Altilio, Gabriel

, one of the Latin poets who flourished in Italy in the fifteenth century, was born at Basilicata, in the kingdom of Naples, or as some think, at Mantua. He studied, however, at Naples, which he made his residence, and associated with Pontanus, Sannazarius, and the other literati of that time and place, and acted as preceptor to prince Ferdinand, who came to the throne in 1495, by the resignation of his father Alphonsus II. According to Ughelli in his “Italia sacra,” Altilio was appointed bishop of Policastro in 1471, and died in 1484; but according to Mazzuchelli, whose authority in this instance appears preferable, he was not bishop until 1489, and died about 1501. He has left but few specimens of his poetry, but they are of acknouledged merit. The most celebrated is the epithalamium he wrote on the marriage of Isabella of Arragon, daughter of Alphonsus II. with John Galeas Sforca, duke of Milan. This is published in the Carm. Illust. Poet. Ital. and with a few of his other pieces, at the close of the works of Sannazarius, by Comino, 1731, 4to, where numerous testimonies are collected of the merits of Altilio. Some of these pieces had, however, been before printed with the works of Sannazarius, Daniel Cereti, and the brothers of the Amalthei, illustrated by the notes of Peter Vlamingii, Amst. 1728, 8vo, which may be united with the variorum classics. Notwithstanding the praises generally bestowed on Altilio, there are some critics who have undervalued his talenjts. In particular, Julius Scaliger thinks there is too great a profusion of thought and expression in this performance:“Gabriel Altilius,” says he, “composed an excellent epithalamium, which would have been still better, had he restrained his genius; but, by endeavouring to say every thing upon the subject, he disgusts the reader as much in some places, as he gives him pleasure in others: be says too much, which is a fault peculiar to his nation, for in all that tract of Italy they have a continual desire of talking.” k may appear singular that his Latin poetry ’should hare raised him to | the dignity of a prelate; yet it certainly did, in a great measure, to the bishopric of Policastro. Some have also reproached him for neglecting the muses after his preferment, though they had proved so serviceable to him in acquiring it: “When he was made bishop,” says Paulus Jovius, “he soon and impudently left the muses, by whose means he had been promoted: a most heinous ingratitude, unless we excuse him from the consideration of his order, which obliged him to apply to the study of the holy scriptures.1

1 Biog. Universelle. Roscoe’s Life of Tx>o. Gen. Dict.