Jeronymo Osorio - Encyclopedia

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JERONYMO OSORIO (1506-1580), Portuguese historian, was a native of Lisbon and son of the Ouvidor Geral of India. In 1519 his mother sent him to Salamanca to study civil law, and in 1525 he. went on to Paris to study philosophy, and there became intimate with Peter Fabre, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus. Returning to Portugal, Osorio next proceeded for theology to Bologna, where he made such a name that King John III. invited him in1536-1537to lecture on scripture in the reorganized university of Coimbra. He returned to Lisbon in 1540, and acted as secretary to Prince Luiz, and as tutor to his son, the prior of Crato, obtaining also two benefices in the diocese of Vizeu. In 1542 he printed in Lisbon his treatise De nobilitate. After the death of Prince Luiz in 1553, he withdrew from court to his churches. He was named archdeacon of Evora in 1560, and much against his will became bishop of Silves in 1564. The Cardinal Prince Henry, who had bestowed these honours, desired to employ him at Lisbon in state business when King Sebastian took up the reins of power in 1568, but Osorio excused himself on the ground of his pastoral duties, though he showed his zeal for the commonwealth by writing two letters, one in which he dissuaded the king from going to Africa, the other sent during the latter's first expedition there (1574), in which he called on him to return to his kingdom. Sebastian looked with disfavour on opponents of his African adventure, and Osorio found it prudent to leave Portugal for Parma and Rome on the pretext of a visit ad limin g . His scruples regarding residence, and the appeals of the king and the Cardinal Prince, prevented him enjoying for long the hospitality of Pope Gregory XIII., and he returned to his diocese and died at Tavira on the 10th of August 1580. An exemplary prelate, a learned scholar and an able critic, Osorio gained a European reputation by writing in Latin, then the lingua franca of the studious throughout Christendom, and the perfection of his prose style caused him to be named by contemporaries "the Portuguese Cicero." His well-stocked library was carried off from Faro when the earl of Essex captured the town in 1596, and many of the books were bestowed on the Bodleian at Oxford.

His principal works written in Latin include: (I) De gloria et nobilitate civile et christiana, an English version of which by W. Blandie appeared in London in 1576. (2) De justitia. (3) De regis institutione et disciplina. (4) De vera sapientia. (5) De rebus Emmanuelis (1586), a history of the reign of King Emanuel which is little more than a translation of the chronicle on the same subject by Damiao de Goes. Osorio's book was turned into Portuguese by F. M. do Nascimento (q.v.), into French by J. Crispin (2 vols., Geneva, 1610), and an English paraphrase in 2 vols. by Gibbs came out in London in 1752. His Opera omnia were published by his nephew (4 vols., Rome, 1592). Two of his polemical treatises have been translated into English, his Epistle to Elizabeth Quene of England by R. Shacklock (Antwerp, 1565), and his Confutation of M. W. Haddon by J. Fen (Louvain, 1568). His Portuguese epistles, including the two before mentioned, were printed in Lisbon in two editions in 1818 and 1819, and in Paris in 1859. For his biography see Obras de D. F. A. Lobo, bishop of Vizeu, i. 293-301 (Lisbon, 1848). (E. PR.)

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