Dati, Augustine

, a learned Italian writer, the son of a lawyer at Sienna, was born at that place in 1420, and after acquiring some knowledge of the Latin language, was put under the care of Francis Philelphus, an eminent teacher at Sienna, who at the end of two years declared he was his best scholar. Dati, however, at this time suffered not a little from the ridicule of his schoolfellows, owing to a hesitation in his speech, which he is said to have cured by the means which Demosthenes adopted, that of speaking with small pebbles in his mouth. After finishing his classical studies, he learned Hebrew of some Jews, and then entered on a course of philosophy, jurisprudence, and theology. During his application to these branches, Odo Anthony, duke of Urbino, from the very favourable account he had of him, invited him to Urbino to teach the belles lettres. Dati accordingly set out for | that city in April 1442, where he was received with every mark of honour and friendship by the duke, but this prosperity was not of long duration. He had not enjoyed it above a year and a half, when the duke, whose excesses and tyranny had rendered him odious, was assassinated in a public tumult, with two of his favourites; and Dati, who was hated by the populace merely because he was respected by the duke, was obliged to take refuge for his life in a church, while the mob pillaged his house. The successor of Odo, prince Frederick, endeavoured to console Dati for this misfortune, and offered him a pension, besides recompense for all he had lost; but Dati could not be reconciled to a residence so liable to interruption, and in 1444 returned to Sienna. Here, after refusing the place of secretary of the briefs, offered to him by pope Nicholas V. he opened a school for rhetoric and the classics, and acquired so much reputation, that the cardinal of Sienna, Francis Piccolomini, formally granted him permission to lecture on the Holy Scriptures, although he was a married man; and at the same time gave him a similar licence to teach and lecture on any subject, not only in his college, but in all public places, and even in the church, where, his son informs us, he once preached during Lent. He was also much employed in pronouncing harangues on public occasions in Latin, many of which are among his works. Nor were his talents confined to literature, but were the means of advancing him to the first offices of the magistracy, and the republic of Sienna entrusted him with the negociation of various affairs of importance at Rome and elsewhere. In 1 J-57 he was appointed secretary to the republic, which he held for two years. Towards the close of his life he laid aside the study of profane authors for that of the Scriptures and ecclesiastical historians. He died of the plague at Sienna, April 6, 1478. His son Nicolas collected his works for publication, “Augustini Dathi, Senensis, opera,” of which there are two editions, that printed at Sienna, 1503, fol. and an inferior in correctness, printed at Venice, 1516. They consist of treatises on the immortality of the soul letters; three books on the history of Sienna; a history of Piombinoj on grammar, &c. &c. 1

1

Moreri. —Niceron, vol. XL. Fabric. Med. Lat, Clement Bibl. Curieuse.

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