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  • Egidio da Viterbo: Cardinale Agostiniano tra Roma e l’Europa del Rinascimento: Atti del Convegno, Viterbo, 22–23 settembre 2012—Roma, 26–28 settembre 2012 ed. by Myriam Chiabò, Rocco Ronzani, and Angelo Maria Vitale
  • Thomas M. Izbicki
Egidio da Viterbo: Cardinale Agostiniano tra Roma e l’Europa del Rinascimento: Atti del Convegno, Viterbo, 22–23 settembre 2012—Roma, 26–28 settembre 2012. Edited by Myriam Chiabò, Rocco Ronzani, and Angelo Maria Vitale. (Rome: Centro Culturale Agostiniano Roma nel Rinascimento. 2014. Pp. xv, 484. €50,00 paperback. ISBN 978-88-85913-83-7.)

Egidio da Viterbo, or Giles of Viterbo (d. 1527), was an Augustinian friar—eventually Prior General of his order, a theologian, reformer, and cardinal. His intellectual interests included not just theology but mythology and the Cabala. In the English-speaking world, Giles is best known for his 1507 oration before Pope Julius II, expressing hope that a new age was dawning. He also gave the opening oration in 1512 at the Fifth Lateran Council, which attempted to reform the Church. This collection, based on a 2012 conference, addresses these and other aspects of Giles’s life and thought.

The papers fall into rough thematic groups. Some are quite brief, but others are very substantive. Following an overview of Italy and Europe in Giles’s time (Laura Ronchi De Michelis), the first group (Anna Esposito, Mario Mattei, Luciano Osbat, Mauro Papalini, and Jurai Batelja) targets Viterbo and Giles’s life in the order, including his love of solitude, as well as the role of the order in Croatia, then falling under Turkish rule. This group is somewhat miscellaneous, but it makes use of Giles’s surviving correspondence.

The second group (Gennaro Savarese, Daniel Nodes, Daniela Ciammetti, and John Monfasani) is more coherent, focusing on Giles’s commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard ad mentem Platonis. The Augustinian composed this extensive work using both Christian and non-Christian sources, employing classical and mythological motifs. This was true even in the Augustinian’s exposition of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Nodes). This was true, too, of Giles’s writing on divine transcendence (Ciammetti) and his critique of Aristotle (Monfasani). Sincero Mantelli’s article on the Fathers of the Church in Giles’s works can be read in this connection as well. [End Page 165]

The third group (Norman Tanner, Anna Modigliani, Filippo Lovison, Nelson H. Minnich, and Gianluca Pilara) focuses on the Lateran Council and Rome in that time. Tanner provides an overall framework for the council. Minnich provides an extensive discussion of the council’s attempted reforms, including the efforts of Giles and the Dominican Master General Tommaso de Vio Cajetan to defend the mendicant orders against attacks by the bishops, an effort in which they were partially successful. The other studies focus more on the city than on the council.

The next section (Margherita Palumbo, Angelo Maria Vitale, Ingrid Rowland, Francesco Tateo, Marc Deramaix, Claudia Corfiati, and Sebastiano Valerio) focuses on Giles’s bibliophilia, lesser works, and influence on later writers. Among the latter are Girolamo Seripando, a fellow Augustinian, and the heretic Giordano Bruno (Vitale and Rowland respectively). Of the lesser works, the De aurea aetate is the best known, and Tateo gives a rhetorical analysis of it. The Sirenum vox and other literary pieces, including the bucolic poems, are less known, but Deramaix and Corfiati make them better understood.

The final section, supplemented with nine color figures illustrating paintings and architectural remains, focuses on Giles and the arts. Meredith Gill revisits Raphael’s Stanze. Giles was thought to be a theological adviser on this project. Gill looks especially at the figure of St. Augustine in the Disputa (Theology), which may be modeled on Giles himself. Chiara Di Vita’s contribution takes us outside Rome, Giles patronized building efforts with classicizing elements in Viterbo and Monte Cimino, where the Augustinian convent survives only in ruins.

Thomas M. Izbicki
Rutgers University


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