Inghirami, Tomaso Fedra

, an eminent Italian scholar, was born in 1470. He descended from a noble family of Volterra, where, in the commotions which took place in 147,2, his father lost his life, and the surviving members of the family, among whom was Tomaso, then only two years of age, sought a shelter in Florence. Being there received under the immediate protection of Lorenzo de Medici, and having closely attended to his studies, he was induced, by Lorenzo’s advice, to pay a visit to Rome in his thirteenth year, where he made such rapid progress in his acquirements, as to obtain an early celebrity. He obtained the name of Fedra, or Piledra, by a singular instance of talents and promptitude. Having undertaken, with some of his learned friends, to perform Seneca’s “Hyppolytus,” in which he acted the part of Phaedra, and a part of the machinery having by accident been broken, which interrupted the performance, he alone entertained the audience whilst the injury was repaired, by the recital of extemporary Latin verse; on which account he was saluted, amidst the applauses of his hearers, by the name of Phaedra, which he afterwards retained and used as his signature.

Soon after the accession of Alexander VI. he was nominated by that pontiff a canon of St. Peter’s, and dignified with the rank of a prelate. In 1495 he was sent as papal | nuncio into the Milanese, to treat with the emperor-elect, Maximilian, on which embassy he obtained not only the approbation of the pope, but also the favour of the emperor, who soon after the return of Inghirami to Rome, transmitted to him from Inspruck an imperial diploma, by which, after enumerating his various accomplishments, and particularly his excellence in poetry and Latin literature, he created him count palatine and poet-laureat, and conceded to him the privilege of adding the Austrian eagle to his family arms. Nor was he less favoured by Julius II. who, besides appointing him librarian of the Vatican, conferred on him the important office of pontifical secretary, which he afterwards quitted for that of secretary to the college of cardinals. Leo X. also enriched him with many ecclesiastical preferments, and continued him in his office of librarian until his death, which was occasioned by an accident in the streets of Rome, Sept. 6, 1516, when he had not yet completed the forty- sixth year of his age. To this unfortunate event it is probably owing, that so few of his writings have reached the present times. From the testimony of his contemporaries, it is well known that he was the author of many books. Among these are enumerated a defence of Cicero a compendium of the history of Rome a commentary on the poetics of Horace and remarks on the comedies of Plautus; but these works were left at his death in an unfinished state, and have since been dispersed or lost. It has been supposed that he was the author of the additions to the “Aulularia” of Plautus, printed at Paris, 1513. 1


Roscoe’s Leo.