Littérateur, philosopher, bishop; b. Siena, June 13, 1508; d. Siena, March 12, 1578. Piccolomini, a student of the classics in both Padua and Rome, also became a master of Petrarchan style. This author of more than 100
sonnets also composed several comedies, among them Alessandro and Amor Constante. He translated into Italian Ovid's Metamorphoses, Aristotle's Poetics and Rhetoric, and part of Vergil's Aeneid. His most famous work, Raffaella o Dialogo della creanze aelle donne (1540), written in the style of Aretino, was later repudiated by its author as too licentious. In the same year (1540), Piccolomini turned to philosophy, becoming a professor in Padua and later in Rome. He devoted himself principally to writing philosophic, scientific, and astronomical treatises. As a controversialist, Piccolomini attacked the Aristotelian theory concerning the extent of land mass on Earth; he also wrote in support of the Ptolemaic view of astronomy. Alessandro was converted from his youthful indiscretions, received Holy Orders, and in 1574 was appointed titular archbishop of Patras and coadjutor archbishop of Siena by Gregory XIII, whose interest in calendar reform Piccolomini shared.
Bibliography: a. posch, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 8:492. Il Cinquecento (4th ed. Milan 1950).
[p. s. mcgarry]