his place in the cultural and literary tapestry of his era.
Lemaire de Belges passed away around 1525, leaving behind a legacy that resonates with the intellectual pursuits and changing societal dynamics of the early 16th century.