Two Models of Humanist Letter-writing: Desiderius Erasmus and Justus Lipsius Jeanine De Landtsheer
his paper focuses upon two cornerstones of sixteenth-century humanism, both prolific writers of letters, Desiderius Erasmus and Justus Lipsius, and compares their correspondences.1 Both scholars first saw the light of day in the Low Countries, the former in Rotterdam, the latter in Overĳse, a hamlet equidistant from Brussels and Leuven. While Erasmus was the dominant figure on the humanist scene during the first decades of the century, Lipsius was no less highly esteemed by his contemporaries during the final part of the century and up to 1606, when he died in Leuven. Both left an awe-inspiring pile of editions and publications behind them, although Lipsius did not publish any translations from the Greek.2 They also kept up a lively correspondence with an 1
For the proofreading of my English, I am greatly indebted to Charles Fantazzi (University of East Carolina). Chris Heesakkers (University of Amsterdam — University of Leiden) kindly accepted to read the penultimate version and offered some useful suggestions. More recent, general publications on Justus Lipsius include Morford, Stoics and Neostoics; Tournoy, Papy, and De Landtsheer, eds, Lipsius en Leuven; Dusoir, De Landtsheer, and Imhof, eds, Justus Lipsius; Enenkel and Heesakkers, eds, Justus Lipsius in Leiden; Laureys and others, The World of Justus Lipsius; De Landtsheer, Lieveling van de Latĳnse taal; De Landtsheer, Sacré, and Coppens, eds, Justus Lipsius; De Landtsheer and Delsaerdt, ‘Iam illustravit omnia’. 2 The only exceptions are a section of the Περὶ ἑρμενείας, erroneously attributed to Demetrius of Phaleron, added with a Latin translation as an appendix to the Epistolica institutio (Leiden: Franciscus Raphelengius, 1591) and chapters 19–42 of Polybius, Historiae, book vi, about Roman warfare, which were the departing point for his De militia Romana (Antwerpen: Widow Plantin and Johannes Moretus, 1595–96). Lipsius quoted the Greek text from the edition of Janus Lascaris (Venice, 1529), albeit rearranged in an order more suitable to his own purpose, but he preferred to publish his own translation because it was more concise and pithy than the one by Lascaris.
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extensive network of fellow humanists and prominent men throughout Europe. There is one explicit link between the two of them, viz. Lipsius’s great-uncle Martinus Lipsius, a regular canon of the Augustinian friars of St Maartensdal in Leuven.3 He had helped Erasmus with his edition of Augustine and his name occurs among Erasmus’s correspondents, a fact proudly mentioned by Lipsius in an autobiographical letter,4 and repeated by his first biographer Aubertus Miraeus,5 as well as by some of his laudatores funebres or memoriales.6 During the first half of their lives both scholars travelled extensively for several years — Lipsius spent about two years in Rome, partly as a secretary of the Latin correspondence of Antoine Perrenot, Cardinal de Granvelle, sojourned a few weeks at Emperor Maximilian II’s court in Vienna in the summer of 1572, lectured at Jena University between October 1572 and March 1574, and after a brief sojourn in Cologne, returned to his native country around New Year 1575. Wherever both scholars stayed, they established good contacts with the leading humanists. They finally settled, in Erasmus’s case in Basle, with an 3 On Martinus Lipsius (Brussels, c. 1492 — Lens, before 1555/59), see CWE 2, 333–34, and De Vocht, History of the Foundation and the Rise of the Collegium, iii, 71–75. The two scholars became acquainted in 1516 and kept corresponding until Erasmus’s death. 4 Cf. ILE, xiii, 00 10 01, 21–23: propatruus Martinus Lipsius, vir ob doctrinam Erasmo familiaris et a suis illiusque scriptis notus. ILE refers to Iusti Lipsi Epistolae, a series published under the aegis of the Koninklĳke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten in Brussels. Pars i: 1564–83, ed. by Alois Gerlo, Marcel A. Nauwelaerts, and Hendrik D. L. Vervliet (1978); Pars ii: 1584–87, ed. by Marcel A. Nauwelaerts iuvante Sylvette Sué, (1983); Pars iii: 1588–90, ed. by Sylvette Sué and Hugo Peeters (1987); Pars iv: 1591, ed. by Sylvette Sué and Jeanine De Landtsheer (2012); Pars v: 1592, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer and Jacques Kluyskens (1991); Pars vi: 1593, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer (1994); Pars vii: 1594, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer (1997); Pars viii: 1595, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer (2004); Pars [ix]: 1596, ed. by Hugo Peeters [forthcoming ]; Pars [xi]: 1598, ed. by Tom Deneire [forthcoming]; Pars xiii: 1600, ed. by Jan Papy, (2000); Pars xiv: 1601, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer (2006); Pars [xv]: 1602, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer [forthcoming]; Pars [xvi]: 1603, ed. by Filip Vanhaecke [forthcoming]. I am also preparing the edition of the final parts, xvii–xix. 5 Miraeus, De obitu Iusti Lipsi epistola, a few years later reworked into Miraeus, Vita sive Elogium Iusti Lipsi, reissued four years later as part of the thoroughly revised and extended edition of Miraeus, Iusti Lipsi sapientiae et litterarum, pp. 105–50. 6 So, for instance, in the laudatio funebris delivered by his colleague Gerardus Corselius: ‘Propatruus Martinus Lipsius in D[ivi] Martini coenobio hic Canonicus regularis, inter illustres doctrina viros censitus est, et ab veterum scriptorum editione ac emendatione Desideriique Erasmi familiaritate et scriptis clarus fuit’. The oration was published in the above-mentioned Miraeus, Iusti Lipsi sapientiae et litterarum, pp. 151–62.
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excursion to Freiburg between 1529 and 1535, whereas Lipsius spent thirteen years in Leiden (March 1579–March 1591) before definitively returning to Leuven (August 1592–March 1606). Both had their favourite printers living close at hand, the Froben and the Plantin-Moretus family respectively, and these printing houses played an important part in publicizing their scholarly achievements: carefully published books, which the authors were able to follow page by page throughout the printing process, correctors to cast a first glance at the proofs before passing them to the author, the smooth and quick delivery of the books to the learned circles all over Christian Europe, reprints or reissues whenever the stocks were diminishing, and, finally, a secure way to forward their correspondence to colleagues in more distant parts of Europe. In Lipsius’s case a number of letters were written or answered shortly before the semi-annual bookfair in Frankfurt, so that the representatives of the Officina Plantiniana could pass them either into the hands of the addressees themselves or to printers with whom they had contacts or vice versa. Often these letters were accompanied by presents, mostly books. Moreover, the business arrangements were strengthened by ties of sincere friendship. It should also be mentioned that both authors published a manual on letter-writing, Erasmus his Opus de conscribendis epistolis (Basle: Johann Froben, 1522) and Lipsius his Epistolica institutio (Leiden: Franciscus Raphelengius, 1591). As was the case with many of Erasmus’s works, an unauthorized edition had appeared already the year before, 7 whereas Lipsius agreed to have his Epistolica institutio, excepta e dictantis eius ore, anno m.d.lxxxvii, mense Iunio sent to the press after an explicit warning by Franciscus Raphelengius that a German printer had the intention to do so. 8 Yet while Erasmus’s Opus, adding fictitious examples of different types of letters, is by far the most comprehensive manual on the topic and became a source of inspiration for whoever wrote on the subject in the following centuries, Lipsius’s Epistolica institutio was focused on immediate, practical use by his students. 9
7 It was put to press by John Siberch (Cambridge, 1521). For recent editions, see respectively Erasmus, De conscribendis epistolis, ed. by Margolin, and Lipsius, Principles of Letter-Writing, ed. by Young and Hester. 8 See ILE, iii, 90 10 28 R: ‘Ede libellum, potius quam ut alius alibi eum edat, quod ais te comperisse’. 9 Both treatises are discussed and compared in Morford, ‘Life and Letters in Lipsius’s Teaching’.
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1. The Tradition of the Text From Erasmus’s correspondence about 3200 letters are known, both written by him or to him, a considerable part of which was printed during his lifetime, on his own initiative or under his supervision.10 Since the final volume of Allen’s Opus epistolarum came from the press, only some forty more have been discovered.11 The success of Allen’s exemplary edition and its plethora of information shedding light on innumerable aspects of the life, work, and ideas of both Erasmus and his contemporaries, urged scholars in Belgium to undertake a similar project concerning Lipsius.12 In the late 1960s Alois Gerlo and Hendrik D. L. Vervliet published an inventory, Inventaire de la correspondance de Juste Lipse, 1564–1606 (Antwerpen: Éditions Scientifiques Érasme, 1968), as well as the edition of a limited number of letters by way of example, viz. the correspondence preserved at the Antwerp Plantin-Moretus Museum.13 Surprisingly enough, the number of Lipsius’s still extant letters considerably exceeded that of his predecessor, for although he died at the age of only fifty-eight (a lifespan of eleven years less than Erasmus), the total amount listed in the Inventaire was estimated at about 4300; however, overlooked letters, not to mention unknown versions, continue to be found.14 The first part of Iusti Lipsi Epistolae (ILE in its abbreviated form), 293 letters written between 1564 and 1583, was edited by Alois Gerlo, Hendrik D. L. Vervliet, and Marcel A. Nauwelaerts in 1978 under the aegis of the Royal 10
A thorough study of Erasmus’s correspondence is announced by Bénévent, Érasme épistolier. Meanwhile, an interesting and clear survey of the material aspects of Erasmus’s correspondence is given by Heesakkers, ‘Erasmus Epistolographus’. Erasmus’s publication of an increasing number of his letters is sketched on pp. 38–45; part ii of the bibliography, on pp. 47– 48, offers a survey of the main editions of letters during his lifetime in chronological order. And, of course, Jardine, Erasmus, Man of Letters, cannot be omitted. 11 See Heesakkers, ‘Erasmus Epistolographus’, pp. 29–30, n. 2, listing sixteen letters to be added to Allen, and Christine Bénévent, ‘“Supplementa Alleniana”: tentative de bilan et perspectives’, above in this volume, pp. 35–50. 12 The idea was strongly pleaded by Herman F. Bouchery at the four hundredth anniversary of Lipsius’s birthday (which was delayed by one year because of the post-war situation); see Van der Essen and Bouchery, Waarom Justus Lipsius gevierd? 13 Lipsius, La Correspondance, ed. by Gerlo, Vervliet, and Vertessen. It was, nevertheless, decided that in the final edition the annotations should be more elaborate for both philologists’ and historians’ sake. 14 For the most recent update of these newly discovered letters, see Deneire, ‘An Overlooked Letter from Justus Lipsius’, n. 2. But hardly one year later, this list should be completed by about a dozen extra ones.
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Academy of Literature, Science and Arts of Belgium, as it was then called, an institution that has adopted the edition as one of its main projects ever since.15 Whereas the first part of the ILE series counts 293 letters written between 1564 and 1583, part two contains 305 letters dating from the years 1584 to 1587 (including five overlooked letters, which should have been incorporated in part one). In the third part 238 letters are gathered written between 1588 and 1590 (also including five overlooked letters, which should have been incorporated in the previous part). From 1591 on the quantity of letters expanded so much that a new part had to be foreseen for every year, each containing between 200 and 300 letters. Both corpuses incorporate the letters either written by Erasmus or Lipsius, and the ones received by them. In both cases the dedicatory letters of the works were included.16 Allen also edited the letters Ad Lectorem or Lectori; the editors of ILE, however, omitted these, nor did they publish Epistolicae quaestiones, a series of fictitious letters dealing with the emendation or explanation of obscure passages in a number of authors from Antiquity.17 Despite these many thousands of still extant letters, the real amount must have been considerably higher for both authors, if the innumerable references to letters that either did not reach their destination or were lost for some reason or other during the past five centuries are taken into account. With regard to Erasmus, Heesakkers refers to a complaint that the move from Basle to Freiburg caused the loss of a number of letters, which were very important to the humanist. He also reminds us that Erasmus more than once threw part of his letters 15
By the end of 2006 parts i–iii, v–viii, and xiii–xiv were available in print, whereas several more can be expected in the near future (cf. supra, n. 4). Newly discovered letters will be inserted in the appropriate part of the Iusti Lipsi Epistolae, if they have not yet been published; earlier letters will be gathered at the end of the final part of the series, ILE, xix, which will include a table of concordance between Gerlo and Vervliet, Inventaire de la correspondance de Juste Lipse, and ILE, as well as a general index to the whole series. 16 Unfortunately the dedication of Lipsius, Politicorum sive civilis doctrinae libri vi (1589), ‘to the Emperor, the King, and the princes’ in general terms, without naming individuals, was omitted in ILE, iii, where it belongs. It will be published in ILE, xix, the final volume of the series. On Lipsius’s dedicatory letters, see my article, De Landtsheer, ‘“Per patronos, non per merita gradus est emergendi”’. 17 This series was published for the first time under the title Epistolicarum quaestionum libri iv (Antwerpen: Christopher Plantin, 1577) and was incorporated in the Opera omnia quae ad criticam proprie spectant from 1585 onwards. It has already been decided to publish these Epistolicae quaestiones as a separate part of ILE (pars xx) once the whole body of the correspondence is available.
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into the fire.18 As to Lipsius, similar remarks can be made. After he left Leiden furtively in March 1591 it was, of course, impossible for him to recover all of his books and his correspondence up to that time. Moreover, the rift of religious controversies rising in Erasmus’s time had turned into an unbridgeable abyss in Lipsius’s time, and the political and religious troubles between the Northern and Southern Low Countries, still under Spanish rule, took their toll as well. These circumstances made it impossible or perilous to keep up a correspondence with scholars in Catholic countries such as Italy and Spain during the years spent in Leiden, or, conversely, with some of his best friends in the North, particularly when they held prominent positions in the government, once he had returned to the Catholic South.19 Undoubtedly, it also forced him to destroy part of his letters immediately after reading them. It is striking, for instance, that hardly any letters, scarce as they may have been, are left from the correspondence with Plantin between the middle of 1585, when the printer returned to Antwerp, and his death on 1 July 1589.20 Or in the case of Carolus Clusius, almost all the letters written by the botanist from 1593 onwards, after his move from Frankfurt to Leiden, are missing, whereas Clusius himself carefully kept Lipsius’s originals.21 The majority of Erasmus’s letters were published by himself or at least during his lifetime. Lipsius, in contrast, published only one quarter of his letters put to press, gathered into Centuriae. The Centuria prima, containing eighty-six letters written by Lipsius and fourteen written to him, appeared in 1586.22 It was a huge success and two more issues followed in the same year. Yet, when it was reprinted four years later and extended with an additional hundred letters, the humanist had the epistles from others substituted by ones from his own hand, for, as he 18
See Heesakkers, ‘Erasmus Epistolographus’, p. 29, n. 1, referring to Allen viii, Ep. 2203. 24 (the complaint) or Allen iv, Ep. 1206. 26–32 and i, p. 37, 1–2 respectively. 19 For some concrete examples, see De Landtsheer, ‘From Ultima Thule to Finisterra’, especially pp. 59–62. 20 At first, an embargo between North and South at Leicester’s instigation made it impossible to write, but a few years later, when business contacts between the two branches of the Officina Plantiniana were re-established, it was much easier to confide messages to the personal carriers, apparently some Catholics living in Leiden. And indeed, in Plantin’s correspondence from these years several echoes can be found about letters exchanged with Lipsius, whereas the originals have disappeared. 21 Clusius always meticulously noted down next to the address the date when the letter was written, when it arrived, when he had answered it, and to which of his letters it was an answer, a habit leaving editors some four hundred years later with a whole list of missing letters. See my article De Landtsheer, ‘Justus Lipsius and Carolus Clusius’, especially p. 294. 22 Lipsius, Epistolarum selectarum centuria prima.
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explained in the Ad lectorem, letters were like conversations with absent friends. Topics would be mentioned which were intended for the correspondent’s eyes only and one would be less cautious with his words than when addressing an audience. And he wrote in apology: ‘I should not have put to press — even without asking — what was meant for my eyes only’.23 Friends and colleagues throughout Europe kept asking for more, but after his return to the Southern Low Countries Lipsius was shying away from calumnies and backbiting. After some years of tergiversation he finally decided to have his Centuriae reprinted, now by Johannes Moretus in Antwerp, and to enlarge them with a third one in 1601.24 In only a few months’ time, after the spring book fair of Frankfurt, Moretus was already running out of copies and had begun a reprint. Encouraged by this success Lipsius devoted himself feverishly to some more letter collections so that Moretus could present five new Centuriae at the spring book fair of 1602.25 In the next years Lipsius selected letters for two more Centuriae, and entrusted the manuscript to his executor to be published after his death.26 In 1722 the Leiden professor Petrus Burmannus, later curator of the University Library, had acquired most of Lipsius’s manuscripts and annotated books (though not his library) in an auction; a few years later he edited eight hundred letters, a small part of them occurring already in the Centuriae, in his Sylloges epistolar um.27 Other letters or smaller collections appeared in print in the course of the centuries when incorporated in the opus epistolare of Lipsius’s correspondents, for instance of Dominicus Baudius, Josephus Justus Scaliger, or Isaac Casaubon still
Lipsius, Epistolarum centuriae duae. The letters discarded from the first Centuria were reissued posthumously in the second part of Lipsius, Ad C. Suetoni Tranquili. The new Centuriae edition finally contained only two letters which were not from Lipsius’s hand, but written by Josephus Justus Scaliger and his father Julius Caesar Scaliger (see Cent. misc., 2, 41– 42 (ed. 1590, = 45–46 in all later editions). 24 Epistolarum selectarum iii centuriae, e quibus tertia nunc primum in lucem emissa. From 1604 onwards, the third part was considered a separate collection under the title Epistolarum Centuria singularis ad Italos et Hispanos. 25 Scil. the Epistolarum Centuria singularis ad Germanos et Gallos, three Epistolarum Centuriae ad Belgas, and a Epistolarum Selectarum Centuria miscellanea, which was to replace the Centuria ad Italos et Gallos as the third part of the Centuriae miscellaneae from the reprint of the Centuriae in 1605 onwards. 26 Viz. the Centuriae miscellaneae quarta et quinta postumae. For the printing history of Lipsius’s Centuriae, see my article De Landtsheer, ‘Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) and the Edition of his Centuriae’, and Papy, ‘La Correspondance de Juste Lipse’. 27 Burmannus, Sylloges epistolarum, vols i and v.
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in the seventeenth century,28 or more recently Abraham Ortelius, Christopher Plantin, Carolus Clusius, or Benito Arias Montano.29 A number of letters were included in more general collections, such as A. Ramírez, Epistolario de Justo Lipsio y los españoles (Madrid, 1966) or the aforementioned La Correspondance de Juste Lipse conservée au Musée Plantin-Moretus. Nevertheless, before the ILE series was started, the larger half of the correspondence had never been edited before, and most of the published letters had hardly been annotated, which often made them difficult to understand. An important distinction in the text tradition of both correspondences is that about two thirds of Lipsius’s correspondence have been preserved in a manuscript version, mainly at Leiden University.30 What is shelved as MS Lips. 4 consists of twenty-four files containing in alphabetical order the majority of the original letters addressed to the humanist. His own originals, usually autographs, but sometimes written by a secretary with only the closing formula and the signature in autograph, are preserved at Leiden University Library, the Antwerp Plantin Moretus Museum, and the Brussels Royal Library, not to mention innumerable institutes where only an occasional letter has found its way into the collection. Most of Lipsius’s own letters, however, have come to us through copies for his own use, made by a secretary or a student. They are collected in twenty four files, shelved at Leiden University Library as MS Lips. 3(1) to 3(24).31 Eight of them, MS Lips. 3(13) to 3(20), come in pairs, covering the same letters written between 1594 and 1597, the first years after his return to Leuven. One of the other files, MS Lips. 3(4), containing about two hundred letters, is clearly composed with the intention of publishing at least part of it in another Centuria. At the top of a number of those letters Lipsius added Epistola with or without a Roman numeral; he completed the formula of address with the appropriate titles, added translations of Greek words or quotations in the margin,32 corrected some 28
See Baudius, Epistolarum centuriae tres; Scaliger, Epistolae omnes; and Casaubon, Epistolae. 29 See Abraham Ortelii et virorum eruditorum, ed. by Hessels; Plantin, Correspondance, ed. by Rooses, Denucé, and Van Durme; Hunger, Charles de l’Escluse; and Dávila Pérez, Benito Arias Montano. 30 They include a considerable number of the letters published either in the Centuriae or in Petrus Burmannus’s Sylloges epistolarum. 31 In fact, MS Lips. 3(24) is out of place in this series, since it contains mostly original letters addressed to Lipsius, entirely in verse, or pieces of poetry only, which have been separated from their covering letters. 32 In the later issues of the Centuriae translations of Greek quotations or words were always
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mistakes, or slightly adjusted the phrasing. Comparing these letters in manuscript with their printed versions (or for the first two hundred letters, copies published in the Protestant North with reissues made by Moretus in Antwerp) it becomes clear that substantial changes or omissions were rare, although some of his Jesuit friends repeatedly suggested that he should leave out at least quaedam nomina nigra (some black names), as it was phrased, a suggestion provoking the indignation of Balthasar Moretus, who from 1595 on became his father’s right-hand man in the Officina: Many readers will probably find it absurd to omit the names in the Letters; it would be more appropriate to indicate them with an asterisk or a similar mark and the Censor could explain the reason for this mark in his approbatio adding some smoothing words, for instance that they are virtuous and responsible men, only slightly deviating from the path of true religion.33
The secretaries’ hands are not much of a problem, but Lipsius’s autographs are more difficult to read, especially in the copies he jotted down himself,34 or even worse, in his drafts. One Spanish correspondent even adds a postscriptum to his answer, politely suggesting that the learned man might ask someone else to write his answer for him: Tu, mi Lipsi, si Dominico rescripseris (omnino rescribendum puto homini iudici, probo, docto et amanti), utere aliena manu, nam imperitiae n[ost]rae chyrographum tuum non facile negotium exhibuit.35
Lipsius was well aware of the problem his scribbles might cause, hence when he addressed an appeal to Archduke Albrecht of Austria, the governor of the Southern Low Countries, to mediate and have King Philip II grant him a general privilege for the printing of his works at the example of Emperor Rudolph II, he courteously added, to help an interested reader who did not know the language. 33 Cf. ILE, [xi], 98 12 11: ‘Nomina in Epistolis tolli absurdum plurimis videatur; asterisco aut alia quaedam nota significari magis deceat et caussam notae cum gratia aliqua Censor in ipsa approbatione explicet: doctrina et probitate illustres viros esse sed verae fidei lumen tantum deesse’. 34 This is especially the case with a number of letters from MS Lips. 3(8), which are all copies or originals in his own hand, and MS Lips. 3(10) and 3(12), written mostly by secretaries, but occasionally also by himself. 35 Cf. ILE, [xv], 02 12 01 L (from Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola): ‘But you, my dear Lipsius, if you return an answer to Dominicus (and I really think that you should do that to a man who is a lawyer, pious, learned and loving), do it through someone else’s hand, for our inexperience makes your autograph not easy to cope with’ [Dominico refers to another humanist from Zaragossa, who had been recommended by De Argensola].
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thought it better to have the letter neatly written by his secretary and only added the closing formula, Ser[enissi]mae Cels[itudinis] Tuae humilis et devotus servus.36 On another occasion he apologized to his Jesuit friend Martinus Antonius Delrio for having to cancel his promised visit to Liège: ‘Caussa altera quae me tenet, editio libellorum de Cruce. Attendere correctioni debebimus, quia non nimis belle aut composite scriptum (ita soleo) nostrum exemplar’.37 Delrio understood the emergency: ‘Vix pro tua dignitate te absente vulgabuntur, praesertim si autographa’.38 In the secretarial copies too, one can see that whenever a new amanuensis took over, he needed some time to get used to the master’s hand. Lipsius always had to correct the text and usually even to complete some blank spaces in the first letters copied by such neophytes.39 For the sake of completeness it should be added that a small number of letters exists in draft, as is the case with part of the correspondence from the Officina Plantiniana or from one of Lipsius’s patrons, the Antwerp bishop Laevinus Torrentius. Others have been copied by a third party in order to have them circulate in a wider circle of colleagues and friends, or by an interested scholar some decades later. Thus, some of the contacts between Lipsius and scholars of the University of Bologna in the course of 1595 were transcribed up to five times: two personal copies in Leiden, two versions in Italy (Bologna and/or Milan), and another one in Paris.40
2. Some Material Aspects With the exception of two letters written in Greek the whole body of Erasmus’s correspondence was written in Latin, albeit often interlaced with words, quotations or proverbs in Greek.41 In Lipsius’s case too, the greater part of the 36
See ILE, [ix], 96 12 15 A. The original was recently recovered in Brussels, Royal Archives, Audience 1855/2, so that the undated copy of the letter, preserved as Leiden, University Library, MS Lips. 3(18), f. 79v, no. 186 could be completed and Gerlo and Vervliet, Inventaire de la correspondance de Juste Lipse corrected (they had listed the letter on 1 December, viz. ILE, [ix], 96 12 01 AL). 37 ILE, vi, 93 06 14 DE, 13–15. 38 ILE, vi, 93 06 28, 22–23: ‘They will hardly be published in a manner appropriate to your fame unless you are there, particularly if they are written in your own hand’. 39 See, for instance, ILE, vi,  10 19 H. 40 Other examples can be found, e.g. in Leeuwarden, Utrecht, or London. 41 The letters in Greek are Allen v, Epp. 1439 and 1446, written by Guillaume Budé,
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letters — about ninety-five per cent — were written in Latin, and in true humanist tradition, corresponding to Erasmus’s example and his own recommendations in his Epistolica institutio, a number of them were interwoven with Greek idioms and quotations. There is also one example of a letter written entirely in Greek, viz. from Cyrillus Lucaris, Patriarch of Alexandria.42 Lipsius’s correspondence, however, also contains a limited number of letters written in vernacular languages. The Royal Archive in Brussels, for instance, preserves about a hundred business-like letters written in Dutch to his nephew by marriage, Jan de Greve, who occupied himself with Lipsius’s estate from 1592 on, the year he married the latter’s niece, Francisca Back. Another important series of letters in Lipsius’s native language was addressed to him by Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert, who became one of his most vehement opponents in his criticism of the Politica (Leiden: Raphelengius, 1589).43 Coornhert deliberately wrote his attacks in Dutch, to involve a larger audience, whereas Lipsius answered in Latin. Other correspondents expressed themselves in French, as did Cornelis Aerssens, who had fled the Southern Low Countries because of religious reasons and who became secretary to the States General, or Pierre de Brach, a lawyer from Bordeaux, who wrote some mournful letters about the death of his wife and of his friend and protector Michel de Montaigne.44 In all these cases Lipsius answered in Latin. Whereas Lipsius and Balthasar Moretus always addressed each other in Latin — he had been his contubernalis during the four months he studied at Leuven University — the major part of the correspondence with his father, Johannes, was in French. Time and again they wrote in Latin as well and in some letters they even switched from one language to the other in the middle of a letter, for no obvious reason.45 who made liberal use of Greek sentences in his other correspondence as well. See Heesakkers, ‘Erasmus Epistolographus’, p. 31; in footnote 2 he also mentions one letter, Allen iii, Ep. 939, which was accompanied by a translation in German. 42 Scil., ILE, xiv, 01 01 30. Lipsius answered in Latin, albeit with numerous phrases in Greek, see ILE, xiv, 01 04 17 L. 43 On this subject, see Güldner, Das Toleranz-Problem in den Niederlanden, pp. 65–128; Nave, ‘De polemiek tussen Justus Lipsius’; Bonger, Leven en werk van D. V. Coornhert; Morford, Stoics and Neostoics, pp. 109–18. 44 Cf. ILE, iii, 88 07 06 and ILE, vi, 93 02 04 respectively. The three preserved letters he wrote to Montaigne are in Latin as well (cf. ILE, iii, 88 04 15;  08 30 M;  09 17); possible answers from Montaigne are not preserved. 45 On the correspondence between Lipsius and Moretus, cf. Béné, ‘Juste Lipse à travers sa correspondance conservé au Musée Plantin-Moretus’. Johannes Moretus was undoubtedly a less talented Latinist than his son. Their ‘discussions’ by letter often deal with financial matters, and time and again Lipsius urges his friend to be discreet.
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Occasionally Lipsius received a letter in Italian,46 but although he apparently understood the language well enough, he did not venture to write it himself, as he apologized to one of his correspondents.47 Both Erasmus and Lipsius have only seven women within the long list of their correspondents; Lipsius wrote his letters to such grandes dames as DorotheaSusanna, the widow of Duke John-William I of Saxony (2) and Archduchess Isabella of Austria (2) in Latin, 48 as well as his answers to Marie de Gournay, Montaigne’s fille d’alliance (spiritual foster daughter), who looked after the definitive redaction of the Essais, and who was an autodidact in Latin and Greek.49 De Gournay herself, as well as Marie de Brimeu, Princess of Chimay, wrote in French; Elizabeth van Zuylen, wife of one of Lipsius’s dearest friends in Leiden, Janus Dousa, preferred Dutch. The letters to Lipsius’s niece Francisca de Greve-Back and Martine Plantin, wife of Johannes Moretus, were also written in Dutch.50 It has already been pointed out in the introduction that both humanists did much travelling, especially during the first half of their lives, and that both were held in equal esteem by their learned colleagues throughout Europe. Consequently, they established an awe-inspiring network of correspondence with humanists and prominent men of Church and State throughout Christian Europe. In Lipsius’s case this included correspondents from Cambridge and London, Hamburg and Emden, Riga, Lvov, Wroclaw, Reva (Hungary), Venice, Bologna, Perugia, Rome, Naples, Valladolid, Salamanca, Madrid, Cádiz, and Lisbon, to name only the cit46
See for instance ILE, vi, 93 04 17 sent by university librarian and editor Francesco Bolzetta, acting as an intermediary for the procurators of the University of Padua, who had invited Lipsius to teach at their university, or some of Cardinal Federico Borromeo’s letters, written during the final years of Lipsius’s life (ILE, [xviii], 04 12 12 B, [xviii], 05 07 09, and [xix], 06 04. 47 Cf. ILE, [x], 97 06 03 L to Antonio de Lara, secretary of the Milanese city council: ‘Nam Italici vestri idiomatis intellectus et usus etiam aliquis mihi est, sed non usque eo, ut fidam stilo apud vos (qui unum hoc agitis) usurpare’. Lipsius is evidently answering a (lost) letter in the vernacular. 48 The letters to Archduchess Isabella of Austria, the daughter of King Philip II, were the dedicatory letters of Lipsius, Diva Sichemiensis sive Aspricollis, and Lipsius, Dissertatiuncula apud Principes item C[aii] Plinii Panegyricus, the latter dedicated to her husband, Archduke Albrecht, as well). 49 On the contacts between Lipsius and Marie de Gournay, cf. De Landtsheer, ‘Michel de Montaigne, Marie de Gournay and Justus Lipsius’. 50 See ILE, iv, 91 08 08 B; 91 06 30 Z; vii, 94 03 29; and [xv], 02 09 08 P respectively.
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ies furthest away on the four points of the compass.51 Lipsius himself wrote most of his letters in Leiden and Leuven, but also during his stays in Rome (four letters in the course of 1569), Vienna (two letters in June 1572), Jena (twenty letters between November 1572 and March 1574), Cologne (three letters written in the summer of 1574), Overĳse (eight letters between July 1575 and October 1576, but with an interruption when he was staying in Leuven for reasons of safety),52 Spa (eighty-seven letters mostly written between 19 May and 27 June 1591,53 and a few others during stays in June 1592 or July 1595), and Liège (173 between 30 June 1591 and 30 July 1592, with a few more during a brief stay in 1595), on stops when he was on his way to these places, or on occasional sojourns to Brussels, Antwerp or Tournai once he had settled definitively in the Southern Netherlands. If one consults the index to the Inventaire de la correspondance de Juste Lipse, one might be struck by an impressive number of names referring to leaders of Church and State, such as Pope Paul V, Emperor Maximilian II, the future King Philip III, Archdukes Albrecht and Isabella, Cardinal Antoine Granvelle, etc. The mere use of the inventory might be misleading, though, because most of these prominent people did not have a real correspondence with Lipsius in the ordinary sense of the word — Scriptum animi nuntium ad absentes aut quasi absentes (a message of the mind to someone who is absent or regarded as absent), as it is defined in the second chapter of his Epistolica institutio — but only had one of his works dedicated to them.54 In this respect, there is a considerable difference between Lipsius and Erasmus, who, apart from dedicating his works to people at the highest levels of society, did not hesitate to write an occasional letter to them as well. The major part of Lipsius’s correspondence was addressed to colleagues and students or former students, for he was eager to keep in touch 51
As only half of Lipsius’s correspondence is yet available, it is not possible to give equally accurate numbers or details as in Heesakkers, ‘Erasmus Epistolographus’, pp. 31–32. It is, however, something to keep in mind for within a few years. 52 Meanwhile I discovered three more unknown drafts from 1575 in Leiden, University Library, MS Lips. 17, which I will publish when I have deciphered them. 53 Here too, the overlooked draft of a letter scribbled on the verso side of the address of an original letter from Lampsonius should be added to the list. I discovered it Leiden, University Library, MS Lips. 4 (L) and it has been inserted in its appropriate place as ILE, iv, c. 91 06 . 54 There is an exception as to Pope Paul V: in this case not only the dedicatory letter of the edition of Seneca is preserved, both in print and in autograph, but also the covering letter — it was at the same time intended as a recommendation of Lipsius’s favourite student, Philip Rubens (the brother of the famous painter) who presented the publication to the pope — and a friendly, but rather stereotyped, acknowledgement of the gift, written by a secretary. See respectively ILE, [xviii], 05 06 27, 05 09 24 P, and [xix], 06 01 07.
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with them, expressing an interest both in their further studies or careers and in their private life. This was foremost the case with his commensales or contuber nales, sons of friends or leading members of the public life, who had been living in his household for some time, and for whom he prescribed a special programme in addition to the lectures they had to attend.55 However, other students could also count upon Lipsius’s willingness to recommend them to his colleagues abroad. Thus many testimonia and letters of introduction have been preserved.56 Erasmus’s teaching, on the other hand, had been limited to his earlier years and almost exclusively to private students. Their career had been decided in advance since they were the noble heirs of rich and influential parents, and they did not have to fend for themselves and find a tenure at a University. Although he kept in touch with at least some of them, the gist of these letters is entirely different.
3. The Contents of the Letters In this final part I want to examine and compare the main subjects of the letters in general, which in some ways implies comparing both scholars as well. First of all, both humanists had a prodigious knowledge of Latin, from pre- to post-classical times, including the Fathers of the Church, which might seem more evident in Erasmus’s case as an editor of St Jerome, Augustine, and Hilary of Poitiers. Both were highly familiar with Greek as well, hence time and again the use of Greek words and quotations in their letters, or of Latin neologisms and transliterations, built on Greek idioms. In Lipsius’s case it is clear that he only added some Greek in letters to correspondents who were well versed in that language.57 Both humanists were equally familiar with pagan and early Christian literature, as we know from their publications, but also from innumerable allusions in their letters. Yet there are some important differences here. In Erasmus’s days there were still many dark areas on the map of authors available in print (in an uncor55
On these contubernales, see Morford, Stoics and Neostoics, pp. 14–51 and, more practically, Peeters, ‘Le contubernium de Lipse à Louvain’. 56 On the testimonia to recommend his students, cf. Morford, ‘Lipsius’ Letters of Recom mendation’. 57 Greek frequently occurs in the letters exchanged with, for instance Josephus Justus Scaliger, Isaac Casaubon or Fédéric Morel. It has already been pointed out that when these letters were incorporated in the Centuriae, Lipsius always courteously provided a Latin translation of the Greek in the margin from the 1601 editions onwards for readers whose knowledge of Greek was poor or non-existent.
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rupted edition); the need of having Greek texts published in their original version or translated into Latin was even more pronounced. In the course of the sixteenth century, however, most ancient authors had been published, studied, emended, and annotated by two or three generations of scholars, who had also acquired a far better knowledge of Greek literature. Hence, while Erasmus was still able to publish some texts or translations for the first time in the early sixteenth century,58 the humanists of Lipsius’s time focused mainly on critical editions of these texts, as well as providing them with thorough commentaries.59 In the earliest stage of his career Lipsius had published five collections suggesting emendations or explanations of obscure passages in numerous authors, one of them presented as (fictitious) letters, a type of work entirely absent in Erasmus’s publications.60 Because of this mastery of Latin language especially, and of ancient literature, a number of Lipsius’s letters are strictly philological and consist of discussions of or advice on variant readings, cruces, emendations, or interpretations in the texts the correspondents were working on. His edition of Tacitus, with its progressively augmented commentary, encouraged some of his readers to send him their remarks: lists of variant readings found in manuscripts or early editions in their libraries, suggestions for further emendations, copies of epigraphic or numismatic sources to illustrate his commentary, requests for further elucidation […]. In the 1580s and 1590s Lipsius composed a number of ‘antiquarian’ treatises, exhaustively dealing with certain aspects of life in Antiquity, corroborating his ideas with a plethora of references from Homer to Byzantine chronicles. The treatises on Roman warfare in particular he considered as a fax historica, part of a general introduction to Latin and Greek historiography.61 Once again, in 58 For instance of Euripides, Lucian, and Plutarch, not to mention his edition and new translation of the New Testament. 59 This different way of approach is obvious if one compares Erasmus’s and Lipsius’s edition of Seneca. Moreover, to avoid a too long and too complicated commentary part, Lipsius had published a general introduction, Manuductionis ad Stoicorum Philosophiae libri tres and Physiologiae Stoicorum libri tres, in fact a systematic survey of the Stoa and its predecessors. Both came from the press at the same time, in March 1604, one year before the annotated edition of Seneca’s philosophical works. 60 They were reprinted as a whole by the Officina Plantiniana in 1585, under the title Opera omnia quae ad Criticam spectant, a clear indication that Lipsius had finished with that kind of work. 61 In his ‘antiquarian’ works he focused on games with the Saturnalium libri (1582) and De amphitheatro (1584), on crucifixion as a punishment in Antiquity with his De cruce (1593), the Roman army practice of warfare in De militia and its sequel the Poliorcetica (1595–96), or the greatness of Rome, the Admiranda sive de magnitudine Romana (1598).
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a number of letters possible sources or the right interpretation of them are discussed. When checking the occurrence of such particular philological aspects in the correspondence of his illustrious predecessor, one can conclude that Erasmus often dealt with textual problems in his letters, but only seldom bothered about explaining obscure passages in literary texts down to the most minute detail. And of course, epigraphy and numismatics were scarcely out of the egg in his time. On the other hand, since numerous of his publications consider the Bible (mostly the New Testament) or religious themes (editions, commentaries, and polemical works), he time and again discusses matters pertaining to religion, often implying some points of controversy as well. This religious aspect is entirely absent from Lipsius’s correspondence and works. Hence when his De constan tia appeared in 1584, Laevinus Torrentius, vicar of the Prince Bishop of Liège and future bishop of Antwerp, wrote him a long letter venting his disappointment that Lipsius had only used sources from Greek and Roman Antiquity while completely ignoring the Christian tradition, such as the book of Job, or the New Testament, or the countless examples to be found in the Acta sanctorum or in the Fathers.62 This lack of patristic sources, in particular, did not mean that Lipsius was unfamiliar with those texts, but merely that he was unwilling to discuss or focus upon such themes. In his letters he occasionally used a typical expression or a quotation from the Old or New Testament, or of a Father; in his works he mainly called upon a wide range of patristic sources, often with emendations or annotations as well, to illustrate or to confirm his theories in the aforementioned De cruce, or in his commentary on Tacitus, and they blend in with quotations from pagan sources. But Lipsius was loath to voice any opinion on religious or ecclesiastical matters, because unlike Erasmus he had had no theological training at all, and also because the politico-religious climate of the late-sixteenth century was entirely different. Lipsius had been an eye-witness to the consequences of religious discord and fanaticism; hence he preferred to keep himself to the ideas expressed in book iv of his Politica, that there should be only one religion in a state, the one chosen by the ruler, although people could have their own ideas, but without publicizing them. When his De cruce, the first treatise he published after his return from Leiden, came from the press in January-February 1594, he swore to friends and acquaintances that it had to be considered a continuation of his ‘antiquarian’ treatises, without any theological presumption. Similarly, when he overtly chose the side of Rome by writing his treatises about the Holy Virgin
See ILE, ii, 84 04 05 T and Lipsius’s answer, ii, 84 05 06.
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in Halle and Scherpenheuvel (Montaigu),63 he kept stressing in his letters that his purpose had been to describe the history of the places, not to discuss miracles from a theological point of view, thus shielding himself against attacks from Protestant and Catholic sides. Despite this different attitude towards the use of religious issues in their correspondence, the letters of both Erasmus and Lipsius are manifest proof that they abhorred being involved in the quarrels of their times, be it religious or otherwise, but unfortunately they themselves were causing them, often unwittingly, because of their publications. Erasmus was inclined to reply and to refute, only provoking new attacks; Lipsius on the other hand preferred to keep silent and often also urged friends and colleagues not to reply in his name either.64 Besides the exchange of scholarly news, Lipsius also showed a keen interest in what was happening in the world, even in remote parts of Europe. Of course, Erasmus and his contacts informed each other on major events occurring in their surroundings, with particular attention to religious matters, but in Lipsius’s case, this theme is far more marked and recurring. Time and again he asked his colleagues or the many diplomats among his acquaintances to keep him abreast of what was happening in their country, although after his return to Leuven he often warned his friends in the Northern Netherlands not to touch upon politics or religion. Occasionally the correspondence indicates that Lipsius also shared a kind of subscription to what is called ‘les Gazettes’, together with an Antwerp citizen. Thus we find letters dwelling at least partly upon the ‘great war’ in the Danube basin, where year after year the imperial troops and their allies were fighting off the sultan’s armies; other letters are about the situation in Poland and 63
Viz. the Diva Virgo Hallensis (1604) and Diva Sichemiensis sive Aspricollis (1605), respectively. 64 A notorious exception is his reaction to Coornhert, Proces vant Ketterdoden ende dwang der Conscientien, a fierce attack on some chapters of book iv of Lipsius, Politicorum sive civilis doctrinae libri vi. Lipsius countered this criticism in his Lipsius, Adversus Dialogistam Liber de una Religione, which was available a few weeks before Coornhert died. Hence when in the next years Johannes Domannus sharpened his pen because of some witty but denigrating remarks about Westphalia, or Henricus Stephanus openly criticized his typical style, Lipsius preferred not to react in print. In 1602 however, when someone, apparently the Heidelberg professor Hippolytus a Collibus, made Lipsius’s edition of Tacitus the butt of his fierce invective — it was published under pseudonym as Pompeii Lampugnani collatio notarum Iusti Lipsii in Cornelium Tacitum cum m[anuscripto] codice Mirandulano, with a fake address, Bergamo, 1602 (other copies have 1600) — the Leuven humanist did not hesitate to launch an offensive: Lipsius, Dispunctio notarum Mirandulani codicis. Protestant attacks against Lipsius, Diva Virgo Hallensis, were coped with in an appendix (one page) to Lipsius, Diva Sichemiensis sive Aspricollis.
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the Baltic countries, still largely under Swedish influence, if not dominion. When in July 1601 Archduke Albert besieged Ostend, rather optimistically believing that it would take him only a few weeks to expel the army of Maurice of Nassau, the correspondence offers an almost weekly report about the (mis)fortunes of the campaign, the weather conditions, etc., information that matches quite closely the numerous eyewitness accounts. The letters, in particular of the Leuven period, are also a constant testimony of the moods, the laments, and the apprehensions of the population in the strife-torn Southern Netherlands ruled by an aloof and estranged monarch in remote Spain. Another interesting and more specific aspect of Lipsius’s letters, far less present in those of Erasmus, is his correspondence with his publishers, the Officina Plantiniana. Some two hundred letters exchanged with Christopher Plantin, his collaborators and future successors Franciscus Raphelengius sr. (in Leiden, from 1586 onwards) and Johannes Moretus (who took over the Antwerp branch after Plantin’s death on 1 July 1589), and their sons are a clear proof of the friendly relations between the author and his printers. Moreover, they also provide the book historian with an interesting and rare source of the interaction between a printer and his (favourite) author.65 We can follow Lipsius’s concern about the implications of his departure from Leiden for Raphelengius, his worries about pirate editions, which might not only be a hazard for his scholarly reputation by their inaccuracies, but could also cause serious economical harm to his friends by their cheapness. Hence his attempts to acquire an imperial privilege to protect his future publications.66 Some years later, when Balthasar Moretus had become his 65
On this subject see De Landtsheer, ‘Justus Lipsius en Christoffel Plantĳn’; De Landtsheer, ‘Justus Lipsius en zĳn relatie met Johannes I Moretus’; and, more recently, De Landtsheer, ‘An Author and his Printer’. I am well aware that the attitude of the printer’s house towards Lipsius was rather an exception. 66 It was requested by September 1591 and granted by Rudolph II in Prague on 1 August 1592. The author had to appoint a printer (in Lipsius’s case always Johannes Moretus), acquiring the monopoly on printing the work within the Empire for a period of thirty years from the editio princeps (intra triginta annos a prima singulorum librorum editione). From the De cruce (1593–1594) onwards, Lipsius’s first publication after his return to the Southern Netherlands, every work always ended with the full text of the imperial privilege, followed by its concession to Johannes Moretus and a caution against pirate editions, and, finally, the privilege of the king of Spain. On 15 December 1596 Lipsius addressed a letter to Archduke Albert of Austria, governor of the Southern Netherlands, to intercede with King Philip II to endow him with a similar privilege within the Spanish realm. On 14 February 1597 the king followed the emperor’s example and granted a general privilege along the same conditions. See on this general privilege Tournoy and Deceulaer, ‘Justus Lipsius and his Unfinished Monita’.
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father’s right hand and took care of the Latin correspondence with the authors, the letters became quite frequent and, together with some archival documents, allow us to follow the printing process of a work almost to the quire. Galleys were sent to Leuven and submitted to the author’s approval; Balthasar repeatedly discussed trivial errors he had already noted and saw to adapting the pages of cross-references. The letters also offer an indication of how the Moretuses, taking good care of their stock, took the initiative of a reissue, always asking Lipsius whether he had some further addenda et corrigenda or whether he wanted some changes to possible illustrations or their subtitles. In a number of cases we know that the author was sent an (unillustrated) copy of a previous edition with extrawide margins, so that he could easily add his indications for a next edition in the margin.67 It also appears that Lipsius regularly went to Antwerp whenever a new title was ready for the press, to discuss practical matters, such as the layout, with Johannes Moretus. Once the work was available, Lipsius was given a number of free copies and he could also ask Moretus to take care of special bindings for illustrious patrons or for dispatching copies intended for friends in Antwerp or abroad. A number of letters also reveal that the humanist must have supported his friend by lending him some money, although the correspondence — always in French in this case — is very discreet on this subject. Finally, the letters are also an inestimable source of information about the life and works of the authors. Four or five centuries later they allow us an insider’s look into their learned projects, their ambitions and their frustrations, their travels, but also into their relations with friends and colleagues An issue often touched upon by both scholars is their failing health. Erasmus was suffering from kidney stones and had a weak stomach, for which ailments he blamed the austere life at the Collège de Montaigu in Paris. Lipsius, on the other hand, was almost permanently complaining about infections of the respiratory passages — the dampness of Leiden and its windy climate did disagree with his constitution, but 67
Several of these copies are still preserved: the Antwerp Plantin-Moretus Museum has annotated copies of De amphitheatro (15852) and of the Saturnalia (15883), shelfnrs A 1573 and R 14.6 respectively. It also preserves an editio princeps of the aforementioned edition of Seneca, which Lipsius corrected during the last months of his life (shelf nr R 26.4). Leiden, University Library has copies of the Poliorcetica (1596), De Vesta et Vestalibus syntagma (1603) and of several editions of the Tacitus (1574, 1581, both text and commentary, and 1585) either interfoliated, or with marginal annotations. On the Poliorcetica copy (shelf nr 765 B 17), see Peeters, ‘Ontstaansgeschiedenis van Lipsius’ Poliorcetica’; on the annotated copy of De Vesta et Vestalibus, see my contribution De Landtsheer, ‘Justus Lipsius’ De Vesta et Vestalibus Syntagmata’. The successive editions of Tacitus are discussed in De Landtsheer, ‘Commentaries on Tacitus by Justus Lipsius’.
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even afterwards, in Leuven, he was often afflicted by heavy colds and bronchitis — and he was often troubled by his liver as well, especially after a serious infection, which lasted from the autumn of 1584 until the spring of 1585. As we have seen, the copies faithfully copied out by his secretaries and now in the Ms. Lips. 3 collection in Leiden, or even the letters carefully preserved by generations of Moretuses, which are only exceptionally incorporated in the Centuriae, have the effect of making the extant correspondence of Lipsius more spontaneous, less confined and premeditated than that of Erasmus. A number of usually shorter letters offer an insider’s look into the daily life of the scholar: his love for dogs and flowers, for instance, his interest in growing cauliflowers and cabbage, or the numerous parties he enjoyed with friends first in Holland and, from August 1592 onwards, during visits to Leuven or Antwerp. It has already been pointed out that a considerable part of Lipsius’s correspondence was addressed to (former) students. They did not forget their mentor either, but kept him informed of their whereabouts, their successes or disappointments, and discussed their plans with him. A touching example of this is the letter of farewell he received from Maurice of Nassau, hardly a month after William the Silent, his father, was murdered (d. 10 July 1584). After thanking Lipsius for his letter of condolence (unfortunately this is not preserved) and the melons that came with it, he expressed his regret. Besides grieving his father’s death, he had also to interrupt his study in Leiden and could no longer enjoy Lipsius’s lectures, which he considered a true privilege and which could have largely contributed to the development of his personality. During the summer he had read Sallust’s Catiline, and with the help of his tutor [probably Simon Stevin] had devoted himself to the first lessons in geometry. ‘But right now’, he concluded, ‘I will take up your On Constancy, to learn how amidst these unfortunate events I can act firmly against this pernicious rebellion within the Low Countries’.68 Time and again students asked their former tutor for advice, not only with regard to their future careers, but occasionally also about marriage. One young man even called upon him to act as an intermediary between himself and the uncle of his sweetheart, who was one of the leading men of the Southern Low Countries. Other letters are a proof of their appreciation and gratitude, proudly covering a new publication, or offering small gifts: a peony, some artichokes, a dog, or even (on two occasions!) a canary. In a number of cases Lipsius also kept in touch with his students’ parents, reporting on their sons’ progress, making suggestions about an appropriate study programme or a possible sojourn abroad, 68
Cf. ILE, ii, 84 08 29.
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even warning them when their son was buying too many books. A good illustration of Lipsius’s concern for young students, recommended to him by their parents, is the case of François Aerssens, the eldest son of Cornelis, who matriculated at Leiden University in September 1588. Lipsius advised the boy to practise his style and write a paper about drunkenness, thus combining philological exercise and an implicit warning against some of the less desirable features of student life. He even made suggestions about its composition: a first part should deal with alcohol abuse in general and the appalling appearance of drunks. In a second part François was to focus on the baleful consequences of drinking for one’s physical and mental health, and for his reputation. After the holidays Lipsius sent another letter to the boy’s father, counselling that he should practise his rhetorical skills in the collegium oratorium, which he was organizing for a limited group of students. When they met by hazard in a bookshop, where Aerssens was buying a stack of Greek text books, which Lipisus believed unnecessary for a law student, the zealous scholar promptly sent a letter to The Hague, warning the father that he should tighten the strings of his purse and not buy every single book his son hankered after, for the boy had already enough books for his age. Even after Lipsius had left Leiden, Cornelis Aerssens continued to inform him about his son’s achievements.69 Ten years after François had obtained his degree of licentiate in Law at the University of Caen, he gradually became involved in diplomacy at the French court and was asked to approach Lipsius about coming to France.70
Conclusion Prolific correspondences, such as those of Erasmus and Lipsius, undoubtedly offer an inexhaustible source of information about the life and works of the scholars themselves and about the age in which they lived. Especially, letters which were never intended for publication contribute to an even livelier and more intimate portrait of their author. Moreover, thanks to the extensive network they created and stimulated, they are important for the history of Humanism, material and intellectual, covering a period from the end of the fifteenth century until the beginning of the seventeenth. Both collections mirror the scholarly interests and occupations of their authors, men with an exceptional knowledge of Latin in par69 Cf. ILE, iii, 90 08 14, 90 08 30, 90 10 12 A, 90 11 03 (paraphrased), and several other letters in ILE, iii–vi, index, s.v. ‘Aerssens, Cornelis’ or ‘Franciscus’, especially ILE, vi, 93 12 28 about François’ sojourn in France. 70 Cf. ILE, [xvi], 03 02 12 A.
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ticular, and of the literature of the ancients. Yet whereas the majority of Erasmus’s letters were carefully assessed and published by himself, thus enhancing the intellectual portrait he wanted to present, hardly one quarter of Lipsius’s letters was published or prepared for the press, and that in most cases without too many alterations or omissions by their author. Thanks to his secretaries, some conscientious executors, and a clever, visionary librarian, an extensive part of his epistolary activities, both the letters he received and the ones he wrote, is still extant now in Leiden, allowing a far more intimate and direct knowledge of the contacts between Lipsius, his friends and acquaintances than is offered by Erasmus.
Two Models of Humanist Letter-writing
Works Cited Manuscripts and Libri Annotati Antwerpen, Museum Plantin-Moretus, A 1573 Antwerpen, Museum Plantin-Moretus, R 14.6 Antwerpen, Museum Plantin-Moretus, R 26.4 Leiden, University Library, 765 B 17 Leiden, University Library, MS Lips. 3 Leiden, University Library, MS Lips. 4 Leiden, University Library, MS Lips. 17
Primary Sources Abraham Ortelii et virorum eruditorum ad eundem et ad Jacobum Colium Ortelianum epistulae, ed. by Johannes H. Hessels, Ecclesiae Londino-Batavae Archivum, 1 (Osnabrück: Zeller, 1969; orig. publ. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1887) Baudius, Dominicus, Dominici Baudii Epistolarum centuriae tres (Leiden: Basson, 1620) Burmannus, Petrus, Sylloges epistolarum a viris illustribus scriptarum tomi v (Leiden: Luchtmans, 1725–27) Casaubon, Isaac, Isaaci Casauboni Epistolae (Den Haag: Maire, 1638; repr. MagdeburgHelmstedt, 1656; repr. Rotterdam, 1709) Coornhert, Dirck Volckertszoon, Proces vant Ketterdoden ende dwang der Conscientien (Gouda: Tournay, 1590) Erasmus, Desiderius, [Erasmus:] De conscribendis epistolis, ed. by Jean-Claude Margolin, in ASD i-2 (1971), pp. 153–579 —— , Opus de conscribendis epistolis (Basle: Froben, 1522) Lipsius, Justus, [Iusti Lipsi] ad C. Suetoni Tranquili Tres Posteriores Libros Commentarii (Offenbach: Neben, 1610) —— , Adversus Dialogistam Liber de una Religione (Leiden, Raphelengius, 1590) —— , La Correspondance de Juste Lipse conservée au Musée Plantin-Moretus, ed. by Alois Gerlo, Hendrik D. L Vervliet, and Irene Vertessen (Antwerpen: De Nederlandsche Boekhandel, 1967) —— , Dispunctio notarum Mirandulani codicis (Antwerpen: Moretus, 1602) —— , Dissertatiuncula apud Principes item C[aii] Plinii Panegyricus (Antwerpen: Moretus, 1600) —— , Diva Sichemiensis sive Aspricollis (Antwerpen, Moretus,1605) —— , Diva Virgo Hallensis (Antwerpen: Moretus, 1604) —— , Epistolario de Justo Lipsio y los españoles, ed. by Alejandro Ramírez, (Madrid: Castalia, 1966) —— , Epistolarum centuriae duae, quarum prior innovata, altera nova (Leiden: Raph elengius, 1590)
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—— , Epistolarum selectarum centuria prima (Leiden: Raphelengius, 1586) —— , Epistolica Institutio, excepta e dictantis eius ore, anno m.d.lxxxvii, mense Iunio (Leiden: Raphelengius, 1591) —— , Politicorum sive civilis doctrinae libri vi (Leiden: Raphelengius, 1589) —— , [ Justus Lipsius,] Principles of Letter-Writing: A Bilingual Text of ‘Justi Lipsi Epistolica Institutio’, ed. and trans. by Robert V. Young and M. Thomas Hester (CarbondaleEdwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996) Miraeus, Aubertus, De obitu Iusti Lipsi epistola (Augsburg: Mangus, 1606) —— , Iusti Lipsi sapientiae et litterarum antistitis fama postuma (Antwerpen: Balthasar Moretus, 1613) —— , Vita sive Elogium Iusti Lipsi (Antwerpen: Martinus, 1609) Plantin, Christopher, Correspondance de Christophe Plantin, ed. by Max Rooses and Jan Denucé, 9 vols (Antwerpen: Buschmann, 1883–1918); vol. 10, Supplément à la Correspondance de Christophe Plantin, ed. by Maurice van Durme (Antwerpen: Nederlandsche Boekhandel, 1955) Scaliger, Josephus Justus, Iosephi Iusti Scaligeri Epistolae omnes quae reperiri potuerunt, nunc primum collectae ac editae (Leiden: Elzevir, 1627)
Secondary Studies Béné, Charles, ‘Juste Lipse à travers sa correspondance conservé au Musée PlantinMoretus’, in Juste Lipse (1547–1606): Colloque international tenu en mars 1987, ed. by Aloïs Gerlo, Travaux de l’Institut Interuniversitaire pour l’étude de la Renaissance et de l’Humanisme, 9 (Leuven: Peeters, 1988), pp. 69–84 Bénévent, Christine, Érasme épistolier: République des Lettres et secret des lettres (Genève: Droz, 2014) Bonger, Henk, Leven en werk van D. V. Coornhert (Amsterdam: Oorschot, 1978) Dávila Pérez, Antonio, Benito Arias Montano: Correspondencia conservada en el Museo Plantin-Moretus de Amberes, Collección de textos y estudios humanísticos, serie textos 3.1–2, 2 vols (Alcañiz: Instituto de Estudios Humanísticos, 2002) De Landtsheer, Jeanine, ‘An Author and his Printer: Justus Lipsius and the Officina Plantiniana’, Quaerendo, 37 (2007), 10–29 —— , ‘Commentaries on Tacitus by Justus Lipsius. Their Editing and Printing History’, in The Unfolding of Words: Commentary in the Age of Erasmus, ed. by Judith Rice Henderson with the assistance of P. M. Swan (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2012), pp. 188–242 —— , ‘From Ultima Thule to Finisterra: Surfing on the Wide Web of Justus Lipsius’ Correspondence’, in Lipsius in Leiden: Studies in the Life and Works of a great Humanist, ed. by K. Enenkel and C. Heesakkers (Voorthuizen: Florivallis, 1997), pp. 47–69 —— , ‘Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) and the Edition of his Centuriae Miscellaneae: Some Particularities and Practical Problems’, Lias, 25 (1998), 69–82
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—— , ‘Justus Lipsius and Carolus Clusius: A Flourishing Friendship’, in The World of Justus Lipsius: A Contribution Towards his Intellectual Biography, Proceedings of a Colloquium Held Under the Auspices of the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome (Rome, 22–24 May 1997), ed. by Marc Laureys and others, Bulletin de l’Institut historique belge de Rome, 68 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), pp. 273–95 —— , ‘Justus Lipsius’ De Vesta et Vestalibus Syntagmata (Leiden, UB, 765 B 18)’, in Aangeraakt. Boeken in contact met hun lezers, ed. by Kasper Van Ommen, Arnoud Vrolĳk, and Geert Warnar, Kleine publicaties van de Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek, 75 (Leiden: Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Scaliger Instituut, 2007), pp. 70–80 —— , ‘Justus Lipsius en Christoffel Plantĳn’, in Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) en het Plantĳnse Huis, ed. by Ronny Dusoir, Jeanine De Landtsheer, and Dirk Imhof, Publicaties van het Museum Plantin-Moretus en het Stedelĳk Prentenkabinet, 37 (Antwerpen: Museum Plantin-Moretus, 1997), pp. 28–38 —— , ‘Justus Lipsius en zĳn relatie met Johannes I Moretus’, in Justus Lipsius (1547– 1606) en het Plantĳnse Huis, ed. by Ronny Dusoir, Jeanine De Landtsheer, and Dirk Imhof, Publicaties van het Museum Plantin-Moretus en het Stedelĳk Prentenkabinet, 37 (Antwerpen: Museum Plantin-Moretus, 1997), pp. 82–108 —— , Lieveling van de Latĳnse taal: Justus Lipsius te Leiden herdacht bĳ zĳn vierhonderd ste sterfdag, Kleine publicaties van de Leidse Universiteitsbibliotheek, 72 (Leiden: Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden, Scaliger Instituut, 2006) —— , ‘Michel de Montaigne, Marie de Gournay and Justus Lipsius: Some Overlooked Particulars Preserved at Leiden University Library’, in Montaigne and the Low Countries: Acta of a Colloquium in Leiden, 1–2 September 2006, ed. by Paul Smith and Karl Enenkel (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 63–78 —— , ‘“Per patronos, non per merita gradus est emergendi”: Lipsius’s Careful Choice of Patroni as a Way of Career Planning’, in ‘Cui dono lepidum novum libellum?’ Dedicating Latin Works and Motets in the Sixteenth Century, Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Academia Belgica, Rome, 18–20 August 2005, ed. by Ignace Bossuyt and others, Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia, 23 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2008), 251–68 De Landtsheer, Jeanine, Dirk Sacré, and Chris Coppens, eds, Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) een geleerde en zĳn Europese netwerk: Catalogus van de tentoonstelling in de Centrale Bibliotheek te Leuven, 18 oktober – 20 december 2006, Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia, 21 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2006) De Landtsheer, Jeanine, and Pierre Delsaerdt, ‘Iam illustravit omnia’: Justus Lipsius als lievelingsauteur van het Plantĳnse Huis, De Gulden Passer, 84 (Antwerpen: Vereniging Antwerpse bibliofielen, 2006) De Vocht, Henry, History of the Foundation and the Rise of the Collegium Trilingue Lovaniense 1517–1550, Humanistica Lovaniensia, 10–13, 4 vols (Leuven: Biblio thèque de l’Université, 1951–55) Deneire, Tom, ‘An Overlooked Letter from Justus Lipsius to Abraham Ortelius (6 Au gust 1593) Dealing with Jacobus Monavius’s Inscriptio Musaeoli’, Lias, 34 (2007), 11–19
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Dusoir, Ronie, Jeanine De Landtsheer, and Dirk Imhof, eds, Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) en het Plantĳnse Huis, Publicaties van het Museum Plantin-Moretus en het Stedelĳk Prentenkabinet, 37 (Antwerpen: Museum Plantin-Moretus, 1997) Enenkel, Karl, and Chris Heesakkers, eds, Justus Lipsius in Leiden: Studies in the Life and Works of a Great Humanist (Voorthuizen: Florivallis, 1997) Gerlo, Alois, and Hendrik Vervliet, Inventaire de la correspondance de Juste Lipse, 1564– 1606 (Antwerpen: Éditions Scientifiques Érasme, 1968) Güldner, Gerhard, Das Toleranz-Problem in den Niederlanden im Ausgang des 16. Jahrhunderts, Historische Studien, 403 (Lübeck: Matthiesen, 1968) Heesakkers, Chris, ‘Erasmus Epistolographus’, in Les Grands intermédiaires culturels de la République des Lettres: Études sur les réseaux de correspondances du xvie au xviiie siècles, ed. by Christiane Berkvens-Stevelinck, Hans Bots, and Jens Häseler (Paris: Champion, 2005), pp. 29–60 Hunger, Friedrich W. T., Charles de l’Escluse (Carolus Clusius), Nederlandsch Kruidkundige, 1526–1609, 2 vols (Den Haag: Nĳhoff, 1927–43) Jardine, Lisa, Erasmus, Man of Letters: The Construction of Charisma in Print (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993) Laureys, Marc, and others, The World of Justus Lipsius, a Contribution Towards his Intellectual Biography: Proceedings of a Colloquium Held Under the Auspices of the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome (Rome, 22–24 May 1997), Bulletin de l’Institut historique belge de Rome, 68 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998) Morford, Mark, ‘Life and Letters in Lipsius’s Teaching’, in Iustus Lipsius, Europae Lumen et Columen: Proceedings of the International Colloquium Leuven-Antwerp 17–20 September 1997, ed. by Gilbert Tournoy, Jeanine De Landtsheer, and Jan Papy, Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia, 15 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1999), pp. 107–23 —— , ‘Lipsius’ Letters of Recommendation’, in Self-Presentation and Social Identification: The Rhetoric and Pragmatics of Letter Writing in Early Modern Times, ed. by Toon Van Houdt and others, Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia, 18 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2002), pp. 183–98 —— , Stoics and Neostoics: Rubens and the Circle of Lipsius (Princeton: Princeton Uni versity Press, 1991) Nave, Francine de, ‘De polemiek tussen Justus Lipsius en Dirck Volkertsz. Coornhert (1590): hoofdoorzaak van Lipsius’ vertrek uit Leiden (1591)’, De Gulden Passer, 48 (1970), 1–36 Papy, Jan, ‘La Correspondance de Juste Lipse: Genèse et fortune des Epistolarum selec tarum Centuriae’, Les cahiers de l’humanisme, 2 (2001), 223–36 Peeters, Hugo, ‘Le contubernium de Lipse à Louvain à travers sa correspondance’, in Iustus Lipsius, Europae Lumen et Columen: Proceedings of the International Colloquium LeuvenAntwerp 17–20 September 1997, ed. by Gilbert Tournoy, Jeanine De Landtsheer, and Jan Papy, Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia, 15 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1999), ), pp. 141–68 —— , ‘Ontstaansgeschiedenis van Lipsius’ Poliorcetica, geschreven in aangename herin nering aan zĳn verblĳf te Luik’, in ‘Iam illustravit omnia’: Justus Lipsius als lievelings
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auteur van het Plantĳnse Huis, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer and Pierre Delsaerdt, De Gulden Passer, 84, (Antwerpen: Vereniging Antwerpse bibliofielen, 2006), pp. 127–58 Tournoy, Gilbert, and H. Deceulaer, ‘Justus Lipsius and his Unfinished Monita et Exempla Politica: The Royal Privilege of 1597’, in ‘Iam illustravit omnia’: Justus Lipsius als lievelingsauteur van het Plantĳnse Huis, ed. by Jeanine De Landtsheer and Pierre Delsaerdt, De Gulden Passer, 84 (Antwerpen: Vereniging Antwerpse bibliofielen, 2006), pp. 193–99 Tournoy, Gilbert, Jan Papy, and Jeanine De Landtsheer, eds, Lipsius en Leuven: Catalogus van de tentoonstelling in de Centrale Bibliotheek te Leuven, 18 september – 17 oktober 1997, Supplementa Humanistica Lovaniensia, 13 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1997) Van der Essen, Léon, and Herman F. Bouchery, Waarom Justus Lipsius gevierd?, Mededelingen van de Koninklĳke Vlaamse Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België, Klasse der Letteren, 9.8 (Brussel: Paleis der Academiën, 1949)