Leone Allacci

ALLACCI, LEONE [LEO ALLATIUS] (1586-1669), Greek scholar and theologian, was born in the island or Chios.  His early years were passed in Calabria and at Rome, where he finally settled as teacher of Greek at the Greek college, at the same time devoting himself to the study of classics and theology.  In 1622, after the capture of Heidelberg by Tilly, the elector Maximilian of Bavaria presented its splendid library composed of 196 cases of MSS. (bibliotheca Palatina) to Pope Gregory XV. Allacci was sent to superintend its removal to Rome, where it was incorporated with the Vatican library.  On the death of Gregory, Allacci became librarian to Cardinal Berberini, and subsequently (1661) librarian of the Vatican, which post he held till his death on the 18th (or 19th) of January 1669.  It is noteworthy that, although a Greek by birth, he became an ardent Roman Catholic and the bitter enemy of all heretics, including his own countrymen.  Allacci was a very industrious and voluminous writer, but his works, although they bear ample testimony to his immense learning, show an absence of the true critical faculty, and are full of intolerance, especially on religious subjects.  For a list of these, J. A. Fabricius’s Bibliotheca Graeca (xi. 437) should be consulted, where they are divided into four classes: editions, translations and commentaries on ancient authors; works relating to the dogmas and institutions of the Greek and Roman Churches; historical works; miscellaneous works.  The number of his unpublished writings is also very large; the majority of them are included in the MSS. of the Vallicellian library.

The main source of our knowledge of Allatius is the incomplete life by Stephanus Gradi, Leonis Allatii vita, published by Cardinal Mai, in Nova Bibliotheca Patrum. A complete enumeration of his works is contained in E. Legrand, Bibliographie hellenique du XVIIeme siecle (Paris, 1895, iii.  435-471).  The accounts of C. N. Sathas in Neoellenvike filologia (Athens, 1868), and of the pseudo-prince Demetrius Rhodokanakis, Leonis Allatii Hellas (Athens, 1872, are inaccurate and untrustworthy.  For a special account of his share in the foundation of the Vatican Library, see Curzio Mazzi, Leone Allacci e la Palatina di Heidelberg (Bologna, 1893).  The theological aspect of his works is best treated by the Assumptionist Father L. Petit in A. Vacant’s Dictionnaire de theologie (Paris, 1900, cols. 830-833).


Source: 1911 encyclopedia.





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