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Adrian of Castello

Italian prelate distinguished as a statesman and reviver of learning, b. about 1460; d. about 1521

Adrian of Castello, also called DE CORNETO, from his birthplace in Tuscany, an Italian prelate distinguished as a statesman and reviver of learning, b. about 1460; d. about 1521. In 1488 he was sent by Innocent VIII as nuncio to Scotland, but was recalled when the news of the death of James III reached Rome. However, Adrian had arrived in England and gained the favor of Henry VII, who appointed him as his agent at Rome. In 1489 he returned to England as collector of Peter’s pence, and in 1492 obtained the prebend of Ealdland in St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the rectory of St. Dunstan-in-the-East. On the death of Innocent VIII, he returned to Rome, where he acted as a secretary in the Papal treasury and also as ambassador of Henry VII. In 1502, he was promoted to the Bishopric of Hereford. In 1503 Alexander VI raised him to the cardinalate with the title of St. Chrysogonus. After the death of Alexander VI, Adrian’s influence in Rome declined. In 1504 he was translated to the Bishopric of Bath and Wells, but never occupied the see. In 1509, fearing the displeasure of Julius II, he left Rome for Venice, and later for Trent, where he remained until the death of Julius and the election of Leo X, when he returned to Rome (1511). He was again, in 1517, implicated in a charge of conspiring with Cardinal Petrucci to poison the Pope, and confessed to having been privy to the affair. He was forgiven by Leo, but found it safer to escape from Rome to Venice. He never appeared in Rome again. He had previously been deprived of his office of collector of Peter’s pence, and on July 5, 1518, was degraded from the cardinalate and his Bishopric of Bath given to Cardinal Wolsey. He was long associated with the scholar Polydore Vergil, who was his sub-collector of Peter’s pence in England. Among his writings are a poem in elegant Latinity, entitled “Venatio” (Aldus, 1505), and treatises, “De Vera Philosophia” (Bologna, 1507; Cologne, 1548; Rome, 1775); and “De Sermone Latino et modo Latine loquendi” (Basle, 1513).

THOMAS WALSH


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