Foggini, Peter Francis

, a learned Italian ecclesiastic, was born at Florence in 1713, and went through his principal courses of study in that city, and evinced so much fitness for the office, that his superiors appointed him their librarian. This society, of which he became a member in 1737, was composed of the theologians of Florence, and he made his first public display in some historical and polemical theses respecting what were called the four articles of the clergy of France, agreed upon in 1682; but his subsequent writings have consigned these to oblivion. In 1741 he published a dissertation “de primisFlorentinorum apostolis,” a work much praised by Manni and Lami. The same year appeared another “against the reveries of certain Protestants;” but what procured him more reputation, was his edition of “Virgil,” published at Florence, 1741, 4to. This is a fac-simile of the Codex Mediceus, on which Heinsius had written a learned dissertation, inserted by JBurman in the first volume of his own edition of Virgil. The original manuscript is conceived to be more ancient than the Vatican one. It appears to have formerly belonged to Rodolphus Pius, a cardinal in the time of pope Paul III. who bequeathed it to the Vatican, from which it is supposed to have been fraudulently conveyed to the Medicean.

In 1742, Foggini refused the professorship of ecclesiastical history at Pisa, which was then vacant; but accepted an invitation from Bottari, second librarian of the Vatican, to come to Rome; where his merit being known to pope Benedict XIV. he gave him a place in the pontifical academy of history. Instead, however, of employing himself on the history of the popes, he devoted his time to a careful examination of the most valuable Mss. and had thus an opportunity of furnishing the editors of classics with much important assistance. The same researches enabled him to publish a Latin translation of a book of St. Epiphanius, addressed to Diodorus, which was printed in 1743, with a preface and notes; the subject is the twelve precious stones on the breast-plate of the high-priest of the Hebrews. About this time the pope appointed him coadjutor to Bottari; and in 1750 he drew up the form of prayers and instructions for the Jubilee. The same year he printed his Latin translation of St. Epiphnnius’s commentary on the Canticles. In 1752 he published a collection of passages from the Fathers, occasioned by a homily of | the archbishop of Fermo, on the saying of Jesus Christ, respecting the small number of the elect. The following year he published the opinions of St. Charles Borromeo, and others on the theatre. In 1754 he published the first of eight volumes of writings of the fathers on the subject of grace; and in 1758 “The Works of St. Prosper,” 8vo, and separately, a poem by that saint, on ingratitude, with notes. These were followed by his “Treatise on the clergy of St. John de Lateran,” and in 1760, by an edition of the works of St. Fulgentius. The same year pope Ganganelli made him chamberlain of honour. He afterwards published some ecclesiastical pieces, and some on antiquities, among which was, “Fastorum Anni Ronaani Verrio Flacco ordinatorum reliquiae,” &c. Rome, 1780, fol. Verrius Flaccus composed a series of the Romania**!, which was engraved on tables of marble, and exposed to the view of the public at Praeneste. To recover these marbles, cardinal Stoppani, bishop of Praeneste, at the request of Foggini, ordered several excavations to be made, by which the fragments of four tables were discovered in 1774, and of these Foggini has given a description in this work. The last work by Foggini, noticed in our authority, is an appendix to the Byzantine history, published in 1777. When Pius VI. became pope, he promoted him to the charge of the secret chamber, and in 1775 he succeeded Bottari, as first librarian, but on account of his age, he was excused from the duties of the place, while he enjoyed the title and emoluments. He died May 31, 1783, regretted as a scholar of great accomplishments, and an amiable man. 1


Dict. Hist. Saxii Ooomast. Dibdin’a Classics,