Annius, John (Nanni)

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Dominican humanist; b. Viterbo, Italy, c. 1432; d. Rome, Nov. 13, 1502. He is noted also as a theologian, historian, archeologist, preacher, and student of Oriental languages. His fame led alexander vi to appoint him master of the sacred palace in 1499, for in the previous year Annius had begun his Antiquitatum variarum volumina (Rome 1498), later completed in 17 volumes. The work was designed to throw new light on ancient history by containing the writings and fragments of several pre-Christian Greek and Latin authors. Annius's work created an immediate controversy, especially among his contemporaries who questioned the authenticity of his texts of Berosus and Cato. Modern scholars regard Annius's work with some skepticism and charge him with naïveté in the acceptance of the authenticity of some of his sources. He is the author also of De futuris Christianorum triumphis in Saracenos, a commentary on the Apocalypse (Genoa 1480), Tractatus de imperio Turcorum (Genoa 1480), and Chronologia nova (unpub.), which was designed to correct the historical errors of eusebius of caesarea.

Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum (New York 1959) 2.1:47. l. pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages 6:491.

[c. l. hohl jr.]