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MARCO GIROLAMO VIDA (c. 1489-1566)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 47 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MARCO GIROLAMO VIDA (c. 1489-1566), Italian scholar and Latin poet, was born at Cremona shortly before the year 1490. He received the name of Marcantonio in baptism, but changed this to Marco Girolamo when he entered the order of the Canonici Regolari Lateranensi. During his early manhood he acquired considerable fame by the composition of two didactic poems in the Latin tongue, on the Game of Chess (Scacchiae Ludus) and on the Silkworm (Bombyx). This reputation induced him to seek the papal court in Rome, which was rapidly becoming the headquarters of polite learning, the place where students might expect advancement through their literary talents. Vida reached Rome in the last years of the pontificate of Julius II. Leo X., on succeeding to the papal chair (1513), treated him with marked favour, bestowed on him the priory of St Sylvester at Frascati, and bade him compose a heroic Latin poem on the life of Christ. Such was the origin of the Christiad, Vida's most celebrated, if not his best, performance. It did not, however, see the light in Leo's lifetime. Between the years 1520 and 1527 Vida produced the second of his masterpieces in Latin hexameters, a didactic poem on the Art of Poetry (see Baldi's edition, Wurzburg, 1881). Clement VII. raised him to the rank of apostolic protonotary, and in 1532 conferred on him the bishopric of Alba. It is probable that he took up his residence in this town soon after the death of Clement; and here he spent the greater portion of his remaining years. Vida attended the council of Trent, where he enjoyed the society of Cardinals Cervini; Pole and Del Monte, together with his friend the poet Flaminio. A record of their conversations may be studied in Vida's Latin dialogue De Republica. Among his other writings should be mentioned three eloquent orations in defence of Cremona against Pavia, composed upon the occasion of some dispute as to precedency between those two cities. Vida died at Alba on the 27th of September 1566. See the Life by Lancetti (Milan, 1840).
End of Article: MARCO GIROLAMO VIDA (c. 1489-1566)
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