Urban Viii., Pope

, one of those pontiffs who deserve some notice on account of his learning, and attention to the interests of literature, was born at Florence in 1568. His family name was Maffei Barbarini, and his family was of the most ancient and honourable. His father dying while Maffei was an infant, he was entrusted to the care of his uncle Francis, a prothonotary of the Roman court, who sent for him to Rome, and placed him for education in the Jesuits’ college. Here he made great proficiency in classical studies under Tursellino and Benci, and was particularly distinguished for his taste for poetry. But as his uncle intended him for active life, he took him from his beloved studies, and sent him to Pisa, where he might acquire a knowledge of the law, so neoessary then to those who would rise to preferment; and here he applied with such diligence, that in his twentieth year the degree of doctor was deservedly conferred upon him. He then returned to Rome, where his uncle received him with the greatest kindness, and having always treated him as his son, bequeathed him, on his death, which happened soon after, a handsome fortune, as his sole heir. His first patron was cardinal Farnese, and by his interest and his own talents he soon passed through the various gradations of preferment which led, in 1606, to the rank of cardinal, bestowed on him by Paul V. In 1623, while cardinal legate of Bologna, he was elected pope, and took the name of Urban VIII. It is not our intention to detail the historical events in which he was concerned. The errors in his government, which were fewer than might have been expected in one so zealous for the church, arose from two circumstances, his early attachment to the Jesuits, and his nepotism, or family partiality. The latter was so powerful, that he bestowed on his relations red hats and temporal employments with a very liberal hand, and often entrusted the management of affairs to them; and the chief errors of his pontificate were imputed to them by the candid, although he only was blamed by the people at large. | As a mjjn of learning, and a patron of learned merr, he has generally been praised; but he was no antiquary, and was justly censured for having destroyed some Roman antiquities, which the barbarous nations had spared when masters of Rome; and this gave occasion to the famous pasquinade, “Quod non fecerunt Barbari, fecerunt Barherini.” He wrote many Latin poems in an elegant style, of which an edition was published at Paris in 1642, fol. and a very beautiful one at Oxford, in 1726, 8vo, edited by Joseph Brown, M. A. of Queen’s college, and afterwards provost of that college, with a life and learned notes. Urban’s patronage of learned men was very liberal, and he received those of all nations with equal respect. Among others he extended his patronage to Ciampolo, Cesarini, Herman Hugo, and to Dempster and Barclay, two learned Scotchmen. The latter has celebrated him in his “Argenis” under the name of Ibburranis, the transposition of Barberini. Urban published a remarkable edition of the Romish breviary, aud several bulls and decrees which are in “Cherubini bullarium.” Among the most noticeable is that which abolishes the order of female Jesuits, and certain festivals; and others which relate to image worship; those by which, in compliance with the Jesuits, he condemns Jansenius; and that by which the title of eminence was conferred upon the cardinal-legates, the three ecclesiastical electors, and the grand master of Malta. Among his foundations was the college “De propaganda fide.” In the article of cardinals he was profuse, for he created no less than seventy-four. He died July 29, 1644, and was buried in St. Peter’s, in the stately tomb erected by his own orders by the celebrated Bernini. 1

1 Life by Dr. Brown. Bower, Rycaut, and Walch’s Hist, of the Popes.