Castello, Gabriel Lancelot

, an eminent Italian antiquary, was born at Palermo, Feb. 18, 1727, of a noble family, and was placed under a private tutor, with a view to study botany, chemistry, &c. but an accident gave. a new and decided turn to his pursuits. Not far from Motta | where he lived, stood the ancient Halesa, or Alesa (Tosa), a colony of Nicosia, celebrated by the Greek and Latin poets, which was swallowed up by an earthquake in the year 828, leaving scarcely a \estige of its former state. One day a ploughman dug up a quantity of coins, which, he brought to Castello, who conceived an uncommon desire to decypher them, that he might not seem a stranger to the ancient history of his own country: and applying himself for instructions to the literati of Palermo, they recommended the study of antiquities as found in the Greek and Roman authors; and Castello engaged in this pursuit with such avidity and success, as within three years to be able to draw up a very learned paper on the subject of a statue which had been dug up, which he published under the title of “Dissertazione sopra una statua cli marmo trovata nelle campagne di Alesa,Palermo, 1749, 8vo, with letters on some antiquities of Solanto near Palermo; and before he had reached his twenty-sixth year he published his History and Antiquities of Alesa, which procured him the reputation of an able antiquary, and was censurable only for certain redundancies of style, which more mature progress enabled him to correct in his subsequent writings. In the mean time he formed a splendid collection of the remains of antiquity to be found in Sicily, and his museum was always open to strangers as well as natives of curiosity, and by will he bequeathed a vast collection of books, &c. to the public library of Palermo. This learned author died March 5, 1794, at that time an honorary member of the Royal Society and of the Paris academy. Besides what we have mentioned, he published, 1. “Osservazioni critiche sopra un libro stampato in Catania nel 1747, esposta in una lettera da un Pastor Arcade acl un Accademico Etrnsco,Rome, 1749, 4to. 2. “Storia di Alesa antica citta di Sicilia col rapporto de‘ suoi pin insigni monumenti, ike.Palermo, 1753, 4to. 3. “Inscrizioni Palermitane,Palermo, 1762, fol. 4. “Sicilise et objacentium Insularum veterum inscriptionum nova collectio, cum prolegomenis et notis illustrata,” ibid. 1769. 5. “Sicilian Populorum et Urbium, Regum quoque et Tyrannorum veteres nummi Saracenorum epocham antecedentes,Palermo, 1731, fol. To this, his greatest work, he published two supplements in 1789 and 1791. Besides these he contributed some papers on subjects of antiquity, printed in the “Storia Letteraria della Sicilia,” and other works. There was | another of the same name, Ignatius Paterno Castello, a contemporary, and likewise an able antiquary, who died in 1776, and published among other works, “Descrizione del terribile Terremoto de’ 5. Febraro 1783, che afflisse la Sicilia, distrtisse Messina, e gran parte della Calabria, diretta alle Reale Accademia di Bordeaux, Poesia del Pensante Peloritano,Naples, 1784, &c. 1


Fabroni Vitae Italorum, vol. XV