Accorso, Mariangelus

, a native of Aquila, in the kingdom of Naples, and one of the most eminent critics of his time, flourished in the beginning of the sixteenth century, and lived for thirty-three years in the court of Charles V. who had a great respect for him. He was well acquainted with the Greek, Latin, French, Spanish and German languages, was one of the most indefatigable antiquaries of the age, and enriched Naples with a great number of monuments of antiquity. His favourite employment was to correct the editions of ancient authors by the aid of manuscripts, which he sought out with great | care; and his first work is a lasting proof of his industry and acuteness. This was his “Diatribae in Ausonium, Solinum, et Ovidium,Rome, 1524, fol. The frontispiece is an engraving of antique statues, among which are the Apollo Belvidere, and a Minerva, and two bas-reliefs of the rape of Proserpine and the death of Meleager. At the end of the work is a fable entitled “Testudo.” The Diatribe have been reprinted, but not entirely, as the titlepage asserts, in the variorum edition of Ausonius, printed at Amsterdam, 1671, 8vo. They are also incorporated in the Delphin edition, by John Baptist Souchay, Paris, 1730, 4to.

This writer has left an example of an author’s jealousy, and fear of being thought a plagiarist, which is too curious to be omitted. Having been accused of owing his notes on Ausonius to Fabricio Varano, bishop of Camarino, he endeavoured to clear himself by the following very solemn oath: “In the name of God and man, of truth and sincerity, I solemnly swear, and if any declaration be more binding than an oath, I in that form declare, and I desire that my declaration may be received as strictly true, that I have never read or seen any author, from which my own lucubrations have received the smallest assistance or improvement: nay, that I have even laboured, as far as possible, whenever any writer has published any observations which I myself had before made, immediately to blot them out of my own works. If in this declaration I am. foresworn, may the Pope punish my perjury; and may an evil genius attend my writings, so that whatever in them is good, or at least tolerable, may appear to the unskilful multitude exceedingly bad, and even to the learned trivial and contemptible; and may the small reputation I now possess be given to the winds, and regarded as the worthless boon of vulgar levity.” This singular protestation, which is inserted in the Testudo, has. been often quoted. In 1533, he published at Augsburgh a new edition of “Ammianus Marcellinus,” fol. more complete than the preceding edition (which is the princeps), and augmented by five books, not before known, and, as stated in the title, with the correction of above five thousand errors. In the same year and place, he published the “Letters of Cassiodorus,” and his “Treatise on the Soul.” This is the first complete collection of these letters, and, with the Treatise, is improved by many corrections. He also had made | preparations for an edition of Claudian, and had corrected above seven hundred errors in that author; but this has not been published. At his leisure hours, he studied music, optics, and poetry. We have a specimen of his poetry in his “Protrepticon ad Corycium,” of eighty-seven verses, which is printed in a very rare work, entitled “Coryciana,Rome, 1524, 4to. This Corycius, according to La Monnoie, was a German of the name of Goritz. The volume contains the poems of various Neapolitan authors, as Arisio, Tilesio, &c.

In Accorso’s time, it was the fashion with many Latin writers to make use of obsolete words. This he endeavoured to ridicule, and with considerable success, in a dialogue entitled “Osco, Volsco, Romanaque eloquentia interlocutoribus, dialogus ludis Romanis actus, &c.1531, 8vo, without place, or the name of the author; but La Monnoie thinks it must have been printed before, as it is quoted by Tori in his “Champ-Fleuri,” which appeared in 1529. At the end of this volume is a small work, entitled “Volusii Metiani, jurisconsulti antiqui distributio. Item vocabula ac notae partium in rebus pecimiariis, pondere, numero, et mensura.” The Dialogue was reprinted at Rome, 1574, 4to, with the author’s name, and with the title of “Osci et Volsci Dialogas ludis Romanis actus a Mariangelo Accursio.” There is another 4to edition, without date or name of the author. In the imperial library of Paris are two editions, both of Cologne, 1598. It appears by the dedication of the fable Testudo, that Accorso was employed on a history of the house of Brandenbourg; but this, and his other works, were lost on the death of his son Casimir, who was a man of letters, and had intended to publish all his father’s works. Toppi, in his Biblioteca Napolet. among other inaccuracies, attributes to Accorso a work entitled “De Typographies artis Inventore, ac de libro primum omnium impresso;” but the mistake seems to have arisen from a few manuscript notices on the subject, written by our author in a copy of Donatus’ grammar, a very early printed book. 1


Gen. Dict.—Biographic Universelle, 1811.—Saxii Onomasticon.Moreri. For the Coryciana, see Roseoe’s Life of Leo, and art. Gorizio in this work.