1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boccalini, Trajano

BOCCALINI, TRAJANO (1556–1613), Italian satirist, was born at Loretto in 1556. The son of an architect, he himself adopted that profession, and it appears that he commenced late in life to apply to literary pursuits. Pursuing his studies at Rome, he had the honour of teaching Bentivoglio, and acquired the friendship of the cardinals Gaetano and Borghesi, as well as of other distinguished personages. By their influence he obtained various posts, and was even appointed by Gregory XIII. governor of Benevento in the states of the church. Here, however, he seems to have acted imprudently, and he was soon recalled to Rome, where he shortly afterwards composed his most important work, the Ragguagli di Parnaso, in which Apollo is represented as receiving the complaints of all who present themselves, and distributing justice according to the merits of each particular case. The book is full of light and fantastic satire on the actions and writings of his eminent contemporaries, and some of its happier hits are among the hackneyed felicities of literature. To escape, it is said, from the hostility of those whom his shafts had wounded, he returned to Venice, and there, according to the register in the parochial church of Sta Maria Formosa, died of colic, accompanied with fever, on the 16th of November 1613. It was asserted, indeed, by contemporary writers that he had been beaten to death with sand-bags by a band of Spanish bravadoes, but the story seems without foundation. At the same time, it is evident from the Pietra del Paragone, which appeared after his death in 1615, that whatever the feelings of the Spaniards towards him, he cherished against them feelings of the bitterest hostility. The only government, indeed, which is exempt from his attacks is that of Venice, a city for which he seems to have had a special affection.

The Ragguagli, first printed in 1612, has frequently been republished. The Pietra has been translated into French, German, English and Latin; the English translator was Henry, earl of Monmouth, his version being entitled The Politicke Touchstone (London, 1674). Another posthumous publication of Boccalini was his Commentarii sopra Cornelia Tacito (Geneva, 1669). Many of his manuscripts are preserved still unprinted.