Epistolarum libri II. A Io. Botero Benensi eius nomine scriptarum. Eiusdem epistola singularis ad Antonium Carraffam S.R.E. Cardinalem
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Epistolarum libri II. A Io. Botero Benensi eius nomine scriptarum. Eiusdem epistola singularis ad Antonium Carraffam S.R.E. Cardinalem

Autore: BORROMEO, Carlo (1538-1584)

Dati tipografici: Milano Antonio & Antonio degli Antoni (at the end: Bernardino Zanoli & Giovanni Battista Cologno), 1586

12mo. (12 preliminary leaves, the last two are blank), 228 pp, (6 leaves, the last is a blank). †12, A-K12 (†11,12, K12 are blank). Contemporary limp vellum. Old entry of ownership on the title-page: “Equitis Jo. Stalzii Emptum Mediolani 25 assibus 1613”.

Adams, B-2516; Edit 16, CNCE 7264; Index Aureliensis, 122.536; L. Firpo, Gli scritti giovanili di Giovanni Botero, (Firenze, 1960), p. 72.


SECOND REVISED EDITION (one of two issues: the other has as publishers Cesare & Giovanni Francesco Besozzi). The first edition was printed at Paris by Thomas Périer in 1585, to which Giovanni Botero added his own Epistolarum theologicarum liber. In the present edition, apart the letters written on behalf of Carlo Borromeo, only Botero's letter to Cardinal Carrafa has been reprinted. Newly added is the prefatory letter by Michele Bellini to the bishop of Vercelli, Giovanni Francesco Bonomo, dated Milan, August 1, 1586. All the letters are not dated, but were written between 1583 and 1584 when Botero was secretary to Carlo Borromeo.

“En octobre 1585, à Paris, Botero publia un recueil de lettres écrites au nom du Cardinal Borromeo lorsqu'il était son secrétaire durant les années 1583-1584... Dans un ajout à la seconde édition publiée à Milan en 1586, l'auteur précise qu'il n'a publié que les lettres ‘quas ufficiosas vocant'. Une telle publication pouvait représenter un intérêt certain en vue d'une hagiographie de Carlo, que Botero lui-même avait refusé d'entreprendre alors que cela lui avait été demandé pour celui qui l'avait accueilli tout de suite après la mort de Borromeo en 1584, l'abbé Arrigo di Canobio. Mais ce recueil avait surtout pour objectif de constituer un modèle rhétorique à tous les secrétaires” (R. Decendre, L'état du monde: Botero entre raison d'état et géopolitique, Genève, 2009, pp. 32-33).

Botero's letter to Cardinal Antonio Carrafa with the title De catholicae religionis vestigijs atque argumentis, quae, vel Lusitani in India, vel Castellani in novo orbe invenerunt, is presented as a report on the traces left by the Catholic religion by travellers and missionaries in the West and East Indies. This text had a greater diffusion after its translation into Italian by Angelico Fortunio, when it was published in Tre discorsi appartenenti alla grandezza della città (Roma, 1588) (cf. Firpo, op. cit., pp. 79-80). At the end of the letter are printed Botero's sources: Peter Martyr, Hernando Gonzales, Ramusio's Navigationi, Francisco Lopez de Gomera, Juan Barrios, Hernando Lopez de Castaneda, Jeronymo Osorio, Francisco Alvarez, and the Jesuit Letters.


(Liber I:)

Borromeo, Federico. Roma (p. 1)

to the College of the Metropolitan Church of Milan. Roma (p. 3)

Ribera, Juan de, [Archbishop of Valencia] (p. 6)

N. (p.9)

Dumius, [Martin] (p. 10)

William V, duke of Bavaria (p. 11)

[Della Rovere], Domenico, [Bishop of Asti] (p. 13)

[Berghes, Maximilien de, Archbishop of Cambrai] (p. 14)

Ernest [of Bavaria, Archbishop of Cologne] (p. 16)

[Bathory], Stefan, [King of Poland] (p. 19)

to the five Swiss Cantons in Lucerne (p. 22)

[Lorraine-]Vaudémont, Charles (p. 23)

[Mariconda, Giulio Cesare, Vescovo di Triventi] (p. 27)

Colonna, Ascanio (p. 29)

Avançon, Guillaume [VII] d', [Archbishop of Embrun] (p. 31)

[Karnkowski], Stanislaw, [Archbishop of Gniezno] (p. 35)

Joyeuse, François de (p. 38)

Bathory, Andreas (p. 41)

Bourbon, Charles de, [Duke of Vendôme] (p. 43)

to the College of Alessandria (p. 44)

[Hébrard de Saint-Sulpice, Antoine, Bishop of Cahors] (p. 46)

Lobkowitz, Ladislaus (p. 48)

Tagliavia [d'Aragona], Simone (p. 49)

[Schnewly], Peter (Praepositus Friburgi Helvetiorum) (p. 52)

Sebastianus Parochus Friburgi Helvetiorum (p. 53)

Valerio, Agostino (p. 54)

[Andreasi], Alessandro, Bishop of Mantua (p. 56)

N. (p. 57)

to the Dean of the Jesuit College of Luzern (p. 58)

Radziwill, Georg, [Cardinal] (p. 58)

[Bourbon-]Vendôme, Charles de (p. 61)

William V, Duke of Bavaria (p. 63)

[Galbiati], Giovanni Francesco, Bishop of Ventimiglia (p. 64)

Bathory, Andreas (p. 65)

id. (p. 67)

Rescius, Stanislaus (p. 69)

Colonna, Ascanio (p. 70)

Tanaro, P. (p. 71)

Regis Galliae apud Helvetios Orator [Brûlart de Sillery, Nicolas?] (p. 72)

Doct. Iodoco. Friburgum [Segisser, Jodocus?] (p. 73)

[Wurer], Balthasar, Bishop of Ascalon (p. 74).

Castro, Rodrigo de (p. 75)

to the Senate of the five Swiss Cantons in Lucerne (p. 77)

[Menezes, João Afonso de], Archbishop of Braga (p. 78)

William V, duke of Bavaria (p. 80)

to the Senate of the five Swiss Cantons in Lucerne (p. 81)

[Wurer], Balthasar, Bishop of Ascalon (p. 82).

Bathory, Andreas (p. 84)

Bellini, [Marc'] Antonio (p. 85)

[Villars, Pierre II de], Bishop of Mirepoix (p. 86)

Bellini, Michele. Milano (p. 88)


(Liber II:)

[Stuart], Mary, Queen of Scotland (p. 90)

Sacrati, Paolo (p. 93)

[Bathory], Stefan, [King of Poland] (p. 94)

Bathory, Andreas (p. 95)

Abbati, N. (p. 96)

Praepositus N. (p. 97)

Avançon, Guillaume [VII] d', Archbishop of Embrun (p. 100)

Urbano, Giulio (p. 103)

Lucinge, René, sieur des Alimes (p. 104)

Vaudemont, Charles de (p. 105)

[Bourbon], Charles [II de], [Duke of Vendôme] (p. 106)

[Bourbon], Charles [de], [Duke of Vendôme] (p. 109)

Wolfangus Hamestiensis (p. 111, i.e 110)

[Jülich-Cleve-Berg, Johann Wilhelm von], Bishop of Münster (p. 110, i.e. 111).

[Jülich-Cleve-Berg], Wilhelm [V von] (p. 112)

Granada, Luis de (p. 113)

Joyeuse, François de (p. 115)

Ribera, Juan de, [Archbishop of Valencia] (p. 116)

Radziwill, Georg, [Cardinal] (p. 119)

Bathory, Andreas (p. 122)

[Bathory], Stefan, [King of Poland] (p. 126)

Ribera, Juan de, [Archbishop of Valencia] (p. 127)

Colonna, Ascanio (p. 130)

[Dimas Loris], Joan, [Bishop of Bercelona] (p. 131)

Bathory, Andreas (p. 133)

[Bathory], Stefan, [King of Poland] (p. 134)

[Valier], Agostino, [Bishop of Verona] (p. 137)

Colonna, Ascanio (p. 138)

William V, Duke of Bavaria (p. 144)

Granada, Luis de (p. 145)

Tagliavia [d'Aragona], Simone (p. 149)

[Bavaria] Ernest [of, Archbishop of Cologne] (p. 152)

Ribera, Juan de, [Archbishop of Valencia] (p. 154)

[Bavaria] Ernest [of, Archbishop of Cologne] (p. 161)

[Sarbin de Sainte-Foi, Arnaud, Bishop of Nevers] (p. 164)

Kostka, Peter, [Bishop of Kulm] (p. 167)

Colonna, Ascanio (p. 171)

Joyeuse, François de (p. 174)

Bathory, Andreas (p. 178)

to the Bishops of the Province of Milan (p. 180)

Castro, Rodrigo de (p. 181)

[Azpilcueta], Martin [de] (p. 183)

Ribera, Juan de, [Archbishop of Valencia] (p. 184)

to the Senate of Lucerne (p. 185)

[Hildericus, Edo?], Decanus Altorfi (p. 186)

to the Senate of Solothurn (p. 187)

from Botero, Giovanni to Carrafa, Antonio (p. 189)


Carlo, son of Ghiberto Borromeo, count of Arona, and Margarita de' Medici, was born at the castle of Arona on Lago Maggiore. He studied civil and canon law at Pavia. In 1554 his father died, and, although he had an elder brother, Federico, he was requested by the family to take the management of their domestic affairs. After a time, however, he resumed his studies and in 1559 he took his doctor's degree. In 1560 his uncle, Cardinal Angelo de' Medici, was raised to the pontificate as Pius IV. Borromeo was made prothonotary, entrusted with both the public and privy seal of the ecclesiastical state, and created cardinal with the administration of Romagna, and the March of Ancona, and the supervision of the Franciscans, the Carmelitans and the knights of Malta.

He was thus at the age of twenty-two the leading statesman of the papal court. Having moved to Rome, he also explored with his friend Filippo Neri the early Christian remains and in 1561 became a friend of Michelangelo, whose fresco The Last Judgement he defended against the former's critics (cf. R. de Maio, Carlo Boromeo e Michelangelo, in: “San Carlo e il suo tempo”, Roma, 1986, II, pp. 995-1011).

In 1562 he founded the Accademia delle Notti Vaticane, an academy of learned churchmen which was instrumental in persuading Pius IV to convene the third session of the Council of Trent. A year later he was appointed Archbishop of Milan and returned to his diocese in 1565. On the death of his brother, he was advised to quit the church and marry, in order to avoid the extinction of his family. He declined the proposal, however, and became henceforward still more fervent in the exercise of piety, and more zealous for the welfare of the church. He devoted himself wholly to the reformation of his diocese, made a series of pastoral visits, established seminaries, colleges and communities for the education of candidates for holy orders.

Borromeo met with much opposition to his reforms. The governor of the province, and many of the senators, addressed complaints to the courts of Rome and Madrid. They were apprehensive that the cardinal's ordinances would encroach upon the civil jurisdiction. Borromeo also faced staunch opposition of several religious orders, particularly that of the Humiliati (Brothers of Humility). Some members of that society formed a conspiracy against his life, and a shot was fired at him in the archiepiscopal chapel. His survival was considered miraculous. He successfully attacked his Jesuit confessor, Giovanni Battista Ribera who, with other members of the college of Milan, was found to be guilty of unnatural offences. This action increased Borromeo's enemies within the church.

Devotion to him as a saint was at once shown and gradually grew, and the Milanese kept his anniversary as though he were canonized. This veneration, at first private, became universal, and after 1601 Cardinal Baronius wrote that it was no longer necessary to keep his anniversary by a requiem Mass, and that the solemn Mass of the day should be sung. Then materials were collected for his canonization, and processes were begun at Milan, Pavia, Bologna, and other places. In 1604 the cause was sent to the Congregation of Rites. Finally, 1 November, 1610, Paul V solemnly canonized Carlo Borromeo, and fixed his feast for the 4th day of November. The position which he held in Europe was indeed a very remarkable one. The mass of correspondence both to and by him testifies to the way in which his opinion was sought. The popes under whom he lived sought his advice. The sovereigns of Europe, Henry III of France, Philip II, Mary Queen of Scots, and others showed how they valued his influence. In 1614 it was decreed that he was to be portrayed as a holy cardinal and not as an archbishop. Daniele Crespi's Supper of San Carlo (Santa Maria della Passione, Milan) movingly records his austerity, while a monumental bronze and copper statue designed by Cerano in 1614 and erected by the Borromeo family to commemorate their illustrious native saint, suggests the heroic strength of the reformer (cf. M. de Certeau, Carlo Borromeo, in: “Dizionario biografico degli Italiani”, Roma, 1977, XX, pp. 260-269; and A. Rivolta, San Carlo Borromeo. Note Biografiche. Studio sulle sue lettere e sui suoi documenti, Milano, 1938, passim).

Giovanni Botero (ca. 1544–1617) was an Italian thinker, priest, poet, and diplomat, best known for his work Della ragion di Stato (The Reason of State). In this work, he argued against the amoral political philosophy associated with Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, not only because it lacked a Christian foundation but also because it simply did not work. Botero argued for a more sophisticated relationship between princes and their subjects, one that would give the people more power in the political and economic matters of the state. In this way, Botero foreshadowed the thought of later liberal thinkers, such as John Locke and Adam Smith.

He was born around 1544 in Bene Viagenne in the northern Italian principality of Piedmont. Botero was sent to the Jesuit college in Palermo at the age of 15. A year later, he moved to the Roman College, where he was introduced to the teaching of some of the most influential Catholic thinkers of the sixteenth century, including Juan Mariana, who, in his On the King and the Education of the King,would argue for the popular overthrow of tyrannical rulers.

In 1565, Botero was sent to teach philosophy and rhetoric at the Jesuit colleges in France, first in Billom, and then in Paris. The second half of the sixteenth century saw the kingdom dramatically, and often violently divided by the French Wars of Religion. Paris especially was heating up during Boter's stay there from 1567-1569, and he was recalled to Italy after getting too caught up in the excitement, apparently for his involvement in an anti-Spanish protest.

Botero spent the 1570s drifting from one Jesuit college to another, Milan, Padua, Genoa, and then back in Milan. After a ‘doctrinally incorrect' sermon he gave questioning the Pope's temporal power, he was discharged from the Jesuit order in 1580. Botero's life took a major turn at this time, when he was commissioned by Bishop Carlo Borromeo of Milan as a personal assistant. When the Bishop died in 1584, Botero continued his service to the family as assistant to Carlo Borromeo's nephew, Federico. Before his work with Federico began, however, Botero took part in a diplomatic mission to France (1585) on behalf of Charles Emmanuel of Savoy. Through the 1590s, Botero continued in the employ of Federico Borromeo, who would become Archbishop of Milan in 1595.

Botero mixed in the high society of Rome and Milan in these years, and published another work for which he was to become quite well known, the Relazioni Universali. Released in four volumes between 1591 and 1598 (a fifth volume was finally published in the late nineteenth century), the 'relations' of the title referred to those of the 'universal' (Catholic) church in various parts of the world, a treatise on "The Strength of all the Powers of Europe and Asia", and even includes the Americas. The work marks the beginning of demographic studies.

Finishing his employment with Federico Borromeo in 1599, Botero returned to the House of Savoy, to be tutor to three sons of Charles Emmanuel. After a period in Spain with the Savoy princes, which resulted in two treatises on monarchy and nobility, he returned to Turin and was reconciled with the Jesuit order. The final years of his life brought an increased piety and ascetism, leading to works such as Rime spirituali (1609), Discorso della lega contro il Turco (1614), the Carmina selecta (1615), and Del Purgatorio (1615) (cf. L. Firpo, Giovanni Botero, in: “Dizionario biografico degli Italiani”, Roma, 1971, 13, pp. 352-362).

Epistolarum libri II. A Io. Botero Benensi eius nomine scriptarum. Eiusdem epistola singularis ad Antonium Carraffam S.R.E. Cardinalem