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Blandrata

BLANDRATA, or Biandrata, GIORGIO (c. 1515-1588), Italian physician and polemic, who came of the De Blandrate family, powerful from the early part of the 13th century, was born at Saluzzo, the youngest son of Bernardino Blandrata. He graduated in arts and medicine at Montpellier in 1533, and specialized in the functional and nervous disorders of women. In 1544 he made his first acquaintance with Transylvania; in 1553 he was with Alciati in the Grisons; in 1557 he spent a year at Geneva, in constant intercourse with Calvin, who distrusted him. He attended the English wife (Jane Stafford) of Count Celso Massimiliano Martinengo, preacher of the Italian church at Geneva, and fostered anti-trinitarian opinions in that church. In 1558 he found it expedient to remove to Poland, where he became a leader of the heretical party at the synods of Pinczów (1558) and Ksionzh (1560 and 1562). His point was the suppression of extremes of opinion, on the basis of a confession literally drawn from Scripture. He obtained the position of court physician to the queen dowager, the Milanese Bona Sforza. She had been instrumental in the burning (1539) of Catharine Weygel, at the age of eighty, for anti-trinitarian opinions; but the writings of Ochino had altered her views, which were now anti-Catholic. In 1563 Blandrata transferred his services to the Transylvanian court, where the daughters of his patroness were married to ruling princes. He revisited Poland (1576) in the train of Stephen Báthory, whose tolerance permitted the propagation of heresies; and when (1579) Christopher Báthory introduced the Jesuits into Transylvania, Blandrata found means of conciliating them. Throughout his career he was accompanied by his two brothers, Ludovico and Alphonso, the former being canon of Saluzzo. In Transylvania, Blandrata co-operated with Francis Dávid (d. 1579), the anti-trinitarian bishop, but in 1578 two circumstances broke the connexion. Blandrata was charged with "Italian vice"; Dávid renounced the worship of Christ. To influence Dávid, Blandrata sent for Faustus Socinus from Basel. Socinus was Dávid's guest, but the discussion between them led to no result. At the instance of Blandrata, Dávid was tried and condemned to prison at Déva (in which he died) on the charge of innovation. Having amassed a fortune, Blandrata returned to the communion of Rome. His end is obscure. According to the Jesuit, Jacob Wujek, he was strangled by a nephew (Giorgio, son of Alphonso) in May 1588. He published a few polemical writings, some in conjunction with Dávid.

See Malacarne, Commentario delle Opere e delle Vicende di G. Blandrata (Padova, 1814); Wallace, Anti-trinitarian Biography, vol. ii. (1850).

(A. Go.*)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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