Cesare Baronius

1538-1607. Cardinal and church historian. In 1568, in reply to the Centuries of Magdeburg,* he began his Annales Ecclesiastici, a history of the church, each chapter corresponding to a year. His purpose was to demonstrate that the practices and beliefs claimed by Flacius* to be corruptions of the early faith were in fact found in the church from the beginning. He attempted to reassure those who feared lest historical criticism had shaken the evidence for early legends. Unfortunately the documents used by Baronius, who became librarian of the Vatican in 1597, were not yet recognized as spurious, and his work was marred by inaccuracies.