Privilege to Giovanni Giolito di Ferrari for publication of Paolo Comitolo's "Catena in Beatissimum Job," and revocation of Jean Stratius' privilege in the same work, Vatican (1587)

Source: Vatican Secret Archives Sec. Brev. Reg. 130 F. 70 (1587)

Privilege to Giovanni Giolito di Ferrari for publication of Paolo Comitolo's "Catena in Beatissimum Job," and revocation of Jean Stratius' privilege in the same work, Vatican (1587), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,

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            Chapter 1 Page 1 of 13 total

Superscript = inserted by original or different author between lines

[ ] = inserted by original or different author in margin

{ } = supplied by transcribers

Bold Script [or] Script or scribble = written in a different hand(s)

Strike through = crossed out, but legible

[XXX] = illegible

Translation from Original Manuscript

To our dear son Giovanni Giolito de Ferrari, Venetian Book-Seller or Printer

Pope Sixtus V

[1-13] Dear son, greetings etc.  Just as we have learned, you desire and intend to print and to set in type or to cause it to be printed and set {in type} and to publish for public use and instruction the work mentioned below, viz., a commentary on Blessed Job, translated from the Greek style into Latin by {our} dear son Paolo Comitoli, a priest of the Society of Jesus, with additions made through the said Paolo, and with explanations from various translated Greek texts and marginal notes of various selections and also with passages of Sacred Scripture quoted by different theologians and various selections of the sacred text and explanations of {those} various opinions, and also the medical advice of Girolamo Mercuriale, comprising two volumes; but you fear that afterward some other person will cause the said works to be printed in imitation of yours to your harm and prejudice.

[13-48] We, therefore, wanting to take thought for your indemnity in this respect and wishing to bestow special favors upon you and marks of favor, and judging {you absolved} from any {excommunication} etc., by motu proprio, not due to your insistence of the petition offered to us in this matter, nor due to that of another on your behalf, but from our unadulterated generosity and certain knowledge, and from the plenitude of apostolic power, after the said works will have been printed by you and examined and approved by the venerable brother, the Patriarch of Venice, every and each faithful Christian of both sexes, especially booksellers and printers of books or typesetters called by whatever name, so in the beloved City {of Rome} and her district as in the entire Papal state {both} directly and indirectly subject {to Papal authority} and all Italy, under {punishment} of a sentence of major excommunication lata sententia, from which no one would be able to be absolved besides by us and {whoever may be} the Roman Pontiff at the time, and for as long as {the relevant people are} directly or indirectly subject to our temporal dominion or that of the Holy Roman Church, and also [the punishment] of three hundred ducats of gold from {their} treasury, to wit: the first portion to the Papal Treasury and another to you and your heirs and successors or to those having either a right {to money} from you or from those{, i.e., your heirs,} according to the circumstances, and an another {portion} to the accuser, {and} the remaining {portion} indeed to the executing Judge, and also [the punishment] of the loss of the type and books to you and your aforementioned heirs and successors, punishments to be affixed in an unpardonable manner, to be incurred as many times as a violation will have occurred, by apostolic authority by the tenor of the present {decrees}, we quite strictly restrain and forbid that, in the immediately follow ten years, these works or one of them or anything of them in whole or in part in any form or change or transposition or even any other additions, scholia, glosses, and explanations for the purpose of reproducing those materials or referencing those {materials} or {things} similar to those {things}, as in Italian, so in Latin or any other language and at the urging of anyone because of any assumed pretext or clever thought in any place without your express permission and assent or [those] of your aforementioned {heirs and successors}, {they} dare or undertake to print or to cause to be printed or, except from permission and assent of this type, to sell {those works} having been printed or to put them {forth} for sale or to have or hold them in another manner unless you or your aforementioned {heirs and successors} shall have agreed to this, concerning which, {the assent} ought to be manifest through a leaf of paper written or signed in your own hand.  

[48-60]  Ordering each and every of our Venerable brothers, Patriarchs, Archbishops and bishops, and their dear sons in spiritual things, the Vicars general, and the remaining [men] stationed in ecclesiastical office who with whatever authority see to it or will see to it that, whenever they are required on your behalf or on behalf of your aforementioned heirs or successors,  or [whenever] one of these [religious authorities] is required, they will order and cause all the aforementioned things to be observed, assisting you and your aforementioned [heirs or successors] in the [affairs] set out above by means of the protection of an effective legal defense, and that they will proceed and prosecute violators per the aforementioned and other sentences, censures, and punishments [that] seemed proper for each aggravation, however frequently, and with each and every right of  appeal taken away [and with] the aid of the secular branch invoked if there is a need.

[60-80]  Moreover, we decree by the said authority that whatever happens to be attempted, knowingly or unknowingly, to the contrary in these matters by anyone on any authority {is} without effect and in vain.  Notwithstanding a certain other privilege concerning a printing made in the City of Lyon of the said work, a commentary on Blessed Job by {our} dear son Joannes Statius, a Lyonnais bookseller or printer, granted through us also in a similar form of motu proprio and out of our certain knowledge and from the plenitude of apostolic power and other {powers} in whatever way, and also {notwithstanding} our letters in the similar form of a {papal} breve, granted in Rome at Saint {P}eter{’s Basilica} under the Ring of the Fisherman on the eleventh day of January, 1586, the First Year of our pontificate, by the strength or protection of which previously executed {privilege} and {letters} Joannes Statius himself already printed but with many mistakes and errors, and therefore it is necessary to print that {work} again, and, for that reason and {stemming} from other worthy reasons which animate our desire, we completely revoke, make void, annul, and terminate the privilege granted and our letters granted, likewise, the contents of each, to the same Joannes Statius, through us, thus, as it is presented, as if they were adopted verbatim with the present things fully and sufficiently expressed, as to the work itself, [the work] of the commentary, with the things deriving thence [i.e., from the commentary], and if [least of all] ever [these things] should have arisen.

[81-88] And [not withstanding] any other apostolic [mandates], whether issued by special or general constitutions and decrees promulgated in universal and provincial and synodal councils and statutes and customs and strengthened by oath, apostolic confirmation, or whatever other strength, and privileges and also indulgences, and apostolic letters, and any higher matters and legal persons, in general or specific, under whatever tenors and forms, even a motu, with knowledge, generosity, and the plenitude of apostolic power, and similar things, and also {ones decreed} through a consistory, and other things to the contrary granted and confirmed in any way.

[88-90] Even if a particular, specific, and express mention about these things were going to be had, with those other things enduring in their strength, in this case at least we specifically and expressly derogate each and every one of them and whatever remaining things to the contrary.

[91-95] Moreover, we wish that full faith and the same faith that would be applied to the original letters {i.e., this privilege} themselves if they were presented or shown be applied to copies or imitations {of the letters}, even printed in the works themselves, signed by the hand of some notary public, and protected by the seal of someone established in ecclesiastic dignity to have full authority. 

[95-96]  Given in Rome at Saint Mark’s [Basilica] under the Ring of the Fisherman on the twenty-ninth day of August, 1587, the Third Year of our Pontiff.

If it pleases our Holiest Father, it may be expedited. 

Cardinal Lancellotti

Tho. Thom{as} Gualterutius.

Our Most Holy Father decreed that it should be accomplished. A{ntonio} Card. Carafa


In August 1587, in the fifth year

For Giolitti de Ferrari, the Bookseller

Indulged in printing the humble works with these things:

A commentary on Blessed Job, from the Greek into

Latin with additions,

and the Collecta Medicinalia by Girolamo


Cardinal Carafa said that Your Holiness ordered it

to be begun and Cardinal Lancellotti saw to it.


Superscript = inserted by original or different author between lines

[ ] = inserted by original or different author in margin

{ } = supplied by transcribers

Bold Script [or] Script or scribble = written in a different hand(s)

Strike through = crossed out, but legible

[XXX] = illegible

Sec. Brev. Reg. 130 F. 70

Handwritten Privilege



Dilecto filio Joanni Giolito Ferrarien[sis] Bibliopole seu

 Tipographo Venetiarum

Sixtus P{a}P{a} V

  1. Dilecte fili salutem etc. Cum sicut accepimus tu ad publicam
  2. utilitatem et instructionem infra{scri}pta opera v{idelice}t cathenam
  3. in beatum Job a dilecto filio Paulo Comitolo p{res}b{yte}ro societatis
  4. Jesu ex greco idiomate in Latinum conversam cum additionibus
  5. per dictum Paulum factis et interpretationibus ex diversis textibus
  6. grecis traductis ac apostillis marginalibus variarum lectionum necnon
  7. locis sacr{a}e scriptur{a}e per varios doctores citatis variisque lectio=
  8. nibus sacri textus et interpretationibus variarum sententiarum necnon
  9. etiam[1] consilia medicinalia Hieronimi Mercuriale duo volumina
  10. continentia[2] imprimere et tipis excudere seu imprimi et excudi
  11. facere ac in lucem edere cupias et intendas sed verearis ne
  12. postea aliquis alius ad imitationem tuam d[ic]ta opera imprimi
  13. curet in grave tuum damnum et pr{a}eiudicium. Nos ideo indem=
  14. nitati tu{a}e hac in parte consulere teque spe[ci]alibus favoribus
  15. et gratiis prosequi volentes et a quibusvis {etc.}[3] censentes[4] Motu proprio
  16. non ad tuam aut alterius pro te nobis desuper oblat{a}e petitionis
  17. instantiam sed ex nostra mera liberalitate et certa scienti
  18. ac de ap{osto}lice potestatis plenitudine postquam dicta opera[5] a te impressa
  19. et a venerali[6] fratre nostro Patriarcha[7] Venetiarum examinata et approbata
  20. fuerint omnibus et singulis utriusque sexus christifidelibus pr{a}esertim
  21. bibliopolis et librorum impressoribus seu typographis quovis nomine
  22. nuncupatis tam in alma Urbe et illius districtu quam toto statu
  23. ecclesiastico mediate et immediate subiecto totaque Italia sub exc{ommunicat}io{n}is
  24. maioris lat{a}e sententi{a}e a qua nullus pr{a}eterquam a nobis et Romano
  25. Pontifice pro tempore existente absolui possit et quoad nostro et
  26. Sanct{a}e Romanae Ecclesi{a}e temporali [xx] dominio mediate vel imme=



  1. diate subiectos etiam Trecentorum ducatorum auri de Camera
  2. pro una v{id}el{icet} Camer{a}e apostolic{a}e et alia tibi tuisque heredibus
  3. et successoribus aut ius vel causam a te vel eis pro tempore
  4. habentibus et pro alia accusatori pro reliqua vero partibus Iudici
  5. exequenti necnon amissionis typorum et librorum tibi tuisque praedictis
  6. irremissibiliter applicandis p{o}enis toties ipso facto et absque alia pror=
  7. sus cuiusque iudicis declaratione incurrendis quoties contraventum
  8. fuerit apostolica auctoritate tenore praesentium districtius inhibemus et inter=
  9. dicimus ne per Decem annos proxime subsequentes opera[8] ipsa[9]
  10. aut eorum alterum vel aliquod[10] in toto vel parte sub quacumque
  11. forma vel mutatione aut inversione vel etiam cum quibusvis
  12. aliiis inventionibus additionibus scholiis summariis glossis et
  13. interpretationibus ad materias istas accedendas vel illas referendas
  14. aut illis similibus tam latino quam italico vel quocumque alio idio=
  15. mate et ad cuiusvis instantiam quovis qu{a}esito colore vel
  16. ingenio alicubi absque tui vel tuorum praedictorum expressa licentia
  17. et assensu imprimere seu imprimi facere aut pr{a}eterquam de licentia
  18. et assensu huiusmodi impressa vendere seu venalia proponere
  19. aliasve tenere aut habere audeant seu presumant nisi
  20. ad hoc tuus aut tuorum pr{a}edictorum accesserit assensus
  21. de quo per cedulam manu vestra propria scriptam vel
  22. subscriptam constare debeat. Mandantes universis et sin=
  23. gulis Venerabilibus fratribus, Patriarchis, Archepiscopis et episcopis
  24. ac dilectis filiis eorum in spiritualibus Vicariis generalibus et re=
  25. liquis in dignitate ecclesiastica constitutis quavis auctoritate
  26. fungentibus et functuris ut quoties pro tua vel heredum
  27. aut successorum tuorum praedictorum[11] parte fuerint requisiti


  1. seu aliquis eorum fuerit requisitus tibi tuisque praedictis in
  2. pr{a}emissis efficacis defensionis pr{a}esidio assistentes praedicta omnia
  3. observari mandent et faciant ac contrafacientes per praedictas et
  4. alias sibi[12] benevisas sententias censuras et poenas etiam illas
  5. s{a}epius aggravando omni et quacunque appellatione remota        
  6. procedant et exequantur invocato etiam ad hoc si opus fuerit
  7. brachii secularis auxilio. Nos[13] enim quicquid secus super his
  8. a quoquam quavis auctoritate scienter vel ignoranter attentari contigerit[14]
  9. irritum et inane dicta auctoritate decernimus. Non obstantibus quodam
  10. alio privilegio super impressione in Civitate Lugdunensi facienda
  11. dicti operis Cathen{a}e in Beatum Job dilecto filio Joanni Statio
  12. bibliopol{a}e seu typographo Lugdunensi per nos etiam in simili for=
  13. ma motus proprii et ex certa nostra scientia deque apostolic{a}e potestatis
  14. plenitudine et aliis quomodolibet concesso et etiam litteris nostris in simili forma
  15. brevis sub dat[XX] Rom{a}e apud Sanctum petrum sub annulo Pis=
  16. catoris die XXI Januarii MDLXXXVI Pontificatus nostri
  17. Anno Primo desuper confectis cuius et quorum vigore seu pr{a}e=
  18. textu ipse Joannes Statius dictum opus cathen{a}e iam impressit sed
  19. cum multis mendis et erroribus ac propterea illud denuo impri=
  20. mere neccesse est Ideoque et aliis ex dignis causis animum nostrum
  21. moventibus privilegium et literas nostras eidem Joanni Statio per nos sic
  22. ut praefertur concessum et concessas huiusmodi illius et illarum tenores
  23. ac si de verbo ad verbum inserentur praesentibus pro plene et
  24. sufficienter expressis habentes ex nunc harum serie quoad
  25. ipsum opus Cathene cum inde dependentibus penitus revo=
  26. camus cassamus annullamus et abolemus ac si [minime] unquam




  1. Emanassent cum indxxx xx nostra de iure quaesito non tollendo
  2. et[15] quibusvis aliis apostolicis ac in universalibus provincialibusque et syno=
  3. dalibus conciliis editis specialibus vel generalibus constitutionibus et ordinationibus ac
  4. statutis et consuetudinibus etiam iuramento confirmatione apostolica vel
  5. quavis firmitate alia roboratis privilegiis quoque indultis et litteris apostolicis
  6. etiam quibusvis superioribus et personis in genere vel specie sub quibuscumque
  7. tenoribus et formis etiam motu scientia liberalitate et apostolic{a}e potestatis plenitu=
  8. dine similibus et etiam consistorialiter ac aliis in contrarium quomodolibet concessis
  9. et confirmatis. Quibus omnibus et singulis etiamsi de illis specialis specifica et
  10. expressa mentio habenda foret illis aliis in suo robore permansuris hac
  11. vice dumtaxat specialiter et expresse derogamus ceterisque contrariis quibuscumque
  12. Volumus autem quod transumptis vel exemplis etiam in ipsis operibus impressis
  13. manu alicuius Notarii publici subscriptis et sigillo alicuius person{a}e in
  14. dignitate ecclesiastica constitut{a}e munitis plena et eadem prorsus fides ad=
  15. hibeater qu{a}e ipsis originalibus litteris adhiberetur si forent exhibit{a}e vel
  16. ostens{a}e. Datum Rom{a}e apud Sanctum Marcum sub annulo pisca=
  17. toris die 29 Augusti MDLXXXVII pontificis nostri Anno Tertio

Si placet S{anctissi}mo D{omino} N{ostro} poterit expediri

S{cipione} Card. Lancelottus

Tho. Thom{as} Gualterutius

S{anctissimus} D{ominus} N{ostro} mandavit expediri A{ntonio} Card. Carafa


Augusti 1587, anno 3o

Pro Joanno Giolito Ferrariensi Bibliopola

Indultum imprimendi infra{scrip}ta dicenda opera {videlicet}

Cathenam in beatum Job ex graeco in

Latinum cum additionibus,

ac Consilia Medicinalia Hieronimi


Car{dina}lis Carafa dicit S{anctitas} V{estra} mandasse

coepi et Car{dina}lis Lancellottus vidit

[1] The reprinted privilege for the Mercuriale omits “Cathenam in beatum…necnon etiam.”

[2] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Digesta

[3] In other privileges, and in the Google Book transcription, this phrase reads “...quibusvis excommunicationis et censentes.”

[4] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Quibusvis excommunicationis, suspensionis, & interdicti, aliisque Ecclesiasticis sententiis, censuris, & poenis a iure, vel ab homine quavis occasione, vel causa latis, si quibus quomodolibet innodatus existis, ad infrascripta praesentium dumtaxat consequendum, harum ferie absolventes, & absolutum fore censentes

[5] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Consilia

[6] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Reuer.

[7] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Inquisitore

[8] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Consilia

[9] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Ipsa praedicta

[10] The reprinted Mercuriale privilege omits “aut…aliquod”

[11] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Praefatorum

[12] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Tibi

[13] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Hos

[14] In the reprinted Mercuriale privilege: Attigerit

[15] The reprinted Mercuriale privilege omits lines 63-80


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