Saavedra-Faxardo, Diego De

, a Spanish political and moral writer, was born May 6, 1584, at Algezares, in the kingdom of Murcia, and studied at Salamanca. In 1606, he went to Rome as secretary to the cardinal Gaspar de Borgia, who was appointed Spanish ambassador to the pope, and assisted in the conclaves of 1621 and 1623, held for the election of the popes Gregory XV. and Urban VIII. For these services Saavedra was rewarded with a canonry in the church of St. James, although he had never taken priest’s orders. Some time after he was appointed agent from the court of Spain at Rome, and his | conduct in this office acquired him general esteem. In 1636, he assisted at the electoral congress held there, in which Ferdinand III. was chosen king of the Romans. He afterwards was present at eight diets held in Swisserland, and lastly at the general diet of the empire at Ratisbonne, where he appeared in quality of plenipotentiary of the circle and of the house of Burgundy. After being employed in some other diplomatic affairs, he returned to Madrid in 1646, and was appointed master of ceremonies in the introduction of ambassadors; but he did not enjoy this honour long, as he died Aug. 24, 1648. In his public character he rendered the state very important services, and, as a writer, is ranked among those who have contributed to polish and enrich the Spanish language. The Spanish critics, who place him among their classics, say he wrote Spanish as Tacitus wrote Latin. He has long been known, even in this country, by his “Emblems,” which were published in 2 vols. 8vo, in the early part of the last century. These politico-moral instructions for a Christian prince, were first printed in 1640, 4to, under the title of “Idea de un Principe Politico* Christiano representada en cien empress,” and reprinted at Milan in 1642; they were afterwards translated into Latin, and published under the title of “Symbola Christiano-Politica,” and have often been reprinted in various sizes in France, Italy, and Holland. He wrote also “Corona Gotica, Castellana, y Austriaca politicamente illustrada,1646, 4to, which was to have consisted of three parts, but he lived to complete one only: the rest was by Nunez de Castro; and “Respublica Literaria,” published in 1670, 8vo. Of this work an English translation was published by I. E. in 1727. It is a kind of vision, giving a satirical account of the republic of letters, not unlike the manner of Swift. The French have a translation of it, so late as 1770. 1


Antonio Bibl. Hisp.