VARGAS MEJIA, Francisco de
Francisci Vargas Catholicae maestatis rerum status a consiliis,& eiusdem apud Sanctiss. D.N. Pium IIII. oratoris. De episcoporum iurisdictione, et pontificis max. auctoritate, responsumRome, apud Paulum Manutium Aldi f. in aedibus populi Romani, 1563
FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [xvi], 160. A-Y4. Roman letter, some Italic. Capital spaces with guide letters. Woodcut Aldine device on title. C19th engraved armorial bookplate of a Scottish Earl on pastedown with motto ‘La Virtue est la seule Noblesse’, bookplate of the Los Angeles Law library on fly, earlier autograph of ‘Joseph Sainpanhy?’ on t-p. Light age yellowing, some minor spotting in places. A good copy in c1800 half calf over marbled boards, spine gilt ruled in compartments, rebacked and remounted, red morocco label, corners worn, all edges sprinkled red.
Uncommon first edition of this interesting work, finely printed by Paulus Manutius, in which Vargas discusses at length and in great detail the jurisdiction of the Pope’s power and that of the Archbishops and Bishops, a subject of capital importance in C16th century Europe, riven by religious war, and even in the legitimising of the conquests made by European nations in the New World. The limits of Papal power were being tested across Europe and particularly with the rise of Protestantism. Vargas’s work could be considered part of the counter-reformation battle to restate in the clearest terms the extent and legitimacy of Papal jurisdiction. In his work on the legitimacy of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, ‘De Indiarum Jure’ “Solorzano also recognized that the debate about legitimacy of the conquest was not simply an issue involving the Spanish and the inhabitants of the Americas. It was also an issue that involved the power of the papacy. He cited, to give but two examples, a treatise on papal and episcopal jurisdiction by Francisco à Vargas (d. 1577) and a treatise by Cardinal Bellarmine (1542-1621) on Papal authority. These and similar citations emphasized that the debate about the right of the Spanish to conquer the Americas was ultimately linked to the debate about the papacy that was central to he Protestant reformers’ attack on the Catholic Church.” James Muldoon. “The Americas in the Spanish World Order: The Justification for Conquest in the seventeenth century.”
This work was printed by Paulus Manutius’ press in Rome, in which he produced mostly religious works for the ecclesiastical authorities. This aspect of his printing has often been overlooked in the discussion of his genius. “The contrast between this committed classicism and the sequence of catechisms or conciliar decrees which poured from the Aldine press after its move to Rome seems so complete that bibliographers have revealed some embarrassment in tracing them to the same person. Antoine-Augustin Renouard, on whose re- search all subsequent Aldine studies have been based, had steeped himself in the secular values of the Encyclopedistes during the 1780s and harangued the National Assembly on its cultural mission during the Revolution. To him, an alliance between humanism and priestcraft was inconceivable. Though he had found a draft of the terms submitted by Paulus to the papacy, which he published along with the relevant correspondence of the papal legate Girolamo Seripando in the third edition of his Annales, Renouard could only conclude that the move compelled Paulus to “break off his studies”, and that it was forced upon him by his difficult situation in Venice. …Only recently has the appearance of new evidence revealed that the two aspects of Paulus’ career were intimately connected, and that only the most tragic accidents or confusions divided them.” Martin Lowry “Facing the Responsibility of Paulus Manutius”Renouard 188:6. Adams II, V 272. Palau XXV, p.270.