Antoniano, Silvio

, a man of great learning, whq raised himself from a low condition by his merit, his parents being so far from able to support him in his studies, that they themselves stood in need of charity, was born at Rome in 1540. He made a quick and most surprising progress in his studies; for when he was but ten years old, he could make verses upon any subject proposed to him; and these so excellent, though pronounced extempore, that it was commonly thought they exceeded those of the most studied | preparation. A proof of this was at the table of the cardinal of Pisa, when he gave an entertainment one day to several other cardinals. Alexander Farnese, taking a nosegay, gave it to this youth, desiring him to present it to him of the company whom he thought most likely to be pope: he presented it to the cardinal of Medicis, and made an eulogium upon him in verse. This cardinal, who was pope some years afterwards, under the name of Pius IV. imagined it all a contrivance, and that the poem had been artfully prepared before-hand, by way of ridicule upon him. He therefore appeared hurt at it, but the company protested that it was an extempore performance, and requested him to make a trial of the boy: he did so, and was convinced of his extraordinary talents. According to Strada, as the cardinal of Medicis was thinking upon a subject for this purpose, the clock in the hall struck; which was the occasion of his proposing a clock for the subject of his verses. The duke de Ferrara coming to Rome, to congratulate Marcellus II. upon his being raised to the pontificate, was so charmed with the genius of Antoniano, that he carried hi:n to Ferrara, where he provided able masters to instruct him in all the sciences. From thence he was sent for by Pius IV. who recollecting the adventure of the nosegay, made inquiry for the young poet; and having found him, invited him to Rome, and gave hinvan honourable post in his palace, and some time after made him professor of the belles lettres in the college at Rom<5. Antoniano filled this place with so much reputation, that on the day when he began to explain the oration pro Marco Marcello, he had a crowd of auditors, and among these no less than twenty-five cardinals. He was afterwards chosen rector of the college; and after the death of Pius IV. being seized with a spirit of devotion, he joined himself to Philip Neri, and accepted the office of secretary to the sacred college, offered him by Pius V. which he executed for many years with the reputation of an honest and able man. He refused a bishopric which Gregory XIV. wculd have given him, but he accepted the office of secretary to the briefs, offered him by Clement VIII. who made him his chamberlain, and afterwards a cardinal. It is reported, that cardinal Alexander de Montalto, who had behaved a Hitle too haughtily to Antoniano, said, when he saw him promoted to the purple, that for the future he would not despise a man of the cassoc and little band, | however low and despicable he might appear; since it might happen that he whom he had despised, might not only become his equal, but even his superior. His intense application is said to have hastened his death, Aug. 15, 1603. His printed works are, 1. “Dele 1 Educazione Cristiana de Figliuoli libri tre,Verona, 1584, 4to, reprinted at Cremona and Naples. This work on education he wrote at the request of cardinal Borromeo. 2. “Orationes tredecim,Rome, 1610, 4to, with a life of the author by Joseph Castalio. 3. Various discourses, letters, pieces of poetry, both Latin and Italian, in the collections. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri