Picus, John Francis

, was the son of Galeoti Picus, the eldest brother of John Picus, just recorded, and born fcbout 1409. He cultivated learning and the sciences, after | the example of his uncle; but he had dominions and a principality to superintend, which involved him in great troubles, and at last cost him his life. Upon the death of his father, in 1499, he succeeded, as eldest son, to his estates; but was scarcely in possession, when his brothers Louis and Frederic combined against him; and, by the assistance of the emperor Maximilian I. and Hercules I. duke of Ferrara, succeeded. John Francis, driven from his principality in 1502, was forced to seek refuge in different countries for nine years; till at length pope Julius II. becoming master of Mirandula, put to flight Frances Trivulce, the widow of Louis, and re-established John Francis in 1511. But he could not long maintain his post; for the pope’s troops being beaten by the French at Ravenna, April 11, 1512, John James Trivulce, general of the French army, forced away John Francis again, and set up Frances Trivulce, who was his natural daughter. John. JFrancis now became a refugee a second time, and so continued for two years; when, the French being driven out of Italy, he was restored again in 1515. He lived from that time in the quiet possession of his dominions, till October 1533; and then Galeoti Picus, the son of his brother Louis, entered his castle by night with forty armed men, and assassinated him, with his eldest son Albert Picus. He died embracing the crucifix, and imploring pardon of God for his sins,

He was a great lover of letters, and applied himself intensely, at the seasons of his leisure, to reading and writing. He seems to have been a more voluminous writer than his uncle; and such of his tracts as were then composed, were inserted in the Strasburgh edition of his uncle’s works, in 1504, and continued in those of Basil 1573 and 1601. Among these are, 1. “De studio divinae & humanse philosophise, libri duo.” In this he compares profane philosophy with the knowledge of the Holy Scripture, and shews how preferable the latter is to the former. 2. “De imaginatione liber.” 3. “De imitatione, ad Petrum Bembum epistolse duge, & ejus responsum.” 4. “De re T rum prtenotione, libri IX.” In this book of the prescience of things, he treats of the Divine prescience, and of that knowledge which some pretend to have of things future, by compacts with evil spirits, by astrology, chiromancy, geomancy, and similar means, which he confutes at large. 5. “Examen vanitatis doctrinse gentium, & | veritatis discipline Christianas, &c.” in which he opposes the errors of the philosophers, those of Aristotle particularly. 6. “Epistolarum libri quatuor.” 7. “De reformandis moribus oratio ad Leonem X.” These and some more compositions are to be found in the editions above mentioned of his uncle’s works; but there are others of his writings, which have nevef been collected together, but have always continued separate, as they were first published as, “Vita Hieronymi Savonarolae; De veris calamitatum temporum nostrorum causis liber De animae immortalitate Dialogus cui nomen Strix, sive de ludificatione dsemonum Hymni heroici tres ad Trinitatem, Christum, & Virginem De Venere & Cupidine expellendis carmen heroicum Liber de Providentia Dei, contra philosophastros De auro turn sestimando, turn conficiendo, turn utendo, libri tres, &c.” “There is not,” says Dupin, “so much wit, sprightliness, subtlety, and elegance, in the works of Francis Picus, as in those of his uncle; nor yet so much learning: but there is much more evenness and solidity.1


Tirabosohi Dupin. Fabric. Bibl. Lat. Med.