Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) was a French philosopher and writer. He was an advocate of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs, and his works subsequently influenced the development of the Enlightenment. In 1675 he was appointed chair of philosophy at the Protestant Academy of Sedan, in France. In 1681 he fled religious repression in France and took up a position as professor of philosophy and history at the Ecole Illustre in Rotterdam. Between 1684 and 1687, he published Nouvelles de la république des lettres, a journal of literary criticism. His four volume Philosopphical Commentary is a plea for toleration in religious matters (1686-1688).
His Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (Historical and Critical Dictionary) was published in 1695. It constituted one of the world’s first encyclopedias, and remained a highly important scholarly work for several generations after its publication. The English translation of work, by Pierre des Maizeaux, was named by US President Thomas Jefferson as one of the 100 foundational texts that formed the first collection of the Library of Congress.
The Dictionary includes the story of Helen and the Fall of Troy.