Polydore Vergil

(redirected from Polydore Virgil)
Polydore Vergil
NationalityItalian; naturalised English 1510
Known for Historian

Vergil, Polydore


(Polydorus Vergilius). Born circa 1470, in Urbino; died there circa 1555. Historian and humanist. Served at the court of the duke of Urbino and in the papal curia.

In 1498, Vergil published a collection of Latin proverbs and sayings and in 1499 his treatise On the Inventors of Things, which was an attempt to classify the sciences. The greater part of his life, from 1502 to 1551 (?), was spent in England, where he occupied various ecclesiastical positions. Upon an order from the English king Henry VII, in 1505 he began work on the compilation of his English History (books 1-26, 1534; 3rd ed., books 1-27, 1555). Maintaining a humanistic spirit, this work was based on an extensive number of sources and encompasses the history of England up to 1538.


Vainshtein, O. L. Zapadno-evropeiskaia srednovekovaia istoriografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964. Pages 427-31.
Hay, D. Polydore Vergil: Renaissance Historian and Man of Letters. Oxford, 1952.
References in classic literature ?
I could plainly discover whence one family derives a long chin; why a second has abounded with knaves for two generations, and fools for two more; why a third happened to be crack-brained, and a fourth to be sharpers; whence it came, what Polydore Virgil says of a certain great house, NEC VIR FORTIS, NEC FOEMINA CASTA; how cruelty, falsehood, and cowardice, grew to be characteristics by which certain families are distinguished as much as by their coats of arms; who first brought the pox into a noble house, which has lineally descended scrofulous tumours to their posterity.