Pigna, John Baptist

, an Italian historian and miscellaneous writer, was born at Ferrara in 1530, and prosecuted his studies with so much success, that at the age of twenty he obtained the professorship of rhetoric in his native city. Alphonsus II. who was then hereditary prince of Ferrara, having heard some of his lectures, conceived a high opinion of him, and when he succeeded his father, extended his friendship to Pigna in a manner calculated to raise ambition in him, and envy among his contemporaries. Pigna, however, while he set a proper value on his prince’s favours, studiously avoided every occasion of profiting by them, and refused every offer of preferment which was made, employing such time as he could spare from his attendance at court, on his studies. He died in 1575, in the forty-sixth year of his age, greatly lamented by the citizens of Ferrara, who had admired him as a favourite without pride, and a courtier without ambition. His chief work, as an historian, was his history of the house of Este, “Historia de' Principi di Este, in sino al 1476,” published at Ferrara, 1570, folio. This is a well- written account, but contains too much of the fabulous early history of that illustrious family, which was never judiciously investigated until Muratori and Leibnitz undertook the task. Pigna’s other works are, I. “11 Principe,Venice, 1560, 8vo, in imitation of Machiavel’s Prince, but written upon sound principles, which, says one of his biographers with too much truth, is the reason why it is almost unknown. 2. “II duello, &c.” 1554, 4to. 3. “I Romanzi in quali della poesia e della vita d’Ariosto si tratta,Venice, 1554, 4to. 4. “Carminum libri quatuor,” in a collection consisting likewise of the poems of Calcagnini and Ariosto, printed at Venice in 1553, 8vo. 2