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born at Palermo, in 1625, and died in the same city in 1710, quitted

, born at Palermo, in 1625, and died in the same city in 1710, quitted the bar, to devote himself to literature. He was but poorly provided with the goods of fortune but he comforted himself in his poetical studies. There are a great number of works by him, several in Latin, but most in Italian. The latter are more esteemed than the former. Among these are reckoned, a “History” (in good repute) “of the great men of Sicily,” Palermo, 1704, 4to, and a “History of the Viceroys of Sicily,” ibid. 1697, folio.

, an Italian monk of the order of the minorite conventuals, was born at Palermo, and in 1650, when he officiated during Lent at Bologna,

, an Italian monk of the order of the minorite conventuals, was born at Palermo, and in 1650, when he officiated during Lent at Bologna, acquired high reputation as a preacher. He was professor of philosophy and divinity in the convents of his order, provincial in Sicily, and superintendant of the great convent of Palermo, where he died, November 17, 1679. He published a philosophical work, or at least a work on philosophy, entitled “De objecto philosophise,” Perug. 1649, 4to; and it is said that he wrote an Italian epic poem called “Davidiade,” a collection entitled “Poesis miscellanea,” and an elementary work on medicine, “Tyrocinium medicoe facultatis” but these have not been printed.

, an ingenious naturalist, was born at Palermo, in Sicily, April 24th 1633, of a wealthy and respectable

, an ingenious naturalist, was born at Palermo, in Sicily, April 24th 1633, of a wealthy and respectable family, originally from Savona in Genoa. To improve himself in natural history, particularly in botany, to which he was early attached, he travelled over Sicily, Corsica, Malta, many parts of Germany, Holland, and England, conversing with the most eminent literary characters in the places he visited, with whom he afterwards kept up a correspondence. At Paris he became acquainted with the abbé Bourdalot, to whom he communicated various observations he had made, which, were published at Amsterdam in 1674 under the title “Recherches et observations d'Histoire Naturelle.” In the course of his travels, he was admitted doctor in medicine at Padua, was elected member of the Academ. Naturae Curios, and made botanist to the grand duke of Tuscany. In 1682, he entered among the Cistertian monks at Florence, and with the habit of the order took the name of Sylvio, which he affixed to his latter works, but he was still permitted to continue his researches in natural history. Returning at length to Sicily, he retired to one of the houses of the Cistertians near Palermo, where he died, Dec. 22, 1704. As he had been indefatigable in his researches, his colleciion of plants and other natural productions was very considerable. Sherrard, who saw his hortus siccus, or specimens of dried plants, in 1697, was so struck with their number and beauty, that he engaged him to give a catalogue of them to the public, which he did in his “Musrco plante rare,” published at Venice in 4to, the same year. The catalogue was also published by itself. Several of his works appear to have been printed while he was on his travels; the first of them, “De abrotano mare monitum,” in 1668 and in the same year, “Manifesturn botanicum, de plantis Siculis,” Catatue, 4to. By an advertisement at the beginning of the work he offers to botanists the seeds of many of the curious and rare plants he had collected, at moderate prices. Morison published an edition of this work at Oxford in 1674, 4to, under the title of “Icones et descriptiones rariarum plantarum Sicilian, Melitae, Galliae, et Italioe.” Many of the plants, Haller says, were new. The figures are small, and in general not well delineated or engraved. His next production was “Recherches et observations naturelles,” published at Paris in 1671, 12mo, again at Amsterdam in 1674, and again in 1744, in 8vo. It consists of letters to his correspondents in France, Italy, England, &c. In 1684, in 16mo, “Opcrvazioni natural) ove si contengono materie medico fisiche e di botanica,” Bologna. The observations are twenty in number, and dedicated, or addressed to so many of the author’s friends and patrons, among whom are many perons of high rank. He is very profuse in his elogia on the medical virtue of many of the plants, which he praises far beyond their real value. “Tenere oportet,” Haller says, “creduium esse virum et in viribus medicis plantarum liberalem.” “Musæo di fisica e cli esperienze decorate di opervazioni naturali,” Venet. 1697, 4to. The author here assumes the name of Sylvlo. The observations are, as in the former work, dedicated to his noble patrons, and contain ample accounts of the medical virtues of various plants, much beyond what, from experience, they have been found to possess. Some smaller dissertations were printed in Miscel. Naturae Curias, and in the Journal des Savans. On the whole, Boccone appears to have been an industrious and intelligent writer, possessing considerable originality, and deserves to be classed among botanists of the third rate.

, a noted impostor, whose true name was Joseph Balsamo, was born at Palermo the 8th of June 1743; Peter Balsamo being his father,

, a noted impostor, whose true name was Joseph Balsamo, was born at Palermo the 8th of June 1743; Peter Balsamo being his father, and Felix Braconieri his mother, both of humble parentage. He was still a child when his father died; and was therefore brought up by the relations of his mother, who caused him to be instructed in the first principles of religion and philosophy, but it was not long before he shewed how little he was disposed to either, by running away more than once from the seminary of St. Roche at Palermo, where he had been placed for education. In his thirteenth year his guardians delivered him to the care of the general of the friars of mercy, who took him along with him to the monastery of that order at Cartagirone; where he was entered as a novice, and committed to the tuition of the apothecary; under whom, as he says, he found means of acquiring the first elements of chemistry and physic. But neither here did he make any long stay. He continued to shew himself on his worst side, and his superiors were frequently obliged to give him correction for obliquities in his conduct. When, according to the custom oi monastic foundations, it came to his turn to read during dinner-time, he never read what was contained in the book, but delivered a lecture according to the dictates of his fancy. He himself confesses, that in reading from the martyrology, instead of the names of the holy women, he inserted those of the most noted courtesans of the town. At length, being weary of repeated chastisement, he threw off the cowl, and went back to Palermo, where for a time he studied drawing; and without making any reform in his manners, addicted himself to excesses of every kind. It was his greatest pleasure to rove about armed, and to frequent the company of the most profligate young men of the town. There was no fray in which he was not concerned, and he enjoyed nothing more than when he could resist the magistrate, and deliver the prisoner from his authority. He even stooped to the mean felony of forging the tickets of admission to the theatres; and from an uncle, with whom he lived, he stole considerable sums of money and other property. In a love intrigue between a person of rank and a cousin of his, he made himself the letter-carrier, and occasionally demanded of the lover at one time money, at another a watch, and always something of value, in the name of the fair one, which he appropriated to himself. He then insinuated himself into the good graces of a notary, to whom he was related; and, for the sake of a bribe, counterfeited a will in favour of a certain marchese Maurigi. The forgery was discovered some years afterwards, and the affair being brought before the judges, was fully proved; but this was at a time when the persons interested were not at Palermo. He was likewise charged with having murdered a canon, and with obtaining several sums of money from a monk for giving him written permits of absence from his convent at various times; all of which papers were found to be forged.

, an eminent Italian antiquary, was born at Palermo, Feb. 18, 1727, of a noble family, and was placed

, an eminent Italian antiquary, was born at Palermo, Feb. 18, 1727, of a noble family, and was placed under a private tutor, with a view to study botany, chemistry, &c. but an accident gave. a new and decided turn to his pursuits. Not far from Motta where he lived, stood the ancient Halesa, or Alesa (Tosa), a colony of Nicosia, celebrated by the Greek and Latin poets, which was swallowed up by an earthquake in the year 828, leaving scarcely a \estige of its former state. One day a ploughman dug up a quantity of coins, which, he brought to Castello, who conceived an uncommon desire to decypher them, that he might not seem a stranger to the ancient history of his own country: and applying himself for instructions to the literati of Palermo, they recommended the study of antiquities as found in the Greek and Roman authors; and Castello engaged in this pursuit with such avidity and success, as within three years to be able to draw up a very learned paper on the subject of a statue which had been dug up, which he published under the title of “Dissertazione sopra una statua cli marmo trovata nelle campagne di Alesa,” Palermo, 1749, 8vo, with letters on some antiquities of Solanto near Palermo; and before he had reached his twenty-sixth year he published his History and Antiquities of Alesa, which procured him the reputation of an able antiquary, and was censurable only for certain redundancies of style, which more mature progress enabled him to correct in his subsequent writings. In the mean time he formed a splendid collection of the remains of antiquity to be found in Sicily, and his museum was always open to strangers as well as natives of curiosity, and by will he bequeathed a vast collection of books, &c. to the public library of Palermo. This learned author died March 5, 1794, at that time an honorary member of the Royal Society and of the Paris academy. Besides what we have mentioned, he published, 1. “Osservazioni critiche sopra un libro stampato in Catania nel 1747, esposta in una lettera da un Pastor Arcade acl un Accademico Etrnsco,” Rome, 1749, 4to. 2. “Storia di Alesa antica citta di Sicilia col rapporto de' suoi pin insigni monumenti, ike.” Palermo, 1753, 4to. 3. “Inscrizioni Palermitane,” Palermo, 1762, fol. 4. “Sicilise et objacentium Insularum veterum inscriptionum nova collectio, cum prolegomenis et notis illustrata,” ibid. 1769. 5. “Sicilian Populorum et Urbium, Regum quoque et Tyrannorum veteres nummi Saracenorum epocham antecedentes,” Palermo, 1731, fol. To this, his greatest work, he published two supplements in 1789 and 1791. Besides these he contributed some papers on subjects of antiquity, printed in the “Storia Letteraria della Sicilia,” and other works. There was another of the same name, Ignatius Paterno Castello, a contemporary, and likewise an able antiquary, who died in 1776, and published among other works, “Descrizione del terribile Terremoto de' 5. Febraro 1783, che afflisse la Sicilia, distrtisse Messina, e gran parte della Calabria, diretta alle Reale Accademia di Bordeaux, Poesia del Pensante Peloritano,” Naples, 1784, &c.

, an eminent patron of literature, was born at Palermo, and in his youth distinguished himself in the literary

, an eminent patron of literature, was born at Palermo, and in his youth distinguished himself in the literary court of Leo X. Clement VII. appointed him bishop of Verona at an early age; but as he was long resident at Rome, or employed on missions of the highest importance at the ecclesiastical state, Caraffi, who was afterwards Paul IV. was deputed to manage the concerns of his bishopric. At length, in the pontificate of Paul III. Gibertus returned to his diocese, where his public and private virtues rendered him an ornament to his station. His palace was always open to men of learning, whether Italians or strangers; and a considerable part of his great revenues was munificently employed in the encouragement of letters. He was a liberal patron of Greek literature, and had new Greek types cast at his own expence. He also employed under his roof, a number of persons in transcribing Mss. and defrayed the charge of publishing several excellent editions of the works of the Greek fathers, particularly a beautiful edition of Chrysostom’s Homilies on the epistles of St. Paul. He died Dec. 30, 1543. His works, with his life, were published at Verona, 1733. He is deservedly celebrated in the “Galateo” of Casa, and is the subject of the poem of Bembus, entitled “Benacus” and various other contemporary poets have paid him the tribute of praise which he so well merited; nor is it small praise that he was the firm opponent of Peter Aretin, and used all h.is efforts to strip the mask from that shameless impostor.

, an excellent Latin poet, was born at Palermo, in Sicily, of a family originally of Gravina, a

, an excellent Latin poet, was born at Palermo, in Sicily, of a family originally of Gravina, a city in the kingdom of Naples. He was canon of Naples, and died at Rome of the plague, in 1528. It is thought that the greater part of his works were lost when the French went to Naples under Louis XII. in 1501, but a collection of what remained was published therein 1532, 4to; a few of them are also inserted in the “Carm. Illust. Poet. Ital.” His epigrams are preferred by Sannazarius to those of all his contemporaries. Paul Jovius and others also bestow high encomiums on his poetry.