Bernardo Maria de Rubeis, historian

Pier Silverio Leicht considers him as one of the beginners of the 18th-century historiographers and for a better reason «the founder, among us, of a sane documental criticism: a man of untiring activity who ran across archives and libraries to get materials apt to display the events of his homeland».

He was born at Cividale del Friuli on 8 January 1687 to Antonio and Anna Formentini, members of patrician families of the city. Still a youth, Giovanni Francesco changed his name in Bernardo when, in 1703, he donned the Dominican habit in the convent of Conegliano that belonged to the congregation of blessed Iacopo Salomoni. After the novitiate period and his profession of vows he was sent to the convent of St. Marco in Florence to accomplish the regular course of studies, with specific attention to philosophy. He came then back to Venice to the convent of the Rosary of the Zattere to learn the arts of history, philology and, above all, theology. Becoming fond of erudite studies, in the Venetian milieu he made acquaintance with such personalities as Apostolo Zeno, Benedetto Gentilotti and Alessandro Riccardi. A series of experiences, such as his journey to France on the occasion of Louis XIV’s coronation, allowed him to get in touch with the representatives of the Maurist schools, among whom Lodovico Antonio Muratori and Giusto Fontanini, who found a remarkable centres for their debates in Friuli. Just like Giusto Fontanini who kept on moving between Rome and Friuli and Gian Domenico Bertoli who, on his turn, steadily lived in his Friulian mansion, Bernardo de Rubeis soon devoted himself to historiography and mainly to the ascertainment of the ‘monumenta rariora’ he wanted to organise and edit according to chronological and typological criteria. His Monumenta Ecclesiae Aquileiensis commentatio historico-chronologico-critico illustrata were published in 1790 and were translated into Italian in 1885 at Udine by Domenico Pancini with the title Dellorigine, ingrandimento ed eccidio della città di Aquileia dissertazione inedita; De nummis patriarcharum Aquileiensium dissertatio was published in 1747. de Rubeis died in Venice in 1775.

For further information see the entry de Rubeis Bernardo Maria, storico written by Simone Volpato in Nuovo Liruti. Dizionario biografico dei Friulani, 2, LEtà Veneta, edited by C. Scalon, C. Griggio, U. Rozzo, Udine, Forum, 2009, 910-915.

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