Mombritius, Boninus

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Italian humanist; b. Milan, c. 1424; d. before 1502. Of an impoverished noble family, he studied Greek and Latin at Ferrara and later taught the classics at Milan. The letters sent to him by Candide Decembrio (d. 1480) in 1460 testify that Boninus had acquired a reputation as a humanist. In 1470, along with other nobles living near the Parian gate at Milan, he swore fidelity to Galeazzo-Maria sforza. He never married and has been praised for his piety and lofty principles. From 1474 to 1481, despite straitened circumstances, he managed to produce a surprising number of literary works. In 1482 his professorial chair was given to George Merula (d. 1494), and a letter dated 1502 from Alexander Minuziano (d. 1522) speaks of Boninus as being dead.

Besides numerous poems his works include the following editions of various authors: Rerum memorabilium collectanea of Solon (6th century b.c.), published at Milan c. 1473 or Ferrara in 1474; the Theogonia latinis hexametris reddita of Hesiod (8th century b.c.), published at Ferrara in 1474; the Summule seu logice institutiones (Milan, Dec. 14, 1474); and the Summule naturalium (Milan, July 17, 1476) of the augustinian hermit Paul of Venice (d. 1429), as well as the Historiae augustae scriptores sex (Milan, Dec. 12, 1475). He published the Chronicon of eusebius of caesarea at Milan between 1474 and 1476 and is also thought to have edited the works of jerome, prosper of aquitaine, and Matthew Palmieri (d. 1483) at this time. He is also credited with Papiae vocabularium (Milan, Dec. 12, 1476) and Prosperi epigrammata (Milan 1481). His Sanctuarium seu vitae Sanctorum, in two volumes dedicated to Francis Simoneta (d. 1480), the duke's secretary, must be antecedent to the secretary's imprisonment in 1479. Far from imitating the hagiographers of his time, who embellished and altered somewhat freely, Mombritius preferred to produce the texts as he found them, and their value is thus dependent on the source from which he drew. G. Eis tried without success to indicate these sources, and consequently much work remains to be done in this field. The monks of the Abbey of solesmes reedited the Sanctuarium (Paris 1910).

Boninus also published some of his own works, such as De dominica passione libri V (Milan c. 1474; new ed. Leipzig 1499), which contains six books of poems in hexameter verse dedicated to sixtus iv; and the Thraenodiae in funere illustris quondam domini Galeazzo-Mariae Sfortiae (Milan, March 2, 1504), one of his last publications and very probably posthumous. Several of his works remain in manuscript form, including Momidos, a poem in 12 books on the faults of women, written between 1468 and 1476 and dedicated to Bona Sforza (d.1485), the wife of Galeazzo-Maria; De varietate fortunae, another poem in 10 books; a Latin translation of the Grammar of John Lascaris; and two epithalamia.

Bibliography: b. mombritius, Sanctuarium seu Vitae sanctorum, ed. a. brunet, 2 v. (new ed. Paris 1910) 1:xiiixxix, sources. Biographie universelle, ed. l. g. michaud, 45 v. (Paris 184365). g. eis, Die Quellen für das Sanctuarium des Mailänder Humanisten B. M. (Berlin 1933); j. cambell, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 10 v. (Freiburg 195765) 7:532.

[j. cambell]