Fagnani, Prosper

, a celebrated canonist of the seventeenth century, was regarded at Rome as an orator, and every cause which he took in hand as successful. He was for about fifteen years secretary to several popes, all of whom entertained a high respect for his talents, and frequently consulted him. He became blind at the age of forty-four, which misfortune does not appear to have interfered with his professional labours, for it was after this that he composed his celebrated " Commentary on the Decretals/' in 3 vols. folio, which extended his fame throughout all Europe. It was dedicated to pope Alexander VII. by whose order he had engaged in the undertaking, and was printed at Rome in 1661, and five times reprinted. The best edition is that of Venice, 1697, in which the entire text of the Decretals is given. Fagnani continued deprived of his sight, but in full possession of his mental faculties until his death in 1678, as it is supposed, in the eightieth year of his age. His memory appears to have been uncommon, and the stores of learning he had laid up before he was deprived of his sight he could bring forth with promptitude and accuracy, even to a quotation from the poets whom he studied in his youth. 2