Bembo Pietro

Bembo Pietro (Lat. Petrus Bembus), a celebrated Italian prelate and scholar, wav born at Venice, May 20, 1470. He was son of a senator, who was distinguished for his learning. His father being sent as ambassador to Florence, young Bembo commenced his studies in that city. and afterwards continued them at home. His style was in accordance with that of the time. In order to study Greek, so much desired at that time in Italy, under a more highly renowned master, viz. the celebrated Lascaris, Bembo went to Messina, where, he spent two years. He at length finished his course of philosophy at Padua. Choosing a literary career, Bembo assumed the ecclesiastical garb, that he might the better devote himself to study. Among the princes of Italy who especially favored him was Alphonso d'Este, duke of Ferrara, and through him he gained the friendship of the famous Lucretia Borgia. In order to advance his education he spent some years at the court of Urbino, which was another literary resort. In 1502 he commenced to write a little in the Italian language, and published in 1525 a work entitled Prose. In 1512 he attached himself to Julian de Medicis, whom he accompanied to Rome, and obtained soon after the commandery of Bologne from Julius II. Leo X, a pontiff more favorable to literature and art than Julius was, being on the throne, made Bembo his intimate secretary. The distinguished men, the cardinals Bibiena and Julius de Medicis, the poets Tebaldeo and Accolti, the artist Raphael, and the principal lords of Rome were the friends of Bembo. Many positions of ease and luxury were offered him. At the death of Leo X, his protector, the beautiful Morosina, who had borne Bembo several children, enabled him to erect at Padua a temple of the Muses; also a library, one of the most beautiful of the time, nind made a collection of medals and monuments of antiquity, among which we notice the famous Isiac table. On the accession of Clement VII, Bernbo returned to Rome to pay homage to the new pope; and aon his return to Padua he accepted the position of historiographer of Venice, and traced the history from 1486 to 1530, which history was not published until four years after his death. It was written in Latin, but has been translated and published in Italian under the title Istoria Vinizrana (Venice, 1552). This work naturally led to the appointment of Bembo as librarian. Being constituted cardinal by Paul III, he went to Rome, where he allied himself with one of the distinguished men of his time, the English cardinal Polus. Bembo now changed his course, renounced profane literature, and studied the fathers and theologians; and was successively made bishop of Gubbio and of Bergamo. He died Jan. 18, 1547. Many honors were bestowed upon him for his learning and merit. He was the chief of Ciceronians of his epoch. He was a purist in Italian as in Latin. In prose he wrote less his language than that of Boccaccio, and represented less his ideas than those of Petrarch. His works of various kinds were published under the title Opera di P. Bembo (Venice, 1729). See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.; Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v.

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