Priolo, Benjamin

, in Latin Priolus, author of an History of France from the death of Louis XIII. in 1643 to 1664, was born in 1602. He was descended from the Prioli, an illustrious family, some of whom had been doges of Venice. He underwent some difficulties from losing his father and mother, when young; but these did not abate his passion for learning, which he indulged day and night. He studied first at Orthez, next at Montauban, and afterwards at Leyden in which last city he profited by the lectures of Heinsius and Vossius. He went to Paris, for the sake of seeing and consulting Grotius and afterwards to Padua, where he learned the opinions of Aristotle and other ancient philosophers, under Cremoninus and Licetus. After returning to France, he went again into Italy, in order to be recognized by the house of Prioli, as one of their relations. He devoted himself to the duke of Rohan, then in the Venetian service, and became one of his most intimate confidents; but, uncertain what his fate would be after this duke’s death, he retired to Geneva, having married, three months before, a lady of a very noble family. The duke de Longueville drew him from this retirement, upon his being appointed plenipotentiary from the court of France for the treaty of Munster, as a person whose talents might be of service to him and Priolo resided with him a year at Munster, where he | contracted a very intimate friendship with Chigi the nuncio, % who was afterwards pope Alexander VII. From Munster he returned to Geneva; whence he went to France, in order to settle at Paris. He stayed six months in Lyons, and there had frequent conferences with cardinal Francis Barberini the effect of which was, that himself and his whole family abjured the Protestant religion, and immediately received the communion from the hands of the cardinal. He was not, however, long easy at Paris for, the civil war breaking out soon after, he joined with the malecontents, which proved the ruin of his fortune. He was obliged to retire to Flanders, his estate was confiscated, and his family banished. Being afterwards restored to the favour of his sovereign, he resolved to lead a private life, and to devote himself to study. It was at this time, and to divert his melancholy, that he wrote, without the least flattery or partiality, his “History of France,” in Latin. It has gone through several impressions but the best edition is that of Leipsic, 1686, 8vo. He was again employed in negociations; and set out, in 1667, upon a secret affair to Venice; but did not arrive at the end of his journey, being seized with an apoplectic fit, of which he died in the archbishop’s palace at Lyons. He left seven children; who, by virtue of his name, and their own accomplishments and merit, rose to very flourishing circumstances. 1

1 Gen. Dict. —Niceron, vol. XXXIX.