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Paris de Grasis

Master of ceremonies to Julius II and Leo X; b. 1470; d. 1528

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Grasis, PARIS DE, master of ceremonies to Julius II and Leo X; b. at Bologna, about 1470; d. at Rome, June 10, 1528. He was the nephew of Antonio de Grassis, nuncio to Frederick III, and Bishop of Tivoli. Cardinal Achille de Grassis, his brother, one of the confidential diplomats of Julius II, was appointed Archbishop of Bologna by Leo X, and died in 1523. In 1506 Paris de Grassis succeeded the famous Burchard, master of ceremonies to Alexander VI, and continued his “Diarium” (ed. Thuasne, Paris, 1883-84). The portion of the diary written by de Grassis covers the closing years of Julius II and the pontificate of Leo X, and is a precious reference work for the historian. De Grassis was not a historian, merely a chronicler; with pedantic fidelity he jotted down the minutia of all pontifical ceremonies, trivial occurrences at the Curia, the consistories and processions, the coming and going of ambassadors, journeys, etc. He had no political prejudices, though he shows that he had but small sympathy for France or for various curial dignitaries. His sole interest was ceremonial and court etiquette. Nevertheless his eye was alert to catch all that went on around him; in consequence we owe him quite a number of anecdotes that throw much light on the characters of the two popes. Moreover, being the almost inseperable companion of both popes on their jouneys, e.g. of Julius II during his campaign against the Romagna, he supplies us with many details that fill in or set off the narrative of the historian. Ordinarily his work offers more to the historian of Renaissance culture than to the student of ecclesiasticopolitical conditions. The sixteen manuscript copies of the “Diarium” are not all complete, the more important codices being those of the Vatican, and of the Rossiana Library at Vienna. Partial abbreviated editions are owing to Dollinger (Beitrage zur Geschichte der letzten sechs Jahrhunderte, 1882, 363) and to Frati (Bologna, 1886). Delicati (Il diario di Leone X, da P. de Grassis, Rome, 1884) edited a lengthy resume of the work, with notes by Armellini. Some attribute to him an “Historia Leonis X” (Potthast, Bibl. Hist. Med..Evi, 2d ed., II, 894), and a treatise on papal elections, meant to combat the opinion of Barbatia that the pope was not bound by ante election capitulations (Souchon, Die Papstwahlen, Brunswick, 1888, 16). This treatise is in Dollinger’s edition, pp. 343-346. To de Grassis also is attributed, perhaps on better grounds, a book entitled “De cieremoniis cardinalium et episcoporum in eorum dicecesibus” (Rome, 1564). In 1515 Leo X made him Bishop of Pesaro, but he retained his office of master of ceremonies until the pope’s death.


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