FlourishedStellata (Italy), circa 1531
Palingenius authored the long satirical Renaissance poem, Zodiacus vitae (The Zodiac of Life), originally published in Latin hexameters at Venice circa 1531. Yet, almost nothing of certainty is known about the author, except that he was born at Stellata, near Ferrara, Italy. The work itself was dedicated to Hercules (Ercole) II, Duke of Ferrara, seemingly his patron. Palingenius may have served as physician to the duke, but this has not been verified. Because of the work’s later condemnation for heresy (see below), the author’s bones were posthumously exhumed and burned. The initial letters of the first 29 lines of the first book compose the author’s pseudonym and might represent an anagram of the writer’s true name (Watson 1908).
Zodiacus vitae became “one of the most popular Latin poems of the Renaissance” (Johnson 1937, p. 69). More than 60 editions were eventually published, including translations into...
- Johnson, Francis R. (1937). Astronomical Thought in Renaissance England: A Study of the English Scientific Writings from 1500 to 1645. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, esp. 145–149.Google Scholar
- Palingenius, Marcellus. (1947). The Zodiake of Life. Translated by Barnabe Googe. With an Introduction by Rosemond Tuve. New York: Scholars’ Facsimiles & Reprints.Google Scholar
- Watson, Foster. (1908). The Zodiacus Vitae of Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus: An Old School-Book. London: Philip Wellby.Google Scholar