1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ambrose the Camaldulian
AMBROSE THE CAMALDULIAN, the common name of Ambrogio Traversari (1386–1439), French ecclesiastic, born near Florence at the village of Portico. At the age of fourteen he entered the Camaldulian Order in the monastery of Sta Maria degli Angeli, and rapidly became a leading theologian and Hellenist. In Greek literature his master was Emmanuel Chrysoloras. He became general of the order in 1431, and was a leading advocate of the papacy. This attitude he showed clearly when he attended the council of Basel as legate of Eugenius IV. So strong was his hostility to some of the delegates that he described Basel as a western Babylon. He likewise supported the pope at Ferrara and Florence, and worked hard in the attempt to reconcile the Eastern and Western Churches. Though this cause was unsuccessful, Ambrose is interesting as typical of the new humanism which was growing up within the church. Voigt says that he was the first monk in Florence in whom the love of letters and art became predominant over his ecclesiastical views. Thus while among his own colleagues he seemed merely a hypocritical and arrogant priest, in his relations with his brother humanists, such as Cosimo de Medici, he appeared as the student of classical antiquities and especially of Greek theological authors. His chief works are:—Hodoeporicon, an account of a journey taken by the pope’s command, during which he visited the monasteries of Italy; a translation of Palladius’ Life of Chrysostom; of Nineteen Sermons of Ephraem Syrus; of the Book of St Basil on Virginity. A number of MSS. remain in the library of St Mark at Venice. He died on the 20th of October 1439.
See G. Voigt, Die Wiederbelebung des klass. Altertums (2 vols., 3rd ed., 1893); his Epistolae were published by Cannato (Florence, 1759 with a life by Menus; Bollandist Bibl. hag. lat. (1898), 65; A. Masius, Über die Stellung des Kamaldulensers Ambrogio Traversari zum Papst Eugen IV. und zum Basler Konzil (Döbeln, 1888); Savigny, Geschichte röm. Rechts, Mittel. (1850), vi. 422-424.