Pomponatius, Peter

, a modern Aristotelian, was born at Mantua in 1462. He delivered lectures on the philosophy of Aristotle and Averroes at Padua and Bologna, where his eloquence and talents procured him many auditors. He was at Bologna when he composed his celebrated little treatise “De immortalitate Animae,” in which he was supposed to call in question the immortality of the soul, at least he maintained that all natural reason was against it, but revelation for it, and upon the latter account ie believed it. It is probable, however, that the impression it made on the public mind was not very favourable to the received opinions, as pope Leo X. thought it necessary to suppress the work by a bull; and it was at his request that Augustine Niphus wrote a treatise with the same title, “De immortalitate Animae,” in which he undertook to prove that this doctrine is not contrary to the principles of the Aristotelian philosophy. Some time after, Pomponatius’s opinions were referred to the arbitration of Bembus, who endeavoured to justify him, and succeeded so far as to obtain permission for him to issue a second edition of the work, as well as to save the author from the vengeance of the church. Brucker is of opinion that notwithstanding Pomponatius’s pretences, he had more respect for the authority of Aristotle, than for that of Jesus Christ. He adds, that though much addicted to superstition and fanaticism, and a zealous advocate for judicial astrology, as appears from his book “De Incantationibus,” “On Enchantments,” he had an understanding capable of penetrating into the depths of the Peripatetic system, in the

study of which he chiefly followed the commentaries of | Aphrodisaeus. His writings, though barbarous and inelegant in style, discover great acuteness and subtlety of thought. He also wrote a treatise on “Fate and Free will.” He died in 1525. He had many followers of great celebrity among whom were Simon Porta, Julius Caesar SeaJiger, and Lazarus Bonamicus. Vanini, the Atheist, is said by some to have been his pupil but this is impossible, for Pomponatius died in the year 1525, and Vanini was not born till the year 1586.

The first edition of Pomponatius “De Immortalitate,” a copy of which is in Mr. GresswelPs possession, is without date but the colophon informs us, that the author completed it in 1516. The first with a date, and along with his other tracts, is that of Venice 1525, folio the second, of the “De immortalitate” only, is that of 1534, 12mo. 1

1 Gen. Dict. Brucker. Niceroo, vol, XXV. Gresswell’s Politiao, And Roscoe’s Leo, ubi plura,