Philelphus, Francis

, a learned Italian, was born in 1398, at Tolentino, in the march of Ancona. He studied at Padua, where he made such progress, that at eighteen he became professor of eloquence. The fame of his talents having gained him an invitation to Venice, he was honoured with the rank of citizen, and was sent by the republic as secretary to their embassy at Constantinople in 1419, and he took advantage of this employment to make himself master of Greek. He there married Theodora, daughter of the learned Emmanuel Chrysoloras, about 1419. Becoming at length known to the emperor John Palaeologus, he was sept on an embassy to Sigismund emperor of Germany, to implore his aid against the Turks. After this he taught at Venice, Florence, Siena, Bologna, and Milan, with astonishing success. He was not, however, without his defects. He wished to reign alone in the republic of letters, and could not bear contradiction without being extremely irritated. He would dispute on the most trivial points; and once wagered 100 crowns, on some minute question of grammar, against the beard of a Greek philosopher named Timotheus. Having won, no solicitation could prevail upon him to remit the fine, and he most unmercifully shaved his antagonist, in spite of very ample offers. To this presumptuous turn he joined a prodigality and a restlessness, which filled his life with uneasiness. Menage has accused him of destroying a copy of Cicero “De Gloria,” the only one then existing, after having transfused the greater part of it into a treatise of his own; but it does not appear that this accusation was just. Other learned men have been also suspected; but all that is certain is, that the work was extant in the time of Petrarch, who mentions having a copy of it, which has since been utterly lost. Philelphus died at Florence July 31, 1481, being then 83. His works consist of odes, dialogues, orations, &c. of which the following editions are in most request: 1. “Orationes et nonnulla alia opera, Plutarchi apophthegmata, ab eodem e Graeco in Latinum con versa,” 4to. This is a very rare edition, and contains a letter from Philelphus to Maria Sforza, dated from Milan, 1481. There are reprints at Venice in 1482, 1491, 1492, &c. but of little value. 2. “Odae,” Brix. 1497, 4to. 3. “Satyrarum Hecatosticon prima decas (decades decem),Milan, 1476, small folio, of uncommon rarity. 4. “Satyrarum decades deceni,| Venice, 1502, 4to. 5. “Satyrae centum distinctae decem decadibus Catholicis passim refertoe sententiis: praemissa authoris vita ab Egid. Perrino Campano, &c.Paris, 1508. De Bure says, that the life announced in the title of this edition is not to be found in such copies as he has seen. 6. “Epistolarum familiarum libri triginta septem,Venice, 1502, folio. 7. “Fabulae,Venice, 1480, 4to. In his letters are innumerable proofs of his arrogant and suspicious temper. His works, collected, were published at Basle in 1739. 1


Chaufepie.Niceron, vol. VI. —Tiraboschi, Roscoe’s Lorenzo.