Daniello Bartoli

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Daniello Bartoli "Obiit Romae, die 13 Januarii, anno 1685, aet. 77"

Daniello Bartoli (Italian pronunciation: [daˈnjɛllo ˈbartoli]; 12 February 1608 – 13 January 1685) was an Italian Jesuit writer and historiographer, celebrated by Francesco de Sanctis (critic) as the "Dante of Italian prose".


He was born in Ferrara. His father, Tiburzio was a chemist associated with the Este court of Alfonso II d'Este. When the papacy refused to recognize his illegitimate successor the court moved in 1598 under Cesare d'Este, Duke of Modena. During the Cinquecento and due to a host of writers including Ariosto and Tasso Renaissance Ferrara was the literary capital of Italian letters along with Florence, whereas the language of papal Rome was humanist Latin. His identity as a Ferrarese and a Lombard is touted in the pseudonym, Ferrante Longobardi.

Vocation and Studies[edit]

Daniello was the youngest of three sons and barely fifteen when embraced a vocation to the Society of Jesus in 1623.[1] Debarred by his superiors because of his manifest literary talents from the missions in the Indies he would later describe, he attained high distinction in science and letters. Under Jesuit scientists Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Niccolo Zucchi the young Bartoli, together with his younger contemporary Francesco Maria Grimaldi was involved in noteworthy experiments and discoveries of the planetary heavens. Bartoli along with Zucchi is credited as having been one of the first to see the equatorial belts on the planet Jupiter on May 17, 1630.[2] And in his old age he would return to the world of science. As his education progressed he became a Jesuit scholastic and was highly regarded as a teacher of rhetoric. In his thirties he was an esteemed preacher delivering the Lenten sermons at the principal Jesuits churches of Italy including Genoa, Florence and Rome. A shipwreck off Capri in 1643, where he lost his manuscripts, put an end to his pilgrim years and brought him to permanently to the Jesuit headquarters in Rome with his appointment as Jesuit historiographer.

Baroque Rome[edit]

Bartoli's celebrated first work, L'huomo di lettere (1645), a literary vademecum for its time, became a Baroque best seller in Italian and in numerous translations, over thirty editions appearing during his lifetime. As a Jesuit historian Bartoli represents the shift from the preceding Latin humanist historiography of Niccolò Orlandini and Francesco Sacchini to the illustrious Jesuit prose tradition he established in Italian when he undertook the official history of the first century of the Society of Jesus (1540). His monumental Istoria della Compagnia di Gesu (Rome, 1650–1673), in 6 folio vols. is the longest Italian classic. It begins with an authoritative if somewhat ponderous biography of the founder Ignatius Loyola.[3] Particularly fascinating and exotic are his histories of Francis Xavier and the Jesuit missions in the East which describe India and the opening of the East L'Asia (1653). A shorter work on Akbar the Great and Rodolfo Acquaviva came out in 1653 and was added to the third edition of L'Asia in 1667.[4] Part II of the first corner of the world he completed was Japan, Il Giappone (1660), and the Part III on China, La Cina appeared in (1663). To these he added volumes on the Society in England, L'Inghilterra (1667) and Italy, L'Italia (1673). With these histories he alternated treatises on language use, Del torto e del diritto del non si puo[5] and moral works of like La Ricreazione del savio.[6] In the 1670s the Lyons Jesuit Louis Janin, translator of L'huomo di lettere issued Latin translations of these histories. From 1670 to 1673 Bartoli served as Rector of the Collegio Romano in recognition of his international prestige as a writer. Indefatigible in his final years Bartoli produced 4 Jesuit biographies and three scientific treatises on pressure, sound, coagulation. His several works of spiritual reflection were brought together a folio edition, Le Morali in 1684. His final work, Pensieri sacri[7] went to press after his death in Rome, January 13, 1685.

During the age of Leopardi and Manzoni, Bartoli became the literary paragon of Restoration Italy as a master of prose style. Outstanding among the numerous printings and anthologies of his works from that period is the standard octavo edition of his complete works beautifully printed by Giacinto Marietti, Turin, 1825-1842 in 34 volumes.

Literary Writings & Historical Works[edit]

Historia della Compagnia di Giesu del R. P. Daniello Bartoli della medesima Compagnia Frontispiece engraving by Cornelis Bloemaert (Roma: de Lazzeri) 1659
  • Dell'huomo di lettere difeso ed emendato 1645
  • La poverta contenta 1649
  • Della vita e dell'istituto di s. Ignatio, fondatore della Compagnia di Gesu 1650
  • L'Asia 1653
  • Missione al gran Mogor del p. Rodolfo Acquaviva 1653
  • L'Eternita Consigliera 1653
  • Il torto ed il diritto del "Non si puo" 1655 (under the pseudonym "Ferrante Longobardi")
  • La ricreazione del savio 1659
  • Il Giappone, parte seconda dell'Asia 1660
  • La Cina, terza parte dell'Asia 1663
  • La geografia trasportata al morale 1664
  • L'Inghilterra, parte dell'Europa 1667
  • L'huomo al punto, cioe l'huomo al punto di morte 1669
  • Dell'utlimo e beato fine dell'uomo 1670
  • Dell'ortografia italiana 1670
  • L'Italia, prima parte dell'Europa 1673
  • Della tensione e della pressione 1677
  • Del suono, dei tremori armonici, dell'udito 1679
  • Del ghiaccio e della coagulatione 1682
  • In addition to his magnum opus, the Istoria della Compagnia di Gesu for which he wrote 6 volumes, as Jesuit historiographer Bartoli produced 5 Jesuit Lives: Vincenzo Caraffa 1651, Robert Bellarmine 1678, Stanislas Kostka 1678, Francis Borgia 1681, and his science teacher Niccolo Zucchi 1682
  • Degli uomini e dei fatti della Compagnia di Gesu: Memorie storiche, an annalistic chronicle of the first Jesuit half century, (1540–1590), left in mss. at his death, was printed in five volumes by Marietti (Turin: 1847-56), in supplement to his 34 volume Opere.

References & Online Links[edit]

  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Daniello Bartoli". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  2. ^ Galileo's Planet By Thomas A. Hockey, Page 20 - "sources give Fontana, Torricelli, or Niccolò Zucchi... credit for first noting the dark belts girding Jupiter..."
  3. ^ Della vita e dell'istituto di S. Ignatio, fondatore della Compagnia di Gesu (Rome, 1650)[1]
  4. ^ Missione al Gran Mogor del p. Ridolfo Acquaviva della Compagnia di Gesu, sua vita e morte (1653); Salerno (1998);(1714)[2]
  5. ^ (Rome: de Lazzeri, 1655)
  6. ^ (Rome: de Lazzeri, 1659)
  7. ^ (Venice: Storti, 1685)
  • Mattia Begali, "Daniello Bartoli" in Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies, vol. 1, (2007), pp. 133–136. [3]

Modern editions[edit]

  • Giappone. Istoria della Compagnia di Gesù, Spirali, Milano, 1985