Niphus, Augustine,

a learned Italian, was born at Sessa, in the kingdom of Naples, in 1473. About 1500, he was appointed professor of philosophy at Padua, where he composed a treatise “De Intellectu et Duemonibus,” in which he maintained that there is but one soul, which animates all nature. This raised many opponents, and he was forced to publish his treatise with amendments in 1492, fol. reprinted 1503 and 1527. He afterwards gained so much reputation by his other works, however insignificant they may now appear, that the most celebrated universities of Italy offered him professorships with large stipends; and he had a salary of a thousand crowns in gold, when professor at Pisa, about 1520. Pope Leo X. had such a value for Niphus, that he made him count palatine, permitted him to quarter his arms with those of the Medici family, and granted him power to create masters of arts, bachelors, licentiates, doctors of divinity, civil and canon law, to legitimate bastards, and to ennoble three persons. The letters patent which conveyed these singular privileges, are dated June 15, 1521. Niphus was a philosopher in theory only, being remarkable even in old age for levity and intrigue. He also loved high living; and such were the charms of his conversation, that he had easy access to the nobility and ladies of rank. The year in which he died is not exactly known, but it is certain that he was living in 1545, and dead in 1550, and that he was above seventy at the time of his death. He left Commentaries in Latin on Aristotle and Averroes, 14 vols. fol.; some smaller works on subjects of morality and politics, Paris, 1645, 4to a treatise “on the Immortality of the Soul,” against Pomponatius, Venice, 1518, fol. “De amore, de pulchro, Veneris et Cupidinis venales,” Leydae, 1641, 16to, &c. 2


Gen. Dict.—Dict. Hist.Tiraboschi.—Roscoe’s Leo.