New Catholic Dictionary – Cesare Baronius

Venerable Cesare BaronioArticle

Cardinal and father of modern church history. Born in 1538 in Sora, Naples; died in 1607 in Rome, Italy. He studied in Rome, became a follower of Philip Neri, and was ordained in 1564. Upon the foundation of the Oratory in 1575, he moved to Santa Maria in Vallicella, and in 1584 was entrusted with the revision of the Roman Martyrology. His great work, Annales Ecclesiastici, conceived by Philip as a reply to the attempt to Protestantize history in the Centuries of Magdeburg, was published in twelve volumes, 15881607. After the appearance of the 11th volume, containing a treatise on the Sicilian monarchy proving the papacy’s claim to the suzerainty of Naples and Sicily as prior to that of Spain, the whole work was condemned by the Spanish Inquisition. Baronius became superior of the Oratory in 1593, cardinal in 1596, and was named librarian of the Vatican and charged with the Vatican Press in 1597. He received strong support as a candidate for the papacy in the conclaves of 1605. The Annals, largely a chronological table from the birth of Christ to 1198, is marked by diligent research and accuracy, but Baronius’s limited knowledge of Latin and Greek, and his use of documents since proved apocryphal, led him occasionally into error. The work, however, is a rich source from which historians have constantly drawn. It was a complete reply to the Centuriators. The history of later periods has been added by other historians. G. Mansi edited the most convenient complete edition, Lucca, 17381759; the latest edition (Bar-le-Duc, 18641875; continued, Paris, 18761883) is incomplete.

MLA Citation

  • “Cesare Baronius”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 1 August 2012. Web. 27 October 2020. <>