Victorius, Peter

, an eminent Italian scholar, was born at Florence, in the month of July, 1499. In very early life he began his studies in philosophy, mathematics, jurisprudence, and particularly Greek and Latin. In 1522, he went to Spain with Paul Vettori, a relation, who was general of the gallies, and appointed to accompany the new pope, Adrian VI. into Italy. Our author stopt at Catalonia, and travelled over that and the neighbouring parts in quest of the remains of Roman antiquities, of which he took copies. He also afterwards continued this research at Rome, when he went there to congratulate Clement VII. on his accession to the popedom. This pope had been a npbleman of Florence, and of his own standing. When the revolt took place at Florence Vettori sided with the republican party, and, during the prevalence of the Medici family, retired to the country, and devoted himself to study, with the firm resolution to meddle no more with public affairs. When the duke Alexander was killed, and the senators and patricians were | assembled to consider of a new form of government, they invited Vettori to take part in their deliberations; but instead of complying, he went to Rome, and left his discordant and tumultuous countrymen to determine among themselves whether they would be freemen or slaves. “My country,” he used to say, “is in the same situation as Rome formerly; it will neither tolerate liberty nor slavery. Riches have produced pride, and pride, ambition. The laws have no longer any force; every day they are repealing old laws and making new ones, and no more respect is paid to the new than to the old. In the present state of my country, I clearly see that it must have a sovereign, but I will not aid in giving it a sovereign, for fear of giving it a tyrant.

With such arguments he always answered those who by letter or in person pressed him to return to Florence, and affected even to consider his refusal as criminal. He bad the wisdom to abandon politics, and dedicate his whole time and attention to the acquisition of knowledge. And in such esteem was he held on account of his learning, that Cosmo I. who could not love him on account of his hostility to the Medici family, yet sent him an invitation to become Greek and Latin professor in the university of Florence. This was a noble sacrifice of prejudice on the part of the duke, and Vettori executed the duties of his office for more than forty years with the highest reputation, and formed many distinguished scholars both Italians and foreigners. Whether we consider the utility of his lectures or his public works, it will appear that literature was as highly indebted to him as to almost any scholar of his time. Had he done nothing but collate and correct the editions of the Greek and Latin authors which had appeared from the invention of printing to his own time, his labours would have been of infinite service in that comparatively dark period; but we are indebted to his industry also for the collation of avast number of manuscripts, and selecting the best for the press, in which he shewed great judgment, and assigned his reasons with critical precision. But his services did not end even here, for he furnished the learned world with notes and commentaries, which gave superiority to many editions of the classics, as various parts of Aristotle’s works, Terence, Varro, Sallust, Euripides, Porphyry, Plato, Xenophon, &c. but of all his editions, that of Cicero, printed in 1534 37, four vols. folio, has justly received the encomiums of the literary world ever since his | time. He has been called “Verus Ciceronis sospitator,” and Grasvius is of opinion that Cicero is more indebted to him than to all the other critics and commentators. Besides these and his “Variae lectiones,” of which there have been several editions, and which discover great critical knowledge, he was the author of some Latin poetry and orations, of letters both in Latin and Italian, and an Italian treatise on the culture of olives. Men of learning of all countries were happy in his acquaintance and correspondence, and princes and other great personages not only attended his lectures, but expressed their veneration of his talents and worth, by diplomas, titles, and presents. He died in the eighty-sixth year of his age, in 1585, and was interred with great solemnity at the public expence in the church of the Holy Spirit, where is a marble monument and inscription to his memory. It is said that his private virtues, as well as his talents, made his death the subject of universal regret. 1

1 Tiraboschi.Moreri. Bullart’s Academic des Sciences.