Marco Antonio de Dominis
Ecclesiastic, Scientist, and Apostate



Marco Antonio de Dominis on Croatia Scott 772
CROATIA, 2010, the 450th anniversary of his birth, Scott 772

Marco Antonio de Dominis (Marko Antun De Dominis, Markantun De Dominis), was born on the island of Arbe, off the coast of Dalmatia, in 1566; he died in the Castle of Sant' Angelo, Rome, in 1624. Dominis was educated at the Illyrian College at Loreto and at the University of Padua, and entered the Society of Jesus. He taught mathematics, logic, and rhetoric at Padua and Brescia. After leaving the Jesuits in 1596, he was appointed Bishop of Zengg-Modrus in Dalmatia in 1600, and transferred two years later to the archiepiscopal see of Spalato.

He sided with Venice during the quarrel between Paul V and the Republic (1606-7). That and other problems led to the resignation of his office and his retirement to Venice. Threatened by the Inquisition, he left for England in 1616. On his way, he published a violent attack on Rome: "Scogli del Cristiano naufragio." He was received with open arms by King James I, who showered him with honors, which Dominis repaid by his anti-Roman sermons and publications. His vanity, avarice, and irascibility, however, soon lost him his English friends, and he returned to Rome, receiving a pension from the Pope. Now his attacks upon the English Church were as violent as had been his earlier attacks on the Rome, which he recanted, declaring that he had deliberately lied in all that he had said against Rome. On the death of Gregory XV the pension ceased, and irritation loosened his tongue. Coming into conflict with the Inquisition he was declared a relapsed heretic, was confined to the Castle of Sant' Angelo, and there died a natural death. His case was continued after his death, his heresy declared manifest, and his body burned together with his works on 21 December 1624. More