Palingenius, Marcellus

, an Italian poet, who flourished in the sixteenth century, was born at Stellada, in Ferrara, upon the bank of the Po. We are told by some, that his true name was Pietro Angelo Manzolli, of which “Marcello Palingenio” is the anaigram .*


Perhaps Palingenius is not the name of his family, but that name turned into Greek, according to the custom of those times.

He is chiefly known by his “Zodiacus Vitae,” a poem in twelve books, dedicated to Hercules II. of Este, duke of Ferrara. Some say he was physician to that prince, but this will admit of a doubt; at least it is certain he was not so when he wrote the dedication to his “Zodiac.” This poem, on which he had employed several years, brought him into trouble, as it contained many sarcastic attacks on monks and church-abuses and his name therefore appears in the “Index librorum prohibitorum,” as a Lutheran heretic of the Brst class, and as an impious author. It is thought, he carries too far the objections of libertines and scoffers at religion; otherwise his work is interspersed with judicious maxims, and some have considered it as a truly philosophical satire against immorality and prejudice. In the close of the dedication, he declares himself a good catholic, so far as to submit all his opinions to the censure of the church; and this declaration might perhaps have secured him against the inquisition, had the affair related only to some particular tenet; but it could not acquit him of that impiety, which Palingenius was, not without reason, suspected to teach. In his third book, for instance, he inculcates the doctrine of Epicurus without the least reserve. He published this book in 1536, and again at Basil, in1537 ;

It was also published under this title, “Palingenii Marcelli Zodiacus vitæ emendatus auctus, Rott. 1722;” a French translation, by M. de la Monnerie, was printed in Holland in 1731; and again with notes in 1753. An imitation of it was written by Barthius, and entitled, “Zodiacus vitæ Christianæ,” &c. Francf. 1623, 8vo, and another in French by M. de Riviere.

and seems not to have lived long after that date. Gyraldus, who wrote about 1543, relates, that, after his burial, his body was ordered to be dug up, in order to be | burnt; which execution was prevented by the duchess of Ferrara, who, it is thought, had received him at her court among the Lutherans. 1

Gen. Dict. —Moreri.