Bolzanio, Urbano Valeriano

, one of the revivers of letters in the fifteenth century, was born in 1440, and is said by his nephew Pietro Valeriano to have been the earliest instructor of Leo X. in the knowledge of the Greek tongue. Although an ecclesiastic of the order of St. Francis, he quitted the walls of his monastery with the laudable curiosity of visiting foreign parts; and, having had an opportunity of accompanying Andrea Gritti, afterwards doge of Venice, on an embassy to Constantinople, he thence made an excursion through Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Arabia, and other countries; always travelling on foot, and diligently noting whatever appeared deserving of observation. His nephew adds, that he travelled also into Sicily, where he twice ascended the mountain of yEtna, and looked down its crater. The disinterestedness of Urbano is also strongly insisted on by his nephew, who informs us that he rather chose to suffer the inconveniencies of poverty, than to receive a reward for those instructions which he was at all times ready to give, and that he always persevered in refusing those honours and dignities which Leo X. would gladly have conferred upon him. His activity, temperance, and placid disposition, secured to him a healthful old age; nor did he omit to make frequently excursions through Italy, until he was disqualified from these occupations by a fall in his garden whilst he was pruning his trees. His principal residence was at Venice, where he not only assisted Aldus in correcting the editions which he published of the ancient authors, but gave in-‘ | structions in the Greek language to a great number of scholars; and there was scarcely a person in Italy distinguished by his proficiency in that language who had not at some time been his pupil. His grammar, “Urbani Grammatica Græca,Venice, 1497, 4to, was the first attempt to explain in Latin the rules of the Greek tongue, and was received with such avidity, that Erasmus, on inquiring for it in 1499, found that not a copy of the impression remained unsold. He died in the convent of St. Niccolo, at Venice, in 1524, and bequeathed to that convent his valuable library. His funeral oration, by Alberto da Castelfranco, was printed at Venice in the same year, 4to. 1


Roscoe’s Leo X.