Bl. Baptist Spagnoli, of Mantua (1447-1516)
After acquiring his doctorate in theology at the University of Bologna, Baptist resolved to devote himself to the Muse, but in fact much of his life was occupied in the affairs of the Congregation. He served six terms as vicar general and during that time won the right to the grey habit for the Congregation (1484), acquired the convent of San Crisogono in Rome (1486), and obtained the custody of the Holy House of Loreto (1489).
The Mantuan was highly esteemed by his contemporaries, who considered him a second Virgil. His Eclogues particularly were taught in school in many countries. Samuel Johnson testifies that the Mantuan was read in the schools of England into the 18th century. Luther had been taught him. St. Peter Canisius recommended him. In Italy, the Mantuan was less cultivated, and knowledgeable Latinists had little regard for his style.
The Mantuan has left echoes in other authors, in Spenser, Milton, Shakespeare, Tasso, to mention only the most important.