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Ludovico Antonio Muratori

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Ludovico Antonio Muratori

Ludovico Antonio Muratori.

Ludovico Antonio Muratori (21 October 1672 – 23 January 1750) was an Italian historian, notable as a leading scholar of his age, and for his discovery of the Muratorian fragment, the earliest known list of New Testament books.

Born to a poor family in Vignola, near Modena, he was first instructed by the Jesuits, studied law, philosophy, and theology at the University of Modena, and was ordained a priest in 1694. The following year, Count Charles Borromeo called him to the college of "Dottori" at the Ambrosian Library in Milan, where he immediately started collecting unedited ancient writings of various kinds. His first publication was the Anecdota Latina ex Ambrosianæ Bibliothecæ codicibus (2 vols., Milan, 1697–98), followed by two other volumes (Padua, 1713).

Duke Rinaldo I (1700) appointed him archivist and librarian in Modena's Ducal library, which position he held until his death in that city. In 1716 Muratori became, in addition, provost of St. Maria della Pomposa, and conducted this parish until 1733. He continued publishing unedited writings, first among which was a volume, Anecdota græca (Padua, 1709). At the same time he cultivated literature, as is shown by his works, Della perfetta poesia italiana (Modena, 1706) and Riflessioni sopra il buon gusto nelle scienze e nelle arti (Venice, 1708). He even intended to establish something like a general society of Italian literature, and as early as 1703 published for this purpose, under the pseudonym "Lamindo Pritanio", a plan Primi disegni della republica letteraria d'Italia.

In 1708 a quarrel broke out between the Holy See (aided by the emperor) and the Dukes of Este, over the possession of Comacchio, which involved the sovereignty of the district of Ferrara. Muratori supported the claims of his sovereign and of the house of Este against the pope by means of numerous historical researches, which he later on utilized in the preparation of a historical work, Antichità Estensi ed Italiane (2 vols., Modena: 1st vol., 1717; 2nd vol., 1740). He continued studying the sources for a history

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