Muratori, Lodovico Antonio
MURATORI, LODOVICO ANTONIO
Italian historian; b. Vignola, Italy, Oct. 21, 1672; d. Modena, Jan. 23, 1750. He began his brilliant scholarly career in 1695 as Doctor of the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana in Milan. Declining other offers, such as that of Victor Amadeus II who wanted him for the University of Turin, Muratori returned to Modena in 1700 as ducal archivist. There he devoted himself to the history of the political life of the este family; his work Antichità estensi (2 v., Modena 1717, 1740), the basis of his fame as a historian, grew out of his several studies on the current legal struggle between Pope clement xi and Emperor Joseph I for possession of the city of Comacchio. At the suggestion of Apostolo Zeno, Muratori began collecting the works of historians of the Italian Middle Ages, Rerum Italicarum scriptores (27 v., Modena 1723–38; v. 28 posthumously pub. in 1751; 2d ed., Città di Castello 1900). This work, together with his other publications of sources, Antiquitates Italicae medii aevi (6 v., Milan 1738–43) and Novus thesaurus veterum inscriptionum (6 v., Milan 1739–43), marked Muratori as the founder and initiator of modern Italian historiography. In his 12-volume Annali d'Italia (Milan 1744–49), deliberately patterned on mabillon's annals of the Benedictine Order, Muratori did not succeed in really elaborating his source material, but his Annali do represent the first large-scale attempt at a unified view of Italian history. A conscientious priest as well as a historian, Muratori was unswerving in his recognition of ecclesiastical authority in purely theological questions, but he consistently and trenchantly held that historical criticism should be brought to bear on the secular phenomena of the Church. This brought him into conflict with current ecclesiastical opinion in regard to the power of the papacy and the cult of the saints (see hagiography). His moderate reformist ideas, especially his demand for freedom of science and scholarship, even in questions of religion, mark him as a representative advocate of "enlightened Catholicism" [see especially his work De ingeniorum moderatione in religionibus negotio (Paris 1714)].
Bibliography: Works. Opere, 36 v. (Arezzo 1767–80; 2d ed. in 48 v. Venice 1790–1800); Scritti inediti di L. A. M. (Bologna 1872; 2d ed. 1880); Epistolario di L. A. M., ed. m. campori, 14 v. (Modena 1901–22); Corrispondenza tra L. A. M. e G. G. Leibniz, ed. m. campori (Modena 1892). Literature. g. f. soli muratori, Vita del proposto L. A. M. (Venice 1756). É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 15 v. (Paris 1903–50) 10.2:2547–2556. t. sorbelli, Bibliografia Muratoriana, 2 v. (Modena 1943–44). s. bertelli, Erudizione e storia in L. A. M. (Naples 1960). e. cochrane, "M.: The Vocation of a Historian," American Catholic Historical Review 51 (1965): 153–172.