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BARONIUS


306


BARONIUS


trial Gregorj' XIII confided to him the re\ision of the Roman Martyrologj". The work was necessary because of confusion in feast-days due to the Gre- gorian calendar-reform (1582); besides, it was an op- portune time to correct the many errors of copyists long accumulating in the Jlartj-rology. Baronius gave two years to the wide research and keen crit- icism the work demanded. His annotations and corrections were published in 15S6, and in a second e lition he corrected several errors which he was chagrined to have overlooked in the first (MartjT- ologium Romanum, cum Notationibus Caesaris Baronii, Rome, 1589).

The difficulties which beset Baronius in the publi- cation of the "Annals" were many and annoying. He prepared his manuscript unaided, wTiting and re- writing everj' page with his own hand. His brother Oratorians at Rome could lend him no assistance. Those at Naples, who helped him in re\-ising his copy, were scarcely competent and almost exas- perated him by their dilatoriness and uncritical judgment. The proofs he read himself. His printers, in the infancy of their art, were neither prompt nor painstaking. In the spring of 15SS the first volume appeared and was universally acclaimed for its sur- prising wealth of information, its splendid erudition, and its timely vindication of papal claims. The "Centuries" were eclipsed. Those highest in ecclesi- astical and civil authority complimented the author; but more gratifying still was tlie truly phenomenal sale the book secured and the immediate demand for its translation into the principal European languages. It was Baronius' intention to produce a volume every year; but the second was not ready until early in 1590. The next four appeared yearly, the seventh late in 1596, the other five at still longer intervals, up to 1607, when, just before his death, he completed the twelfth volume, which he had foreseen in a vision would be the term of his work. It brought the history down to 1198, the year of the accession of Innocent III.

Baronius' student life during the twenty years of publication was even more disturbed than formerly. His growing repute brought hea\-y penalties to one of his humility. Three successive popes would liave made him a bishop. In 1593 he became superior of the Oratorj-. succeeding the aged Philip, on whose death, in 1596, he was re-elected for another triennial term. In 1595 Clement VIII, whose confessor he ■was, made him protonotary Apostolic and, on 5 June, 1596, created him canlinal. Baronius Isitterly re- gretted his removal from the Oratory to reside at the Vatican, or even away from Rome when the papal court was absent from the city, a circumstance doubly distressing as it prevented active work on the "Annals". In 1597 Clement paid the highest possible tribute to his erutlition by naming him Librarian of the Vatican. This office, together with the charge of the newly founded Vatican press and his duties in the Congregations, left him still less time for his "Annals". Troubles he had of another order. His zeal for the liberties of the Church had early invited the disfavour of Philip II of Spain, who, because he was the strongest Catholic sovereign in Europe, was striving to exercise undue influence on the papacy. He incurred Philip's further displeasure by supporting the cau.se of his enemy, the excom- municate Henrj- IV of France, whose absolution Baronius warmly advocated. The "Annals" were condemned by the Spanish Inriuisition. Later on, when he published his treatise on the Sicilian Mon- archy, pro\'ing the prior claim of the papacy to that of Spain in the suzerainty of Sicily and Naples, he provoked the bitter hostility of both Philip II and Philip III. He found solace, however, in the thought that the enmity of Spain would prevent the growing possibility of his being made pope. This hope was


severely tried in the two conclaves of 1605. Baroniua was the choice of a majority of the cardinals and, despite Spanish opposition, might have been elected had he not turned liis diplomacy to encompass his own defeat. Thirty-seven votes out of a necessary forty in the fir.st conclave and a violent attempt to precipitate his "adoration" in the second attest the esteem in which he was held.

In the spring of 1607 Baronius returned to the Oratory, for a vision had warned him that his sixty- ninth year would be his last, and he had reached the portended last volume of the "Annals". Soon, critically ill, he was removed to Frascati, btit, dis- cerning the end, he retvu-ned to Rome, where he died 30 June, 1607. His tomb is at the left of the high altar in the church of Santa Maria in Vallicclla (Chiesa Nuova).

Cardinal Baronius left a reputation for profound sanctity which led Benedict XIV to proclaim him "Venerable" (12 January, 1745). The restorations which he made in his titular church of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus and in St. Gregory's on the Coelian still feebly bespeak his zeal for decorous worship. But the "Annals" constitute the most conspicuous and enduring monument of liis genius and devotion to the Church. For three centuries they have been the inspiration of students of history and an inex- haustible storehouse for research. No one work has treated so completely the epoch with which they deal. Nowhere are there to be found collected so many important documents. Unbiassed scholars recognize in them the foundation-stone of true historical science, and in their author the qualities of the model historian: indefatigable diligence in research, passion for verification, accuracy of judgment, and unswerv- ing loyalty to truth. Even in the bitter contro- versies which the early volumes aroused, Baronias' most scholarly critics acknowledged his thorough- ness and honesty. But this does not imply that his work was faultless or final. Master though he was, Baronius was a pioneer. Gifted with a critical spirit which Was, to say the least, much keener than that of his contemporaries, his exercise of it was ten- tative and timid. Yet he stimulated a spirit of crit- icism which would infallibly advance the science of history far beyond the reaches attainable by himself. "With this wider vision his successors have been ena- bled to subject the "Annals" to no little corrective criticism. His scanty knowledge of Greek and He brew limited his resources in dealing with Oriental questions. Despite his care, he cited many docu- ments as authentic which a more enlightened crit- icism has rejected as apocryphal. His most serious defects were incident to the verj' accuracy he essayed in casting his history in the strictly annalistic form. The attempt to assign to each successive year its own events involved him in numerous chronological errors. Baronius himself recognized the possibility of this and made many corrections in his second edition (Mainz, 1601-05); and later it was by his allies, and not by enemies, that the most thorough efi^orts at chronological revision were made, a point seemingly lost on those who refer to Pagi's "refuta- tion" of Baronius' errors. One has but to recall the diversity of opinion in matters of chronologj' among the chief exponents of historical science to-day to find palliation for the mistakes of that science's founder. Whatever must be said in justice to Baro- nius, it remains true that the present-day value of his work is to be measured in the light of these defects, and it is to the critical editions of the "Annals" that the student will profitably refer, bearing always in mind that the mistakes of Baronius affect but little the value of the precious legacy his industry and genius handed down to later historians. The most extensive work of emendation is that of the Pagi: " Critica historico-chronologica in Aanales", etc.