Morales, Ambrosio

Morales, Ambrosio a learned Spanish Dominican, the best authority on early Spanish history, was born at Cordova in 1513. His parents and relatives were people eminent in literary circles, and Ambrosio enjoyed all the advantages his country could afford him. One of his uncles, Fernan Perez de Oliva, who was a professor of philosophy and theology at Salamanca, took a prominent part in his education, and greatly influenced his tendency to theological study. He was also indebted to Juan de Medina and to Meichior Cano, two great writers and eloquent professors of divinity of that time, the former at Alcala, the latter at Salamanca, where he was the great antagonist of his eminent colleague Bartholomeo Carranza, and a still greater opponent of the Jesuits. This Cano, or Cansus, is the author of the excellent treatise De Locis Theologicis, and was a great reformer of the schools, from which he banished many futile and absurd questions. While yet a youth Morales produced a translation of the Pinax or Table of Cebes. But religious enthusiasm arose far above all his literary aspirations, and pervaded all his actions. At the age of nineteen Morales became a Jeronvmite, when, his religious fervor being no longer controllable, in order to secure himself against temptation, he attempted to follow the precedent of Origen. The excruciating pain inseparable from this self- mutilation drew from him a shriek which brought a brother monk to his cell in time to give him effectual relief. In order to obtain a papal dispensation for his conduct, he set out for Rome, but fell into the sea, and was saved, according to his own account, by a miracle. Considering this accident as a warning not to proceed, he joined his friends at court, and lived thenceforward as a secular priest. After the death of his father he became a professor at Alcala, where he had, among others, Guevara, Chacon, Sandoval, and the first Don Juan of Austria, among his pupils. He sustained the high literary credit of his family by his investigations into the antiquities of Spain. He also devoted himself to belles-lettres, and did much to cultivate among the Spanish of his day a taste for literature. His services were recognised at court, and he was made historiographer to Philip II, king of Spain. Morales died in 1590. He was the author of several works on the secular as well as religious history and antiquities of Spain; but his extreme credulity greatly deteriorates the value of his writings. See Bouterweck, Hist. of Spanish Lit. (see Index); Ticknor, Hist. of Spanish Lit. 3:129.

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