BEMA: In classical literature a semicircular platform at the end of a basilica, which supported the official seat of the judge. When the basilican style was adapted to Christian use (see ARCHITECTURE, ECCLESIASTICAL), the apse, or similar semicircular termination of the building, was reserved for the seats of the bishop and clergy, and the same name was sometimes applied to it. In a more restricted sense it signifies any elevated place in the church, such as that from which the gospel was read, and is thus synonymous with ambo.
BEMBO, PIETRO: Cardinal and humanist; b. in Venice May 20, 1470; d. in Rome Jan. 18, 1547. He was the son of a senator, and studied at Padua and Ferrara, in the latter place attracting the attention of Alfonso d'Este and his wife, Lucrezia Borgia. He spent six years at the court of Urbino, where he became acquainted with Raffael. He then went to Rome, where Leo X recognized his ability as a Latinist by making him his secretary. As he held this office to the death of the
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The first Vita was issued by Giovanni della Casa at Florence, 1567, a second is found in the Venice edition of his works, ut sup., while a third was published by L. Beccadelli in Monumenti di varia letteratura, vol. i, Bologna, 1799, and also by W. P. Greswell, Memoirs of . . . Petrus Bembus, Manchester, 1801. Consult also V. Cian, Un Decennio della vita di M. P. Bembo, 1521-31, Turin, 1885; J. P. Niceron, Mémoires, xi, 358, xx, 32, 43 vols., Paris, 1729-45; W. W. Westcott, Tabula Bembina; The Isiac Tablet of Cardinal Bembo, its History and Significance, Bath, 1887.
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