Barbarus, Hermolaus

, grandson of the preceding, was born in 1454. After a slight education at Venice, he was placed, when very young, under the tuition of Matteo | Bosso, then resident at Verona. At the age of eight he became the scholar of Pomponius Lactus at Rome, and studied under him for the space of ten years, commencing an intimacy with the most celebrated literati of the age, and in particular with Theodore Gaza, who formed the most honourable opinion of his talents. On his return to Venice, by his father’s advice he went to reside at Padua, in order to finish his education in that university. Here he first applied himself to the version of “Themistii Paraphrasis,” which was finished in the nineteenth, but not published until (1473) the twenty-sixth year of his age. The following year he was nominated to pronounce the funeral oration of the doge Niccolo Marcello, a composition which is at present extant. Retiring again to Padua, he was authorised, by a special faculty from the senate, to read lectures on philosophy, and with great public approbation expounded Aristotle’s Ethics, and drew up an epitome of them for the benefit of his hearers. Hermolaus spent five years uninterruptedly at this seat of learning, and having attained his twenty-third year, was, by the general approbation, created a doctor of the civil and canon law. In 1479 he returned to his native city, where he was speedily admitted to all those honours which were compatible with his rank and age. Yet persevering in his studies, he this year interpreted “Aristotelis Rhetorica,” published his “Themistius” in the following in 1482 he translated tf Dioscorides,“and in 1484,” Aristotelis Dialecticen," besides a number of poems and other occasional productions.

In June 1484, having again retired to Padua, to avoid the plague then raging at Venice, he undertook, at the earnest request of several of the students, to expound some of the Grecian poets and orators, particularly Theocritus and Demosthenes. He had already borne two important offices in the republic, and was exulted to the dignity of senator in 1484, in the thirtieth year of his age. In the same year he opened, at his own house at Venice, a private school of philosophy, delivering his lectures at an early hour in the morning, and although he meant to admit only a few friends, his audience speedily increased, and he continued this employment until June 1485, when he was appointed on an embassy to congratulate the archduke Maximilian, who had recently been elected king of the Romans. On this occasion, Maximilian, whom he | addressed in a complimentary oration, conferred on him order of knighthood. In 1488, the senate again interrupted his favourite studies, by appointing him ambassador to Ludovico Sforza, duke of Milan, an office which his grandfather and father had both formerly filled. At Milan, his house became the general resort of the learned, and he contrived, amidst his public labours, to resume his criticisms on Aristotle and Dioscorides. In 1490, he returned to his native city, and about a year after, was appointed ambassador in ordinary to pope Innocent VIII. who conferred the patriarchate upon Hermolaus, and he accepted it, notwithstanding he knew that the republic of Venice had made an express law forbidding all the ministers they sent to Rome to accept of any benefice. Hermolaus excused himself by saying the pope forced him to accept of the prelacy but this availed nothing with the council of ten, who signified to him that he must renounce the patriarchate, and if he refused to comply, that Zachary Barbarus his father should be degraded from all his dignities^ and his estate confiscated. Zachary was a man much advanced in years, and filled one of the chief posts in the commonwealth. He employed all the interest in his power to gain the consent of the republic to his son’s being patriarch but his endeavours proved ineffectual, and Hernaolaus was condemned by the Venetians to perpetual exile.

From this time he resided at Rome, where, in 1491, he began a work of great erudition, his “Castigationes PliniansE,” the first part of which was published in the following year, and the second in 1493. Erasmus assigns him the most honourable place among those critics who have undertaken to illustrate Pliny the naturalist but his labours have not wholly escaped censure, particularly that of father Harduin, who accuses him of too frequently indulging conjecture, from which, and other charges, Apostolo Zeno defends him with great ability. Hermolaus died of the plague in July 1493. Besides the works already mentioned, he is said to have left some volumes of letters in manuscript, and to have written at least twelve thousand Latin verses, of which only two short epigrams remain. 1


Greswell’s Memoirs of Politiao. Roscoe’s Lorenzo. Gen. Dict. —Moreri, Saxii Onoaiasticon.