PICO, GIOVANNI, DELLA MffLiNnoLA, an Italian philosopher and theologian, whose genius is decidedly inferior to the reputation lie once enjoyed, was the son of the sovmr. eign prince of Mirandola and Concordia, and was b. Feb. 24, 1463. At the age of 11 he was sent to the university of Bologna, and after spending some years there, visited the principal schools of Italy and France, everywhere distinguishing himself by thy extraordinary facility.with which he mastered the most difficult branches of knowledge. His linguistic acquisitions embraced Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic, beside:: Italian and French; he was familiar with the different phases of the scholastic philoso phy, and he was also versed in mathematics, logic, and physics. At the age of 23 lie returned to Rome, when Innocent VIII. was pontiff, and immediately sought an oppor tunity of showing his learning in the most striking manner, by publicly posting up no fewer than 900 theses or propositions in logic, ethics, physics, mathematics, theotogy, niitural and cabalistic magic, drawn from Latin, Greek, Jewish, and Arabic writers, offering to maintain an argument on each against all the scholars of Europe, and under taking to pay the expenses of those who came from a distance. Pico presumptuously entitled his theses De Omni Re Seibi (On Everything that can be Known), and Voltaire sarcastically added, et de quibusdam (dila, which addition is as true as it is witty. Pico had several encounters with notable scholars, and is reported to have come off victorious on every occasion. But his very success was the cause of misfortune The church
appointed a committee to report on the propositions of the young prince, and the result was that several of them were condemned as " heretical, ' although the author was acquitted of any heretical intentions. Pico now withdrew from Rome, and after a short time settled in Florence, where he austerely devoted his whole time to the composition of polemical treatises against Jews and Mohammedans. and to the refutation of judicial astology. Among his closest friends were Politian and Ficino. He died Nov. 17, 1494. at the early age of 31. A complete edition of his works was published at Bolo•na in 1496; it has since been frequently reprinted. The principal are Reptaplus, id est de Del Creatoris Opere sex Dierum Libri &Nem, an allegorical explanation of creation as recorded in the book of Genesis; Conclusiones Philosophicir, Ca.5alistictr et Theologian— these are the famous propositions which excited so much ferment at Rome; Apologia Cansordice Comitis; Disputations adversas Astrologiam Divinatrieenz Libri xii.; Auras a-1 EpistolcO; De Hondas Dignitate. Pico is a happy illustration of the immedi ate effects produced in literature by the "revival of letters;" lie is full of a specious kind of universal learning, zealous and enthusiastic, but destitute of originality, depth. or creative power. "Ile was," says M. Matter, "a prodigy of memory, elocution, and dialectics, but neither a writer nor a thinker."