Beccadelli, Antony

, surnamed Panormita, from his native country, Palermo, in Latin Panormus, vvas born 'there in 1394, and at the age of six was sent to the university of Bologna, to study law, after which he was taken into the court of the duke of MiIan, Philip-Maria-Visconti. He vvas afterwards professor | of the belles-lettres at Pavia, but without leaving the court, in which he enjoyed a revenue of eight hundred crowns of gold. The emperor Sigismond, when on a tour in Lombardy in 1432, honoured him with the poetic crown at Parma. Beccadelli then went to the court of Naples, where he passed the remainder of his life, always accompanying Alphonso, the king, in his expeditions and travels, who loaded him with favours, gave him a beautiful country house, enrolled him among the Neapolitan nobility, intrusted him with political commissions of great importance, and sent him as ambassador to Geneva, Venice, to the emperor Frederic III. and to some other princes. And after the death of Alphonso, he was not less a favourite with king Ferdinand, who made him his secretary, and admitted him of his council. He died at Naples, in 1471. While in the service of Alphonso, he wrote his history “De dictis et factis Alphonsi regis, lib. IV.Pisa, 1485, 4to, and often reprinted. He was rewarded by his sovereign with a thousand crowns of gold for this performance. His five books of letters, orations, poems, tragedies, &c. were published at Venice, 1553, 4to, under the title “Epistolarum lib. V. Orationes II. Carmina praeterea quasdam, &c.” But the most extraordinary of his productions was his “Hermaphroditus,” which long remained in obscurity. This is a collection divided into two books of small poems, grossly indecent, and yet dedicated to Cosmo de Medicis, who is not said to have resented the insult. What renders this production the more extraordinary, is, that it was written when the author was advanced in life, and at a time when his character seemed to derive dignity from the honourable employments he held, and his reputation in the learned world. Of this work, written with great purity of Latin style, some copies got abroad, and ^excited the just indignation of the age. Filelfo and Laurentius Valla attacked it in their writings; the clergy preached against it, and caused it to be burnt; and the author was burnt in effigy at Ferrara and Milan. Valla even goes so far as to wish that he had been burnt in person. Even Poggio, not the most chaste of Italian writers, reproached his friend with having gone too far. Beccadelli defended himself by the example of the ancients, and Guarino of Verona quotes the example of St. Jerome, but sense and decency went against them, and these poems were confined to the Laurentian library strictly, as Mr, | Koscoe says, but surely a more certain method might have been devised to consign them to perpetual oblivion. A copy, however, was by some means preserved, and printed at Paris in 1791, when the revolution had brought on a general dissolution of morals and public decency. “The editor,” says Ginguene, “no doubt thought that our morals were so confirmed as to have nothing to fear, and the book is now in every shop.1


Ginguene Hist. Litt. d’Italie, vol. III.—Roscoe’s Lorenzo.—Dict. Hist.Saxii Onomasticon.