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Leandro Alberti

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Historian, born at Bologna in 1479; died same place, probably in 1552. In early youth he attracted the attention of the Bolognese rhetorician, Giovanni Garzo, who volunteered to act as his tutor. He entered the Dominican Order in 1493, and after the completion of his philosophical and theological studies was called to Rome by his friend, the Master General, Francesco Silvestro Ferraris. He served him as secretary and socius until the death of Ferraris in 1528. In 1517, he published in six books a treatise on the famous men of his Order. This work has gone through countless editions and been translated into many modern tongues. Besides several lives of the saints, some of which Papebroch embodied in the "Acta Sanctorum", and a history of the Madonna di San Luca and the adjoining monastery, he published (Bologna, 1514, 1543) a chronicle of his native city (Istoria di Bologna, etc.) to 1273. It was continued by Lucio Caccianemici to 1279. The fame of Alberti rests chiefly on his "Descrizione d'Italia" (Bologna, 1550) a book in which are found many valuable topographical and archaeological observations. Many of the heraldic and historical facts are useless, however, since Alberti followed closely the uncritical work written by Annius of Viterbo on the same subject. The work was translated into Latin in 1567, after having been three times enlarged in the Italian. He also wrote a chronicle of events from 1499 to 1552, and sketches of famous Venetians. His explanations of the prophecies of the Abbot Joachim and his treatise on the beginnings of the Venetian Republic indicate the current of historical criticism of his day. He was a close friend of most of the contemporary literati, who frequently consulted him. He often mentioned in the letters of the poet Giannantius Flamino, who dedicated the tenth book of his poems to the friar. Hardly a man of that day had a better knowledge of the contents of most European libraries than Alberti.

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