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MELFI


165


MELISSUS


About 325 the Meletiaiis counted in Egypt twenty- nine bishops, Meletius included, and in Alexandria itself, four priests, tliree deacons, and one army chap- lain. Conformably to the Nicene decree, Meletius lived first at Lycopolis in the Thebaid, but after Bishop Alexander's death he took a personal part in the negotiations which united his party to the Arians. The date of liis death is not known. ' He nominated his friend, John, as ids successor. Theodoret men- tions very superstitious Meletian monks who practised Jewish alilutions. The Meletians died out after the middle of the fifth century.

Ceillii;i{, Hi^totrc Generate dcs auteurs ecclesiastiques. III (Paris, lTi2). 6rS-81. II (1765), 615-16; Hefele, Meletius in Kirchenlei., ed. Kiulen, VIII (1893), 1221 sq.; Achelis, Mele- tius von LykopoUs in Realencyelopadie, ed. Hauck. XII (1903), 558-62; Hefele, Histoire des Conciles, ed. Leclercq, I (1907),

211-12,488-503. H. Leclercq.

Melfi and Rapolla, Diocese of (Melphiensis et Rapollen'sis), in the province of Potenza, in Basili- cata, southern Italy. Melfi is situated on a pleasant hill, on the slopes of Mt. \'olture. Tlic origin of the city is not well known; iiut the town became famous in 1043, when it was chosen capital of the new mihtary state created in southern Italy by the twelve Norman counts, founders of the Kingdom of Naples. Nicholas II made it a diocese immediately dependent on the Holy See; its first bishop was Baldwin. Its beautiful cathedral, a work of Bishop Roger, son of Robert Guiscard (1155), was destroyed by the earthquake of 1851. Among its other bishops, mention should be made of Fra Alessandro da San Eljiidio, a former gen- eral of the Augustinians (1328), and a learned theolo- gian. In 1528, Clement VII, in view of the scarcity of its revenues, united the Diocese of Rapolla to that of Melfi, "aeque principaliter". Rapolla is a city founded by the Lombards, on the banks of the Oli- vento River. The Normans took it from the Greeks in 1042, and fortified it with works still to be seen. The town, which has a beautiful cathedral, was an episcopal see, suffragan of Siponto, in the time of Greg- ory VII. Other bishops were Cardinal Giovanni Vin- cenzo Acquaviva (1537), who gave a noble organ to the cathedral, and Lazzro Caralffini (1622), founder of the seminary. Several councils were held at Melfi: one in 1048; another 1059, under Nicholas II, impor- tant on account of the prohilsition of the marriage of priests, the deposition of the Bishop of Trani, promo- ter of the schism of Cerularius, and the investiture of Robert Guiscard of the Duchy of Apuha and Calabria; the council of 1067; the one of 1089, against simony and the concubinage of priests, and for the freedom of the Church; lastly, the council of 1100. The united sees have 14 parishes, with 40,000 inhabitants, 66 priests, 5 religious houses of women, and 1 school for boys and 1 for girls.

Cappelletti: Le Chiese d' Italia, XXI (Venice, 1857). U. Benigni.

Meli, Giovanni, Sicilian poet, b. at Palermo, 4 March, 1740; d. 20 Dec, 1815. He was the son of a goldsmith of Spanish origin, and received his first edu- cation from the Jesuits. He afterwards studied nat- ural science and medicine, and practised as a physi- cian in the hamlet of Cinisi and later at Palermo itself, where for nineteen years he held the chair of chemistry at the university. Towards the end of his life he took minor orders. In childhood he had been led to poetry by reading Ariosto, and in poetical composition found relief from domestic unhappiness. His poems are written in the Sicilian dialect, and as a vernacular poet of this kind he has no rival in Italian literature. His longer works, "La Fata Cialanti", "Don Chisciotti e Sanciu Panza", " L'origini di lu Munnu", are fantastic poems in oikiva rima in imitation of Berni. The Buc- colica, eclogues and idylls of the four seasons of the year, is full of Sicilian colour, and has won him the title of " the modern Theocritus" . Meli was a staunch


supporter of the Bourbon regime, and among his lyrics " Anacreontiche " and "Odi", is an ode in honour of Nelson, which however, he is said to have suppressed after the latter's execution of the Neapolitan patriots. His last work, the "FavuU morah", is a collection of Esopian fables in verse with an underlying allegorical or satirical meaning.

Opere di Giovajjni ilELl (Palermo, 1857); La Buccolica, la Lirica, le Satire, e VElegie di Giovanni Meli ridotte dal siciliano in italiano da Agostino Gallo (Palermo, 1858); Navantari, Studio critico su Giovanni Meli (Palermo, 1904).

Edmund G. Gahdneb.

Melia, Piu.?, Italian theologian, b. at Rome, 12 Jan., 1800 ; d. in London, June, 1883. He entered the Society of Jesus on 14 Aug., 1815, taught literature at Reggio, and afterwards was engaged in preaching. He left the Society in 1853. He wrote two books: "Alcune ragioni dd P. Pio Melia della C. di G." (Lucca, 1847), a defence of the Society of Jesus, and "Alcune affirmazioni del Sig. Antonio Rosmini-Ser- bati" (Pisa, s. d.), an attack upon Rosmini (q. v.). In his "Life of Rosmini", Father Lockliart merely declares that the latter work was written by cer- tain Italian Jesuits ; Father de Backer, in his " Dic- tionnaire des Antonymes", attributed it to Passaglia, but his " Bibliotheque de la Compagnie de Jesus", re- edited by Sommervogel, follows Beorchia, who attrib- utes it to Melia. Melia, who attacked especially Rosmini's doctrine on original sin, was answered by Rosmini (Milan, 1841) and Pagani (Milan, 1842) ; then began a bitter controversy which had to be ended by a direct command of Pius IX.

Sommervogel, Bibl. de la C. de J., V (Brussels and Paria, 1894); Lockhart, Life of Rosmini (London, 1886).

Wm. T. Tallon.

Melissus of Samos, a Greek philosopher, of the Eleatic School, b. at Samos about 470 B. c. It is probable that he was a disciple of Parmenides, and that he is identical with the Melissus who, according to Plutarch (Pericles, 26), commanded the Samian fleet which defeated the Athenians off the coast of Samos in 442. He wrote a work which is variously entitled ■fepl Toi ii^'Tos, irepl ifiicreas, etc., and of which only a few fragments have come down to us. In at- tempting to combine the doctrines of Parmenides with those of the earliest philosophers of Greece (see Ionian School of Philosophy), Melissu.s, though he fell into many contradictions, forestalled, in a sense, Aristotle's more successful effort to define the infinite and the incorporeal. Like Parmenides, he depreciated sense- knowledge, and held that change, motion, and multi- plicity are illusions. At the same time, he was influ- enced by the lonians, especially by Heraclitus, to attach value to the question of origins. He definitely predicates infinity of being, and assertrS that reality " has no body ". By the infinite he miderstands "that which has neither beginning nor end", and in his con- ception of " that which has no body", he does not, as Aristotle points out (Metaph. I, 5, 986 b.) attain a correct understanding of the immaterial. "The physi- cal doctrines ascribed to Melissus by Philoponus, Stoboeus, Epiphanius, and others do not seem to have been held by him. 'I'here is, however, a possibility that, as Diogenes Laertius informs us, Melissus avoided all mention of the gods because we can know nothing about them. Like Plato, Aristotle, and some of the other Greek philosophers, he probably thought it wisest to take refuge in a profession of ignorance regarding the gods, so as to avoid the imputation of hostility to the popular mythologv.

Fairbanks, First Philosophers of Greece (New York, 1898). 120 sq., gives fragments of AlelLssus's work, with translations of references to him in Aristutic, Epiphanius, etc.; P.abst, De Melissi fragmentis (Bonn, ISSU); Kern, Zur Wiirdigung des Melissus (.Stettin, 1880); Zeller, Pre-Socratic Philosophy, tr. Alleyne, I (Lend., 1881), 627 sq.; Tannery, Pour (Vitstoire de la science hellene (Paris, 1887), 262 sq.; Turner. History oj Philosophy (Boston, 1903), 51 sq^-.

William Turner.