Zanchius, Basil

, one of the most learned men of the sixteenth century, was a native of Bergamo. His real name was Peter, which he exchanged for Basil, when he became a canon regular. He was born in 1501. He appears to have studied at Rome and various other places, but resided for the greater part of his life at Rome, where he was highly honoured for his literary talents, and, as some say (but this is disputed), was made keeper of the Vatican library. He died there, however, in 1560. Paul Manutius, in a letter to Gambara, the intimate friend of Zanchius, says that he was oppressed and persecuted in a very cruel manner, and ended his days miserably, in consequence of a decree of the pope against those who did not reside in their convents, but some have conjectured that he might have probably become a convert to the reformed religion, like his cousin Jerome, of whom we are nxt to | speak. It seems certain, however, that he died in prison, and that he was worthy of a better fate, being one of the most learned men, and best Latin poets of his age. His beautiful verses on the death of Sannazarius were translated into Italian by the great Torquato Tasso. His Latin poems were first printed at Rome in 1540, 4to, and were often reprinted. Serassi gave a new edition of them at Bergamo m 1747, with a life of the author. He wrote also observations on all the books of scripture, printed at Rome 1553, and twice reprinted. He is ranked among lexicographers, from having contributed to Nizolius’s observations on Cicero, and from having added a great collection of words to Calepin, from the best and purest authors. He published also “Epithetorum commentarii,Rome, 1542, 4to, a work better known by the title of the second edition, “Dictionarium poedcum et epitheta veterum poetarum,” &c. 1612, 8vo. 1


Moreri. —Tiraboschi, Gen. Dict.