Anti-Pope Polemic with Interesting Reader Marks

[Hotman, François]. Brutum Fulmen Papæ Sixti v. aduersus Henricum Sereniss. Regem Nauarre, and illustrissiumum Henricum Borbonium, Principem Condæum. Una cum protestatione multiplicis nullitatis.

[Germany?]: [publisher not identified], [1585]. 174 x 112 mm (6 ¾ x 4 ½ in). Octavo. 234, [22] pp. In Latin. Woodcut on Q4. Reprint of the title page of the 1585 bull of Sixtus v on P6.

Bound in vellum with manuscript spine title and fore-edge title. All edges stained red. Pencil inscriptions in French by a previous owner; earlier ink inscription on front free endpaper, a two-line poem that is also a chronogram and memorial upon the death of François Hotman, signed H.F. Plavensis,” possibly Hulderich Froelich of Plauen who was poet laureate of Basel. Extensive underscoring by an early hand throughout, with annotations on page 11. Autograph on title page: Ex libris J.J. Chaponniére D.M.P.” Chaponniére (1805–1859) was a Swiss doctor and author from Geneva and Member of the Medical Society of Observation. 

Good with old stains and score lines to covers, with a 1.25 in. cut to the front cover near the spine, but binding remains solid. Very light soiling throughout. 

A broadside against Pope Sixtus v and especially his 1585 bull (that is, a Papal decree), which excommunicated Henry of Navarre and his cousin Henri i, the Prince of Condé. Anonymous, but by Protestant jurist François Hotman, whose political and religious views have led scholars to call him one of the first modern revolutionaries.

A furious rebuttal of Papal authority by an early critic of absolute monarchy. Hotman was born in Paris in 1524 to a prominent legal family. Though raised as a Catholic and trained as a lawyer, Hotman rebelled against both, moving to Geneva in 1548 where he worked for John Calvin and was a professor at the University of Lausanne. He became a prominent figure among Huguenots over the next several decades, just as the French Wars of Religion intensified. In response to violence against French Protestants during the later 16th century, some legal theorists, known as at the Monarchomaques, Hotman among them, began to posit the government’s role as one that secured the best interests of all subjects, and that when such a condition was violated it was the right of citizens to rebel. Hotman heaves some of this passionate critique at Pope Sixtus V, claiming very early on that the bull of 1585 was against all natural and divine law, and invoking the concept of tyranny numerous times. The papal bull that was the object of Hotman’s critique was issued by Sixtus v shortly after Henry of Navarre became heir apparent to the French throne in 1584, after the death of the Duke of Anjou. The text of the bull is reprinted after Hotman’s work, complete with a type facsimile of the title page from the edition by the Heirs of Anthony Bladius. 

The years that followed witnessed a three-way war between Henry iii, the Catholic King of France, Henry of Navarre, the Protestant and heir apparent, and the Duke of Guise, the leader of the Catholic League who was opposed to both Henry iii and Henry of Navarre. Guise was assassinated in 1588; Henry iii in 1589; but the elimination of his rivals did not mean Henry of Navarre immediately ascend to the throne; he only became Henry iv when he converted to Catholicism in 1593, about which he allegedly said, Paris is worth a mass.” Henry iv was assassinated in 1610.

Interesting reader marks including a handwritten chronogram. The reader of the present volume has underscored several passages in the text and marked some with manicules. This is likely by the same hand which has provided an inscription commemorating the death of Hotman on the front free end paper. The (slightly fading) inscription reads: Distichon Nobolissimi Domini Francisco Hotomanni i.v.d. Annum, mensem, diem que obitus continens: QVattVor Vt LVCes ConCessIt pIsCIbVs aLtor PhæbVs aIs saulens, Terræ, HotoManne VaLe H.F. Plavensis.” The passage is a sort of epigraph which also serves as a chronogram that spells out the year of Hotman’s death, 1589—now isn’t that downright awesome? It was likely written by Hudelrich Froelich, who was born in Pauen, became poet laureate of Basel, and died in the early 17th century.

Clandestine edition lacking imprint. Several editions were produced without an imprint or any other obvious indicator of date and printer. The present edition has a passage from Nahum 3 on the title page where one would expect to find the imprint; a list of errata is at the end of the final page of the index. This edition is identified by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the vd16, and the Universal Short Title Catalogue as being from 1585, and we were not able to identify any earlier editions. The following year, 1586, an English translation appeared under the title The Brutish Thunderbolt. 

OCLC WorldCat reports only three u.s. libraries with holdings.

USTC 617320

VD16 k 511


In stock

Stock Code: 1137B16 Collection: Catalogue:


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