Scala, Bartholomew

, an Italian, eminent as a statesman and man of letters, when letters were just reviving in Europe, was born about 1424, some say 1430. He was only the son of a miller but, going early to Florence, he fell under the notice of Cosmo de Medici who, observing uncommon parts in him and a turn for letters, took him under his protection, and gave him an education. He studied the law; and, taking a doctor’s degree in that faculty, frequented the bar. After the death of Cosmo in 1464, Peter de Medici shewed the same regard for him; and Scala, through his means, was trusted by the republic in the most important negociations. In 1471, the freedom of the city was conferred on him and his Descendants; and the year after he obtained letters of nobility; he was then secretary or chancellor of the republic. In 1484, the Florentines sent a solemn embassy to Innocent VIII, to congratulate him on his being raised to the pontificate; when Scala, one of the embassy, delivered a speech so very pleasing to the pope, that he was made by him a knight of the golden spur, and senator of Rome. In 1436, he was made holy-standard-bearer to the republic. He died at Florence in 1497; and left, among other children, a | daughter, named Alexandra, who afterwards became famous for her learning and skill in the Greek and Latin tongues.

During his life-time were published the above-mentioned speech to pope Innocent; another speech which he made as chancellor of Florence, “Pro Imperatoriis miiitaribus siguis dandis Constantio Sfortise Imperatori,1481 and “Apologia contra vituperatores civitatis Florentiae,1496, in folio. His posthumous works are four books, “De Historia Floremina,” and “Vita di Vitaliani Borromeo;” both printed at Rome in 1677, 4to. This history of the Florentine republic was written in twenty books, and deposited in the Medicean library; but, as only four of these books and part of a fifth were finished, no more have been thought fit for the press. He was the author also of “Apologues,” and of some Latin and Italian “Poems.” Some few of his letters have been published; and there are eight in the collection of Politian, with whom Scala, as appears from the correspondence, had the misfortune to be at variance. Politian probably despised him for being his superior in every thing but letters, and Scala valued himself too much on his opulence. Erasmus also has not passed a very favourable judgment on him: he represents him as a Ciceronian in his style. Scala‘ s daughter Alexandra, above mentioned, was no less distinguished by her personal beauty, than her literary acquirements. She gave her hand to the Greek Marullus (See Mahullus); and Politian is numbered among her unsuccessful admirers; a circumstance that may in some degree account for the asperities which marked his controversy with her father. She is said to have been assisted in her studies by. John Lascaris, and Demetrius Chalcondylas. In evidence of her proficiency, we are told that she replied to a Greek epigram, which the gallantry of Politian addressed to her, in the same language and measure; and in a public representation of the “Electra” of Sophocles at Florence, she undertook to perform the principal female character, which, according to Politian, she did with great success. She died in 1506. 1

1 Tiraboschi. Gen. Dict. Gresswell’s Politian. Rojcos’S Lorenzo.