Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Vitelli, Cornelio

VITELLI, CORNELIO (fl. 1489), scholar, was born of a noble family at Corneto in the Romagna. He was the earliest teacher of Greek at Oxford. In or before 1475 Vitelli accepted an invitation from Thomas Chaundler, warden of New College, to become prælector. His first lecture was answered by the warden. It is supposed that William Grocyn [q. v.] and Thomas Linacre [q. v.] were among his pupils. Erasmus (Opp. i. 1010) speaks somewhat slightingly of his Latin. Polydore Vergil (Hist. Angl. 1603, p. 1566), after styling him ‘vir optimus gratiosusque,’ says ‘omnium primus Oxonii bonas literas docuerat’ (cf. Knight, Colet, p. 106, where the passage is inaccurately rendered). He taught at New College till 1489, when he was summoned to Paris by Charles VIII, who appointed him, with Publius Faustus Andrelinus, to teach there; but, owing to the jealousy of the logicians, he seems to have returned to Oxford, and perhaps lodged in Exeter College in 1491. He had probably died or again left England before 1509, as no mention of him occurs in the ‘Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII.’

Vitelli was the author of various classical commentaries. His ‘Annotationes in Cornucopiæ N. Perotti libellum’ were printed with Perottus's book at Venice in 1499, fol. (Aldus), and reprinted in 1513, 1521, 1522, and 1527; they also appear in ‘In C. Plinium Prælectio’ by Marinus Becichemus (Basel, 1519, fol.). His ‘Epistola in Defensionem Plinii et Domitii Calderini contra Georgium Merulam Alexandrinum’ was first printed about 1490 in quarto, and was reprinted in Badius's ‘Annotationes Doctorum Virorum,’ Paris, 1511, fol., and in Gruter's ‘Lampas sive Fax Artium Liberalium,’ 1602 (i. 583–648).

[Oxford Hist. Soc. Collectanea, ii. 339; Hallam's Lit. of Europe, i. 230, and authorities there cited; Wood's Annals of Oxford, an. 1488 (inaccurate); Budinszky's Die Universität Paris, p. 186; Boase's Reg. of Rectors, &c., of Exeter College, p. xviii; Lyte's Hist. of Univ. of Oxford, p. 387; Harpsfield's Hist. Angl. 1622, p. 651, refers to him as ‘illud ex Italia lumen;’ works in Brit. Mus. Libr.]

E. C. M.