GIUSTINIANI, the name of a prominent Italian family which originally belonged to Venice, but established itself subsequently in Genoa also, and at various times had representatives in Naples, Corsica and several of the islands of the Archipelago.
In the Venetian line the following are most worthy of mention:—
1. Lorenzo (1380–1465), the Laurentius Justinianus of the Roman calendar, at an early age entered the congregation of the canons of St George in Alga, and in 1433 became general of that order. About the same time he was made by Eugenius IV. bishop of Venice; and his episcopate was marked by considerable activity in church extension and reform. On the removal of the patriarchate from Grado to Venice by Nicholas V. in 1451, Giustiniani was promoted to that dignity, which he held for fourteen years. He died on January 8, 1465, was canonized by Pope Alexander VIII., his festival (semi-duplex) being fixed by Innocent XII. for September 5th, the anniversary of his elevation to the bishopric. His works, consisting of sermons, letters and ascetic treatises, have been frequently reprinted,—the best edition being that of the Benedictine P. N. A. Giustiniani, published at Venice in 2 vols. folio, 1751. They are wholly devoid of literary merit. His life has been written by Bernard Giustiniani, by Maffei and also by the Bollandists.
2. Leonardo (1388–1446), brother of the preceding, was for some years a senator of Venice, and in 1443 was chosen procurator of St Mark. He translated into Italian Plutarch’s Lives of Cinna and Lucullus, and was the author of some poetical pieces, amatory and religious—strambotti and canzonetti—as well as of rhetorical prose compositions. Some of the popular songs set to music by him became known as Giustiniani.
3. Bernardo (1408–1489), son of Leonardo, was a pupil of Guarino and of George of Trebizond, and entered the Venetian senate at an early age. He served on several important diplomatic missions both to France and Rome, and about 1485 became one of the council of ten. His orations and letters were published in 1492; but his title to any measure of fame he possesses rests upon his history of Venice, De origine urbis Venetiarum rebusque ab ipsa gestis historia (1492), which was translated into Italian by Domenichi in 1545, and which at the time of its appearance was undoubtedly the best work upon the subject of which it treated. It is to be found in vol. i. of the Thesaurus of Graevius.
4. Pietro, also a senator, lived in the 16th century, and wrote on Historia rerum Venetarum in continuation of that of Bernardo. He was also the author of chronicles De gestis Petri Mocenigi and De bello Venetorum cum Carolo VIII. The latter has been reprinted in the Script. rer. Ital. vol. xxi.
Of the Genoese branch of the family the most prominent members were the following:—
5. Paolo, di Moniglia (1444–1502), a member of the order of Dominicans, was, from a comparatively early age, prior of their convent at Genoa. As a preacher he was very successful, and his talents were fully recognized by successive popes, by whom he was made master of the sacred palace, inquisitor-general for all the Genoese dominions, and ultimately bishop of Scio and Hungarian legate. He was the author of a number of Biblical commentaries (no longer extant), which are said to have been characterized by great erudition.
6. Agostino (1470–1536) was born at Genoa, and spent some wild years in Valencia, Spain. Having in 1487 joined the Dominican order, he gave himself with great energy to the study of Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee and Arabic, and in 1514 began the preparation of a polyglot edition of the Bible. As bishop of Nebbio in Corsica, he took part in some of the earlier sittings of the Lateran council (1516–1517), but, in consequence of party complications, withdrew to his diocese, and ultimately to France, where he became a pensioner of Francis I., and was the first to occupy a chair of Hebrew and Arabic in the university of Paris. After an absence from Corsica for a period of five years, during which he visited England and the Low Countries, and became acquainted with Erasmus and More, he returned to Nebbio, about 1522, and there remained, with comparatively little intermission, till in 1536, when, while returning from a visit to Genoa, he perished in a storm at sea. He was the possessor of a very fine library, which he bequeathed to the republic of Genoa. Of his projected polyglot only the Psalter was published (Psalterium Hebraeum, Graecum, Arabicum, et Chaldaicum, Genoa, 1616). Besides the Hebrew text, the LXX. translation, the Chaldee paraphrase, and an Arabic version, it contains the Vulgate translation, a new Latin translation by the editor, a Latin translation of the Chaldee, and a collection of scholia. Giustiniani printed 2000 copies at his own expense, including fifty in vellum for presentation to the sovereigns of Europe and Asia; but the sale of the work did not encourage him to proceed with the New Testament, which he had also prepared for the press. Besides an edition of the book of Job, containing the original text, the Vulgate, and a new translation, he published a Latin version of the Moreh Nevochim of Maimonides (Director dubitantium aut perplexorum, 1520), and also edited in Latin the Aureus libellus of Aeneas Platonicus, and the Timaeus of Chalcidius. His annals of Genoa (Castigatissimi annali di Genova) were published posthumously in 1537.
The following are also noteworthy:—
7. Pompeio (1569–1616), a native of Corsica, who served under Alessandro Farnese and the marquis of Spinola in the Low Countries, where he lost an arm, and, from the artificial substitute which he wore, came to be known by the sobriquet Bras de Fer. He also defended Crete against the Turks; and subsequently was killed in a reconnaissance at Friuli. He left in Italian a personal narrative of the war in Flanders, which has been repeatedly published in a Latin translation (Bellum Belgicum, Antwerp, 1609).
8. Giovanni (1513–1556), born in Candia, translator of Terence’s Andria and Eunuchus, of Cicero’s In Verrem, and of Virgil’s Aeneid, viii.
9. Orsatto (1538–1603), Venetian senator, translator of the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles and author of a collection of Rime, in imitation of Petrarch. He is regarded as one of the latest representatives of the classic Italian school.
10. Geronimo, a Genoese, flourished during the latter half of the 16th century. He translated the Alcestis of Euripides and three of the plays of Sophocles; and wrote two original tragedies, Jephte and Christo in Passione.
11. Vincenzo, who in the beginning of the 17th century built the Roman palace and made the art collection which are still associated with his name (see Galleria Giustiniana, Rome, 1631). The collection was removed in 1807 to Paris, where it was to some extent broken up. In 1815 all that remained of it, about 170 pictures, was purchased by the king of Prussia and removed to Berlin, where it forms a portion of the royal museum.