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wrote in his native language with great elegance and politeness, though he understood very little Latin; but he was in the service of Marcellus Virgilius, a learned man, who pointed out to him many of the beautiful passages in the ancients, which Machiavel had the art of quoting properly in his works. He composed a comedy upon the ancient Greek model; in which he turned into ridicule many of the Florentine ladies, and which was so well received, that Pope Leo X. caused it to be acted at Rome. He was secretary and afterwards historiographer to the republic of Florence. The house of Medici procured him this last office, with a handsome salary, to pacify his resentment for having suffered the torture upon suspicion of being an accomplice in the conspiracy of the Soderini against that house, when Machiavel bore his sufferings heroically without making any confession. The great encomiums he bestowed upon Brutus and Cassius, both in his conversations and writings, made him strongly suspected of being concerned in another conspiracy against cardinal Julian de Medici, afterwards pope by the name of Clement VII. However, they carried on no proceedings against him. The latter part of his life, it is said, was spent in poverty, in the character of a profane scoffer and atheist. He declared, it is said, that he would rather be sent into hell after death, than to paradise, because he should find nothing in heaven but beggars, poor monks, hermits and apostles ; but in hell he should live with popes, cardinals, kings, and princes. His death, in 1530, was caused by taking a medicine for the purpose of preventing disease. Of all his writings, that which has excited the greatest attention, and has drawn upon him the most enemies, is a political treatise, entitled “The Prince;" which has been translated into several languages, and written against by many authors. Among those who commend him, he has Bacon, Clarendon, and Harrington, who considered him as an enemy to tyranny and injustice, and as frankly warning us against what men do, that we may be the better able to guard against their insidious conduct. All idea, however, of his being ironical in this work is dissipated by the fact, mentioned by Mr. Roscoe, that many of the most exceptionable doctrines in The Prince,' are also to be found in his ‘Discourses, where it cannot be pretended that he had any indirect purpose in view; and in the latter he has in some instances referred to the former for the further elucidation of his opinions." In popular opinion “ The Prince” has affixed to his name a lasting stigma; and Machiavelism has long been a received appellation for perfidious and infamous politics. He also wrote, Reflections on Titus Livius, which are curious. The History of Florence, from 1205 to 1494; Mandragola and Clitia, two plays; The Golden Ass, an imitation of Apuleius and Lucian ; A Treatise on the Military Art; and the life of Castruccio Castracani,
THESEUS AMBROGIO, or AMBROSIUS, a learned Italian, a descendant of the noble family of the counts of Albanese, was born in 1469. It is said that he spoke the Italian language with facility when he was but fifteen months old, and at fifteen years he spoke and wrote Greek and Latin equal to the best scholars of his time. He entered young into the order of regular canons of St. John of Lateran, but did not come to Rome until 1512. Here he received the most flattering marks of distinction, and was appointed by the Pope to a professorship at Bologna, where he taught the Syriac and Chaldaic languages, besides which, he is said to have understood perfectly sixteen others. In the commotions which devastated Italy after the death of Leo X. he was despoiled in 1527 of the numerous and valuable eastern manuscripts, Chaldean, Hebrew, and Greek, which he had collected by the industry of many years. He published “ an Introduction to the Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian, and ten other Tongues,” 4to. in 1539, and died the year following.
JOHN FRANCIS PICUS, prince of Mirandola, nephew of John Picus, was born about the year 1469. He cultivated learning and the sciences after the example of his uncle; but he had a principality and dominion to superintend, which involved him in great troubles, and at last cost him his life. He was twice driven from his principality, and twice restored ; and at last, in 1533 was, together with his eldest son Albert, assassinated in his own castle by his nephew Galeoti. He was a great lover of letters; and such of his works as were then composed were inserted in the Strasburg editions of his uncles in 1504, and continued in future impressions, besides some others which were never collected.
BERNARD ORICELLARIUS, a native of Florence, and a relation to the Medicis, was raised to the most noble employments in his own country. He understood the Latin tongue perfectly well, and wrote it in the greatest purity; but could not be persuaded to speak it in company. He is thought to have wrote with great partiality of Charles VIII's expedition into Italy.
PETER BEMBO, cardinal, an eminent restorer' of literature, son of Bernardo Bembo, a noble Venetian, was born at Venice, in 1470. After giving him an excellent education, his father wished to introduce him into public life; but after a short trial he showed an utter disinclination to affairs of business. In 1498, his father being appointed vice Domino of Ferrara, he attended him to that city, where he contracted an intimate friendship with Leoncieno, Tebaldeo, Sadoleto, and Hercules Strozzi. Such was the pleasure he enjoyed from this
society, that he frequently renewed his visits to Ferrara, resid: ing either in the town, or the villa of Strozzi, and was much re
ecame discipürses on lover, where they. "In his wa
garded by prince Alphonso, and his wife Lucretia Borgia. He now became distinguished as a writer; and his “ Azolario," consisting of discourses on love, in the Italian language, and named from the castle of Azoli, where they were composed, became extremely popular throughout Italy. In his rative city, Bembo was one of the principal ornaments of the aca" demy, founded by Aldus Manutius. In 1506, he visited the court of Urbino, then distinguished by its munificence, and its patronage of learned men. Here he continued six years, pursuing his studies, and enjoying the favour of the prince. Leo X., on his election to the popedom, appointed Bembo for his secre- * tary, with an ample salary. He executed the office with great fidelity. The loose manners of the Papal court, during that pontificate attached to most of those who composed a part of it; and Bembo, who was then no ecclesiastic, openly kept a mise tress, named Morosina, by whom he had two sons and a daughter. In 1520, he took up his residence at Padua, for the recovery of his health. During this time Leo died, and Bembo then fixed himself in Padua, where, for many years, he passed a tranquil life, amidst his studies, and in the conversation of men of letters. His house was a kind of literary academy, being furnished with an excellent library, rich in MSS., as well as in printed books, a choice collection of medals and antiquities, a botanical garden, and every thing which could favour the pursuit of science. In 1539, pope Paul III. wishing to honour his pontificate by the elevation of men of learning to the cardinalate, named to this dignity Bembo. After this Bembo is said to have entirely changed his mode of life, and have given himself up to the duties of his sacred functions. : He was now, indeed in his 70th year. He was much honoured by the pope, and respected by the first characters in the court.'. He died in 1547.
This cardinal is almost equally celebrated as a writer in his vernacular tongue, and in the Latin, in prose, and in verse. He was one of the principal of those who contributed to elevate Italian poetry from the rude state into which it was fallen, and to polish and purify it, by an imitation of the style of Pe- : trarch. He seems chiefly to have built his reputation on his Latin works in prose, which are laboured with extraordinary care. Indeed, a violation of Latinity seems to have shocked him more than impiety; for there is good reason to believe that he sat very loosely as to his religious creed, like many others of the Italian literati of that age. He has been accused of speaking very irreverently of St. Paul's epistles, and dissuading a friend from reading them, lest he should spoil his style. Yet, so difficult is it to attain perfect purity in a dead language, his own epistles have been charged with gross faults, and even solecisms. As to his “ History of Venice," written in
trarch. polish andy from the all of tho
Latin, in twelve books, but comprising only a short period, it is a work more esteemed for elegance than exactness or depth. AN his works in both languages were published together in 4 vols., folio. Venice, 1729.
GEORGE BOLEYN, brother to Anne Boleyn, queen of Henry VIII.; he studied at Oxford, and was admired for his wit and learning. He was made a peer by the title of Lord Rochfort, constable of Dover, warden of the Cinque Ports, and engaged in several embassies. He shared the queen's disgrace, and, upon a false accusation of incestuous commerce with her, was beheaded on Tower-hill, 1536. He wrote some poems, songs, odes, &c. which possessed merit.
BILIBALD PIRCKHEIMER, a German writer, was born at Eickstadt, where his father was a counsellor to the bishop. He received an excellent education; and at the age of eighteen he entered the army of the bishop. After being two years in this service, he went to Padua, and studied jurisprudence, the Belles Lettres, and the Greek language. He proceeded to Pisa, where he made himself master of the Italian. He studied also the mathematics, theology, and medicine; and after spending seven years in Italy, where he gained universal esteem by his prudence and good conduct, he was recalled by his father to his native place. He was subsequently in the service of the duke of Bavaria, and Sigismund, archduke of Austria, both of whom nominated him their counsellor; and he resided sometimes at Munich, and sometimes at Inspruck. But becoming tired of a court life, and the frequent journies he was obliged to undertake for the service of two masters, he retired to Nuremberg, to enjoy tranquillity, and contribute to the comfort of his father, who was still alive, but in a very advanced age. He married, in 1497, a lady of a noble family in that city; and being created a senator, in consequence of his abilities and address, he was deputed to various princes to negotiate affairs of importance. Three years after, war being declared between the emperor and the Swiss, Pirckheimer was entrusted with the command of the troops sent by the city of Nuremberg to assist the emperor; on which occasion he conducted himself with so much courage and prudence, that he acquired the esteem of that prince, who appointed him to be one of his counsellors. When peace was concluded, the city of Nuremberg, as a testimony of its approbation, made him liberal presents, which excited the jealousy of envious persons so much, that they did every thing in their power to obscure his reputation. At length, in disgust, he requested leave to resign, which he obtained with some difficulty, and devoted himself to letters, to which he had always retained a strong attachment, and which he cultivated as much as his occupations would permit. After the death of his wife, he returned to
public life, and was employed by the republic of Nuremberg, in important negotiations, and was often sent to the diets of the empire, to take care of its interest. The gout, with which he was attacked, made it necessary for him to renounce travelling, and even to resign once more his office of senator, which the senate permitted him to do only, on condition that he would continue to assist it by his counsels, and agree to receive a pension. He consented to the former, but absolutely refused the latter, and died in December, 1530, at the age of sixty. Pirckheimer was an intimate and much esteemed correspondent of Erasmus.
JANUS PARRHASIUS, a famous grammarian in Italy, who was born at Cosenza, in Naples, in 1470. He was intended for the law, the profession of his ancestors; but he preferred classical learning. His real name was John Paul Pari
sius, but according to the humour of the grammarians of that · age, he called himself Janus Parrhasius. He taught at Milan
with much reputation, being admired for a graceful delivery, in which he chiefly excelled other professors. He went to Rome, when Alexander VI. was Pope; but left it when in danger of being involved in the misfortunes of Cajetan and Savello, with whom he had some correspondence. Soon after, he was appointed professor of rhetoric at Milan; but presuming to censure the teachers there as arrant blockheads, they accused him of a criminal converse with his scholars, whịch obliged him to leave Milan. He went to Vicenza, where he obtained a large salary; and he held this professorship till the Venetian states were laid waste by the troops of the League ; upon which he returned to his native country. By the recommendation of John Lascaris, he was called to Rome, by Leo X., who appointed him professor of polite literature. But, exhausted by his studies and labours, he became so afflicted with the gout, that he was obliged to return to Calabria, where he fell into a fever, and died. There are several books ascribed to him; particularly “ Commentaries on Horace and Ovid.”
TOMASO FEDRA INGHIRAMI, an Italian scholar, was born in 1470. On losing his father while an infant, he was taken under the protection of Lorenzo de Medicis, who sent him to Rome, where he studied with great diligence, and obtained the additional name of Fedra, by pronouncing extemporary Latin verses, while playing that part in Seneca's play of Hippolytus. Alexander Vi. gave him the canonry of St. Peter's, and afterwards made him a bishop. În 1495 he went as nuncio to the Milanese, to treat with the emperor Maximilian, who created him count Palatine, and poet laureat. He also had the care of the Vatican library, and was secretary to the college of cardinals. He died in 1576. He wrote a defence of Cicero; a commentary on the Ars Poe.