14.1 Is There Life Beyond the Court?
One of the principal purposes of this study is better to understand the nature of Strada’s function at court, as an indispensable condition to appreciate the significance of his presence for Imperial intellectual and artistic patronage and, more in general, for the cultural history in the Habsburg territories and Southern Germany. For that reason the greater part of the preceding chapters has been devoted to Strada’s coming to the Vienna court and his subsequent employment in Imperial service. Even within the context of his career as a whole, such ample attention is warranted by the length of Strada’s employment, the importance of his patrons, and the value he himself attached to his status as an Imperial servant and courtier. Nevertheless neither Strada’s usefulness for Ferdinand i and Maximilian ii and the character of the return they expected from his presence at court, nor Strada’s view of his chosen profession can be explained without reference to the activities he engaged in independently from his work at court. His occupations before he came to Vienna have been described in my earlier chapters. Before discussing the activities he undertook simultaneously but quite separately from his tasks at court and after his resignation, it is useful briefly to sketch his private circumstances, with a view of the role his family played in his professional life.
14.2 Strada’s Family
Shortly after his first contacts with Ferdinand i Strada came to Vienna, apparently ready to settle at court, because he had brought his wife and household.1 By that time his family consisted of his wife, Ottilie Schenk von Rossberg, his sons Paolo (Nuremberg 1548) and Ottavio (Nuremberg 1550) and doubtless also at least the daughter on the occasion of whose wedding in 1569 Maximilian ii accorded Strada a gift of 50 Gulden. Apart from her name we know hardly
Last week I had a most welcome letter from Your Honour, to which I have not responded at once as was my intention, because my wife suffered from such a grave illness of the chest, that in the five days that she was in bed the doctors have never been able to help her; and thus she has passed to a better life. May the Lord have her soul. We have been together for thirty years; there has never been a quarrel between us, nor even an impatient word.3
From Strada’s letter to Adam von Dietrichstein of March 1566 we know that by that time the couple had seven children living.4 Strada’s will of July 1584 shows that four of these reached maturity, the two sons Paolo and Ottavio mentioned, and two daughters, Anna and Lavina. Anna had married Steffan Präussen and had had two daughters, but she herself had died by the time Strada dictated his will, and her two girls both had already taken monastic vows. Doubtless she had been given a dowry of 400 Gulden, as had her sister Lavina (or Lavia), who in 1584 was the widow of Ferdinand Luzenburger or Lützelburger.5 The existence of a daughter Katharina who would have been Rudolf ii’s
Some years after his wife’s death, perhaps on his trip to the Elector August of Saxony in the autumn of 1576, Strada began a liaison with Margaretha Hummer or Himmer, from Marienberg in the Margraviate of Meissen, whom he describes in his will both as his ‘Dienerin’—his servant—and his ‘concubine’. In 1582 Rudolf ii had legitimized the two sons she gave him, Tobia, born in 1578, and Martino, born in 1580. Martino appears to have died soon after, since he is not mentioned in Strada’s will, but his sister Sicilia survived and was promised a legacy of hundred Gulden. Whereas their mother had to be content with her outstanding wages, a third of the revenue of Strada’s various houses and gardens was assigned to Tobia’s maintenance and education, and he was allotted a decent share in his father’s inheritance. Moreover his father appointed curators expected to manage his patrimony until his majority and ‘to raise him to diligent study, gravity and the fear of God’.7
Strada doubtless had taken equal care of the education of his legitimate male offspring, who were taught in the Vienna Jesuit College, founded by Peter Canisius in 1552 in response to Ferdinand i’s request to Ignatius of Loyola.8
Having obtained his benefice in Mantua cathedral Paolo Strada appears to have taken holy orders, and to have led a simple, withdrawn life in Vienna. To finish his education and to extend his accomplishments his father sent him with the Imperial embassy led by Karel Rijm to Constantinople, where he was expected to learn Turkish and Arabic, as well as to obtain materials relating to his father’s various projects.12 On his return in 1573 Strada applied to Maximilian ii to have him employed at court, giving a succinct account of his character and accomplishments:
He is inclined to travel, and particularly in Turkey, of which he has some beginning of the language, and in practising it in the future he could completely master it. He is a spirited young man, who will go to the end of the earth if Your Majesty would order him to; he is twenty-five years old, born of a German mother at Nuremberg. He speaks Italian and
Latin; he is a youth ready to bear fatigue and will readily exert himself, if he is asked to.13
The latter phrase seems to indicate some lack of initiative on Paolo’s part, something of which Ottavio certainly cannot be accused. It is clear that Strada’s younger surviving son was a most promising youngster, who shared his father’s interests, and like him was endowed with both intellectual and artistic talents. It was Ottavio who was carefully trained by his father as his successor and who at an early age accompanied him as his assistant. Swelling his father’s suite of personal servants and local brokers and appraisers, his presence in Venice attracted the invidious attention of Strada’s rival, Niccolò Stopio:
[Strada] went around here in Venice<…>with scarlet hose, with his son as a page and three or four of these brokers as followers so that he seemed a great lord, but I assure your Lordship that people here don’t appreciate such conduct …14
Stopio also refers to what must have been an important function of both Paolo and Ottavio, that is to translate and write their father’s letters in German: born of a German mother and bred in Nuremberg and Vienna, their command of the written language was obviously far superior to that of their father and, once old enough, one or both of them habitually functioned as their father’s German secretary.15
14.3 Ottavio Strada’s Role
Stopio’s letters to Fugger afford other occasional vignettes of Ottavio’s role: for instance when in the late summer of 1567 Strada had to flee Mantua in fear of the Inquisition, Ottavio was to remain in the lodgings they had rented to oversee the execution of Strada’s commissions, among which the manufacture of an ebony chest. At seventeen Ottavio in his innocence was no match for the dishonest joiner who made it, who sent him out of the house on some errand, and then broke open Strada’s treasure chest and decamped with the considerable sum of three hundred scudi.16 In later life Ottavio would be regularly employed as an agent in his father’s business affairs, concluding deals, collecting payments, and supervising commissions. Thus in March 1574 Strada told Hans Jakob Fugger that he intended to send Ottavio to Venice ‘for some business affairs of mine’, offering to have him act on Fugger’s behalf in the acquisition of some collections of antiquities, and from a letter to Jacopo Dani of the same year it transpires that Ottavio had recently travelled to the Southern Netherlands, from which he had brought numismatic materials—doubtless among other things.17 When a year earlier Ottavio had visited Augsburg, he had shown Hans Fugger, Hans Jakob’s cousin, several books of drawings. One of these particularly interested Fugger, a volume containing only ‘Citata oder
By that time the affairs in which Jacopo employed Ottavio were mostly related to his publishing project, as is evident from a long report Ottavio wrote in the late autumn of 1574, in response to a lost letter from his father, detailing his activities in Frankfurt and Nuremberg. This interesting document provides some information about Ottavio’s character, showing him in a not very favourable light, for instance in his description of the treatment he meted out to a drunken servant and in his comment on the engraver Martino Rota’s waywardness.19 But it also provides some more general idea of the Stradas’ business interests, and of Ottavio’s role in his father’s concerns.
Ottavio’s principal task was overseeing the printing of Sebastiano Serlio’s Settimo libro d’Architettura. This implied preparing the definitive manuscript of the text for the typesetters, and included dealing with an anonymous ‘Dotor Mantuano’—according to Ottavio the only learned Italian present in Frankfurt—who was to correct the Italian text, and with the printer-publisher, Andreas Wechel, who had agreed to print the book. It also implied the acquisition of the paper, which involved him in negotiations with the other notable Frankfurt printer, Sigmund Feyerabend, who reassured him about the quality of the paper he had acquired. Feyerabend also was instrumental in finding a translator for a planned German edition of the book. For the Settimo Libro Ottavio did not need to commission the illustrations, which the elder Strada had had engraved in Venice, though a part of the woodblocks unfortunately had been damaged in the transport to Frankfurt.20 Ottavio did, however, commission a new woodcut with the coat of arms of Vilém z Rožmberk, to whom his father had decided to dedicate the edition. Moreover he was engaged in the preparation of several other projects, likewise trying to find a translator for the texts and commissioning the designs and overseeing the execution of the woodcuts or engravings for these. He also bought a quantity of books from Feyerabend, a few of which he thought to retain for the Musaeum, but most of which he intended to use to pay the engravers in kind, or which he suggests his father could use to barter against other books. At the same time he was expected to maintain the network his father had built up
For many of these activities Ottavio needed ready money to pay his various contributors, and his letter includes much information about his expenses and a repeated request to send further funds as soon as possible: ‘Try hard, father, to send me as much money as you can, for when I can do little here, my staying is not worth the expense’.22 Ottavio was sufficiently in his father’s confidence to counsel him about the feasibility of various projects, and to be entrusted with these negotiations and with large amounts of money. Nevertheless Jacopo followed Ottavio’s activities quite closely and critically: thus he appears to have objected to his departure from Frankfurt to Nuremberg, which Ottavio justified by an outbreak of the plague. Referring to testimony of his father’s business associate Paolino Nieri, Paolo stressed that it claimed over two hundred victims a week, and that Feyerabend himself had decided to flee to Nuremberg in Ottavio’s company. Yet Ottavio’s letter, business-like but at the same time chatty and intimate, as yet gives no inkling of the clamorous breach in the relations between father and son which took place a few years later, which led to Strada largely disinheriting his once favourite son, citing no less than sixteen alleged ‘crimes’. At least some of these related to a less than honest stewardship in the printing business, an allegation to which I will return later in this chapter.
14.4 The Publishing Project: Strada Ambitions as a Publisher
14.4.1 The Epitome Thesauri Antiquitatum
Ottavio’s letter is a fascinating introduction to Strada’s ambitions as a publisher. These were probably at least in part the result of his intimacy with the great book-lover and collector Hans Jakob Fugger and the many scholars in his
That Strada intended to set up as a publisher himself, rather than just as an author, is already evident on the title page of his Lyon Epitome thesauri antiquitatum: though the colophon gives the name of the printer, Jean de Tournes, the title page gives as publisher’s address ‘Lugduni: Apud Jacobum de Strada et Thomam Guerinum’, and shows a printer’s mark which is Strada’s own [cf. above, Fig. 3.18]. The book, the printing of which was finished on the sixth of November 1553, was provided with a copyright privilege conceded by the French King Henry ii to ‘nos bien aymez Iacques de Strada Mantouan et Thomas Guerin Marchand Libraire demourant à Lyon’.
That Guerin is mentioned as a marchand-libraire suggests that he was the partner who contributed the practical know-how and contacts; yet in view of the use of Strada’s device on the title page there can be little doubt that he must be considered the senior partner, who not only contributed the content of the book, but also provided the major investment for its production. That he could do so doubtless was due to financial support accorded by Hans Jakob Fugger, to whom both editions of the book were dedicated [cf. above, Fig. 3.19]. In the following a chronological review will be given of Strada’s largely unsuccessful attempts to set up as a publisher on a grand scale.
That this was a serious ambition and that Strada had prepared it well is already clear from his first production. The Epitome thesauri antiquitatum was a beautiful book, printed with large margins on high-quality paper and illustrated by a huge number of specially prepared woodcut illustrations of which Strada, according to his preface, was quite proud [Figs. 14.6–14.9]. Even more significantly, the book was simultaneously printed in a Latin and a French edition: Strada must have gone to some lengths to find and to remunerate a sufficiently learned translator. He spotted the talent of the Orléans humanist Jean Louveau, who after having translated the Epitome du Thrésor, would build up a modest reputation as a translator of various Greek (Eustathius), Latin (Apuleius, Erasmus) and Italian texts published by Lyon printers such as De Tournes, Granjon and Rouillé.23 The book was a success, doubtless
It was even such a success that the volume was reprinted repeatedly within the next five years, both in a Latin and a German edition illustrated by exact copies of Strada’s woodcut illustrations—the expense this involved indicates that its publisher, Andreas Gessner at Zürich, expected quite substantial sales [Figs. 14.10–14.11]. Gessner also published a splendid folio edition in which Strada’s biographies were used as textual complement to a series of rather splendid Imperial portrait heads, earlier woodcuts by Rudolf Wyssenbach dating back to 1547, which were set in full-page decorative frames newly-cut by Hans Rudolf Manuel Deutsch the Younger [Fig. 14.12–14.13]. That these editions do not reuse Strada’s original woodblocks indicate that they were pirated editions, in which Strada himself had not been involved: a supposition strengthened by
14.4.2 The Copyright Privilege of January 1556
The many copies preserved are another indication that the Epitome thesauri antiquitatum was a success. Certainly it also will have increased Strada’s prestige, so it is not surprising that he intended to continue the experiment. So once returned to Nuremberg in late 1555, he prepared a request to the Emperor Charles v for a copyright privilege pertaining to a number of books he was preparing and intended to publish at short notice. The privilege was granted on 8 January 1556. It describes five quite substantial encyclopaedic historical works. The first of these is a complete edition of the Fasti consulari et triumphali, a huge inscription listing the names of the annually elected magistrates of the Roman Republic.26 As mentioned in Chapter 3.6, the fragments of this had been found in the Forum Romanum in 1546, and on the initiative of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese had been collected and set up in a room in Michelangelo’s Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitol. Known since then as the Fasti capitolini, this serial inscription was of great value in establishing the chronology of the Roman Republic and the Empire, and had already given rise to several publications and controversies. It had been transcribed and edited by Onofrio
Since the copyright privilege indicates Panvinio’s Fasti as ‘Tomus Primus’, Strada appears to have conceived it as a companion volume of his own numismatic compendium of the Roman Empire, which follows it in the copyright privilege and is indicated as Tomus Secundus. This was a ‘universal description’ of all the coins issued by the Roman Emperors and their successors from Julius Caesar up to the ruling Emperor, Charles v.28 It is in fact the numismatic corpus announced in the preface to the Epitome thesauri antiquitatum, which, as its title indicates, is a resumé of this more ambitious work. It was based on the collections of sketches, casts, descriptions of Roman coins Strada had brought together: the same material on which he drew for the Magnum ac novum opus, the corpus of numismatic drawings commissioned by Hans Jakob Fugger, and the accompanying volumes of detailed descriptions of obverses and reverses of each individual coin-type.29 In the following years it would grow in ambition and size, but it would never be printed, though it doubtless provided the basis for Ottavio Strada’s De vitis imperatorum et caesarum Romanorum, posthumously published in three volumes in Frankfurt in 1615–1618 [below, Figs. 14.47–14.48].30 That Strada conceived Panvinio’s Fasti et triumphi and his own numismatic corpus as complementary volumes is not illogical: the huge epigraphic state calendar, listing all the magistrates of the Roman Republic and the Empire, and the coins issued by the Emperors, together provide the principal authentic, contemporary sources on the chronology and the political history of the Roman Empire.
The ecclesiastical history of the Empire was to be served by the publication of another work that Strada had obtained from Onofrio Panvinio, a ‘brief description’ of the Popes from St Peter up to the ruling pontiff, Paul iv Carafa, giving a summary survey of the election, the principal acts and death of each Pope, and a list of the cardinals they created. It is a work of reference
The copyright privilege mentions two other works which were never published, but which in future would loom ever larger in Strada’s publishing projects. In fact it was Strada’s increasing ambition for these projects and the megalomaniac size they assumed over the course of the years that prevented their realization. The first is a ‘universal’ dictionary in the three classical languages, Greek, Latin and Hebrew, explaining all words and concepts, both ancient and contemporary, in these three languages.32 This was something which had been attempted before. What was exceptional was Strada’s intention to illustrate the entries not only with text passages, but also with ‘figures’ (here: tables and schemes) and ‘images’ drawn from his collection of ancient and modern sources. The use of appropriate images to illustrate the argument was also intended in the last book mentioned in the privilege, a corrected Latin translation of Leandro Alberti’s 1550 Descrittione di tutta Italia.33
14.4.3 The Two Books Actually Published: The Fasti et Triumphi and Epitome Pontificum
Of the five titles mentioned in the copyright privilege of January 1556 only two, the books compiled by Onofrio Panvinio, were ever published. These were printed in Venice at Strada’s expense, as is explicitly stated on the title pages and confirmed by the bookplate, which is a variant of that used for the Lyon Epitome thesauri antiquitatum [Figs. 14.14 and 14.18]. Perhaps Strada may have been aware that the Lyon Epitome was being pirated by a Swiss printer at this very time, which may have been the reason why he took the trouble to obtain additional copyright privileges from Ferdinand i, King of the Romans, and from Lorenzo Priuli, Doge of Venice, included with that obtained from Charles
Strada paid much attention to the appearance of the books: both are set in beautiful type; the Fasti et triumphi is printed in two colours and was illustrated with imperial portraits, for which the woodblocks of the Lyon Epitome were reused [Figs. 14.15–14.17]; the Epitome pontificum was illustrated with woodcuts representing the coats of arms of each Pope and of the principal cardinals created during their reign [Figs. 14.19–14.20]. Unfortunately Strada paid less attention to the actual typesetting of the Fasti et triumphi, which resulted in an ill-corrected volume with typographical errors which made the book unreliable as a work of chronological reference.36 Understandably this infuriated Panvinio, who was in Venice at the time and decided to disavow
As on his own Epitome thesauri antiquitatum, on the title page of his editions of Panvinio’s works Strada proudly marks their provenance ‘Ex Musaeo Jacobi Stradae, Mantuanae, Civis Romani, Antiquarij’. This probably implies that he had acquired the manuscript copies, but it is clear that his purchase had been made with the express intent to publish them. This is clear from Agustín’s advising Panvinio that he was allowed to have his own versions printed if he wished, but that he ought to wait with actually selling copies of the titles he had sold to Strada until a decent time span had passed, say three to four years.37 So Panvinio had actually been paid for his work, which then as now was not always the case with authors of scholarly works. Moreover Strada had attempted to do Panvinio proud: the splendid execution of the Fasti et triumphi must have required a quite considerable investment. Panvinio understandably was more concerned with scholarly correctness than with splendid type and unnecessary imperial portraits, and certainly Strada’s carelessness in not correcting the mistake in the Fasti cannot be condoned. Yet Panvinio’s subsequent discrediting of Strada’s editions—he actually accused Strada of having printed the Epitome pontificum without his consent—probably caused Strada the loss of almost the whole of his investment. Strada sold his volumes of both titles to Pietro Perna, the well-known Italian printer and bookseller from Basle, who was to market them, and would pay Strada in instalments, but even in 1564 Strada had not yet received anything at all.38 So it is not surprising
14.5 The Musaeum as an Editorial Office?
14.5.1 The Copyright Privileges
As we have seen in Chapter 4.2, Strada used the dedications of the Panvinio volumes as a ploy to gain access to the Imperial court, dedicating the Epitome pontificum to Emperor Ferdinand i, and the Fasti et triumphi to his son and heir presumptive, Maximilian, King of Bohemia. This strategy was successful, leading to Strada’s appointment as architect and later also as antiquary to Ferdinand i and Maximilian ii. One assumes that his new tasks left him less time to spend on his editorial ambitions. And it is true that the first concrete bit of evidence relating to a planned publication dates only from December of 1572, when Strada obtained a copyright privilege from King Charles ix of France for an edition of Julius Caesar’s Commentaries.40 Yet it would be a mistake to conclude that Strada had shelved his plans for the time being: there are several indications that even during the second half of the 1560s, when he was strenuously occupied with his commissions from the Duke of Bavaria and—presumably—Maximilian ii, while at the same time building his own house in Vienna, he regularly paid attention to his editorial projects. Certainly
Another indication is Niccolò Stopio’s remark in his letter to Hans Jakob Fugger of 15 June 1567, reporting on Strada’s activities in Venice: ‘Strada does not consort with sculptors here, but only with goldsmiths or engravers, or miniaturists, which is his business (‘mestiere’)’.42 Clearly Strada profited from his trips to Venice to commission the desired woodcuts and engravings for the voluminous illustrated books he projected. The quantity and quality of the illustrations he envisaged presuppose a considerable time for their realization, both because good engravers may have been rare, and because Strada would not have the capital to pay for all of them at once. We know that the illustrations for Serlio’s Settimo Libro Book were engraved in Venice, as were those for the Sesto Libro, which would never be actually published. It is conceivable that images for some of his other projects were likewise commissioned during his visits to Venice.
Such commissions of course involved a lot of preparation. Strada had to provide a carefully drawn exemplar of each illustration for the engravers. This he cannot all have done himself during his short and busy sojourns in Venice, so these were probably prepared beforehand, both by himself and by assistants he employed in his studio, among whom his two elder sons Paolo and Ottavio. Since he presented these illustrations as scientific documents, such assistants must have worked from Strada’s own sketches, and in any case under his close supervision.
The same holds for the texts of the various books. These were not all written or even edited by Strada himself, but of course a definitive reading of the texts needed to be provided: Ottavio’s 1574 letter, discussed above, documents the care taken with the texts and the translations of the Serlio volumes. For
14.5.2 The Polyglot Dictionary
Strada himself explicitly speaks of the people he employed in at least one of his projects, the polyglot dictionary, in his letter of 28 December 1568 thanking Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga of Mantua for the patronage extended to his son Paolo. From this it appears that from a simple polyglot dictionary in the three classical languages it had developed into something much bigger:
At present in my house is being written a Dictionary of 11 languages; that is an effort of mine that I have begun eighteen years ago, and for which I have always kept people in my service to write it. The languages are these: Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldean, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Spanish, French, German, and Italian; in which at the appropriate places I will insert the medals, marble statues, tombs, in short everything which can be shown in images.46
Already two years earlier he had described the project in detail to Adam von Dietrichstein, hoping that he would use his influence as Imperial ambassador in Spain to move Philip ii to provide some financial support:
Since your departure here from Vienna, I have put together all the indices of this Dictionary, which take up eighteen volumes, similar to that of the letter A which Your Honour once saw in my studio. Now the first volume, the letter A, is being written; it is certainly quite delightful to see, both because of the many languages presented together, which are all written in their own characters, and for the images of the coins, the ancient statues, the funerary monuments in sculptured marble, the antique inscriptions and tablets, and everything whatever which can be shown by figures, and other things that I have brought together from all over the world, not without great expense. Every individual thing will have its explanation, which will be written in all of the languages mentioned<…>’.47
Apart from demonstrating one of the uses to which Strada intended to put the material he had brought together in his Musaeum, these passages also show that he functioned as the editor-in-chief or the publisher, rather than as the author, of the Dictionary: he had worked out its concept, and had taken care to bring together in his library the sources necessary for the work, and the images that were to illustrate it, and now was carefully coordinating the production of the texts. Some of these he may have written himself, but most of the actual work was probably done by scholars and scribes he employed to this end. Some of these may actually have worked on a daily basis in Strada’s Musaeum, but there is a good chance that many of the texts were requested and delivered by mail, especially when more recondite expertise was demanded. The work was actively supported by Maximilian ii, who in the 1570s would recommend Strada’s efforts to raise funds for the completion of the project, and facilitated
14.5.3 Caesar’s Complete Works, Annotated and Illustrated
It may be assumed that Strada occasionally or regularly employed scholars and artists in a similar way for his many other projects, for instance in translating Leandro Alberti’s Description of Italy into Latin and in providing the supplements he planned to add to it. As we shall see below, the number and the character of the encyclopaedic compilations which Strada had available for publication by the mid-1570s indicate that work on these had steadily continued during the 1560s. The first concrete piece of evidence of these is a copyright privilege from the French King Charles ix, which was granted to Strada on Christmas Day of 1572. This apparently extended to a list of several planned publications, but it is known only through the text as included in Strada’s 1575 edition of Caesar’s Commentaries, and therefore only gives title and description of that one book.49
From this document it appears that the work as planned differed from the one eventually printed [Fig. 14.21–14.27]. In the first place, Strada intended the book to be bilingual, presenting the complete Latin text next to an Italian translation: the exact reverse of what he planned for Serlio’s Settimo Libro, where Serlio’s Italian was complemented by a Latin translation. That he thus wished to cover a European, rather than a local market is evidence for
What is particularly interesting is that Strada’s copyright privilege closely conforms to a book that was in fact published in Lyon a year before his own edition: this was likewise a complete edition of all of Caesar’s Commentaries, supplemented by Hirtius’ continuations and by comments by the contemporary scholars François Hotman, Fulvio Orsini and Aldo Manuzio the Younger, and lacking only the scholia to the Bellum Gallicum and the Bellum Civile by Henricus Glareanus. This volume does include a copyright privilege which is dated earlier than Strada’s, but this only refers to Hotman’s Scholia in
It is difficult to understand exactly what happened. Maybe Strada obtained or even commissioned the supplements through one of his contacts—perhaps
14.5.4 The Copyright Privilege of 1574
As could be expected, Strada’s book as published more closely conforms to its description in the Imperial copyright he was accorded by Maximilian ii on 30 May 1574 [Figs. 14.21–14.27]. This privilege is an important milestone in the development of Strada’s editorial project: apart from the Caesar (nr iii.) and
The last two works mentioned in the privilege were dedicated to numismatics: nr vi. presented a series of coins of all Roman, Byzantine and German Emperors and their various family members, and to which Strada added those of the Ravenna Exarchs and the Lombard kings of Italy. It was basically intended as a conventional though relatively complete ‘Bildnisvitenbuch’, a picture book in which the images of each personage were accompanied by only the briefest potted biographies or ‘elogii’.58
Nr vii., on the other hand, was a much more ambitious work: probably an evolution of the numismatic corpus described in Strada’s 1556 privilege, it provided full biographies of all these same Emperors, their relatives, usurping tyrants, exarchs and so on, each of which was to be followed by a complete survey of the coins struck during their reigns.59 These illustrations were based on the numismatic material Strada had collected during his travels, which he had had carefully engraved in copperplate, rather than in woodcuts as in his
Strada’s 1574 copyright privilege gives some indication of the direction and the scope of his ambition as a publisher. All works listed are related to the history or the arts of classical Antiquity, though some of these, such as the Serlio volumes, are geared towards contemporary use of the antique example or precept. Most of them are exhaustive, of an encyclopaedic character; all of them are directed towards a literate, but not necessarily a purely academic audience. Certainly they were directed at a prosperous audience, since none of them can have been cheap: they are all huge volumes, folios or ample quartos, some of them in many volumes. Perhaps their most important common characteristic is that each and all of them were to be provided with ample illustrations. This would have made them more expensive, but also more attractive to the wealthy clientele envisaged, yet only the Serlio volumes, the Equestrium Statuarum and the Series Imperatorum can be imagined to some extent as Renaissance equivalents of the coffee-table book. Strada’s insistence on including such visuals aids rather reflects his conviction of the value of the image—and therefore of drawing and design, the art of making images—as a source of information and expertise, of knowledge. This conviction he had shared with or even contributed to Hans Jakob Fugger and his circle; Fugger’s former librarian, Samuel Quiccheberg, codified it in his treatise on the science of collecting, the Inscriptiones vel tituli Theatrum of 1565, and a year later Strada himself expressed it in his 1566 letter to Adam von Dietrichstein cited earlier: ‘for truly, your lordship, by drawing one comes to know an infinite variety of things, and one’s judgment becomes more excellent on all subjects’.60
14.5.5 Printing in Frankfurt
Some time before requesting the copyright privilege, in March 1574, Strada told Hans Jakob Fugger that he planned to send his son Ottavio Strada to Venice ‘per alcuni miei negotij’, offering to have him execute any commissions for Fugger. Possibly Strada’s private business was connected with the acquisition of further antiquities and works of art: he offered to have Ottavio collect information
It is quite something that in Germany, where there are no Italians, someone is printing Italian [books]; if Wechel had not accepted to print, you wouldn’t have found any opportunity here, and certainly would have wasted your time in wanting to print Italian in Germany, where there is no one [to assist in that]: you would not believe how few learned men there are in Frankfurt.63
So there must have been serious reasons for Strada to abandon his project to print his books in Venice and to choose Frankfurt instead: perhaps German printers were cheaper, or perhaps he thought he would have less competition for his type of books in Germany; certainly the Frankfurt book fair must have provided a strong attraction. The suddenness of his decision in favour of Frankfurt, however, suggests that it may have had to do with a failure to obtain a safe-conduct from the Signoria that would protect him against the Papal Inquisition.64
Whatever may have been the reason, it is clear that when Strada in August prepared to send Ottavio to Frankfurt, it was explicitly to occupy himself with the printing project.65 As we have seen, Ottavio’s report to his father of the end of the year bears this out: it gives a good impression of the many different negotiations the complexity of his father’s ambitions involved him in. The letter, which appears to reflect point by point his father’s lost letter, indicates that Ottavio was fully in his father’s confidence, had discussed the many aspects of the various projects with him in detail, and had contributed his own ideas and opinions. It appears that, whereas his father supplied the intellectual concept and the idealistic drive for the project, Ottavio contributed a more level-headed, more business-like and realistic approach, and had an open eye for the potential market. Thus he was well aware of competing projects, advising against reprinting the Epitome thesauri antiquitatum in a German edition because that had already been done by others, but also noting that the edition of Caesar’s Commentaries that Andrea Palladio was preparing posed no threat, because that would be of a different character than the edition planned by Strada, with different images, and he believed their own book would be more beautiful than Palladio’s and could be offered at a lower price.66 Apart from books soon to be published—Serlio’s Settimo Libro and the Caesar edition—and other works mentioned in the copyright privilege, another two projects are discussed, a book on the history of the Popes, which was to be illustrated by coats of arms and was probably intended as a pendant to the Lives of the Emperors mentioned in the copyright privilege. Strada had asked the help of Giovanni Battista Fonteo, an Italian humanist active at the Imperial court, to complete the histories and to obtain drawings of the coats of arms.67
Another interesting project mentioned is an illustrated Bible, the images for which were to be designed by one ‘Jan Baptista’, probably Strada’s Mantuan associate Giovanni Battista Scultori, though Ottavio cautioned his father
14.6 Financing the Programme
14.6.1 Princely Support
Ottavio explicitly related the programme of books to print to the annual calendar of the world of the book, the Frankfurt book fair:
And God willing after the present fair we should have the book of festival costumes printed, and the German version of Serlio’s book; and while these are in press I will have the Castrametatio translated into Latin, and will try to have the arms of the Popes ready. And we need to try to bring out at least a couple of books at every fair, and we must have patience for at least two fairs before we will gain something from these; after which we will have greater ease to do other things.70
This makes clear that Strada’s publishing ambitions were not a mere side-line: as well as an attempt to divulge information which Strada thought of importance, it must be considered as an ambitious business enterprise. Possibly he was inspired by the example of the Lyon marchand-libraires, the Venice printing house of Aldus Manutius and the Antwerp printer Christophe Plantin, examples which must have made him think it possible both to publish his books and to make a solid profit on them. However mistaken he may have been in
In this he first of all reckoned on his most important patron, Emperor Maximilian ii. The first instance of this is Strada’s request presented to Maximilian sometime before 30 June 1573. In this he described his corpus of inscriptions in seven volumes, and the first volume, the letter A, of his polyglot dictionary.71 He then explained that he wishes to print these books, but that he lacks the necessary funds, so he asks the Emperor for ‘un buon aiuto di costa’, a subvention to enable him to bring out his books with dedications to Maximilian and his sons. Strada was realistic enough to realize that the Emperor could or would not cover such expense all by himself, so in one breath he asked for letters recommending his project to other potential sponsors: the councils of the free Imperial cities and the most prominent Princes of the Empire.72 To speed up his request, which was supported by Reichart Strein von Schwarzenau, Strada added his own concept of the letter of recommendation, the titles of the books involved carefully copied out. The requested letters were duly made
It is not clear whether this exercise did bring in any serious money. There was at least some response: thus Ottavio could receive a subvention of 40 Gulden in aid of his father’s planned book granted by the Nuremberg City Council.75 It appears that Ottavio was sent to travel around to follow up Maximilian’s request, and to receive any bounty conceded. The initiative seems to have yielded few concrete results: Strada’s only known thank-you letter dates only from September 1575, though this relates to a quite substantial amount of 500 Thaler, granted by the Elector August of Saxony.76 But Strada himself may not have known which Princes and Imperial cities had responded favourably to Maximilian’s recommendation, because Ottavio appears to have kept back for himself the moneys he was delegated to receive on behalf of his father. That, at least, is the first of his alleged crimes listed in Strada’s will of 1584, which excluded Ottavio almost entirely from his father’s succession. If true, this would explain why Strada thanked the Elector August for his bounty only in 1575, when he may have heard of his gift through other channels (perhaps Hubert Languet or the Saxon representative at the Imperial court).77 But these allegations, to which
14.6.2 Attempts to Sell House and Collection
While visiting Prague sometime in the summer or early autumn of 1573, Strada communicated the disappointing results of his initiative to his patron, Vilém z Rožmberk. Coming back to this in a letter written shortly before Christmas, he announced that he now had decided to sell his collection and his library, as well as his house, in order to be able to finance the printing of his books. Strada first offered it all to Rožmberk, both because of ‘der alte Kundschaft’ , his longstanding and continuing patronage, and because at an earlier time Rožmberk had expressed interest in the house. Strada offered it to him for eight thousand Thaler ‘though it has cost me more than nine thousand’. For the ‘Kunstkammer’ and the ‘Liberey’ he referred to the inventory and pricelist he had given Rožmberk on the occasion of an earlier visit to his house; and he was rather sanguine as to his reaction, because he expressed the hope that his patron would accept the offer before the end of January, so that Strada could take the cash with him on his planned trip to Venice in February 1574.79
Strada’s optimism was misplaced: considered as an investment in real estate his house turned out to be a failure, and he would continue his unsuccessful attempts to convert it into ready money for the rest of his life. Rožmberk appears not to have risen to the bait, for in a letter to Hans Jakob Fugger of 1 March of the same year Strada proposed the house as a suitable residence for Prince Ferdinand of Bayern, Duke Albrecht’s second son, who was rumoured to come and spend a few years at the Imperial court; but this offer again yielded no positive response.80 In November 1575 Strada approached Elector August of Saxony. After thanking him for the subvention he had been given for the polyglot Dictionary, and presenting him with a set of copies of Titian’s portraits of the first twelve Roman Emperors in return, Strada continues with a glowing description of his Kunstkammer and his library. He then presents its key to the Elector, thus symbolically presenting its contents, and begging him to accept it in exchange for a modest annual pension to maintain himself and his children, which would enable him to continue the Dictionary in Saxony. Again, there is no evidence that August seriously considered this proposal.81
An explicit refusal of Strada’s offer, if any, must have been couched in friendly terms, if Strada a year later seriously expected August might employ him as an architect. That was the reason why early in September 1576, at the Imperial Diet at Regensburg, Strada presented a request to Maximilian, asking him for letters of recommendation and a passport to Saxony. But in the same request he also asked the Emperor to instruct his son Rudolf, King of the Romans, of Hungary and of Bohemia, to suggest to the Bohemian Estates that they present him with Strada’s library, to serve as a royal library in Prague castle. He moreover begged Maximilian to ask Vilém z Rožmberk to intercede with the Estates to pay Strada a decent sum for it. In the letter he does not mention his printing ambitions as his motive, but refers to the load of debts he had accumulated both in Vienna and in Frankfurt, the latter of which must have been largely due
This creative solution was not very realistic; in any case Maximilian’s Privy Council decided not to discuss it, though Strada was granted the requested letters of recommendation to August of Saxony.83 Strada must have reckoned with a refusal to his proposal, for in the same request he also proposed an alternative: he asked to be allowed to institute a lottery, in which his house and his collection, which together he valued at a total of seventeen thousand Thaler, would be the prizes. By selling lottery tickets he hoped thus to realize a sufficient sum to be able to pay his debts and to continue printing his books.84 He
14.6.3 Ex Musaeo et Impensis Jacobi Stradae
When Strada realized that his attempts to obtain direct subventions from patrons would not be sufficiently successful to continue printing after he had realized his first two projects, Serlio’s Settimo Libro and Caesar’s Commentaries,
On the other hand the printer of Serlio’s Settimo Libro, Andreas Wechel, probably invested in it, since it is his name that is given in the impressum, though again title page and colophon are decorated with two versions of Strada’s printer’s mark [Fig. 14.30].88
It can be concluded that Strada’s projects were not commercially viable and could not be printed without subventions from wealthy patrons. Though there is no evidence that Maximilian contributed, Strada later claimed that he had intended to do so and had actually commanded Strada to discuss his project with the Hofkammer, but that his sudden death in October 1576 interrupted these negotiations. Be that as it may, it is certain that Maximilian’s protection and his recommendation were of great value and that his death was a huge setback for Strada’s projects.89 In consequence Strada attempted to interest other Princes to take his projects under their wing, more often implicitly, but sometimes explicitly, such as when he offered Grand Duke Francesco of Tuscany some of his works to be printed at a press he had heard the Grand Duke intended to set up. Dani’s notes indicated that the formal reply informed Strada that there was at the time no press operated on behalf of the Medici Grand Dukes, but that he was free to have his books printed at his own expense by one of the printers active in Florence, such as the Giunti or ‘Maestro Giorgio
14.7 The Index Sive Catalogus
14.7.1 The Document
Some years later, in a letter to Jacopo Dani of November 1581, Strada sent a list of works he intended to have printed in Frankfurt and offered to dedicate one or more of these to the Grand Duke. In the beginning of the same year Strada had made a similar, but more concrete proposal to the Elector August, to whom he had sent a copy of the same list of works.91 The list sent to Florence
Index or catalogue of the books that I, Jacopo Strada, in part composed myself at my own initiative, in part had composed and written [by others] at my commission and expense, and finally in part acquired and purchased by other means.
This Index exists in several copies, of which the versions sent to Florence and Dresden are the earliest that can be dated by their context [see Appendix D]. But it was drafted much earlier, perhaps already as early as 1576, when Strada discussed his projects with Maximilian ii, certainly before August 1578, when Strada paraphrased a substantial part of its contents in his proposal to the Antwerp printer Christophe Plantin. It has been preserved in several, almost identical copies. After the first forty-nine items listed in all of these, what appears to be the earliest copy continues with a list of hundred and fifty-one miscellaneous volumes of manuscripts, including over five hundred individual titles. For that reason the Index sive catalogus has been often interpreted as a ‘catalogue’ of Strada’s library. Considering that it is a list of books in his collection, that view is not completely without foundation. But if so, it would only represent a fraction of Strada’s library, which, according to himself, counted over three thousand printed books in addition to his manuscripts. It seems more likely that this second part of the Index represents manuscripts that Strada offered for sale to potential patrons.
The first part of the document, listing forty-nine items, certainly was offered to Strada’s patrons: apart from the Elector of Saxony and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Elector Palatine was probably one of its recipients.92 But Strada offered the titles listed in it not for purchase, but explicitly as works which he intended to have printed, soliciting financial support from his patrons in exchange for the dedication of the relevant item. This may seem odd in the case of one or two of the treasures described, such as the huge bird’s eye view of Rome—‘a thing, by Hercules! worth contemplating’—which Strada had commissioned from ‘that excellent Netherlandish painter’ (item 16) or a similar image of Cairo, which Strada had copied from an old painting preserved in the
Moreover almost all the other items included in the list were intended to be printed, as is clear from their descriptions, which give information on their contents, but sometimes also on their status of completion, and in how far the illustrations had already been finished and engraved. This latter fact is of importance, because the common characteristic of almost all of the items included in the Index is that Strada intended to illustrate them profusely. In many cases the images were in fact the raison d’être of the work, as is the case for the various ‘tabulae’ listed in the Index. Doubtless these were intended to be printed on separate sheets which the buyer could at will have bound in a book, have pasted together on a linen support, as was the custom for geographical maps (a good solution for the bird’s eye’s views of Rome and Cairo and for the view of the Castrametatio of Suleiman the Magnificent at his siege of Vienna (items 11, 12 and 8), or formed into a rotulus: a good solution for sets of images of the Columns of Trajan, Marcus Aurelius and Theodosius, the frieze of the Camera degli Stucchi in the Palazzo del Te (items 37, 40, 41 and 42), and the various images documenting how the Sultan, his suite and his army set out for his campaigns (items 10 and 11).
The Index sive catalogus is a very important document, not only for its information on the holdings of Strada’s Musaeum, as discussed in Chapter 13, but also because it provides the complete and final summary of Strada’s publishing project. It was this document he sent to potential sponsors, it was this document he paraphrased in his letter to Plantin, and most significantly, it was this document that he appended unchanged to his will, charging his heirs and his executors to realize this specific programme. It took him about fifteen years since his first publications to establish this final programme, so it was well-considered, and must reflect both his own tastes and convictions, and his perception of what was feasible, considering the patronage available and the demand in the marketplace. The results of his efforts demonstrate that this perception was overly optimistic; yet a brief survey of the programme will be useful in providing a more clear idea of Strada’s tastes, convictions and ideals.
The contents of the Index sive catalogus corresponds closely with Strada’s interest as we have seen them in discussing his earlier career and his collections: its principal components are antiquarian, artistic and historical materials, to which are added a number of projected publications on similar aspects of the Ottoman Empire. Strada’s library was very large and covered all faculties and disciplines, and doubtless he provided his patrons with literature in all these fields. But in the Index popular subjects such as theology, medicine, jurisprudence, even classical literature are conspicuously absent. It is clear that Strada did not intend to set up a sort of general publishing house, but explicitly specialized in the few fields of his own expertise. In the following the document, the text of which is annexed in Appendix D, can only be briefly surveyed.
14.7.2 The Dictionarium xi Linguarum
The principal works listed, and with which the Index opens, are huge compilations of antiquarian material: inscriptions, coins and other remains from the ancient world. Though no classical texts are included as such, nevertheless the philological aspect is present in the most ambitious work in the whole list, the Dictionarium xi linguarum, a profusely illustrated polyglot encyclopaedia that has already been discussed above (Ch. 14.5.2). In its description in the Index sive catalogus Strada explicitly points out that its entries are all based on the phrases provided by the ‘best received authors’ of classical Antiquity or, as he wrote to Grand Duke Francesco i: ‘all these languages are presented according to the phrases of [= as found in the works of] Cicero and other learned men’.94 Such interest in language and correct usage was only natural, since it
The encyclopaedic, comprehensive character of the Dictionarium xi linguarum and of several other works mentioned in the Index reflects the ideas of Fugger and his circle, as does the one bibliographical work included. This is a planned edition in two volumes of the Bibliotheca or Myrobiblion of the Byzantine scholar St. Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople (ca 810–893 ad), a compilation of summaries and critical reviews of Greek Classical and Patristic texts that is of the greatest importance, because many of the works treated in it have since been irrevocably lost. Strada’s project (item 21) antedates the editio princeps [Fig. 14.31] of this important text by about a quarter of a century.96 The complicated history of this edition (Augsburg 1601) and of the manuscripts on which it was based, is exhaustively treated in a five hundred-page study by Luciano Canfora. It was the fruit of a subversive collaboration between David Hoeschel, a Protestant humanist from Augsburg, and Andreas Schott, a highly learned Flemish Jesuit, who a few years later also published the first Latin edition.97 Though Canfora does refer to the transcript of the Venetian manuscript in Fugger’s possession—possibly provided by Strada—he makes no reference to Strada’s project. This was at least partly based on Fugger’s transcript, which Strada borrowed shortly before Fugger’s library was transferred to Munich. Strada’s project may have been a collaboration with his Vienna colleague,
Heading the Index sive catalogus, the Dictionarium xi Linguarum is obviously the work by which Strada set most store, and in the composition of which he had heavily invested. Basically it should be considered as an illustrated encyclopaedia of the ancient world, comparable to similar antiquarian projects such as those planned by the Academia Vitruviana in Rome in the 1540s and 1550s, and Pirro Ligorio’s manuscripts. Like those it illustrated the individual entries by relevant texts and images of coins, inscriptions, monuments and so on. In covering eleven languages its scope was even larger than these other projects, which likewise were never completed, let alone published. When Strada described his project in the index, about a quarter of a century after he had begun it, he had just about reached the letter B. The complete letter A took up ‘sixteen huge folio volumes containing 2,500 folii, written on both sides in
Since the material, if still existent, has not as yet been identified, it is difficult to judge its character and its quality. Perhaps one should consider the Dictionarium xi linguarum as a huge illustrated encyclopaedia, giving full excerpts of source texts and editorial comments, whereas its Index would have been limited to the terms, their translations, and brief source references (both to texts and images). In his letter to Plantin Strada compares it to the concordances of Plantin’s polyglot Biblia Regia. Probably it looked like—and could be used as—a ‘normal’ dictionary.100
14.7.3 Other Antiquarian Works
Basis for the content of the Dictionarium xi Linguarum was the antiquarian information Strada had brought together in the course of his career, and which he had codified in two corpora which in the Index sive catalogus immediately follow the Dictionarium and its indices. Item 3 consists of seven volumes of inscriptions, carefully reproduced, including the surrounding ornament ‘exactly as they are in the marbles, stones and tablets themselves’. Strada precisely
Item 4 complements the epigraphic corpus with a numismatic corpus, consisting of eleven volumes describing nine thousand antique coins: this can be identified with Strada’s A(ureum) A(rgentum) A(eneum) Numismatωn Antiquorum Διασκευέ: complete manuscript copies of this are preserved in the
Iitem 7 was conceived as the visual component of this textual numismatic corpus: this was a book drawn in Strada’s own hand on folio sheets each showing images of twelve coins and their reverses. These were chronologically ordered, beginning at Julius Caesar and ending with the ruling Emperor, Rudolf ii. Compared to this, item 5, which showed just one coin and its reverse preceding a brief life of each Emperor, should be considered as a luxury item directed at a more general public. As to its contents it can be compared to Strada’s own Epitome thesauri antiquitatum, as to its appearance Strada probably envisaged something close to the beautifully executed volumes of Hubert Goltzius’ Icones Imperatorum Romanorum, with their splendid chiaroscuro woodcuts [Figs. 14.33–14.34], rather than to Andreas Gessner’s pirated folio edition of Strada’s Epitome [Figs. 14.32 and above, Figs. 14.12–14.13].
Complementing these series of imperial effigies based on their coinage was a book illustrating their portraits from portrait busts preserved in Rome and elsewhere (item 6). This item can be related to the separate sets of drawings recently rediscovered in the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett [above, Ch. 13.7.1; Figs. 13.78 and 13.79–13.81]: though not identical, they give a good impression what it would have looked like.103 Classical sculpture was further represented in the sets of drawings of the friezes of the columns of Trajan (item 37) and of Marcus Aurelius (item 41) in Rome and of Theodosius in Constantinople (item 40), and possibly in item 36, drawings of ‘all sorts of figures, reliefs, and ancient worked and carved sarcophagi and monuments [found] among the Roman, Neapolitan, Florentine, Venetian, Mantuan and other Italian peoples’. But since the phrasing of the latter description suggests the contemporary political situation rather than that of the Roman Empire, the chance is that these drawings represented or at least included medieval and contemporary funerary monuments, rather than ancient ones.
Item 34, on the other hand, ‘some books, drawn by hand, of buildings and architecture<…>which I myself have drawn after most ancient buildings, and have reduced as much as was possible to the same scale’ probably was dedicated chiefly to (reconstructions of) ancient Roman monuments, though it may have included later buildings—such as Pisa Cathedral [above, Fig. 13.22] or the Florentine Baptistery—that at the time were considered antique or equivalent to the Antique.
Among the antiquarian works there are several with a military theme. The friezes of the three Columns of Trajan, Marcus Aurelius and Theodosius already mentioned are the principal examples, since these show military campaigns conducted by each of these Emperors: that of Trajan in particular is a mine of detailed information about the art of warfare as practised by the Romans. In this respect it is interesting that Strada intended to publish Giulio Romano’s double frieze from the Camera degli Stucchi in the Palazzo del Te (item 14) not as a contemporary work of art, but as a complement to these three authentic friezes: he trusted Giulio’s archaeological acumen sufficiently to consider it as an authoritative reconstruction of the manner in which Julius Caesar set out on his campaigns.
The same seems true of Sebastiano Serlio’s reconstruction of the Castrametatio, the lay-out of the Roman military camp as described by Polybius and later writers. According to Strada, at the request of King Francis i Serlio had designed a huge plan (tabula) or reconstruction of this (item 12), and a companion piece in which Polybius’ plan was adapted for the lay-out of a walled garrison
14.7.4 The Ottoman Army
Strada shared an interest in the military strategy and technique of the Ottoman Empire with many of his contemporaries. It seems a conscious parallel that next to the images documenting the battle order of the Roman Emperors as depicted in the Column of Trajan, Strada intended to print similar documentation of the manner in which the Sultan and his armies set out on their campaigns. He possessed two sets of documentation of this, both ‘tabulae’, the first of which had been reduced to a book format: this had been copied from a set of drawings which Antoine Escalin des Aimars, baron de la Garde, the legendary Capitaine Paulin or Polin, ambassador and admiral of the French king’s galleys, had brought back from Constantinople as a gift for his sovereign (item 10).106
The second ‘tabula’ (item 11) was much more splendid, better drawn and showing more human figures and ‘other things’ than Escalin’s version. It had been brought back to Vienna from Constantinople by Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, Ferdinand and Maximilian’s learned ambassador to the Sultan, who allowed Strada to copy it (as well as presenting him with countless ancient coins). Its style may have been similar to the famous Kostümbuch drawn in Constantinople by Lambert de Vos a few years later for Busbecq’s successor, Karel Rijm [Fig. 14.37–14.39].107
Just as these drawings provided an Ottoman, contemporary parallel to those of the friezes of the Roman column monuments, Strada’s documentation of the Roman castrametatio was mirrored by no less than three different tabulae documenting the manner in which the Turkish army encamped. The first of these (item 8) was based on a huge map of Suleiman’s 1527 siege of Vienna in the Palazzo Ducale at Mantua, which Strada had borrowed from the Duke in order to have it copied in 1571.108 The original was painted by an unnamed Flemish artist in gouache on canvas shortly after the event. It depicted the siege in great detail, paying particular attention to the various tents housing the Sultan himself, his Pashas and the captains of his Janissaries as well as to the actual topography of Vienna and its surrounding countryside. The second one (item 9) was not quite as magnificent as the first: it showed Suleiman’s castrametatio in his wars against the Persians. This had been painted by ‘some Frenchman who in Turkey had abjured the Christian faith’, and it had been brought back from Constantinople by Strada’s friend and patron, Bishop Antonius Verantius (Antun Vrančić), Busbecq’s fellow ambassador.109 The third instance (item 39) consisted of two large images, the sheets of which were bound as a book, but its draughtsman and origin are defined no further. Finally item 28, a ‘chronicle written in Arabic on [the history and/or the genealogy of] the Ottoman dynasty’ is paralleled in item 19, Liber de familia illustrissimae domus Austriacae, on the history and the genealogy of the House of Austria.
14.7.5 Contemporary Art
On his travels Strada had collected huge quantities of documentation, by direct purchase as well as by explicit commissions, both of antiquarian material—numismatics, inscriptions, sculptures, the remains of ancient monuments—and of contemporary achievements in the arts. Though the accent in his publishing programme is squarely on the antiquarian material, five items in the Index sive catalogus show that Strada did intend to publish some of the contemporary material as well. Two of these are collections of images of palaces and of monumental tombs respectively, found in Rome and in the principal Italian cities (items 35 and 36). We do not know what they looked like, but their description suggests a high-class type of coffee-table book, which could serve both as a souvenir for travellers and as a source of inspiration for patrons and the artists they employed. Their type is similar to the print series published from the mid-sixteenth century onward by Roman and Venetian printer’s firms, such as Antonio Lafréry and Hieronymus Cock, mostly documenting the antiquities of Rome. Strada knew these series very well and they may well have served as his example for these two items. His interest in documenting contemporary monuments nevertheless seems a little out of the ordinary.
Two other items, however, are quite out of the ordinary: these are the complete reproduction of the entire decoration of Raphael’s Loggia in Vatican Palace (item 42) and of the architecture and decoration of Giulio Romano’s Palazzo del Te and of the apartments he designed in the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua (item 41). The lengthy descriptions in the Index indicate the value that Strada attached to these items, both of which were based on the reproduction drawings he had commissioned himself, and which have been discussed in greater
Much of the material intended to be used in these various volumes doubtless was likewise drawn upon for item 44: a hugely expanded, illustrated edition of Leandro Alberti’s Descrittione di tutta Italia, which had first been published in Bologna in 1550. This was a project of long standing, since it had already been included in the copyright privilege Strada had obtained from Charles V. in January 1556; I will come back to it below.112
14.7.6 Miscellaneous Materials
In addition to the antiquarian material, the contemporary art and the Ottoman themes, the Index sive catalogus lists a few books in other fields, mostly rather succinctly described, which suggest that Strada included them for their rarity, their curiosity value, and perhaps for the supposed interest of some of his patrons, rather than out of any specific personal affinity. These include some esoteric works on magic, alchemy and divination: items 22 (Picatrix), 23 (Annulus Salomonis) and 24 (De geomantia liber). Items 29, 30 and 31, concerned with chronology, belonged together and consisted of an Arabic treatise on the fabrication of clocks and calendars, another Arabic calendar and a very carefully executed astrolabe and its tables. Item 32 was another astrolabe, which came from Jerusalem, was therefore ‘extremely old’ and its inscriptions were all in Chaldean. Finally items 25, 26 and 28 were of a theological nature: item 26 was the Koran written in golden script already referred to, item 25 a Bible written in Arabic which Paolo Strada had brought with him from Constantinople, and item 48 a Greek genealogy of the Holy Virgin. Such miscellaneous items must have been included in the list primarily because of their curiosity value, a conclusion which is corroborated by the closing passage of the Index which refers to the many other beautiful and rare things Strada kept in his library and his Musaeum.
14.8 Strada’s Approach of Christophe Plantin
Summarizing, one must conclude that, though Strada may have ultimately intended to publish all of the works listed in the Index sive catalogus, some of them were nevertheless closer to his heart than others. Moreover Strada was not completely destitute of a sense of reality, and in his less sanguine moments he realized that not all his projects were feasible. Thus in his letter to Grand Duke Francesco of Tuscany he showed that he knew that the printing even of the letter A only of his Dictionary really was a practical impossibility—though he continued to hope to have at least its indices printed. As we have seen, Strada had hoped the Grand Duke would himself undertake to have this and other items from his programme printed at Florence.113 At the Grand Duke’s polite refusal, Strada decided to approach a professional publisher. Characteristically he opted for the biggest professional publisher in Europe: the Antwerp ‘Archprinter’ Christophe Plantin [Fig. 14.41].
Through his connection with the book trade Strada was well aware of Plantin’s productions: thus when in 1573 he had requested Maximilian ii to recommend his fundraising to print the letter A of his Dictionary, he had explicitly compared it with the concordances of Plantin’s famous Polyglot Bible, which was just coming out at that time.114 When Rembertus Dodonaeus, the well-known Flemish botanist, came to Vienna in 1574 to serve as Maximilian’s physician [Fig. 14.42], he appears to have been sufficiently impressed by Strada’s
At the time Strada did not avail himself of this offer, but once Dodonaeus had returned to Antwerp in March 1578, and Strada’s other attempts to realize his ambitions had foundered, he wrote to Dodonaeus reminding him of his promise, and included a list of the books he asked Dodonaeus to present to Plantin. This list is an item by item paraphrase in Italian of the Index sive catalogus, and thus provided Plantin at one go with the entire publishing programme Strada had in mind, in case anything in it might appeal to his correspondent.115 But Strada singled out one item in which he thought Plantin might be particularly interested, and with which he himself had been strenuously occupied over the last year. This was an expanded, illustrated Latin edition of Leandro Alberti’s Descrittione di tutta Italia, which had been first published in Italian in 1550, two years before its author’s death. Though as item nr 44 it comes relatively late in Strada’s Index sive catalogus, it was nevertheless a project with which he had been involved for many years, since a Latin edition of the book is already mentioned in the copyright privilege Strada obtained from Charles v in 1556: that is ten years before the first Latin translation, by the humanist lawyer Wilhelm Kyriander, would actually be printed in Cologne.116
Strada appears to have continued collecting material to illustrate it ever since, but in 1577 he undertook a concerted effort to complete the appendices he envisaged. He wrote to the Dukes of Mantua and Ferrara, sketching his plans for the new edition in rosy colours and telling them exactly what materials he intended to add to the original version. For each region he intended to add a precise geographical map, as well as views of its principal cities and fortresses. For every city he also intended to add images of the principal monuments, ‘that is, both the ancient buildings, and the modern, with their plans and elevations well measured’; then the ancient inscriptions ‘drawn exactly as in they are in the marble, with the figures and ornaments that are found around them’. Moreover he wanted to add appendices with the names of the illustrious men of letters of each city and the works they had written; and finally
Strada also asked both Dukes for further documentary material: he reminded Alfonso d’Este of an earlier promise to provide him with a copy of Giovanni Battista Pigna’s History of the Este family of 1570, which he had never received. Strada asked Guglielmo Gonzaga for the loan of any similar information ‘on the antiquities of your house’ the Duke might have available in manuscript, to which he offered to add materials from his own collection. Moreover he listed
In his letter to Plantin Strada added some information about the practical aspects of his projected edition of Alberti’s Description of Italy. Thus most of the views of the various cities were already engraved in wood or, if the blocks had not yet been cut, the designs had already been drawn directly onto the blocks for the engraver, in a uniform size similar to the small landscapes included in Strada’s 1575 edition of Caesar’s Commentaries [above, Fig. 14.23–14.24]. He suggested that the maps of the individual regions, which should be of a larger size, could best be executed in copper engraving. Most of the coats of arms were already engraved, and the rest could be easily done in Antwerp, where there were far more and better engravers than in Vienna. It seems clear that in most cases Strada had drawn the models onto the woodblocks in person: at least that is what he offered to do for all the illustrations that had not yet been engraved, both for the Descrittione and for the other works he proposes to Plantin. For one other item, the illustrations of portrait busts of Emperors and their consorts, item 6 of the Index sive catalogus, Strada gave a practical suggestion: the portrait heads or busts themselves should be engraved in copper, but the pedestals for all could be printed from one woodblock, in which a space was kept open in which to compose the legends in letterpress; an impression of
Apart from such practical insights, Strada’s letter to Plantin gives a rare inkling of his approach to business. As his part of the deal he proposed to provide Plantin with a carefully edited manuscript of the Description of Italy and all the illustrations he had collected for it, both those he already had had engraved, and those he had merely drawn onto the woodblocks. But he expected Plantin to have engraved the remainder of the illustrations as well as to print as many copies of the book as he thought feasible, all entirely at his own expense, while Strada nevertheless laid claim to half of the profit once the books would start selling. He envisaged the same conditions for any of the other works in the list in which Plantin might be interested. In view of the doubtless considerable sums Strada had already invested in his various projects, this is not entirely unreasonable. But though not unreasonable, it is neither very realistic, in view of the huge investment Plantin would need to make should he agree to print such an ambitious book as the Description of Italy—for which at least a market can be assumed to have existed—let alone for the Indices to Strada’s polyglot Dictionary, for which any potential market would have been restricted to the scholarly world.
So it is not surprising that Plantin’s response was lukewarm at most. The draft of his reply was actually written by his son-in-law Jan Moretus [Fig. 14.40], who ran the Antwerp branch of the firm while Plantin himself managed the branch in Leiden, where he had been appointed printer to the newly founded University.119 Recognizing that Strada had brought together the manuscripts he proposed at great expense, Moretus first reacted to Strada’s business proposition, stating quite clearly that Plantin was not used to pay for manuscripts of new books: his usual procedure was to let the author have one or two dozen copies of the book as printed. As an alternative the book could be printed entirely at the author’s expense, in which case of course all copies and any eventual profit were his, rather than the printer’s. Plantin’s firm had never wanted to print books ‘in compagnia’, that is in a co-production between two or more investors sharing the eventual profit, which is basically what Strada proposed. Moretus explains that Strada is unreasonable in expecting the printer to bear all the expenses of the engraving of the illustrations and the printing of the book, and then still only allowing him half of the copies produced, ‘which even when printed perhaps are not worth as much as the cost of the illustrations he
The general impression is that Moretus did not take Strada’s proposal very seriously, though he was prepared to have any illustrations executed or to print any book that Strada wished, if at the latter’s expense. And he did like the concept of the Description of Italy and was prepared to enter into negotiations about that, provided Strada would send him the text and all available illustrations—‘for one can form no judgment, or come to an agreement about a thing one has not seen’—and that he would delegate an agent with full powers to clinch a deal.
It is not known whether this letter actually reached Strada and whether he responded to it: there is no record of any further contact between Strada and Plantin. Strada doubtless did not intend to hand over his materials to Plantin merely in exchange for a few copies of the printed books, which would imply that he would almost entirely lose the considerable investments he had made over the years to compose the books listed in his Index sive catalogus, and to bring together the materials necessary to illustrate them in accordance with the high standards he had in mind. On the other hand he would not—probably could not—invest any further in the actual printing of even just a few of these books. With the death of Maximilian ii and the consequent loss of Strada’s privileged position at the Imperial court, there was moreover little stimulus for other princes or magnates to help Strada’s projects by providing financial assistance. So it is not surprising that Strada, besides attempting to interest Plantin in his venture, engaged in the various futile efforts to raise money for his projects which have been described above, such as the lottery of his house and collection.
14.9 The Rupture with Ottavio
But it was not only Maximilian’s death which frustrated Strada’s ambitions. Another factor was the rupture, probably about a year later, with his son Ottavio, who, as we have seen, was instrumental both in the actual production of the books, and in the collecting of the subventions Strada obtained from at least some of his patrons. It is not clear when exactly this rupture occurred: it can be assumed that it was preceded by a period of increasing irritation, which doubtless was mutual. Relations were still harmonious when Strada conveyed greetings of both Paolo and Ottavio to Jacopo Dani in June 1576, and informs him of their careers in October 1577. Ottavio is not mentioned, however, in the letter to Plantin—when he would have been the obvious go-between, having earlier travelled to the Southern Netherlands on behalf of his father’s projects—and in Strada’s letter to Dani of 1581 no mention is made of him either.121
By 1584, when Strada drew up his last will, the rupture was definitive and irreversible: Strada almost entirely disinherited his second son, in favour of his elder son Paolo and his young, legitimized son Tobia.122 The reasons for this take up a huge portion of the document: Strada charges Ottavio with no less than sixteen alleged offenses and crimes, accusations which—even if only half of them were true—indeed provide ample justification for Strada’s decision. They range from simple embezzlements, through theft and fraud, to personal aggressions which suggest a pathological, almost oedipal hatred of his father: Ottavio’s rape and attempted murder of his father’s mistress certainly is extremely shocking.123 When Archduke Ernest had presented Strada with an excellent palfrey, Ottavio had wilfully ruined the horse and wounded and insulted Strada’s faithful servant; and when his father once in Prague had upbraided him for his wayward behaviour, he had became so angry that he began tearing up a book belonging to the Emperor, in which he was prevented only
Obviously something had gone very, very wrong between father and son. On the one hand Ottavio may have reacted unkindly to the low-born servant who replaced his late mother in his father’s affections.124 On his part the elder Strada may not have easily brooked the fact that Ottavio appeared to have taken over his position with Rudolf ii, who largely ignored the elder Strada. What at most can be said is that Strada very likely exaggerated Ottavio’s crimes, and that his own authoritarian and uncompromising behaviour may have contributed to his son’s rebellion. Yet there can be no doubt that Ottavio’s behaviour towards his father, if not criminal, at least was reprehensible and possibly inexcusable.
Some of Ottavio’s transgressions were in fact criminal in nature, such as when, on two occasions, he forged his father’s signature in order to obtain money from his business associates. Even worse, when he pocketed the proceeds of the two books he had had printed in Frankfurt at his father’s expense, he not only made out a false document stating that his father had made over these proceeds to him, but also spread the report that his father had died, which caused Strada endless trouble with the local magistrate to have himself acknowledged when arriving in Frankfurt in person. Or such as when Ottavio stole directly from his father’s Musaeum: not only hundred ducats’ worth of high quality Venetian paper, which he sold at his own profit to a local bookbinder, but also a beautiful clock, the masterpiece of the famous engineer Hans Gasteiger which had been a gift from Duke Albrecht v of Bavaria, and even part of Strada’s famous collection of Roman Imperial coins and some of his best drawings, which Ottavio likewise sold for his own benefit.125
Some of Ottavio’s ‘crimes’ were directly related to his acting as his father’s agent, and may have been his business decisions with which his father did not agree—perhaps even only in hindsight. When he claims that Ottavio had collected the subventions accorded by Elector August of Saxony and had kept these for himself, we cannot be certain that Ottavio did not invest them at least in part in the projects he was managing for his father.126 Moreover, when Strada reproached him to have spent money without his father’s knowledge
From this letter to his father it is clear that Ottavio was very much aware of the commercial side of the enterprise, probably much more than Jacopo himself. Ottavio’s antagonism may to some extent be the effect of growing irritation at the unrealistic ambitions and ideals of his father, which threatened to absorb a huge part of the patrimony of his family without much prospect of any immediate profit, and of Strada perhaps not sufficiently acknowledging his son’s serious efforts and initiatives to make their business prosper.
We shall never know the real causes of the clash between father and son—but we can easily deduce at least two of its effects on the success of Strada’s projects. The first is that Strada now lacked a trusted, competent and energetic assistant and agent to help organize, manage and supervise the production of the books, to negotiate with printers, draughtsmen, engravers and booksellers and to represent him with sponsors and business partners. Strada’s faithful elder son, Paolo Strada, who had been ordained a priest, lacked the interest in his father’s projects as well as the necessary energy and business acumen, whereas Strada’s habitual business partners in Nuremberg and Frankfurt, such as the Nieri, would lack the necessary expertise.
The second effect, probably of equal importance, is that Ottavio’s shady dealings—in particular his forging of his father’s signature to letters of exchange and his spreading the rumour that his father had died—must have damaged Strada’s credit with all but his closest associates. So Strada’s failure to bring out any other books after 1575 was due at least in part to Ottavio’s defection.
14.10 Strada’s Testamentary Disposition
Strada’s several attempts to raise money must be considered in the light of his increasing despair of realizing his ambition to realize even only part of his publishing programme. We have already seen how his plan to make a lottery of his
But even if these efforts had concrete results—which we do not know—these were not sufficient to allow Strada to realize his dreams within his lifetime. So he decided to provide for his project in his will or testament. The first version of this he made up in the spring of 1584 in Brno, where he had been carried after he had fallen seriously ill when employed at nearby Bučovice in Moravia by Jan Šembera Černohorsky z Boskovic.129 Since his property was mostly found in Vienna, he first tried to have the testament registered and guaranteed by the government of Lower Austria as well. In the end, however, he opted for a new version made up on the first of July of the same year: an imposing document held together by a splendid string of parti-coloured silk, and provided with the seals of Strada and the three witnesses.130
After the usual preliminaries Strada expressed the wish that, should he die in Vienna, he was to be buried in the Franciscan Church ‘ad Sanctam Crucem’, that is the Minoritenkirche, the church closest to his own house. Then he began listing the legacies to his mistress, his servant, his young bastard daughter Sicilia and his two legitimate daughters and their children, none of whom got very much. His surviving daughter Lavina got only 100 Gulden, not only because she had already been given her dowry, but also ‘because she never shows any loyalty or kindness to me’: which indicates that Ottavio was not the only
After this follows the most astonishing clause in this extraordinary document: Strada stipulated that all the manuscripts from his library that were listed in the attached survey—this is a fair copy of the Index sive catalogus—should be handed over to his legitimized son Tobia, ‘because my legitimate son Paul has no interest in them’. Tobia—or rather the trustees that were to be appointed for him, for at this time Tobia was at most seven years old—were to have these printed without delay by Strada’s printer at Frankfurt. To finance this, Strada had already instructed and authorized Paolo to execute a deed of gift immediately after his death, donating his entire Musaeum to a predetermined recipient. This gift should include both the library and the Kunstkammer, but of course it excluded the manuscripts listed in the Index sive catalogus: together with the illustrations—drawings, woodblocks and engraved plates—belonging to them, these should be placed under seal immediately after Strada’s death. Tantalizingly the intended recipient was not identified, but it must have been a rich and powerful prince—such as the Emperor, the Elector of Saxony or the Duke of Bavaria—if Strada thought the gift he expected in return would be amply sufficient to pay for the printing.132
It is then only that Strada finally arrived at actually bestowing his remaining property, his ‘houses and gardens, together with all moveable goods, and the cash value of all assets due to him, both in writing and otherwise’. After due
All this suggests that his printing project was of greater importance to Strada than the future prosperity of his heirs. This is borne out by another odd stipulation in the will: should Tobia die before the proceeds from the presentation of Strada’s Musaeum would have materialized, his trustees should nevertheless use both Tobia’s legacy and his share in any forthcoming presents to undertake the printing programme, ‘in order that the labour and industry with which I wrote these books will not be in vain because the books remained unprinted’. Though Strada did envisage that the trustees would be paid for their trouble, it seems likely that it would be difficult to find trustees able and willing to take on that task.134
14.11 Conclusion: The Aftermath
The clauses in Strada’s will obliging his heirs to finally print his books indicate the immense value he attached to his publication project, an importance far transcending any possible profit he initially may have expected from it. It is clear that by this time he considered this as his life’s work, his contribution to posterity, and he devoted the larger part of the last years of his life to it. It is difficult to judge in how far Strada had any confidence that his heirs would want and be able to execute his rather unrealistic last wishes; certainly he never ceased attempting to realize at least part of his programme within his lifetime. Just a few months after he made his will Strada obtained from Emperor Rudolf ii a new copyright privilege for a number of the works mentioned in the Index sive catalogus:
- –a series of the Roman Emperors, their consorts and other relatives illustrated by their coins (Index sive catalogus, item 49)
- –the seven volumes of inscriptions (item 3)
- –Strada’s collection of descriptions of all ancient coins he had studied (item 4), accompanied by another voluminous volume of numismatic drawings of all ancient rulers, including those of Rome (item 5)
- –the battle order of the Romans and their castrametatio according to Polybius (item 12);
- –Photius’ Biblioteca (item 21)
- –the expanded Latin edition of Leandro Alberti’s Description of Italy (item 44)
- –an edition of Wolfgang Lazius twelve books of comments on the history of the Provinces of the Roman Empire (item 46)
- –and finally the biography of the Emperor Charles v illustrated by a huge number of coins and medals documenting his reign (item 18).135
When Strada again offered his house for sale two years later, he explained that it was inconvenient for him to live in Vienna, because he had a task in hand which took up much of his time, for a prolonged period. It seems reasonable to assume that he referred to a planned absence in Nuremberg or Frankfurt to work on his books, to have their illustrations engraved, and to manage their printing, though it is not known whether he did in fact leave Vienna.136
To raise the necessary funds for his projects Strada remained eager to convert at least some of his possessions in ready cash. Thus his contacts in early summer of 1585 with Václav Březan, the archivist, librarian and historiographer of the Rožmberk family, indicates that he made a last effort to sell part of his collection to his old patron.137 When this attempt miscarried, he asked the Landmarschall (Lord-lieutenant) of Lower Austria, Hans Wilhelm von Roggendorf, to offer his house and his collections for sale to the members of the local
In view of the complicated testament, which was certain to lead to litigation, Strada’s studio was put under seal pending the opening of the will.141 The reading of the will took place in the presence of a representative of the Landmarschall only on 28 September 1590: almost two years after Strada’s death! The family was represented by Paolo Strada, also representing his half-brother and -sister who were still under age, and by Ottavio. Even before that, Ottavio had already commenced contesting the will, as is evident from his reference in
In view of Ottavio’s trusted relationship with Emperor Rudolf ii, of his daughter Anna Maria’s liaison with Rudolf, and doubtless also because of the eccentricity of Strada’s testament, it is not surprising that the litigation was resolved in an agreement between Ottavio and his siblings which granted him a much more considerable share than his father had allotted to him.143 This share even included manuscripts included in the Index sive catalogus, since shortly after his return to Prague Ottavio offered two of these, the beautiful Bible in Arabic, and the stupendous Koran written in golden script, to Grand Duke Ferdinando i of Tuscany, supplying some additional information on their provenance. Likewise the Series of Roman Emperors and Empresses offered to Ferdinando may well have been the original manuscript of item 49 of the Index sive catalogus.144 To Duke Alfonso ii of Ferrara Ottavio offered a manuscript of the Genealogy of the House of Austria, which he claimed had been finished by his father only two months before his death.145 In January Ottavio presented
Also Paolo Strada disposed of some of the material he had inherited in a similar way, offering two volumes of his own continuation of the six books of numismatic drawings his father had earlier provided to Maximilian ii to the Imperial librarian Hugo Blotius in 1592, together with the large map of the 1529 Siege of Vienna by the Turks, item nr 8 in the Index sive catalogus. In 1594 he offered some architectural models and a list of books from his father’s library to Landgrave Moritz of Hessen-Kassel.148
All this strongly suggests that Strada’s wish to have his books printed posthumously was tacitly or explicitly ignored by his heirs. For this one can hardly blame them, since Strada’s disposition cannot have been realistic and would have been impossible to carry out in any case. Certainly none of the books listed in the Index sive catalogus were printed in that form, and no other books were published indicating their provenance ‘ex Musaeo Jacobi de Stradae’.
Nevertheless this does not mean that his material may not have found channels by which it still could be of use, and some of it may actually have been published in other books; since much of it was not actually composed by Strada himself, its provenance would not necessarily have been indicated. It would, for instance, not be surprising if some of Strada’s lexicographical materials had ended up with the Hebraist Elias Hutter, who shared Strada’s linguistic interests, had visited him in Vienna and had recommended his labours to his own patron, Elector August of Saxony. Thus Hutter’s Dictionarium harmonicum biblicum, ebraeum, graecum, latinum, germanicum, printed in Nuremberg in 1598, may well owe something to Strada’s earlier labours [Fig. 14.43–14.44], as may Hutter’s scholarly polyglot Bible editions [Fig. 14.45].
In a similar manner it is unlikely that the woodblocks commissioned by Strada to illustrate his various books would never have been used for other prints. Thus some of the scenes in Sigmund Feyerabend’s many illustrated
Ironically, it was Ottavio who in his De Vitis Imperatorum et Caesarum Romanorum and in his Genealogia et series Austriae Ducum, Archiducum, Regum et Imperatorum realized at least part of two of the works listed in Strada’s Index sive catalogus (items 7 and 19). The first of these, a series of lives of the Roman emperors accompanied by images of their coinage, was posthumously printed in 1615 in Frankfurt at the expense of the publisher Laurentius Francus [Fig. 14.47–14.48], and in 1618 in a German translation by Ottavio’s own son Ottavio Strada von Rosberg the Younger [Fig. 14.46]. Both versions were reprinted by Eberhard Kiefer in Frankfurt in 1629, together with the second work, a Latin genealogy of the Habsburg dynasty, which itself many years later was reprinted in Leiden in 1664. It can be assumed that both works given to Ottavio were largely based on his father’s manuscripts; yet since Ottavio probably extensively collaborated on these in his youth, he cannot be blamed for wishing to garner some laurels by them.
Even more ironically, the only volume that was published under Strada’s own name after his death concerned a subject in which he himself apparently was not particularly interested. This was a set of technical drawings for wind-, water- and treadmills, fountains and pumps and other inventions largely derived from the technical tradition stemming from Francesco di Giorgio Martini. Though an autograph manuscript of this in Strada’s hand exists [Fig. 14.49], this material—which he doubtless obtained at least in part with Serlio’s collection—figures in none of the written sources, and was certainly never included in Strada’s publishing programme (though Ottavio the Elder provided manuscript sets to various of his own patrons).149 Ottavio the Younger published it in a Latin, a German and a French edition [Figs. 14.50–14.51], probably both because of his own personal interest, and as a means to draw the attention of potential patrons to his professional competence as a hydraulic engineer.
Entering into a partnership with the largely Dutch company charged by Henri iv already in 1499 with the draining of the marshes in various regions of France, this competence allowed him to re-establish the fortune of his family, after his forced departure from Bohemia after the Battle of the White Mountain: as Marquis de Strada d’Arosberg his descendants became the biggest