Allatius, Leo

, keeper of the Vatican library, and a celebrated popish writer of the 17th | century, was born in the isle of Chios, of Greek parents, 1586. At nine years of age he was removed from his native country to Calabria; bat some time after sent to Rome, and admitted into the Greek college, where he applied himself to the study of polite learning, philosophy, and divinity, and embraced the Roman Catholic religion. From thence he went to Naples, and was chosen great vicar to Bernard Justiniani, bishop of Anglona. From Naples he returned to his own country, but went soon from thence to Rome, where he studied physic under Julius Caesar Lagalla, and took a degree in that profession. He afterwards made the belles lettres his object, and taught in the Greek college at Rome. Pope Gregory XV. sent him to Germany, in 1622, in order to get the elector Palatine’s library removed to Rome; but hy the death of Gregory, he lost the reward he might have expected for his trouble in that affair. He lived some time after with cardinal Bichi, and then with cardinal Francis Barberini; and was at last, by pope Alexander VII. appointed keeper of the Vatican library. Allatius was of great service to the gentlemen of Port Royal in the controversy they had with Mr. Claude, concerning the belief of the Greeks on the subject of die Eucharist: Mr. Claude often calls him Mr. Arnaud’s great author, and gives him a character, by no means favourable, although in general very just. “Allatius,” says he, “was a Greek, who had renounced his own religion to embrace that of Rome; a Greek whom the pope had chosen his librarian: a man the most devoted to the interests of the court of Rome; a man extremely outrageous in his disposition. He shews his attachment to the court of Rome in the very beginning of his book `De perpetua consensione,‘ where he writes in favour of the pope thus: `The Roman pontiff,’ says he, `is quite independent, judges the world without being liable to be judged; we are bound to obey his commands, even when he governs unjustly; he gives laws without receiving any; he changes them as he thinks fit; appoints magistrates; decides all questions as to matters of faith, and orders all affairs of importance in the church as seems to him good. He cannot err, being out of the power of all heresy and illusion; and as he is armed with the authority of Christ, not even an angel from heaven could make him alter his opinion‘.” No Latin ever shewed himself more incensed against the Greek schismatics than Allatius, or more devoted to the see of Rome. One | singularity in his character is, that he never engaged in matrimony, nor was he ever in orders; and pope Alexander having asked him one day, why he did not enter into orders? “Because,” answered he, “I would be free to marry.” “But if so,” replied the pope, “why don’t you marry ?” “Because I would be at liberty,” answered Allatius, “to take orders.” If we may believe Joannes Patricius, Allatius had a very extraordinary pen, with which, and no other, he wrote Greek for 40 years; and we need not be surprised that when he lost it he was so grieved that he shed tears. He wrote so fast that he copied, in one night, the “Diarium Romanorum Pontiftcium,” which a Cistertian monk had lent to him. Niceron gives him the character of a man laborious and indefatigable, of a vast memory, and acquainted with every kind of learning; but adds, that in his writings there is a display of more reading than judgment, and, that biographer might have added, than of candour or urbanity of style, at least in his controversial pieces. He died Jan. 1669, aged eighty-three, after founding several colleges or schools in the island of Chios, his native place. His principal works were, 1. “De Ecclesiæ Occidentalis et Orientalis perpetua consensione,” Cologn, 1648, 4to; which is regarded by the most impartial writers among the Protestants, as the production of a disingenuous and insidious mind. His object is, to prove that Latin and Greek churches always concurred in the same faith; and the Catholics look upon this as his ablest performance. 2. “De utriusque ecclesiæ, &c. in dogmate de purgatorio eonsensione,Rome, 1655, 8vo. 3. “De libris ecclesiasticis Graecorum,Paris, 1645, 8vo. 4. “De Templis Grsecorumrecentioribus,” Cologn, 1645, 8vo. 5. “Græcioe orthodoxae scriptores,Rome, 1652 and 1657, 2 vols. 4 to. 6. “Philo Byzantinus de septem orbis spectaculis, Gr. et Lat. cum notis,Rome, 1640, 8vo. 7. “Eustathius Antiochenus in hexameron, et de Engastrimytho,Lyons, 1629, 4to. 8. “Symmichta, et Symmiha, sive opusculorum Græcorum ac Latinorum vetustiorum ac recentiorum libri duo,” Cologn, 1653, fol. 9. “De Mensura temporum antiquorum et proecipue Græcorupi,” Cologn, 1645, 8vo. 10. “Apes Urbanæ,Rome, 1633, 8vo, a title borrowed from the Bees in pope Urban VIII.’s arms; the book gives an account of all the learned men who flourished at Rome from 1630 to the end of 1632, with a catalogue of their works. Fabricius printed an edition of it | at Hamburgh, 1711, 8vo. 11. “Dramaturgia,” in Italian, an alphabetical collection of all the Italian dramatic works published in his time. This was reprinted at Venice, 4to, with considerable additions, and brought down to 1755. 12. “Poeti antichi raccolti da Codici manuscriti della Bibliotheca Vaticana e Barberina,Naples, 1661, 8 vo, a very scarce work, containing the productions of many ancient Italian poets, not before published, but, according to Ginguene, full of errors. Moreri and Niceron mentions other works by Aliutius, which show the variety of his studies, and the rapidity with which he could pass from one subject to another.­Of his tediousnessan’d digressive powers, M. de Sallo complains with some humour in the Journal des Savans. After noticing a lamentation of the virgin Mary, as a remarkable piece inserted in one of Allatius’s works, he adds: “This lamentation was composed by Metaphrast, and that, was sufficient for Allatius to insert a panegyric upon Metaphrast, written by Psellus. As Metaphrast’s name was Simeon, he thence took an opportunity of making a long dis+ sertation upon the lives and works of such celebrated men. as had borne the same name. From the Simeons he passes to the Simons, from them to the Simonideses, and lastly to the Simonactides.1


Gen. Dict.—Moreri.—Saxii Onomasticon.—Ginguené Hist. Litteraire d’Italie, vol. I. p. 397.—Du Pin.—Baillet jugement des Savans.