Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Ferdinando Ughelli

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 15
Ferdinando Ughelli

by Umberto Benigni


Historian, born at Florence, 21 March, 1595; died 19 May, 1670. Having entered the Cistercian Order in his native city, he was sent to the Gregorian University, Rome, where he studied under the Jesuits, Francesco Piccolomini and John de Lugo. He filled many important posts in his order, being Abbot of Settimo (Florence), and from 1638 Abbot of Tre Fontane, Rome. He was skilled in ecclesiastical history. To encourage him in this work and to defray the expense of the journeys it entaile d Alexander VII granted him an annual pension of 500 scudi. He was a consultor of the Index and theologian to Cardinal Carlo de'Medici, and was frequently offered the episcopal dignity, which he refused to accept. He was buried in his abbatial church. His chief work is "Italia sacra sive de episcopis Italae" (9 vols., Rome, 1643-62), abridged by Ambrogio Lucenti (Rome, 1704); re-edited with corrections and additions by Nicola Coleti (Venice, 1717-22), with a tenth volume. In compiling this work, he frequently had to deal with matters not previously treated by historians; as a result, the "Italia sacra", owing to the imperfections of historical science in Ughelli's day, especially from the point of view of criticism and diplomatics, contains serious errors, particularly as the author was more intent on collecting than on weighing documents. Nevertheless his work with all its imperfections was necessary to facilitate the labours of critical historians of a later day, and is consulted even now. Among his other writings are:

  • "Cardinalium elogia ex sacro ordine cisterciensi" (Florence, 1624), on the writers and saints of his order and the papal privileges granted to it;
  • "Columnensis familiae cardinalium imagines" (Rome,1650), and genealogical works on the "Counts of Marsciano" and the "Capizucchi" (Rome, 1667,1653);
  • "Aggiunte" to the "Vitae pontificum" of Ciaconius.

In the last volume of the "Italia sacra" he published various historical sources until then unedited.

U. BENIGNI