Nizolius, Marius

, an eminent Italian scholar, was born in 1498, at Bresdiello, on the Po, in the duchy of Modena. He appears to have been first patronized by the counts Gambara of Brescia, with whom he lived for some years, amply provided with the means of study and improvement. When his writings had made him known, he was invited by the princes Farnese to Parma, to give public lectures on rhetoric, which he continued for many years. Prince Vespasian Gonzaga, a great patron of literature, having founded an university at Sabionetta, appointed Nizolius chief director or principal. In 1562 this university was opened, at which ceremony Nizolius delivered a speech, which was printed at Parma the following year. Some years after, being now advanced, he lost his sight, and retired to his native place, where he died in 1575.

The work for which he is chiefly entitled to notice, was his dictionary of the words that occur in Cicero, commonly called “Thesaurus Ciceronianus;” but the first edition was entitled “Observationes in Ciceronem,1535, 2 parts fol. | It afterwards had the title of “Thesaurus,” and was repeatedly reprinted, and at last with such improvements as to make it a complete lexicon. There is one printed at Padua, as late as 1734, fol. The other most valued editions are the Aldine, 1570, 1576-, and 1591, and that by Gellarius, at Francfort, 1613. Henry Stephens and Vemeret have spoken harshly of this work, but without much injury to its fame. Nizolius was an enthusiastic admirer of the purity and eloquence of the style of Tully; and it was to promote a taste for correct and elegant literature, that he compiled this “Ciceronian Treasury.” By a natural association, he extended his attachment to Cicero from his language to his philosophy, and maintained a strenuous contest in favour of Cicero, with several learned men. In the course of the dispute he wrote a treatise “De veris Principiis et vera Ratione Philosophandi,” in Which he vehemently censured the followers of the Stagyrite, and particularly the scholastics, chiefly for the corruptions they had introduced into the Latin language, and the many ridiculous opinions which they held. Leibnitz was so struck with its solidity and elegance, that to expose the obstinacy of those who were zealously attached to Aristotle, he gave a new edition of it, with critical notes of his own, 1670, in 4to. 1


Tiraboschi.—Stephens’s Thesaurus.—Moreri.