Elenchus librorum omnium tum in Tridentino, Clementinoq. indice, tum in alijs omnibus Sacrae Indicis Congreg.nis particularibus decretis hactenus prohibitorum, ordine uno alphabetico, per fr. Franciscum Magdalenum Capiferreum Ordinis praedicatorum dictae Congregationis secretarium digestus. [Followed by:] Index librorum prohibitorum cum regulis confectis per patres a Tridentina synodo delectos auctoritate Pii IV. primum editus, postea vero a Systo V. auctus, et nunc demum S.D.N. Clementis papae VIII. iussu recognitus, & publicatus. Instructione adiecta de exequenda prohibitionis, deq. sincerè emendandis, & imprimendis libros, ratione. Rome, apud Impressores Camerales, 1596 [i.e. 1632]. [Followed by:] Librorum post indicem Clementis VIII. prohibitorum. Decreta omnia hactenus edita. Rome, ex typographia Reverendae Camerae Apostolicae, 1624 [i.e. 1632]

Autore: CAPIFERRO MADDALENI, Francesco, ed. (d. 1632)

Tipografo: ex typographia Camerae Apostolicae

Dati tipografici: Roma, 1632


Three parts in one volume, 12mo (145x75 mm). Contemporary limp vellum, inked title along the spine (slightly darkened and rubbed). I: [8], 679, [1 blank] pp. Collation: a4 A-Ee12 Ff4. Woodcut coat-of-arms of Pope Urban VIII on title page; II: 98 pp. Collation: A-D12 E1. Woodcut coat-of-arms of Pope Clemens VIII on title page; III: 99-175, [1 blank] pp. Collation: E2-8 F-G8 H4. Woodcut coat-of-arms of Pope Urban VIII on title page. Parts 2 and 3 are reprints respectively of the 1596 Index librorum prohibitorum and the 1624 Librorum post indicem Clementis VIII prohibitorum, including the original title pages. Occasional light marginal staining, slightly uniformly browned throughout, more strongly in places, but all in all a very good, genuine copy, untouched in its original binging.

First edition of the Tridentine and Clementine indexes of prohibited books and subsequent decrees up to 1629 edited and arranged in alphabetical order by Francesco Capiferro Maddaleni and by him dedicated to Pope Urban VIII.

“In 1632, Magdalenus issued in Rome, under the title Elenchus librorum omnium tum in Tridentino, Clementinoq. indice, tum in alijs omnibus Sacrae Indicis Congreg.nis particularibus decretis hactenus prohibitorum, what appears to have been a freshly compiled Index. This Elenchus of Magdalenus was, in the same year, reprinted in Milan, with the omission of the series of decrees; and in 1640, a second reprint, containing additional lists, was issued in Rome. Mendham speaks of this Elenchus as if it were a personal and unofficial undertaking; but as Reusch points out, it was issued with the approval and the authority of the Congregation […] This Index is chiefly intended, as is indicated in the preface, to facilitate reference by writing under one alphabet the divisions of the original Indexes, and by giving surnames as well as Christian names” (G.H. Putnam, Censorship of the Church of Rome and its Influence upon the Production and Distribution of Literature, New York, 1906, I, pp. 268 and 293).

Capiferro Maddaleni's index is thus based on previous indexes and in particular that printed in Rome in 1530, but arranged in a single alphabetical order with the writers listed under both their first name and surname, the anonymous writings under various catchwords, and each entry accompanied by the date of the corresponding index or decree. This arrangement considered by Capiferro more practical than that according to classes, was subsequently used also by other editors of indexes of prohibited books (cf. Fr.H. Reusch, Der Index der verbotenen Bücher, Bonn, 1885, II.1, pp. 24-26).

The third part of the volume contains all the decrees of the Congregation of the Index issued between 1596 and 1629, including the decree dated March 5, 1616 (pp. 132-133), the first signed by Capiferro Maddaleni as secretary of the Congregation, in which Copernicus' De Revolutionibus was suspended donec corrigatur, and the Lettera sopra l'opinione de' Pittagorici, e del Copernico della mobilità della terra, e stabilità del sole (Naples, 1615) by the Carmelite Paolo Antonio Foscarini (1565-1616) was immediately prohibited and condemned. It also contains the famous Monitum ad Nicolai Copernici lectorem (pp. 144-146), a decree issued by Capiferro Maddaleni on May 15th, 1620, and first appeared in the first edition of the Librorum post Indicem Clementis VIII prohibitorum Decreta omnia hactenus edita (Rome, 1624, pp. 93-94), in which permission is given to reprint the work of Copernicus with ten emendations to the text, and, by implication, to read existing copies after correction of those ten passages. The Monitum, of which no manuscript minute in the archive of the Congregation is extant and of which no separate printed edition has been found, also includes a ban on all books promoting the heliocentric theory: “libri omnes docents mobilitatem Terrae, & immobilitatem Solis”. This ban will be reprinted in all subsequent indexes until 1758 when it was finally abrogated.

Born toward the end of the 16th century into a family of ancient Roman nobility, Capiferro Maddaleni entered the Dominican convent of S. Maria sopra Minerva in Rome while still a teenager. In the adjoining Studio he completed his theological studies and around 1604 became reader in arts and theology. In 1611 he was promoted to master in theology and appointed companion to the commissioner of the Holy Office, the Dominican Andrea Giustiniani. In 1615 he was appointed by Paul V as secretary of the Congregation of the Index and awarded the magisterial degree by the cardinals of the Inquisition.

Capiferro Maddaleni undoubtedly played an important role within the Congregation. The decrees signed by him are all of great interest, starting with the first one concerning Foscarini and Copernicus in 1616. Indeed, he was responsible for condemning the works of authors such as Paolo Sarpi, Cesare Cremonini, Marco Antonio De Dominis, Johannes Kepler, etc. The last decree he signed is dated February 1627. In that year he became prior of the convent of Minerva, while, in May 1628, he was elected prior of the Roman province of his order. In 1632 he published the present Elenchus librorum omnium, on which he had been working since 1622. In the dedication to Urban VIII, toward whom he shows unconditional dedication, and in the preface to the reader he declares himself very scrupulous in his work because of his conviction that it was necessary “ad conscientiae securitatem scientiaeque adeptionem”. Capiferro Maddaleni died in Perugia in August 1632 while performing his pastoral duties (cf. G. Lavina, Capiferro Maddaleni, Francesco, in: “Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani” vol. 18, 1975, s.v.).

Italian Union Catalogue, IT\ICCU\BVEE\077998; Piantanida, Autori italiani del ‘600, no. 4915; J.M. de Bujanda, Index librorum prohibitorum 1600-1966, Geneva, 2002, XI, p. 245; M. Palumbo, ed., La censura ecclesiastica e la teoria eliocentrica, Roma, Biblioteca Casanatense, 2009, p. 27 no. 3, p. 28 no. 4, and p. 33 no. 8.