An early edition of an important, historical work. Really three works, this book contains Pope Sextus V’s condemnation of Henry of Bourbon, King of Navarre, who later became King of France known as Henry IV. Henry accepted Protestantism and in so doing was to eventually end the religious wars. Here Sextus V condemns him for his beliefs.
The Pope’s edict is printed in full.
Secondly, Henry’s historian and councilor, Francis Hotman argues against the points of the Pope. Hotman was an important leader in the reformation, often engaging in arguments for Protestantism and studying under and working directly for John Calvin before Henry.
Lastly, Robert Bellarmine, the Pope’s elected theology professor argues for the supreme legitimacy of the Pope as God’s representative on earth.
Inside the rear of the book is a foldout that shows the contents of the book as a flow chart, organized by the names and actions the author’s address, complete with the page number on which they are discussed. An interesting piece considering that three authors, with two very different viewpoints, make up this work.
About the Authors
I’d recommend reading the Wikipedia articles an all three authors. This is a fascinating book, and time period, with deep historical context.
Pope Sextus V was Pope from 1585 to 1590, during the religious wars. He was a leading figure in the counter-reformation, taking great efforts against Protestantism. Among many other actions, he condemned both Henry IV of France and Queen Elizabeth of England.
In extreme short, Francis Hotman studied under John Calvin, and became a leading figure in the Reformation. He later became an advisor to King Henry IV (before that title he was Henry of Navarre, here discussed and condemned). He was working for Henry when he wrote this work. He struggled against absolute monarchy, and has been called “one of the first modern revolutionaries.”
Robert Bellarmine, at the time of this printing, was selected by the Pope to preach theology at Rome’s pontifical university. For much of the counter-reformation Bellarmine presented the views of the Catholic church and Pope. He is a leading figure of the counter-reformation.
Provenance of this Book
Regarding the book plate in the middle of the paste-down, I discovered it is the bookplate of an early 18th century French author & historian Denis-Francois Secousse. You can see Secousse, and his coat-of-arms (as on the bookplate) at the French Wikipedia article here - https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis-Fran%C3%A7ois_Secousse
Also, the boards and spine are decorated with a similar but slightly different coat-of-arms. These appear to belong to a family in the Beauvais region of France. The similarity in heraldry suggests perhaps they were family of Secousse. You can see a De Nully de Grosserve a Beauvais (the loto on the coat-of-arms) on page 198 of the 1842 History of Beauvais located here - https://books.google.com/books?id=nN8-bukmd80C&dq
About this Book & Its Condition
This book is the quarta (4th) edition, an early edition in the style of the first edition (both published in Rome, later editions were printed elsewhere). The first and other early editions did not have Bellarmine’s response.
On ViaLibre, only the Roman edition without the Roberti Bellarminii response appears available for sale, and prices range from $1100 to $1500. The Bellarminii addition, in this Rome printing format, appears to be rare.
Pagination & size reveal it is an octavo printing. The book measures 16.25 x 10 x 2 cm. There is one foldout discussed earlier.
The edict of the Pope is printed in a different type than the responses of Hotman and Bellarmine.
The cover shows wear with some loss of gilt, and decoration (coat-of-arms). The leather is cracked when viewed close, much like an old oil painting (small squares). At the bottom of the front board joint there is about 1 cm of damage/crack. Overall the binding retains much of its decoration and is quite handsome.
3 bookplates on the paste-down, with signs of the removal of another from the flyleaf.
Many bookseller notes on end-pages. Title page has three contemporary annotations (see pictures). Also, the title page has some soiling and foxing (more than the rest of the work). Also, several drops of ink which lightly bled through into small spots on the next page.
The majority of the text-block has only the lightest yellowing and foxing (if any). Contemporary page numbers added to the Pope’s declaration. I see no other annotations. The text block is in good condition.
Overall a nice copy, with a later binding, likely for its early 1700s owner, Secousse. The page edges are red, and a ribbon exists for marking your place. The bands are still in place at the top and bottom of the spine. Even the gilt around the board edges, which is commonly the first to wear off, is still largely in place. With restoration this could likely be a gorgeous book.
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