I have had to quote the "Christian" authors Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and, many other ancient authors—"Pagan" and "Christian".
I realized years ago, that confidence in names of ancient authors, and, all their supposed writings, like religions, involves much faith, apologetics, etc. I asked (of necessity, myself): "where did they [and, who were they? and, when?] find the original manuscripts (autographs)?, under the beds of the authors?" I began researching. I began disappointments. [see 1752-1753, 1838-1850, 1878-1879]
I have not seen elaborate arguments, describing how we can be confident that all these persons existed, and that all (or some) of the writings ascribed to them, were by them. Fiats are presented, instead of proofs. Traditions! Presumptions!
_____ _____ _____
from: http://www.christianism.com/, page 527:
'THE UNIVERSAL THEORY OF DISEASE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS THAT OF DEMONIC POSSESSION. From the fourth chapter of St. Matthew on, we find numerous references to the healing of the sick and the casting out of devils; "and they brought unto him [Jesus] all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them." There are sixteen other references to such healings in Matthew, nineteen in Mark and twenty in Luke. The most interesting case is, of course, that of the devils expelled from their two human victims into the herd of Gadarene [see #4, 122] swine when "behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea" (Matthew 8; Mark 5; Luke 8).'
'386. 'But the Jesus who emulated Buddha in advocating poverty and humility eventually became the mythic figurehead for one of the world's pre-eminent money-making organizations. The cynical Pope Leo X [1475 – 1521] exclaimed,
[(59) L. Sprague de Camp, The Ancient Engineers, (my source) Doubleday, 1963, 365 (also, from the same reference: [Leo X] "Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it".)].'
_____ _____ _____
from: The Ancient Engineers, L. [Lyon] Sprague de Camp [1907 – 2000], Doubleday, 1963.
'But this Pope was the fat, indolent, and worldly Leo X, who said:
"Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it," and
"What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"22' .
[footnote] "22. Ibid. [ibidem (Latin): "in the same place" (previous reference: Leonardo da Vinci, Antonina Vallentin, 1938)], p. 462;
Encyclopaedia Britannica, s.v. [Latin: sub verbo: "under the word"] Renaissance." .
2. "What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"
[Barbara Walker, referencing L. Sprague de Camp (see 13)].
3. "What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us" [Joseph Wheless (see 20)].
8. "It is well known to all ages how profitable this fable of Christ has been to us" [Roscoe (see 90)].
9. "All ages can testifye [testifie] enough how [HOWE] profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to us [VS] and our companie." [Roscoe, quoting John Bale (see 90, 92)] [spellings in brackets, are from "Bale's Pageant of Popes", 1574 (see 164)].
10. "the fable about Jesus Christ"
[Joseph McCabe (see 129, 132)].
11. "We owe all this to the fable of Jesus Christ"
12. "How much we and our family have profited by the legend of Christ, is sufficiently evident to all ages."
13. "How very profitable this fable of Christ has been to us through the ages" [E.R. Chamberlin (see 137)].
14. "All ages can testifie enough howe profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to vs and our companie". [John Bale, 1574 (see 164)].
15. "Quantum nobis ac nostro coetui prosuerit ea de Christo fabula, satis est seculis omnibus notum." [John Bale, 1558 (see 167)]. [Medieval Latin (not!, Ciceronian Latin) (see 169)].
16. "It is sufficiently well-known to all ages how much this story about Christ has benefited us and our company."
17. "Quantum nobis ac nostro coetui prosuerit ea de Christo fabula, satis est seculis omnibus notum."
"All ages can abundantly testify how profitable that fable [story] of Christ has been to us and to our class.
FABULA can be translated TALE, FABLE; STORY; or DRAMA, according to what the writer wants to convey." [note: a definition of fiction is elusive (see 169)].
18. "what profit this fable of Christ hath brought to vs, and our company: All the world knoweth." [Two Treatises (see 176)].
"Que ceste fable de Christ nous a fait de bien
& à tout nostre College."
20. "It is sufficiently knowne to all ages, how greatly that fable of Christ hath profited us and ours."
21. "to the great disgrace of the Romish church, they united in ridiculing the christian religion in their moments of festivity, as a lucrative fable." [see 220].
22. "Todo el mundo sabe quanto provecho aya traydo á NOSOTROS, Y á nEustra compānia aquella fabula de Christo" [Cipriano de Valera (see 223)].
23. "the Fabula de Christo" [The Visions of Pasquin (see 260)].
24. Note: Pietro Bembo (Bembus) could have developed the epigram attributed to Leo X:
25. "it is well known of old, how profitable this fable of Jesus Christ has been to us.
26. "WHAT A DEAL OF SERVICE HAS THIS FABLE OF CHRIST DONE US, AND OUR WHOLE COLLEGE." [Pierre Bayle, quoting Du Plessis (see 309)].
27. "[LEO X.] considered the Christian religion a fable, though a profitable one;
that he [leo x] doubted the immortality of the soul, &c." [Mosheim, quoting "Du Plessis, and other Protestants" (see 317)].
28. "we must admit that this fable of Jesus Christ has been quite profitable to us." [De Tribus Impostoribus (see 660)].
29. "the story of Jesus Christ is a (a) contemptible fable"
30. "how much this fable of Jesus Christ has been profitable to us."
_____ _____ _____
Note: this repeated expression, attributed to LEO X, is presented as a minor study (see 53).
1. "Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it"
[Sprague de Camp (see 13)].
2. "Let us enjoy the papacy since God has given it to us"
[Encyclopaedia Britannica (Hayes) (see 28)].
3. "'When the Pope [Leo X, Pope 1513 – 1521 (1475 – 1521)] was made, he said to Giuliano [brother] (Duke of Nemours):
Let us enjoy the Papacy since God has given it [TO] us—godiamoci il Papato, poichè Dio ce l' ha dato.'" [Symonds (see 53)].
5. "The reign of Leo was about to shed new luster on the Medicean exiles. His victorious exclamation to his brother [Giuliano]
'Godiamoci il Papato poichè Dio ce l' ha dato' [Let us enjoy the Papacy since God has given it to us]" [Symonds (see 56)].
Article: "Renaissance", by John Addington Symonds [1840 – 1893].
[Volume XXIII] Article: "Renaissance", by John Addington Symonds [1840 – 1893].
'Humanism in its earliest stages was uncritical. It absorbed the relics of antiquity with omnivorous appetite, and with very imperfect sense of the distinction between worse and better work. Yet it led in process of time to criticism. The critique of literature began in the lecture-room of Politian, in the printing-house of Aldus, and in the school of Vittorino. The critique of Roman law started, under Politian's auspices, upon a more liberal course than that which had been followed by the powerful but narrow-sighted glossators of Bologna. Finally, in the court of Naples arose that most formidable of all critical engines, the critique of established ecclesiastical traditions and spurious historical documents. Valla [Lorenzo Valla c. 1406 – 1457] by one vigorous effort destroyed the False Decretals and exposed the Donation of Constantine to ridicule, paving the way for the polemic carried on against the dubious pretensions of the papal throne by scholars of the Reformation.
A similar criticism, conducted less on lines of erudition than of persiflage and irony, ransacked the moral abuses of the church and played around the very foundations of Christianity.
This was tolerated with approval by men who repeated Leo X.'s witty epigram:
"What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"
The same critical and philosophic spirit working on the materials of history produced a new science, the honours of which belong to Machiavelli [1469 – 1527] . He showed, on the one side, how the history of a people can be written with a recognition of fixed principles, and at the same time with an artistic feeling
"That, in spite of retardation and retrogression, the old order of ideas should have yielded to the new all over Europe,—that science should have won firm standing-ground, and political liberty should have struggled through those birth-throes of its origin,—was in the nature of things. Had this not been, the Renaissance or re-birth of Europe would be a term without a meaning.
(J.A.S.) [John Addington Symonds 1840 – 1893]
LITERATURE.—The special articles on the several arts and the literatures of modern Europe, and on the biographies of great men mentioned in this essay, will give details of necessity here omitted. Of works on the Renaissance in general may be mentioned Jacob Burckhardt, Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italian (Eng. trans., 1878); G. Voigt, Wiederbelebung des Classischen Alterthums (2 vols. 3rd ed., by M. Lehnerdt, 1893); J.A. Symonds, Renaissance in Italy; Marc Monnier, Renaissance de Dante à Luther; Eugène Müntz, Précurseurs de la Renaissance (1882), Renaissance en Italie et en France (1885), and Hist. de l'art pendant la Renaissance (1889–95); Ludwig Geiger, Humanismus und Renaissance in Italian und Deutschland (1882), and Cambridge Modern History, vol. i., "The Renaissance" (Cambridge 1903), where full bibliographies will be found." .
[Volume XXVI] ARTICLE: "SYMONDS, JOHN ADDINGTON (1840–1893), English critic and poet, was born at Bristol, on the 5th day of October 1840." .
"[John Addington Symonds] was occupied upon the work to which his talents and sympathies were especially attracted, his Renaissance in Italy, which appeared in seven volumes at intervals between 1875 and 1886. The Renaissance had been the subject of Symonds' prize essay at Oxford, and
the study which he had then given to the theme aroused in him a desire to produce something like a complete picture of the reawakening of art and literature in Europe." .
"He was assiduously, feverishly active throughout the whole of his life, and the amount of work which he achieved was wonderful when the uncertainty of his health is remembered. He had a passion for Italy, and for many years resided during the autumn in the house of his friend, Horatio F. Brown, on the Zattare, in Venice. He died at Rome on the 19th of April 1893, and was buried close to Shelley." .
[Volume XVI] ARTICLE: "LEO X. [Giovanni de' Medici] (1475–1521), pope from the 11th of March 1513, to the 1st of December 1521". .
' Leo's lively interest in art and literature, to say nothing of his natural liberality, his nepotism, his political ambitions and necessities, and his immoderate personal luxury, exhausted within two years the hard savings of Julius II., and precipitated a financial crisis from which he never emerged and which was a direct cause of most of the calamities of his pontificate. He created many new offices and shamelessly sold them. He sold cardinals' hats. He sold membership in the "Knights of Peter." He borrowed large sums from bankers, curials, princes and Jews. The Venetian ambassador Gradenigo estimated the paying number of offices on Leo's death at 2150, with a capital value of nearly 3,000,000 ducats and a yearly income of 328,000 ducats. Marino Giorgi reckoned the ordinary income of the pope for the year 1517 at about 580,000 ducats, of which 420,000 came from the States of the Church, 100,000 from annates, and 60,000 from the composition tax instituted by Sixtus IV. These sums, together with the considerable amounts accruing from indulgences, jubilees, and special fees, vanished as quickly as they were received.
In the past many conflicting estimates were made of the character and achievements of the pope during whose pontificate Protestantism first took form. More recent studies have served to produce a fairer and more honest opinion of Leo X. A report of the Venetian ambassador Marino Giorgi bearing date of March 1517 indicates some of his predominant characteristics:—
"The pope [Leo X] is a good-natured and extremely free-hearted man, who avoids every difficult situation and above all wants peace; he would not undertake a war himself unless his own personal interests were involved; he loves learning; of canon law and literature he possesses remarkable knowledge; he is, moreover, a very excellent musician."
Leo was dignified in appearance and elegant in speech, manners and writing. He enjoyed music and the theatre, art and poetry, the masterpieces of the ancients and the wonderful creations of his contemporaries, the spiritual and the witty—life in every form.
It is by no means certain [what percent of history is "certain"?] that he [Leo X] made the remark often attributed to him,
"Let us enjoy the papacy since God has given it to us,"
but there is little doubt that he [Leo X] was by nature devoid of moral earnestness or deep religious feeling.
On the other hand, in spite of his worldliness, Leo was not an unbeliever; he prayed, fasted, and participated in the services of the church with conscientiousness. To the virtues of liberality, charity and clemency he added the Machiavellian qualities of falsehood and shrewdness, so highly esteemed by the princes of his time. Leo was deemed fortunate by his contemporaries, but an incurable malady, wars, enemies, a conspiracy of cardinals, and the loss of all his nearest relations darkened his days; and he failed entirely in his general policy of expelling foreigners from Italy, of restoring peace throughout Europe, and of prosecuting war against the Turks. He failed to recognize the pressing need of reform within the church and the tremendous dangers which threatened the papal monarchy; and he unpardonably neglected the spiritual needs of the time. He was, however, zealous in firmly establishing the political power of the Holy See; he made it unquestionably supreme in Italy;
"....W. Roscoe, Life and Pontificate of Leo X. (6th ed., 2 vols., 1853), a celebrated biography but considerably out of date [another annoying dismissive comment. Newer than thou, ergo, holier than thou!] in spite of the valuable notes of the German and Italian translators, Henke and Bossi…."
"(C.H. Ha.)" .
["CARLTON HUNTLEY HAYES, A.M., Ph., Assistant Professor of History in Columbia University, New York City. Member of the American Historical Association." [vi]].
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[Note: the THIRTEENTH EDITION, 1926, has the same article ("Renaissance", by John Addington Symonds), also, in Volume XXIII.
The quotation: "What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!", also, is on page 87].
_____ _____ _____
from: The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Fourteenth Edition, A New Survey of Universal Knowledge, Volume 19, Raynal to Sarreguemines, The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company LTD., London, The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. New York. 1929.
ARTICLE: "RENAISSANCE". 
l l l l l
[article] 'Renaissance, literally "rebirth," the period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages, conventionally held to have been characterized by a surge of interest in classical learning and values.
The Renaissance also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention or application of such potentially powerful innovations as paper, printing, and mariner's compass, and gunpowder.
To the scholars and thinkers of the day, however, it was primarily a time of the revival of classical learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline and stagnation....' .
_____ _____ _____
See: http://www.christianism.com/, Article 19, pages 375-389: Encyclopaedia Britannica.
l l l l l
"But all of who thought it possible to construct a state the greatest beyond all comparison was Machiavelli [1469 – 1527].3 ….
His [Machiavelli's] most complete programme for the construction of a new political system at Florence is set forth in the memorial to Leo X,5 composed after the death of the younger Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino (d. 1519), to whom he [Machiavelli] had dedicated his Prince. The State was by that time in extremities and utterly corrupt, and the remedies proposed are not always morally justifiable...." .
"MODERN WIT AND SATIRE" 
'Florence, the great market of fame, was in this point, as we have said, in advance of other cities. "Sharp eyes and bad tongues" is the description given of the inhabitants.2 An easy-going contempt of everything and everybody was probably the prevailing tone of society. Machiavelli, in the remarkable prologue to his Mandragola, refers rightly or wrongly the visible decline of moral force to the general habit of evil speaking, and threatens his detractors with the news that he can say sharp things as well as they. Next to Florence comes the Papal Court, which had long been a rendezvous of the bitterest and wittiest tongues. Poggio's Facetiae are dated from the Chamber of Lies (bugiale) of the apostolic notaries; and when we remember the number of disappointed place-hunters, of hopeless competitors and enemies of the favourites, of idle, profligate prelates there assembled, it is intelligible how Rome became the home of the savage pasquinade [see 245-274] as well as of more philosophical satire. If we add to this the wide-spread hatred borne to the priests, and the well-known instinct of the mob to lay any horror to the charge of the great, there results an untold mass of infamy.3 Those who were able protected themselves best by contempt both of the false and true accusations, and by brilliant and joyous display.1 More sensitive natures sank into utter despair when they found themselves deeply involved in guilt, and still more deeply in slander.2 In course of time calumny became universal, and the strictest virtue was most certain of all to challenge the attacks of malice. Of the great pulpit orator Fra Edgidio of Viterbo, whom Leo [Leo X] made a cardinal on account of his merits, and who showed himself a man of the people and a brave monk in the calamity of 1527,3 Giovio gives us to understand
that he preserved his ascetic pallor by the smoke of wet straw and other means of the same kind. Giovio is a genuine Curial in these matters.4 He generally begins by telling his story, then adds that he does not believe it, and then hints at the end that perhaps after all there may be something in it. But the true scapegoat of Roman scorn was the pious and moral Adrian VI [Pope 1522 – 1523 (1459 – 1523)]. A general agreement seemed to be made to take him only to the comic side. Adrian had contemptuously referred to the Laocoön group as idola antiquorum, had shut up the entrance to the Belvedere, had left the works of Raphael unfinished, and had banished the poets and players from the Court; it was even feared that he would burn some ancient statues to lime for the new church of St Peter. He [Adrian VI] fell out from the first with the formidable Francesco Berni, threatening to have thrown into the Tiber not, as people said,5 the statue of Pasquino, but the writers of the satires themselves....' [168-169].
"Let us rather pause at the days of Leo X [Pope 1513 – 1521 (1475 – 1521)], under whom the enjoyment of antiquity combined with all other pleasures to give to Roman life a unique stamp and consideration.2 The Vatican resounded with song and music, and their echoes were heard through the city as a call to joy and gladness, though Leo did not succeed thereby in banishing care and pain from his own life, and his deliberate calculation to prolong his days by cheerfulness was frustrated by an early death.3" .
'Whatever influence in Europe the Italian humanists have had since 1520 depends in some way or other on the impulse which was given by Leo.
He was the Pope who in granting permission to print the newly found Tacitus1 could say that the great writers were a rule of life and a consolation in misfortune; that helping learned men and obtaining excellent books had ever been one of his highest aims; and that he now thanked heaven that he could benefit the human race by furthering the publication of this book." .
"The fame of Sannazaro [1458 – 1530], the number of his imitators, the enthusiastic homage which was paid to him by the greatest men—by Bembo, who wrote his epitaph, and by Titian, who painted his portrait—all show how dear and necessary he was to his age. On the threshold of the Reformation he [Sannazaro] solved for the Church the problem whether it were
'The Latin epigram finally became in those days an affair of serious importance, since a few clever lines, engraved on a monument or quoted with laughter in society, could lay the foundation of a scholar's celebrity. This tendency showed itself early in Italy. When it was known that Guido della Polenta wished to erect a monument at Dante's grave epitaphs poured in from all directions,2 "written by such as wished to show themselves, or to honour the dead poet, or to win the favour of Polenta." On the tomb of the Archbishop Giovanni Visconti (d. 1354) in the cathedral at Milan we read at the foot of thirty-six hexameters: "Master Gabrius di Zamoreis of Parma, Doctor of Laws, wrote these verses." In course of time, chiefly under the influence of Martial, and partly of Catullus, an extensive literature of this sort was formed. It was held the greatest of all triumphs when an epigram was mistaken for a genuine copy from some old marble,3 [see footnote, 51] or when it was so good that all Italy learned it by heart, as happened in the case of some of Bembo's. When the Venetian Government paid Sannazaro six hundred ducats for a eulogy in three distichs4 no one thought it an act of generous prodigality. The epigram was prized for what it was, in truth, to all the educated classes of that age—the concentrated essence of fame. Nor, on the other hand, was any man then so powerful as to be above the reach of a satirical epigram, and even the most powerful needed, for every inscription which they set before the public eye, the aid of careful and learned scholars, lest some blunder or other should qualify it for a place in the collections of ludicrous epitaphs.5 The epigraph and the epigram were branches of the same pursuit; the reproduction of the former was based on a diligent study of ancient monuments.
The city of epigrams and inscriptions ["epigraphs"] was, above all others, Rome. In this state without hereditary honours each man had to look after his own immortality, and at the same time found the epigram an effective weapon against his competitors. Pius II counts with satisfaction the distichs which his chief poet, Campanus, wrote on any event of his government which could be turned to poetical account.
Under the following Popes satirical epigrams came into fashion, and reached, in the opposition to Alexander VI [Pope 1492 – 1503 (1431 – 1503)] and his family, the highest pitch of defiant invective.
Sannazaro, it is true, wrote his verses in a place of comparative safety, but others in the immediate neighbourhood of the Court ventured on the most reckless attacks (p. 129). On one occasion when eight threatening distichs were found fastened to the door of the library1 Alexander strengthened his guard by eight hundred men; we can imagine what he would have done to the poet if he had caught him. Under Leo X Latin epigrams were like daily bread. For complimenting or for reviling the Pope, for punishing enemies and victims, named or unnamed, for real or imaginary subjects of wit, malice, grief, or contemplation, no form was held more suitable. On the famous group of the Virgin with Saint Anna and the Child, which Andrea Sansovino carved for S. Agostino, no fewer than a hundred and twenty persons wrote Latin verses, not so much , it is true, from devotion, as from regard for the patron who ordered the work.2 This man, Johann Goritz of Luxemburg, Papal referendary of petitions, not only held a religious service on the feast of St Anna, but gave a great literary dinner in his garden on the slopes of the Capitol. It was then worth while to pass in review, in a long poem, De Poetis Urbanis, the whole crowd of singers who sought their fortune at the Court of Leo. This was done by Franciscus Arsillus3—a man who needed the patronage neither of Pope nor prince, and who dared to speak his mind, even against his colleagues. The epigram survived the pontificate of Paul III only in a few rare echoes, while the epigraph continued to flourish till the seventeenth century, when it perished finally of bombast.' [269-270].
[footnote (see 50)] '3 Sannazaro ridicules a man who importuned him with such forgeries: "Sint vetera haec aliis, mi nova semper erunt." (Ad Rufum, Opera, fol. 41a, 1535).' .
"Rome, however, possessed in the unique Court of Leo X a society to which the history of the world offers no parallel." .
"'When the Pope [Leo X, Pope 1513 – 1521 (1475 – 1521)] was made, he said to Giuliano [brother] (Duke of Nemours):
Let us enjoy the Papacy since God has given it [TO] us—godiamoci il Papato, poichè Dio ce l' ha dato.'2
It was in this spirit that Leo administered the Holy See." .
"Francesco Guicciardini [1483 – 1540] was born in 1482. In 1505, at the age of twenty-three, he had already so distinguished himself as a student of law
that he was appointed by the Signoria of Florence to read the Institutes in public....
Leo who had the faculty of discerning able men and making use of them, took him [Francesco Guicciardini] into favour, and three years later appointed him Governor of Reggio  and Modena ." .
[footnote (not referenced above)] "1The infamous stories about Sixtus [Sixtus IV.] and Alexander [Alexander VI.] may in part be fables, currently reported by the vulgar and committed to epigrams by scholars. Still the fact remains that Infessura, Burchard, and the Venetian ambassadors relate of these two Popes such traits of character and such abominable actions as render the worst calumnies probable. Infessura [Stefano Infessura c. 1435 – c. 1500], though he expressed horror for the crimes of Sixtus, was yet a dry chronicler of daily events, many of which passed beneath his own eyes. Burchard [Johann Burchard c. 1450 – 1506] was a frigid diarist of Court ceremonies, who reported the rapes, murders, and profligacies of Alexander with phlegmatic gravity. The evidence of these men, neither of whom indulges in satire strictly so called, is more valuable than that of Tacitus or Suetonius to the vices of the Roman emperors. The despatches of the Venetian ambassadors,
_____ _____ _____
from: Renaissance in Italy, The Revival of Learning, John Addington Symonds [1840 – 1893], Second Edition, "Vol. 2", Smith, Elder, 1898 (1880 second edition) (1875).
"As patriotism gave way to cosmopolitan enthusiasm, and toleration took the place of earnestness, in like manner the conflict of mediaeval tradition with revived Paganism in the minds of these self-reliant men, trained to indulgence by their large commerce with the world, and familiarized with impiety by the ever-present pageant of an anti-Christian Church, led, as I have hinted, to recklessness and worldly vices, rather than to reformed religion. Contented with themselves and their surroundings, they felt none of the unsatisfied cravings after the infinite, none of the mysterious intuitions and ascetic raptures, the self-abasements and transfigurations, stigmata and beatific visions, of the Middle Ages. The plenitude of life within them seemed to justify their instincts and their impulses, however varied and discordant these might be. The sonorous current of the world around them drowned the voice of conscience, the suggestion of religious scruples. It is only thus we can explain to ourselves the attitude of such men as Sixtus [Sixtus IV.] and Alexander [Alexander VI.], serenely vicious in extreme old age. The gratification of their egotism was so complete as to exclude self-judgment by the rules and standards they professionally applied; their personality was too exacting to admit of hesitation when their instincts were concerned; in common with their age they had lost sight of all but mundane aims and interests.
Three aphorisms, severally attributed to three representative Italians, may be quoted in illustration of these remarks.
'You follow infinite objects; I follow the finite;' said Cosimo de' Medici [1389 – 1464]; 'you place your ladders in the heavens; I on earth, that I may not seek so high or fall so low.'
'If we are not ourselves pious,' said Julius II. [Pope 1503 – 1513 (1443 – 1513)], 'why should we prevent other people from being so?'
"Classical style being the requirement of the age, it followed that everything was sacrificed to this.
In christening their children the great families abandoned the saints of the calendar and chose names from mythology.
Ettorre, Achille, Atalanta, Pentesilea, Lucrezia, Porzia, Alessandro, Annibale, Laomedonte, Fedro, Ippolito, and many other antique titles became fashionable. Those who were able to do so turned their baptismal names into Latin or Greek equivalents. Janus or Jovianus passed for Giovanni, Pierius for Pietro, Aonius for Antonio, Lucius Grassus for Luca Grasso; the German prelate John Goritz was known as Corycius,1 and the Roman professor Gianpaolo Parisio as Janus Parrhasius. Writers who undertook to treat of modern or religious themes, were driven by their zeal for purism to the strangest expedients of
1Namque sub Cebaliae memini me turribus altis
Qua niger humectat flaventia culta Galesus
Corycium vidisse senem.—Virg. Georg. lib. iv. 125.
language. God, in the Latin of the sixteenth century, is Jupiter Optimus Maximus; Providence becomes Fatum; the saints are Divi, and their statues simulacra sancta Deorum. Our Lady of Loreto is changed into Dea Lauretana, Peter and Paul into Dii tutelares Romae, the souls of the just into Manes pii, and the Pope's excommunication into Divae. The Holy Father himself takes the style of Pontifex Maximus; his tiara, by a wild confusion of ideas, is described as infula Romulea. Nuns are Vestals, and the cardinals Augurs. For the festivals of the Church periphrases were found, whereof the following may be cited as a fair specimen:1 'Verum accidit ut eo ipso die, quo domum ejus accesseram, ipse piae rei caussâ septem sacrosancta Divûm pulvinaria supplicaturus inviserit; errant enim lustrici dies, quos unoquoque anno quadragenos purificatione consecravit nostra pietas.'
It need hardly be added that, when the obligations of Latinity had reached this point,
to read Cicero [106 – 43 B.C.E.] was of far more importance than to study the Fathers of the Church.
lest his barbarous["spin" translation (see below: "ineptiae")] style should spoil your taste: Omitte has nugas, non enim decent gravem virum tales ineptiae ["ineptiae": "sillinesses, fooleries, trifles, absurdities" (A Latin Dictionary, 1962 (1879)). "instances of folly (in behaviour, word, thought, etc."), absurdities, frivolities, etc." (Oxford Latin Dictionary, 1968)].'
The extent, however, to which formal purism in Latinity was carried, may be best observed in the 'Christiad' of Vida [Marco Girolamo Vida 1485? – 1566], and the poem 'De Partu Virginis' of Sannazzaro [Jacopo Sannazaro 1458 – 1530].2 Sannazzaro not only invokes the muses of Helicon to sing the birth of Christ, but he also makes Proteus prophesy his advent to the river-god of Jordan. The archangel discovers Mary—described by the poet as spes fida Deorum—intent on reading nothing less humanistic than the Sibyls; and after she has received his message, the spirits of the patriarchs are said to shout because they will escape from Tartarus and Acheron and the hideous baying of the triple-throated hound." [287-289].
"The reign of Leo was about to shed new luster on the Medicean exiles. His victorious exclamation to his brother [Giuliano]
'Godiamoci il Papato poichè Dio ce l' ha dato,' [Let us enjoy the Papacy since God has given it to us]
had a ring of promise in it for their numerous friends and clients. Even with the recommendation of Giuliano,
it is not likely that Leo would have overlooked a man so wholly after his own heart as Bembo.
The qualities he most admired—smooth manners, a handsome person, wit in conversation, and thorough mastery of Latin style, without pretension to deep learning or much earnestness of purpose—were incarnate in the courtly Venetian. Bembo was precisely the man to make Leo's life agreeable by flattering his superficial tastes and subordinating the faculties of a highly cultivated mind to frivolous, if intellectual, amusements. The churchman who warned Sadoleto against spoiling his style by study of the Bible, the prosaist who passed his compositions through sixteen portfolios, revising them at each remove, the versifier [Bembo] who penned a hymn to S. Stephen and a
"SANNAZZARO'S [Jacopo Sannazaro 1458 – 1530] EPIGRAMS."
"Sannazzaro's own elegies on the joys of love and country life, the descriptions of his boyhood at Salerno, the praises of his Villa Mergillina, and his mediations among the ruins of Cumae, are marked by the same characteristics. Nothing quite so full of sensual enjoyment, so soft, and so voluptuous can be found in the poems of the Florentine and Roman scholars. They deserve study, if only as illustrating the luxurious tone of literature at Naples. It was not by these lighter effusions, however, that Sannazzaro won his fame. The epic on the birth of Christ cost him twenty years of labour; and when it was finished, the learned world of Italy welcomed it as a model of correct and polished writing. At the same time the critics seem to have felt, what cannot fail to strike a modern reader, that the difficulties of treating such a theme in the Virgilian manner, and the patience of the stylist, had rendered it a masterpiece of ingenuity rather than a work of genius.1
Sannazzaro's epigrams, composed in the spirit of bitterest hostility towards the Borgia family, were not less famous than his epic [De partu virginis].
Alfonso of Aragon took the poet with him during his campaign against the Papal force in the Abruzzi; and these satires, hastily written in the tent and by the camp-fire, formed the amusement of his officers.
What had been the scandal of the camp acquired consistency in lines too pungent to be forgotten and too witty to remain unquoted.1 [see footnote, 59]
As a specimen of Sannazzaro's style, the epigram on Venice may here be cited:—
Viderat Hadriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis
Stare urbem, et toto ponere jura mari:
Nune mihi Tarpeias quantumvis, Jupiter, arces
Objice, et illa tui moenia Martis, ait:
Si Pelago Tybrim praefers, urbem aspice utramque;
Illam hominess dices, hanc posuisse deos.2
[see footnote (translation), 59]
I have already touched upon the Virgilianism of Sannazzaro's 'Partus Virginis.'3 [see footnote, 59] What the cold churches of Palladio are to Christian architecture, this frigid epic is to Christian poetry. Leo X. delighted to recognize the Gospel narrative beneath a fancy dress of mythological inventions, and to witness the triumph of classical scholarship in the holy places of the mediaeval faith. To fuse the traditions of Biblical and secular antiquity was, as I have often said, the dream of the Renaissance. What Pico and Ficino attempted in philosophical treatises, the poets sought to effect by form. Religion, attiring herself in classic drapery, threw off the cobwebs of the Catacombs, and acquired the right of petites entrées at the Vatican. It did not signify that she had sacrificed her majesty to fashion, or that her tunic à la mode antique was badly made. Her rouge and spangles enchanted the scholarly Pontiff, who forthwith ordered Vida to compose the 'Christiad,' and gave him a benefice at Frascati in order that he might enjoy a poet's ease. Vida's epic, like Sannazzaro's, was not finished during the lifetime of Leo. Both the 'Christiad' and the 'Partus Virginis' reflected lustre on the age of Clement [Clement VII]." [341-343].
Aut nihil aut Caesar vult dici Borgia; quidni?
Cum simul et Caesar possit et esse nihil.
2 'When Neptune beheld Venice stationed in the Adriatic waters, and giving laws to all the ocean, "Now taunt me, Jupiter, with the Tarpeian rock and those walls of thy son Mars!" he cried. "If thou preferrest Tiber to the sea, look on both cities; thou wilt say the one was built by men, the other by gods."'
3 See above, p. 288.' .
Note: this entry displays the contributions of John Addington Symonds, to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ninth Edition, 1879—1888.
"XIII. THE ENCYCLOPEDIA [ENCYCLOPAEDIA]
Vol. IX., 1879, pp. 138—140.
Vol. IX., 1879, pp. 161, 162.
Guarini, Giovanni Battista.
Vol. XI., 1880, pp. 236—238.
Vol. XI., 1880, pp. 255—257.
Italy. Part II.—History.
Vol. XIII., 1881, pp. 467—491.
Vol. XV., 1883, pp. 146—152.
Vol. XV., 1883, pp. 512—514.
Vol. XVI., 1883, pp. 103—105.
Vol. XVIII., 1885, pp. 706—711.
Vol. XIX., 1885, pp. 274, 275.
Vol. XIX., 1885, pp. 345, 346.
Vol. XIX., 1885, p. 454.
Vol. XX., 1886, pp. 380—394.
[see page 386:
'This was tolerated with approval by men who repeated Leo X.'s witty epigram:
"What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"']
Vol. XXIII., 1888, pp. 75—79.
Note: These contributions are signed with initials." [182-184].
from: The Life of Jesus, Maurice Goguel [1880 – 1955], Barnes & Noble, 1958 (1933 English) (1932 Paris), 61-62:
'It was not until the eighteenth century that the idea that possibly Jesus never existed at all made a timid appearance with "some disciples of Bolingbroke [1678 – 1751], more ingenious than learned," who, according to Voltaire (who, however, brushes aside their view very decidedly), held that the obscurities and contradictions in the Gospel tradition gave them the right to deny the existence of Jesus.1 These ideas, which the disciples of Bolingbroke did not venture to express in writing, were made public at the close of the eighteenth century by Volney [1757 – 1820] and Dupuis [1742 – 1809].2 For these writers Jesus was neither a man nor a god; they claimed that he really represented a solar deity like the divinities which men have worshipped down the ages....The first author of the nineteenth century to pronounce definitely against the actual existence of Jesus was Bruno Bauer [1809 – 1882].'
[Goguel does not mention Thomas Paine 1737 – 1809].
[(12/29/97) Goguel does not mention Robert Taylor 1784 – 1844].
199. "Thomas Paine [1739 – 1809] did not consider his Age of Reason to be complete. He wrote an extensive new section, but Thomas Jefferson [1743 – 1826 (President 1801 – 1809)] prevailed on him not to publish if for fear that it would supply fresh ammunition to his enemies [source? This appears to "fit" William Duane (1802), more than Jefferson. see Reference 199.]. In 1807, however, Paine published most of the new section in a series of pamphlets, now generally known as The Examination of the Prophecies [which includes: The Age of Reason Part Three]."
200. "he ["Jesus Christ"] did not exist even as a man--that he is merely an imaginary or allegorical character, as Apollo, Hercules, Jupiter and all the deities of antiquity were."
[c. 1802] [Thomas Paine 1737 – 1809] [see Reference 200.].
Paris, February 21, 1802, since
the Fable of Christ.
....I expect to arrive in America in May next. I have a third part of the Age of
Reason to publish when I arrive, which, if I mistake
not, will make a stronger impression than anything I have yet published
on the subject....
Yours in friendship,
THOMAS PAINE." [see Reference 201.].
202. ["The New Testament"] "as false, paltry, and absurd, as the Old....the story of Christ is of human invention and not divine origin".
[c. 1802] [Thomas Paine 1737 – 1809].
203. "St. Peter, is a purely imaginary being; that, like his master, Jesus Christ, he never had any real existence: but is of that order of romantic and ideal personifications which weak and disordered minds naturally fall into".
[Robert Taylor 1784 – 1844] [Originally published in weekly numbers, by Richard Carlile (Paine's publisher) 1829 – 1830].
274. "A point not made in The Age of Reason occurs in a letter written by Paine in 1806 to Andrew Dean, who had rented part of Paine's farm at New Rochelle. After referring to the Bible as 'a book of lies and contradictions' he allows that 'the fable of Christ and his twelve apostles' is the least hurtful part."
from: Francesco Guicciardini [1483 – 1540], Maxims and Reflections of a Renaissance Statesman (Ricordi), translated by Mario Domandi, Introduction by Nicolai Rubinstein, Harper & Row, 1965 (1857) (1530) (1528) (1512).
"In the history of Renaissance thought, Guicciardini's Ricordi occupy a place of singular importance. Few works of the sixteenth century allow us so penetrating an insight into the views and sentiments of its author as these reflexions of the great Italian historian, written down over a period of eighteen years." .
"In 1516, Leo X [Pope 1513 – 1521 (1475 – 1521)] made him [Guicciardini] governor of Modena, and in 1517, of Reggio. It was the beginning of a long and distinguishing career in the Papal administration, first under Leo X, and then under the second Medici Pope, Clement VII [Pope 1523 – 1534 (1478 – 1534)]." .
[Note: Leo X was Pope, when Martin Luther [1483 – 1546] reacted (95 theses, 1517)].
'The development of Guicciardini's views on Italy coincides largely with the time of his friendship with Machiavelli [Niccolò Machiavelli 1469 – 1527] [see 1635; 2136-2137]. The two men shared the same views on a number of subjects; yet this went hand in hand with fundamental disagreements. Their intellectual relationship was of the nature of a long debate between equals, rather than of one-sided or mutual influence; while Guicciardini accepted some of the ideas which Machiavelli had put forward in his political works, The Prince and the Discourses, he strongly rejected others. Dating back to Machiavelli's brief visit, in 1521, to Modena, where Guicciardini was Papal governor, the friendship between the two men became closest in the last years of Machiavelli's life...."Io amo messer Francesco Guicciardini, amo la patria mia più dell' anima," writes Machiavelli a few weeks before his death in 1527:17 "I love Francesco Guicciardini and I love my fatherland more than my own soul."' [18-19].
In spite of all this, the positions I [francesco guicciardini] have held under several popes have forced me, for my own good, to further their interests. Were it not for that, I should have loved Martin Luther [1483 – 1546] as much as myself—not so that I might be free of the laws based on Christian religion as it is generally interpreted and understood; but to see this bunch of rascals get their just deserts, that is, to be either without vices or without authority." .
"14. I want to see three things before I die, but I doubt whether I shall see any of them, no matter how long I live. I want to see a well-ordered republic in our city, Italy liberated from all the barbarians, and the world delivered from the tyranny of these wicked priests." .
"32. It was said truly that too much religion spoils the world, because it makes the mind effeminate, involves men in thousands of errors, and diverts them from many generous and virile enterprises. I do not hereby wish to derogate from the Christian faith and divine worship, but rather to confirm and augment them by distinguishing what is excessive from what is sufficient, and by stimulating men's minds to consider carefully what should be taken into account and what may safely be ignored." .
"95. Considering its origin carefully, all political power is rooted in violence. There is no legitimate power, except that of republics within their own territories but not beyond [compare: President George W. Bush and his Imperialistic administration]. Not even the power of the emperor is an exception, for it is founded on the authority of the Romans, which was a greater usurpation than any other. Nor do I except the priests from this rule—indeed, their violence is double, for they use both the temporal and the spiritual arms to subjugate us." .
'As Guicciardini bluntly puts it, "the desire to dominate and to have superiority over others is natural in men," while the love of liberty is much less strong; anyone who has the opportunity to rule others, including those who profess themselves to be lovers of freedom, will do so without the slightest hesitation.21 [21"Opere de Francesco Guicciardini", "336"] Consequently, he rejects as irrelevant much of the energy expended in humanist circles over the "best" or most "natural" kind of government suitable to Florence; in his view no state can exist without force. Legitimized violence, as Guicciardini said earlier in the Discourse of Logrogno, is the essence of the state. Men, in fact, love justice more than liberty,22 and a republic's only theoretical justification is that it may offer more justice than other forms. If the type of tyranny practiced by the Medici succeeds in convincing the citizens that they are being treated equally, men will not hesitate to prefer that form of government without freedom over another kind of government which is closer to the republican ideal.' [50-51].
"A Contemporary Assessment"
'....Most contemporary students of the Renaissance would agree with John R. Hale's estimation of Guicciardini's stature as "the greatest historian between Tacitus in the first century and Voltaire and Gibbon in the eighteenth and he is one of the greatest of all writers of contemporary history."45 As the author of the Ricordi, the Considerations on the 'Discourses' of Machiavelli, and numerous dialogues and treatises, Guicciardini merits increased recognition as one of the most original philosophical minds of his day....' .
_____ _____ _____
"....In this disgraceful and melancholy state of the Roman see, Leo had recourse to an expedient on which he had for some time meditated, and which, in a great degree, relieved him from his apprehensions. In one day he created an additional number of thirty-one cardinals [see Bale, 190]. Among these were several of his relations and friends, some of whom had not yet obtained the habit of pre lacy; a circumstance which gave rise to no small dissatisfaction amongst the more rigid disciplinarians of the Roman see." .
'On the return of Luther [Martin Luther 1483 – 1546] to Wittemberg [also, Wittenberg], Miltitz [Karl von Miltitz c. 1490 – 1529 (drowning)] renewed his endeavours to prevail upon him to desist from further opposition, and to submit himself to the authority of the holy see. For the accomplishment of this object he laboured unceasingly, with such commendations of the virtues and talents of Luther, and such acknowledgments of the misconduct and corruptions of the Roman court, as he thought were likely to gain his confidence, and disarm his resentment; a conduct which has been considered by the papal historians as highly derogatory to the Roman pontiff, of whom he was the legate, and injurious to the cause which he was employed to defend. They have also accused this envoy of indulging himself too freely in convivial entertainments and the use of wine; on which occasions he amused his friends with many exaggerated anecdotes, to the discredit and disgrace of the Roman court; which being founded on the authority of the pope's nuncio,* were received and repeated as authentic. † Finding, however, that all his efforts to subdue the pertinacity of Luther were ineffectual, he had recourse to the assistance of the society of Augustine monks, then met [assembled] in a general chapter, whom he prevailed upon to send a deputation to their erring brother, to recal him to a sense of his duty. Luther appeared to be well pleased with this mark of respect, and promised that he would again write to the pontiff, with a further explanation of his conduct. Availing himself therefore of this opportunity, he [Luther] addressed another letter to Leo X. [Pope 1513 – 1521 (1475 – 1521)], which in its purport may be considered as one of the most singular, and in its consequences as one of the most important, that ever the pen of an individual produced. Under the pretext of obedience, respect, and even affection for the pontiff, he has conveyed the most determined opposition, the most bitter satire, and the most marked contempt; insomuch, that it is scarcely possible to conceive a composition more replete with insult and offence, than that
"[Luther] Amongst the monsters of the age," says Luther, "with whom I have now waged nearly a three-years' war, I am compelled at times to turn my regards towards you, O most holy father Leo; or rather I might say, that as you are esteemed to be the sole cause of the contest, you are never absent from my thoughts. For although I have been induced by your impious flatterers, who have attacked me without any cause, to appeal to a general council, regardless of the empty decrees of your predecessors, Pius and Julius, which by a kind of stupid tyranny were intended to prevent such a measure, yet I have never allowed my mind to be so far alienated from your holiness, as not to be most earnestly solicitous for the happiness both of yourself and your see, which I have always endeavoured, as far as in my power, to obtain from God by continual and ardent supplications. It is true, I have almost learnt to despise and to exult over the threats of those who have sought to terrify me by the majesty of your name and authority; but there is one circumstance which I cannot contemn, and which has compelled me again to address your holiness. I understand I have been highly blamed, as having had the temerity to carry my opposition so far as even to attack your personal character.
"[Luther] I must, however, most explicitly assure you, that whenever I have had occasion to mention you, I have never done it but in the best and most magnificent terms. Had I done otherwise I should have belied my own judgment, and should not only concur in the opinion of my adversaries, but most willingly acknowledge my rashness and impiety. I have given you the appellation of a Daniel in Babylon, and have even endeavoured to defend you against your great caluminator Silvester, (Prierio,) with a sincerity which any reader will abundantly perceive in my works. The unsullied reputation of your life is indeed so august, and so celebrated in every part of the world by the applauses of learned men, as to set at defiance any aspersions which can be thrown upon it. I am not so absurd as to attack him whom every one praises, when it has always been my rule to spare even those whom public report condemns. I delight not in blazoning the crimes of others, being conscious of the mote ["small particle"] which is my own eye, and not regarding myself as entitled to throw the first stone at an adultress."
After justifying the asperity with which he has commented on the misconduct of his adversaries, by the example of Christ, and of the prophets and apostles, he [Luther] thus proceeds:
"[Luther] In the mean time, you, O Leo, sit like a lamb amidst wolves, and live like Daniel amidst the lions, or Ezekiel among the scorpions. But what can you oppose to these monsters? Three or four learned and excellent cardinals! but what are these on such an occasion? In fact, you would all sooner perish by poison [see 143, 149-150] than attempt a remedy to these disorders. The fate of the court of Rome is decreed; the wrath of God is upon it; advice it detests; reformation it dreads; the fury of its impiety cannot be mitigated, and it has now fulfilled that which was said of its mother, We have medicined Babylon, and she is not healed; let us therefore leave her. It was the office of your and of your cardinals to have applied a remedy; but the disorder derides the hand of the physician, nec audit currus habenas. Under these impressions I have always lamented, O most excellent Leo, that you, who are worthy of better times, should have been elected to the pontificate in such days as these. Rome meritsyou [sic] nor those who resemble you, but Satan himself, who in fact reigns more than you in that Babylon; would that you could exchange that state which your inveterate enemies represent to you as an honour, for some petty living; or would support yourself by your paternal inheritance; for of such honours none are worthy but Iscariots, the sons of perdition."
After pouring out these invectives, and others of a similar kind, always pointed with expressions of the most contemptuous kindness for the pontiff,
"[Luther] Thus I come," says he, "most holy father, and prostrating myself before you, entreat that you will, if possible, lay hands on and bridle those flatterers who, whilst they pretend to be pacific, are the enemies of peace. Let no one, however, presume to think, most holy father, that I shall sing a palinode, unless he wishes to give rise to a still greater storm. I shall admit of no restraints in interpreting the word of God; for the word of God, which inculcates the liberty of all, must itself be free. Except in these points, there is nothing to which I am not ready to submit. I hate contention, I will provoke no one; but being provoked, whilst Christ assists me, I will not be mute. With one word your holiness might silence these commotions, and establish that peace which I so earnestly desire.
"[Luther] Allow me, however, to caution you, my good father Leo, against those sirens who would persuade you that you are not altogether a man but a compound of man and God, and can command and require whatever you please. This, I assure you, will be of no avail. You are the servant of servants, and, of all mankind, are seated in the most deplorable and perilous place. Be not deceived by those who pretend that you are lord of the earth, that there can be no Christian without your authority, and that you have any power in heaven, in hell, or in purgatory. They are your enemies and seek to destroy your soul, as it was said by Esaias, O my people, they who pronounce you happy deceive you. Thus they impose upon you who exalt you above a council and the universal church; and who attribute to you alone the right of interpreting the Scriptures, and endeavour under your name to establish their own impiety. Alas! by their means, Satan has made great gain among your predecessors."157
This letter, which bears date the sixth day of April, 1520, was prefixed by Luther as a dedication to his treatise on Christian Liberty, which he professes to transmit to the pope as a proof of his pacific disposition, and of his desire to attend to his studies, if the flatterers of the pontiff would allow him; but which the advocates of the Roman church have considered as an additional proof of his arrogance and his disobedience.
'On the tenth day of December, 1520, he [Luther] caused a kind of funeral pile to be erected without the walls of Wittemberg [also, Wittenberg], surrounded by scaffolds, as for a public spectacle, and when the places thus prepared were filled by the members of the university and the inhabitants of the city, Luther made his appearance, with many attendants, bringing with him several volumes, containing the decretals of the popes, the constitutions called the Extravagants, the writings of Eccius, and of Emser, another of his antagonists, and finally a copy of the bull of Leo X. The pile being then set on fire, he [Luther] with his own hands committed the books to the flames, exclaiming at the same time, Because ye have troubled the holy of the Lord, ye shall be burnt with eternal fire.* On the following day he mounted the pulpit, and admonished his audience to be upon their guard against papistical decrees. "The conflagration we have now seen," said he, "is a matter of small importance. It would be more to the purpose if the pope himself, or in other words, the papal see, were also burnt." The example of Luther at Wittemberg was followed by his disciples in several other parts of Germany, where the papal bulls and decretals were committed to the flames with public marks of indignation and contempt. Such were the ceremonies that confirmed the separation of Luther and his followers from the court of Rome. A just representation of that hostile spirit which has subsisted between them to
Errors incident to an early state of society—Writings of Aristotle—Rival doctrines of Plato—Commentators on the philosophy of the ancients—Niccolo Leonico Tomeo—Pietro Pomponazzo—Agostino Nifo—Giovan-Francesco Pico—Study of natural philosophy—Attempts towards the reformation of the Calendar—Discoveries in the East and West Indies—Papal grants of foreign parts—Consequences of the new discoveries—Humane interference of Leo X.—Study of natural history—Moral philosophy—Mattco Bosso—Pontano—His treatise De Principe—His work De Obedientia and other writings—Baldassare Castiglione—His Libro del Cortegiano—Novel writers—Mateo Bandello—Pietro Aretino.
It is a striking fact, that mankind, when they begin to cultivate their intellectual powers, have generally turned their first attention towards those abstruse and speculative studies which are the most difficult of comprehension, and the most remote from their present state and condition. [see christianism.com, 2851 (Montaigne)]
This is the natural result of that inexperience which is common to an early or unimproved state of society. Ignorant of that which relates to their immediate well-being, they attempt to rise into the realms of immaterial existence; or, if the laws of nature engage their notice, it is only in subordination to some higher purpose. The course of the heavenly bodies would be considered as a study not deserving of their attention, were it not believed to unfold to them the secrets of futurity; and the productions of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms are disregarded, except when they are supposed to exhibit striking prodigies, or to produce miraculous effects.183 Hence it has been the most difficult effort of the human mind to divest itself of absurdity and of error, and to quit its sublime flights for the plain and palpable inductions of reason and common sense; and hence the due estimation of our own powers, although it be of all sciences the most important, is generally the latest acquired.
This divided authority was not, however, without its variations, in which each of the contending parties struggled for the ascendancy, and at the close of the fifteenth century the triumph of Platonism was almost complete. The venerable character of Bessarion,* the indefatigable labours of Ficino, and the establishment of the Platonic academy at Florence, under Lorenzo de' Medici [1449 – 1492 (father of Leo X)], were the chief causes of this superiority. With the loss of the personal influence of these eminent men, its consequence again declined; and the doctrines of Aristotle, better understood, and more sedulously inculcated by many of his learned countrymen, again took the lead. The scholars of the time devoted themselves with great earnestness to the task of translating, illustrating, or defending his writings, which now began to be freed from the visionary subtilties of the Arabian commentators, and were studied and expounded in their original language. The first native Italian who attempted this arduous task, was Niccolo Leonico Tomeo, a disciple of Demetrius Chalcondyles, and a distinguished professor of polite letters in the university of Padua, where he died in the year 1531, having taught at that place upwards of thirty years. The talents of Leonico were not, however, wholly devoted to this employment. He was not less acquainted with the doctrines of Plato than with those of Aristotle. He translated many philosophical works from the Greek into
The epitaph on Leonico [Leonico Tomeo 1456 – 1531], by his friend and countryman Bembo [Cardinal Pietro Bembo 1470 – 1547], is an elegant compendium of his literary and moral character, and is highly favourable to both.185" ["245"-246].
["Notes"] 'Note 185 (p. 246).—This inscription, which yet remains in the church of S. Francesco, at Padua, is as follows:—
"Leonico Thomeo, Veneto, mitioribus in literis pangendisque carmini bus ingenio amabili, Philosophiae vero in studiis, et Academica Peripateticaque doctrina praestanti; nam et Aristotelicos libros Graeco sermone Patavii primus omnium docuit, scholamque illam a Latinis interpretibus inculcatam perpolivit, et Platonis majestatem nostris hominibus, jam prope abditam restituit; multaque praeterea scripsit, multa interpretatus est, multos claros viros erudiit, praeter virtutem bonasque artes tota in vita nullius rei appetens. Vixit autem annos lxxv. M.i.D.27."
Count Bossi has observed, that Leonico has been confounded by some with Nicolo Leonicens, or of Lonigo, a physician, who taught at Ferrara, and published many translations of the classics and other works.—Ital. Ed. vol. ix. p. 106.' .
'The indisposition of the pontiff [Leo X.] excited at first but little alarm, and was attributed by his physicians to a cold caught at his villa. The consistory was not, however, held; and on the morning of Sunday, the first day of December, the pope suddenly died. This event was so unexpected, that he is said to have expired without those ceremonies which are considered as of such essential importance by the Roman church.307 [see footnote, 90] Jovius relates, that a short time before his death, he returned thanks to God with his hands clasped together and his eyes raised to heaven; and expressed his readiness to submit to his approaching fate, after having lived to see the cities of Parma and Piacenza restored to the church, and the French effectually humbled;† but this narrative deserves little further credit than such as it derives from the mere probability of such an occurrence. In truth, the circumstances
Such is the dubious and unsatisfactory narrative of the death of Leo X., which occurred when he had not yet completed the forty-sixth year of his age; having reigned eight years, eight months, and nineteen days. It was the general opinion at the time, and has been confirmed by the suffrages of succeeding historians, that his death was occasioned by the excess of his joy on hearing of the success of his arms. If, however, after all the vicissitudes of fortune which Leo had experienced, his mind had not been sufficiently fortified to resist this influx of good fortune, it is probable that its effects would have been more sudden. On this occasion it has been well observed, that an excess of joy is dangerous only on a first emotion, and that Leo survived this intelligence eight days.310 It seems, therefore, not unlikely that this story was fabricated merely as a pretext to conceal the real cause of his death; and that the slight indisposition and temporary seclusion of the pontiff afforded an opportunity for some of his enemies to gratify their resentment, or promote their own ambitious views, by his destruction. Some circumstances are related which give additional credibility to this supposition. Before the body of the pope was interred, Paris de Grassis [c. 1470 – 1528], perceiving it to be much inflated, inquired from the consistory whether they would have it opened and examined, to which they assented. On performing this operation, the medical attendants reported that he [Leo X] had certainly died by poison. To this it is added, that during his illness the pope had frequently complained of an internal burning, which was attributed to the same cause; "whence," says Paris de Grassis, "it is certain that the pope was poisoned." In confirmation of this opinion, a singular incident is also recorded by the same officer, who relates in his diary, that a few days before the indisposition of the pontiff, a person unknown and disguised, called upon one of the monks in the monastery of S. Jerom [Jerome], and requested him to inform the pope, that an attempt would be made by one of his confidential servants to poison him; not in his food but by his linen. The friar, not choosing to convey this intelligence to the pope, who was then at Malliana, communicated it to the datary, who immediately acquainted the pope with it. The friar was sent for to the villa, and having there confirmed in the presence of the pontiff what he had before related, Leo, with great emotion, observed, "that if it was the will of God that he should die, he should submit to it; but that he should use all the
The consternation and grief of the populace on the death of the pontiff were unbounded. On its being rumoured that he died by poison, they, in the first emotions of their fury, seized upon Bernabò Malespina, one of the pope's cup-bearers, who had excited their suspicions, by attempting to leave the city at this critical conjuncture, on the pretext of hunting, and dragged him to the castle of S. Angelo. On his examination it was alleged against him , that the day before the pope became indisposed, he had received from Malespina a cup of wine, and after having drunk it, had asked in great anger what he meant by giving him so disagreeable and bitter a potion. No sufficient proofs appearing of his guilt, he was, however, soon afterwards liberated; and the cardinal legate de' Medici arriving at the city prohibited any further examination on the subject.311 He could not, however, prevent the surmises of the people, some of whom conjectured that Francis I. had been the instigator of the crime; a suspicion wholly inconsistent with the ingenuous and open character of that monarch. It has since been suggested that the duke of Ferrara, whose dominions were so immediately endangered by the hostile attempts of the pontiff, or the exiled duke of Urbino, might have resorted to these insidious means of revenge;312 but of these individuals the weightier suspicion would fall on the latter, who, by his assassination of the cardinal of Pavia, had given a decisive proof, that in the gratification of his resentment he knew no bounds; and who had by his complaints and representations to the sacred college, succeeded in exciting a considerable enmity against the pontiff, even within the limits of the Roman court.
The obsequies of the pope were performed in the Vatican, without any extraordinary pomp;313 the avowed reason of which was the impoverished state of the Roman treasury, exhausted as it was alleged by his profuse liberality, and by the wars in which he [Leo X.] had been engaged. The recent successes with which his efforts had been crowned, might, however, have supplied both the motives and the resources for a more splendid funeral, if other circumstances, arising from the peculiar and suspicious manner of his death, had not rendered it improper or inexpedient, His funeral panegyric was pronounced by his chamberlain, Antonio da Spello, in a rude and illiterate manner, highly unworthy of the subject; for which reason his oration has not been preserved; but in the academy della Sapienza at Rome, a discourse is annually pronounced in praise of Leo X. ....' [370-373].
"Sacra sub extrema si forte requiritis hora
Cur Leo non potuit sumere; vendiderat."
'Were we to place implicit confidence in the opinions of many authors who have taken occasion to refer to the character of Leo X., we must unavoidably suppose him to have been one of the most dissolute, irreligious, profane, and unprincipled of mankind. By one writer we are told that Leo led a life little suited to one of the successors of the apostles, and entirely devoted to voluptuousness; another has not scrupled to insert the name of this pontiff in a list which he has formed of the supposed atheists of the time.* [see footnote, 91] John Bale [1495 – 1563], in his satirical work, entitled, "The Pageant of Popes [1574 (Latin, 1558: Acta Romanorum Pontificum)]," in which, in his animosity against the church of Rome, he professes it to be his intention to give her double according to her works, has informed us, that
when Bembo [Secretary to Leo X] quoted to Leo X., on some occasion, a passage from one of the evangelists, the pope replied,
It is well known to all ages how profitable this fable of Christ has been to us;327 [see footnote, 92-93]
a story, which it has justly been remarked, has been repeated by three or four hundred different writers [see 308 (Bayle)], without any authority whatsoever, except that of the author above referred to. Another anecdote of a similar nature is found in a Swiss writer; who, as a proof of the impiety and atheism of the pontiff, relates, that he had directed two of the buffoons whom he admitted to his table, to take upon them the characters of philosophers, and to discuss the question respecting the immortality of the soul; when, after having heard the arguments on both sides, he gave his decision by observing, that he who had maintained the affirmative of the question, had given excellent reasons for his opinion, but that the arguments of his adversary were very plausible. This story rests only on the authority of Luther, who on such an
occasion can scarcely be admitted as a sufficient evidence.† [see footnote, below] We are told by another protestant author, that at the time "when Leo was thundering out his anathemas against Luther, he was not ashamed to publish a bull in favour of the profane poems of Ariosto; menacing with excommunication all those who criticized them, or deprived the author of his emolument," a circumstance which has been adduced by innumerable writers, and even by the dispassionate Bayle [Pierre Bayle 1647 – 1706],327 [this portion of footnote, not presented] as an additional proof of the impiety of the pontiff, and of the disgraceful manner in which he abused his ecclesiastical authority. But in answer to this it may be sufficient to observe, that the privilege to Ariosto was granted long before Luther had signalized himself by his opposition to the Romish Church, and that such privilege is in fact nothing more than the usual protection granted to authors, to secure to them the profits of their works. That it contains any denunciations against those who censure the writings of Ariosto, is an assertion wholly groundless; the clause of excommunication extending only to those who should surreptitiously print and sell the work without the consent of the author; a clause which is found in all licenses of the same nature, frequently much more strongly expressed; and which was intended to repress, beyond the limits of the papal territories, those literary pirates, who have at all times, since the invention of printing, been ready to convert the industry of others to their own emolument.'
[footnotes] '*Mosheim [Johann Lorenz von Mosheim 1694 – 1755]. ap. [apud (Latin): in the work of ] Jortin [John Jortin 1698 – 1770], Remarks on Ecclesiast. Hist. vol. 5. p. 500 [see 90].
†Seck. lib. iii. p. 676. It is observable, that in the satirical "Vie de Cath. de Medicis["] [see 177], vol. i. p. 13, this story is related of Clement VII. [first cousin of Leo X]' [387-389].
'But whilst we reject these unfounded and scandalous imputations, it must be allowed that the occupations and amusements in which the pontiff indulged himself, were not always suited either to the dignity of his station, or to the gravity of his own character. "It seems to have been his intention," says one of his biographers, "to pass his time cheerfully, and to secure himself against trouble and anxiety by all the means in his power. He, therefore, sought all opportunities of pleasure and hilarity, and indulged his leisure in amusement, jests, and singing; either induced by a natural propensity, or from an idea that the avoiding vexation and care might contribute to lengthen his days." On some occasions, and particularly on the first day of August in every year, he was accustomed to invite such of the cardinals as were admitted to his more intimate acquaintance, to play cards with him; and of this opportunity he always availed
"That an astonishing proficiency in the improvement of the human intellect was made during the pontificate of Leo X. is universally allowed.
That such proficiency is principally to be attributed to the exertions of that pontiff, will now perhaps be thought equally indisputable. Of the predominating influence of a powerful, an accomplished, or a fortunate individual on the character and manners of the age, the history of mankind furnishes innumerable instances; and happy is it for the world, when the pursuits of such individuals, instead of being devoted, through blind ambition, to the subjugation or destruction of the human race, are directed towards those beneficent and generous ends, which, amidst all his avocations, LEO THE TENTH appears to have kept continually in view."  [end of text].
["Notes"] '[portion of] Note 327 (p. 388 [see 90]).—"On a time when cardinal [cardinall] Bembus did move a question out of the gospel [Gospell], the pope [Pope] gave him a very contemptuose [contemptuouse] answere [aunswere], saying [saiyng]:
"All ages can testifye [testifie] enough how [HOWE]
profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to us [VS] and our
companie." [spellings in brackets, are from "Bale's Pageant of Popes", 1574 (see 164)]
—Bale's Pageant of Popes, p. 179. Ed. 1579. Of the candour and accuracy of this zealous friend to the reformed religion, the following passage affords an ample specimen:—
For he [Leo] made Julianus his sister's son, duke of Mutinensis, and Laurentianus, duke of Urbin [this I encountered in Webster's Biographical Dictionary, c1995, page 698];
marrying the one to the sister of Charles, duke of Savoye, and the other to the duchess of Poland," &c.—Bale, p. 180.'
[note: I have not researched these negative criticisms of Bale; one subject of negative criticism, that I encountered fortuitously (see underline, above), appears to verify Bale] .
"TABLE OF CONTENTS"
[note: samples of political involvements].