|Other names||Lorenzo Bevilaqua|
Laurentius Abstemius (also known as Lorenzo Bevilaqua) was an Italian writer, professor of Belles Lettres at Urbino, and librarian to Duke Guido Ubaldo under Pope Alexander VI. Born at Macerata in Ancona, he distinguished himself, at the time of the revival of letters, as a writer of considerable talents. As librarian at Urbino, he dedicated to Duke Ubaldo a critique upon some difficult passages in ancient authors, under the title of Annotationes Variae.
His principal work is titled Hecatomythium (1495), a collection of a hundred fables written in Latin, several of which are translated from the Greek. Some contemporaries condemned them as ludicrous and took exception to their criticism of the clergy. Other fables relate to Aesop's in various ways, either as variations on his, as in the case of De culice cibum et hospitium ab appetente (94), which is told of a gnat and a bee but relates to The Ant and the Grasshopper; or in the case of De leone et mure (52) it provides a sequel to The Lion and the Mouse, in which the mouse asks for the lion's daughter as a reward for freeing him from the net and is stepped on accidentally by the bride. Still others provide a frame for proverbs: for example 'Still waters run deep' (De rustico amnem transituro, 5) and 'The worse the wheel, the more it creaks' (De auriga et rota currus stridente, 84). These fables can be found annexed to an edition of Aesop's Fables, published in eight volumes at Frankfurt in 1580 and were later translated very idiomatically by Roger L'Estrange in his Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists (1692). Abstemius also wrote a further 97 fables in much the same vein, Hecatomythium Secundum, published in Venice in 1499.
- This article incorporates content from John Aikin's General Biography, a publication in the public domain.