Ursinus, Fulvius

, an eminent classical scholar and antiquary, was the illegitimate son of a commander of the order of Malta, of the Ursin family, and was born at Rome Dec. 2, 1529. His education would probably have been neglected, as his mother and himself were turned out of doors by the unnatural father, and were in great poverty, had not some early appearance of talents recommended him to the notice of a canon of the Lateran, Gentilio Delfini, who took him under his protection, and instructed him in classical literature; after which, by this benevolent patron’s interest, he obtained considerable preferment in the church of St. John of Lateran. His talents afterwards made him be taken into the service of the cardinals Ranutius and Alexander Farnese, who rewarded him liberally; and by this means an opportunity was afforded him of collecting a great number of books and ancient manuscripts, and employing them for the benefit of literature. He was in habits of correspondence with the most eminent literary characters of Italy, and he contributed much valuable assistance to the authors of that period. He had attained to great skill in discovering the antiquity and value of Mss., which he seems to have considered as an important secret. Cardinal Frederic Borromeo, being once in his company, requested Ursinus to point out from a book that lay before | them, the rules by which he distinguished ancient from modern manuscripts; but he immediately shut the book, and turned the discourse. He died at Rome Jan. 18, 1600, at the age of seventy. He was author of several learned works, as “De Familiis Romanis;” and an Appendix to Ciaconio’s treatise “De Triclinio.” He also published notes oti Sallust, Cecsar, Livy, and most of the Roman historians, the writers de Re Rustica, Cicero, &c. He also caused engravings to be made of a large collection of statues, busts, and other monuments of antiquity, and published them under the title of “Imagines et Elogia Virorum illustrium et eruditorum ex antiquis lapidibus et numismatibus expressa, cum annotationibus Fulvii Ursini.” Mr. Pinkerton, however, says that this work is not to be depended on, and prefers that of Canini, which is better, although far from perfect. Ursinus, in order to keep together the books which, with great labour and at vast expence, he had accumulated, bequeathed them to the Vatican. Castalio published a Life of Ursinus, at Rome, 1657, 8vo. In his will, which is appended to this Life, be bequeaths two thousand crowns to Delfini, bishop of Camenuo, probably a near relation of his early patron. 1


Niceron, vol. XXIV, —Moreri.