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An article from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, now in the public domain.
Any color photos are mine, © William P. Thayer.

Vol. X
Raphael Fabretti

Fabretti, Raphael (1618‑1700), Italian antiquary, was born at Urbino in Umbria.​a He studied law at Cagli and Urbino, where he took the degree of doctor at the age of eighteen. While in Rome he attracted the notice of Cardinal Lorenzo Imperiali, who employed him successively as treasurer and auditor of the papal legation in Spain, where he remained thirteen years. Meanwhile, his favourite classical and antiquarian studies were not neglected; and on his return journey he made important observations of the relics and monuments of Spain, France, and Italy. At Rome he was appointed judge of appellation of the Capitol, which post he left to be auditor of the legation at Urbino. After three years he returned to Rome, on the invitation of Cardinal Carpegna, vicar of Pope Innocent XI, and devoted himself to antiquarian research, examining with minute care the monuments and inscriptions of the Campagna.​b He always rode a horse which his friends nicknamed "Marco Polo," after the Venetian traveller. By Innocent XII he was made keeper of the archives of the castle St Angelo, a charge which he retained till his death. He died at Rome on the 7th of January 1700. His collection of inscriptions and monuments was purchased by Cardinal Stoppani, and placed in the ducal palace at Urbino, where they may still be seen.

His work De Aquis et Aquae‑ductibus veteris Romae (1680),c three dissertations on the topography of ancient Latium, is inserted in Graevius's Thesaurus, IV (1677). His interpretation of certain passages in Livy and other classical authors involved him in a dispute with Gronovius, which bore a strong resemblance to that between Milton and Salmasius, Gronovius addressing Fabretti as Faber Rusticus, and the latter, in reply, speaking of Gronovius and his titivilitia. In this controversy Fabretti used the pseudonym Iasitheus, which he afterwards took as his pastoral name in the Academy of the Arcadians. His other works, De Columna Trajani Syntagma (Rome, 1683), and Inscriptionum Antiquarum Explicatio (Rome, 1699), throw much light on Roman antiquity. In the latter is to be found his explication of a bas‑relief, with inscriptions, now in the Capitol at Rome, representing the war and taking of Troy, known as the Iliac table. Letters and other shorter works of Fabretti are to be found in publications of the time, as the Journal des Savants.

See Crescimbeni, Le Vite degli Arcadi illustri; Fabroni, Vitae Italorum, VI.174; Niceron, IV.372; J. Lamius, Memorabilia Italorum eruditione praestantium (Florence, 1742‑1748).

Thayer's Notes:

a Urbino is in the modern region of the Marche, but in Roman times was in Regio VI Umbria. At what period the region came no longer to be considered Umbria, I've been unable to discover so far.

b The Campagna Romana is meant, of course; not to be confused with Campania the area around Naples — nor even less with a little town in that latter region.

c A second edition appeared in 1788; it too is online at Archive.Org.

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Page updated: 29 Apr 17