Caro, Hannibal

, an Italian poet, was born in 1507, at Civita Nova, in the march of Ancona, of poor parents. After his first studies he obtained the patronage of the illustrious house of Gaddi in Florence, a branch of which, John Gaddi, legate of Romania, appointed him secretary of legation, and retained him in his service, with some interval, until his death. On this event Caro determined on a life of independence; but unable to resist the liberal offers of Peter Louis Farnese, accepted the place of confidential secretary in 1543. While with him, Caro had an opportunity of forming a very fine collection of medals, and wrote a treatise on the subject. Such was his reputation at this time that Onufrius Pauvinius dedicated his work “De Antiquis Romanorum nominibus” to him, as the ablest antiquary in Italy. With the study of medals, Caro united that of the sciences, the belles lettres, languages, and the Italian particularly, which owes great obligations to him. He composed in that language several works of the light kind, such as the “Ficheide del P. Siceo (i. e Francis Maria Molza) col Commento dr Ser Agresto (Annibal Caro) sopra la prima Ficata,1539, 4to; “La diceria de nasi;” and a prose comedy, “Gli Straccioni,Venice, 1582, 12mo. These works procured him the friendship of persons of rank at tfome, and the esteem of the learned | throughout Italy. All the academies were opened to him, and the most celebrated poets acknowledged him as their master. Sonnets being then the fashionable poetry of Italy, Caro acquired great reputation by his performances in this style, and was compared to Petrarch rnd Bembo. Nor were his talents less conspicuous as a negvciaior. In 1544 he executed a very important commission of this kind, with wh?ch he was intrusted by the house of Farnese at the court of Charles V. After the death of his patron Peter Lewis Farnese, the cardinals Alexander and Kanutius, and the duke Octavius Farnese, vied with each other in presenting him with ecclesiastical preferments, and even with the order of Malta, of which he was made commander. It was on this occasion, in order to pay his court to cardinal Alexander Farnese, that he composed an ode in honour of the royal family of France, which was almost universally applauded. Castelvetro the critic, however, attacked it with much asperity, and Caro answered him with spirit; but the controversy unfortunately became personal, and Caro, in 1548, published a gross and scandalous attack on, Castelvetro, and even denounced him to the inquisition, from which he narrowly escaped, as will be noticed in his life. After this dispute which did so little honour to either party, Caro resumed his studies, and at the request of cardinal St. Croix, afterwards pope Marcellus II. translated some parts of the works of Gregory Nazianzen and St. Cyprian. He likewise translated Aristotle’s Rhetoric, but infirmities coming upon him, and being tired of a court life, he requested permission of his patrons to retire, and the cardinal Ranutius gave him a small house at Frescati, to which he removed his library. In this retreat he meditated the composition of an epic poem, but was diverted from the design by his friends, and made a translation of Virgil into bkink verse, which has been very much admired. He had scarcely finished this when he died, Nov. 21, 1566. After his death his works were published by his nephews; his poetry and the translations from Gregory of Nazianzen and St. Cyprian in 1568; Aristotle’s Rhetoric in 1570; and his letters, vol. I. and II. in 1572 and 1575, much admired for ease and elegance. The translation of Virgil was not published until 1581. One of the best editions is that of Paris, 1765, 2 vols. 8vo; and in 1725, his “Letters” were reprinted at Padua, with a life of the author, by Alexander Zalioli, and notes by the | editor, 2 vols. 8vo; but the most complete edition is in 6 vols. Padua, 1765. Caro also translated the Pastorals of Longus, of which Bodoni printed a fine edition at Parma in 1786, 4to. Among his unpublished works are a translation of Aristotle’s “History of Animals,” and his treatise above mentioned on medals.1

1 Moreri. —Dict. Hist. Haym Bibl. Italian*,