Pietro Luigi Galletti
Benedictine, historian and archaeologist; b. at Rome in 1724; d. there, December 13, 1790
Galletti, PIETRO LUIGI—Benedictine, historian and archaeologist; b. at Rome in 1724; d. there, December 13, 1790. He was educated in Rome where he entered the Order of St. Benedict. While a monk in the Abbey of St. Paul Without the Walls, he made a collection of the numerous ancient inscriptions used in the pavement of the floor of the famous basilica or scattered among the cloister buildings and in the surrounding vineyards. These became soon the nucleus of a classified museum of Christian and Pagan inscriptions. Later on he became keeper of the archives and series librarian of the Benedictines in Florence. Pius VI bestowed various benefices on him and made him titular Bishop of Cyrene.
As a historian Galletti displayed great erudition and diligence. Some of his writings are still authoritative, notably his collection of inscriptions and his works on the higher papal officials of the old Lateran Palace. His literary activities were directed to widely divergent periods and spheres of historical and archaeological research. On Roman antiquity he wrote: “Capena, municipio dei Romani” (Rome, 1756), and “Gabbio, antica citta di Sabina, scoperta ove era Torri” (Rome, 1757). His two works “Del Vestarario della santa Romana chiesa” (Rome, 1758), and “Del Primicerio della S. Sede Apostolica e di altri Uffiziali Maggiori del Sacro Palazzo Lateranense” (Rome, 1776) deal with the early history of the Roman Curia. The latter work is especially thorough and important. Among his contributions to the history of the religious orders the following are noteworthy: “Lettera intorno lavera e sicura origine del ven. ordine di S. Girolamo” (Rome, 1755), and “Raggionamento dell’ origine e de’ primi tempi dell ‘abbadia Fiorentina” (Rome, 1773). He was the author of a biography of the bishops of Viterbo: “Lettera a Giannantonio Beretta sopra alcuni vescovi di Viterbo” (Rome, 1759), and of Cardinal Passionei: “Memorie per servire alla storia della vita del card. Domenico Passionei” (Rome, 1762). His work on the early churches of Rieti is of value for Christian archicology: “Memoria di tre antiche chiese di Riete, S. Michele Arcangelo, S. Agata alla Rocca, S. Giacomo” (Rome, 1765). Finally, it is to Galletti that is due the first great collection of medieval inscriptions, treated as a source of historical information. His “Inscriptiones Venetae infimi ievi Ronne exstantes” (Rome, 1757) was followed in the same series by the inscriptions found in Rome concerning Bologna, Rome itself (3 vols.), the March of Ancona, and Piedmont, in all seven volumes (1757-66).
J. P. KIRSCH