JULIUS CAESAR SCALIGER
THE MAN WHO LOVED VERONA
Julius Caesar Scaliger [1484-1558] was an Italian scholar, theologian, alchemist and physician who, claimed to be a descendant of the once powerful Lords of Verona. The Scaliger family had indeed ruled Verona during the Middle Ages, until they were driven out of the city by an angry mob, but the unpopularity of the Scaligeri did not stop him from insisting that the city his by right of birth. In own account of his life, Scaliger also claimed that he was a kinsman of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and had served in the imperial armies for 17 years until gout had forced him to leave the martial life. He boasted that he'd been knighted by the emperor's own hand after the Battle of Ravenna  and had studied art with the German master Albrecht Durer before enrolling at the University of Bologna and taking Holy Orders. He confessed that he'd hoped to become pope and restore the Lordship of Verona to its lawful heirs (i.e. himself) but had abandoned this plan in order to study medicine.
If these claims are somewhat fanciful, it is certainly true that Scaliger left Bologna in 1519 to become physician to the Italian Bishop Antonio della Rovere and when this noble prelate was appointed to the French Bishopric of Agen, he crossed the Alps with his master. Scaliger remained in Agen for the rest of his life and besides fathering 15 children, including the noted astronomer Joseph Justus Scaliger, he published several important philosophical works. These included a critique of Erasmus and Exotericarum Exercitationum  which influenced the development of science for several generations. Though the facts of his later career were never questioned Scaliger's critics claimed that he'd invented his entire biography prior to arriving in Agen and declared that Scaliger's father, far from being a noble lord, was a humble teacher of painting named Bordone. Whatever the truth of these accusations, Scaliger certainly had a low opinion of the Anglo Saxon race and claimed that every Englishman was "...perfidious, savage, disdainful, slothful, inhospitable and stupid!" Julius Caesar Scaliger is key character in Volume II of the Devilstone Chronicles - The Devil's Lance