PACIAUDI, Paolo Maria
Paolo Maria Paciaudi (1710-1785) studied in Turin and lived in Venice. He moved to Bologna and continued his studies in philosophy and mathematics. He later taught philosophy in Genova. For approximately forty years he served as clergyman in various Italian cities, but eventualy dedicated himself to the study of Antiquity. Paciaudi’s early works deal with ancient Greek art and the history of the Grand Masters of the Order of Malta. In 1750 he published a highly interesting study on Christian bathhouses and cleansing rituals in general (“De sacris Christianorum, Balneis”…). While in Rome, Paciaudi became acquainted with Compte de Caylus from France, a well-known collector, antiquarian, scholar and engraver. Between 1751 and 1756 Paciaudi published eight more works, all in Latin. Paciaudi was also friends with famous archaeologist and art historian J.J. Winckelmann and scholar Abbé Barthelemy.
In 1761 he published “Monumenta Peloponnesia Commentariis”, written in excellent Latin. This work describes the antiquities which were carried off to Venice from the islands and the Peloponnese during the Ottoman-Venetian war of the 1680’s, and became part of the collections of the Nani family in Venice.
The Venetian officials who arrived in the Peloponnese after its conquest by the Venetian Republic seized the opportunity to realize antiquarian research. The Italian scholars who accompanied them explored all the territory, recorded Peloponnesian antiquities but also pillaged numerous pieces on behalf of the great collector families of Venice. Thus statues, busts, reliefs, funerary steles, inscriptions and coins found their way to Venice.
After the publication of this edition, in 1862 Paciaudi became librarian and administrator of the Duke of Palma’s collection. He travelled to Paris, and managed to collect sixty thousand volumes (manuscripts and printed works) within six years. At the same time, he compiled an annotated catalogue of these works, thereby creating one of the most complete libraries in Italy. Later on, Paciaudi supervised the excavations of Velleja and became director of the Colleges of Parma. Towards the end of his life he returned to his native town, and was forced to abandoned writing because of infirmity. He died at the age of seventy-five.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou