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Paruta, Paolo

PARUTA, PAOLO (1540-1598), Venetian historian. Born at Venice, in 1540, of a pa-.| trxrian family, studied in the university of Padua, and afterv.ard» entered on the career of diplomacy. In 1562 he ircjmpamed the Venetian ambassador, who was sent to Vicuna to congratulate Maximilian II. on his accession to the throne. On his return he stopped at Tieuto, where the P. C, No. 1076. council was then assembled, and where he conceited the plan of his dialogues on political life, 'Delia Perfexiono delta Vila Politics Libri III.,' in which he introduce* two prelates of the council at the interlocutors. On his return to Venice, he filled several official stutiuns in the service of his country, and in the year \b'J2 was sent ambassador to Pope Clement VIII. at Rome. Ho was there instrumental in persuading the pontitf to grant absolution to Henri IV. of France, and thus reconciling the latter with the church of Rome. (Andrea Morosini, Storia I'enetu, b. xv.) While at Rome, he says, a change took place in his ideas, which had till then been turned towards ambition and worldly pursuits. He asked himself, 'What am I doing in this world? what am I thinking of? and what do I expect in the cud? The process and result of his self-examination, in which he recapitulated the whole of his past conduct, he has given us in his 'Soliloquy,' published at the end of his 'Discorsi Politici,' which forms a useful moral treatise Before he went to Rome he was appointed historiographer to the republic, in which capacity he continued the history of his country from 1513, where iiis predecessor I.uigi Contarini had left it. The 'Istoria Veneziuna dal 1513 al 1531 of Paruta is divided into twelve books. A distinguished Italian critic, Apostolo Zeno, says of this work, that' the author has fulfilled the duties of a grave and able historian, both in respect to the veracity of his narrative and the dignity of his style.' Paruta also wrole a separate ln>lury of the eventful war of the Venetians against the Turks in the island of Cyprus in 1570-72, in three hooks. The histories of Paruta are not mero dry narratives of political or military events; they are intermixed with information and reflections concerning tbe civil history of the people, and the customs, manners, and opinions of the age. That branch of political knowledge now known by the name of statistics, was attended to at Venice much sooner than in any other modern state, and Paruta had early applied himself to it. Paruta's 'Political Discourses,' in two books, are a series of disquisitions upon the history of Greece and Rome, as well as upon various passages of modern history, and deserve, for their impartiality and statesmanlike penetration, to be put by the side of Machiavclli's' Discourses on Livy. Montesquieu is said to have availed himself of Paruta's 'Discourses' in the composition of his works. (Corniani. Secoli delta Letleratura ltaliana, art. 'Paruta.') Paruta, after returning from his embassy at Rome, was made a knight and procurator of St. Mark, and shortly after died at Venice, in 1598.

Note - this article incorporates content from The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1840)

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