CESARE BARONIUS (1538-1607)

An Italian ecclesiastical and churchman. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1596 and, the next year, became prefect of the Library. He missed becoming pope because of opposition. His major work as a historian is the monumental but unfinished Annales Ecclesiastici. He planned it as a complete record of the history of the Catholic church. By his death, he had reached the year 1198, and others tried to continue his work, though unsuccessfully. In his lifetime, he published twelve folio-size volumes (Rome, 1588- 1593).

The work was reedited by J. D. MANSI in thirty-five volumes (Lucca, 1738-1759). A new edition (ed. A. Theiner, 1864- 1883) with all continuations (37 vols., Bar-le-Duc and Paris, 1864- 1883) was originally planned in fifty volumes but was never completed. Baronius reproduced numerous extensive selections from the original sources, and excerpts from the Annales appeared in French, Italian, German, Polish, and Arabic. This ambitious enterprise, however, fell short of modern standards of research and was rather defective when it came to Eastern Christendom. Here his information was insufficient, as he saw the events from a strictly point of view.

  • Calenzio, G. La vita e gli scritti del Cardenale Cesare Baronio. Rome, 1907.
  • Libero, G. de. Cesare Baronio, padre della ecclesiastica. Alba, 1939.