Humanist, historian and theologian, b. 17 February, 1451; d. 25 January, 1522. He was a native of Volterra, Italy, and therefore is called Raphael Volaterranus. From earliest youth he devoted himself to the study of letters, and in 1466 was called to Rome, with his brothers, by their father Gherardo Maffei, whom Pius II had appointed professor of law at the University of Rome, and had taken later for his secretary, which position he held also under Paul II and Sixtus IV. At Rome Raffaelo held himself aloof from the court, devoting his time to the practice of piety and to the study of philosophy of theology and of the Greek language, the latter under George of Trebizond. In 1477, he went to Hungary with Cardinal Louis of Aragon, on the latter's mission to Matthias Corvinus . Upon his return, Raffaelo was persuaded by the Blessed Gaspare da Firenze not to become a Minor Observant, as Raffaelo intended to do; whereupon he married, and established his residence at Volterra. The remainder of his life was spent in study, in the practice of piety and of penance, and in the exercise of works of charity ; in his own house, he established an accademia , in which he gave lectures on philosophy and on theology, while he founded the Clarisse monastery of Volterra. He died in the odour of sanctity ; and, contrary to his desire, his brother erected to his memory a splendid monument, the work of Fra Angelo da Montorsoli.
Among the works of Maffei are "Commentariorum rerum urbanarum libri XXXVIII" (Rome, 1506; Paris, 1516), all encyclopedia of all subjects known at that time, prepared with great care, but not always with the best judgment. It consists of three parts; in the first, "Geography", he writes extensively of the Spaniards and of the Portuguese; the second part, "Anthropology", is devoted, more especially, to the contemporaneous history of that time ; the third part is devoted to "Philology". Maffei's lives of Sixtus IV , Innocent VIII, Alexander VI, and Pius III, which appear as an appendix to the Platina, and which were also published separately (Venice, 1518), are taken from the "Commentarii"; in them Maffei blames unsparingly the disordered life of the Roman court. At Volterra, he wrote a compendium of philosophy and of theology, "De institutione christiana" and "De prima philosophia" (Rome, 1518) in which he rather follows Scotus. He translated, from the Greek into Latin, the "Odyssey" of Homer, the "Oeconomics" of Xenophon, the "Gothic War " of Procopius, "Sermones et tractatus S. Basilii", some sermons of St. John of Damascus and of St. Andrew of Crete ; he also wrote the "Vita B. Jacobi de Certaldo". On the other hand, he was in epistolary communication with popes, cardinals, and other learned men. The manuscript of the work which he called "Peristromata" remained incomplete; it went to the Biblioteca Barberiniana.
The elder brother of Maffei, Antonio, was involved in the conspiracy of the Pazzi. Another brother, Mario, was a man of great culture. He was nuncio to France and, later, prefect of the building of St. Peter's (1507), regent ot the penitentiaries, and Bishop, first, of Aquino (1516) and then of Cavaillon, he died on 23 June, 1537.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online