Nunez, Fernando

Nunez, Fernando a noble Spanish Protestant, was a descendant of the house of Guzman, and flourished in the early part of the 16th century. He sacrificed his prospect of civil honors to the love of study, and privately engaged in a careful examination of the Protestant doctrines, which he finally embraced. Nunez was of the Order of St. Iago, and was commonly called among his countrymen "the Greek commentator" (Argensola, Anales de Aragon, p. 352). His notes on the classics are praised by Lipsius, Gronovius, and other critics, who usually cite him by the name of Pincianus of Valladolid, his native city. That he did not confine his attention to ancient learning appears from his having published in 1502 an edition of the poems of his countryman, Juan de Mena, with notes. Cyprian de Valera quotes from a collection of Spanish proverbs published by him under the title of Refranes Espanoles (Dos Tratados, p. 288). Marineo extols the erudition of Nuiez as far superior to that of Lebrixa; but, in the first place, he expresses this opinion in a letter to the object of his panegyric; and, in the second place, he had been involved in a quarrel with Lebrixa, in which his countryman, Peter Martyr, was not disposed to take his part (Martyris Epist. p. 35). In the edition of the Bible, in various languages, perfected by cardinal Ximenes, in imitation of Origen's enterprise, Nunez was given a part, and he discharged his duties with great credit. Indeed, Nunez was reputed in his time the best Spanish Orientalist. It is said that in 1535, when an enthusiastic scholar visited Spain, he found Hebrew neglected, and could not meet with a single native acquainted with Arabic except the venerable Nunez, who still recollected the characters of a language to which he had paid some attention in his youth (see authorities in M'Crie). The time of his death is not known to us. It must have occurred before 1560, for in that year we find his widow, with three of her daughters and a married sister, seized at Seville for heresy. Their tragic story is thus related by M'Crie: "As there was no evidence against them they were put to the torture, but refused to inform against one another. Upon this the presiding inquisitor called one of the young women into the audience-chamber, and after conversing with her for some time, professed an attachment to her person. Having repeated this at another interview, he told her that he could be of no service to her unless she imparted to him the whole facts of her case; but if she entrusted him with these, he would manage the affair in such a way as that she and all her friends should be set at liberty. Falling into the snare, the unsuspecting girl confessed to him that she had at different times conversed with her mother, sisters, and aunt on the Lutheran doctrines. The wretch immediately brought her into court, and obliged her to declare judicially what she had owned to, him in private. Nor was this all: under the pretense that her confession was not sufficiently ample and ingenuous, she was put to the torture by the most excruciating engines, the pulley and the wooden horse; by which means evidence was extorted from her which led, not only to the condemnation of herself and her relations, but also to the seiz ure and conviction of others who afterwards perished in the flames." See M'Crie, Ref. in Spain, p. 64 sq., 67, 73, 270.

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