Baronius or Baronio, Caesar
Baronius Or Baronio, Caesar the eminent Roman ecclesiastical annalist, was born at Sora, in Naples, Oct. 30 or 31,1538. He pursued his first studies at Veroli, and theology and jurisprudence at Naples. In 1557 he went with his father, Camillo Baronio, to Rome, where he placed himself under the direction of Philip Neri, who had, at that period, just founded the Congregation of the Oratory, whose chief pursuit was to be the study of ecclesiastical antiquity. The rules of the order, requiring a portion of each day to be given to the study and discussion of points in church history, antiquities, and biography, gave the bent to Baronius's pursuits for life. Clement VIII made him his confessor, and created him cardinal, by the title of SS. Martyrum Nerei and Achillei. 5th June, 1596. Soon after he was made librarian of the Vatican Library and member of the Congregation of Rites. On the death of Clement, and again upon the death of Leo XI, he was within a little of being elected pope; but his own strong opposition, and the opposition of the Spaniards, who could not forgive his De Monarchia Siciliae in which he opposed the claim of Spain to Sicily, prevented it. He died June 30th, 1607. His Annales Ecclesiastici was undertaken in obedience to the injunction of his superior, Philip Neri, to defend Rome against the Magdeburg Centuries (q.v.) For thirty years he labored at this immense work, and in 1586, in order, as it were, to try his strength, he put forth the Notes on the Roman Martyrology. This was shortly after (in 1588)
followed by the first volume of the Annals; and the rest of the work, continued down to the year 1198, appeared at different intervals. This work is distributed under the several years, so that under the head of each year are given the events of that year, in every thing in any way relating to the history of the church. Baronius himself informs us that this work was deemed necessary to oppose the Magdeburg Centuriators; and he also says that he was unwilling that the task should be given to him; and that he desired that Onufrius Panvinius should have been charged with it. Though very elaborate and learned, it is throughout a partisan work, and must be studied as such. The first edition appeared at Rome under the title Annales Ecclesiastici a Chr. nato ad annum 1198 (Romae, 1588-1607, 12 vols. fol.). It was followed by editions at Antwerp, 1589 sq., and Paris, 1609. The edition of Mentz (1601-1605, 12 vols. fol.) was revised by Baronius himself, and designated as a standard for future editions. Many Protestant authors, as Casaubon, Basnage, Korthold, and others, wrote against him. He was defended by the Franciscan Pagi in his work Critica historico- chronologica in universos annales C. Baronii (Antw. 1705, 4 vols.; rev. edit. 1724), who, however, himself corrected many chronological errors of Baronius. The most complete edition of the Annales is by Mansi (Lucca, 1738-1759, 38 vols.), which contains the Critica of Pagi printed under the corresponding passages of Baronius, the Continuation of Raynaldus, the learned Apparatus of the editor, and very valuable indexes in 3 vols. Abraham Bzovius, a Polish Dominican, published a Continuation of Baronius down to the year 1571 (Rome, 1616 sq. 8 vols.); another was published by Henry Spondanus, at Paris, in 1640, 2 vols. fol., and Lyons, 1678; but the best Continuation (from the year 1198 to 1566) is perhaps that by Odericus Raynaldus, of the Congregation of the Oratory (Rome, 1646-1663, 9 vols.). The work of Raynaldus was farther continued by Laderchi (Rome, 1728-1737, 3 vols.). The last addition to the work is that of Theiner (Romans 1856, 3 vols. fol.), bringing the history down, in a partisan style, to 1586. The Epistolae of Baronius, his Vita St. Gregorii Naz., together with a brief biography of Baronius, were published by Albericus (Rome, 1670). i There are lives of Baronius in Latin by the Oratorian Barnabeus (translated into German by Fritz, Wien, 1718, an abridgment of which translation was published, Augsb. 1845), and in French by La Croze. See Dupin, Eccles.Writers, cent. 17; Schaff, Apostolic Church, p. 56; Christian Remembrancer, 24:232; 'Landon, Eccl. Dict. 2:42.