Publishing for the Popes

The Roman Curia and the Use of Printing (1527–1555)


In this book Paolo Sachet provides a detailed account of the attempts made by the Roman Curia to exploit printing in the mid-sixteenth century, after the Reformation but before the implementation of the ecclesiastical censorship. Conventional wisdom holds that Protestant exploitation of printing was astute, active and forward-looking, whereas the papacy was inept, passive and reactionary in dealing with the relatively new medium of communication. Publishing for the Popes aims to provide an impartial assessment of this assumption. By focusing on the editorial projects undertaken by members of the Roman Curia between 1527 and 1555, Sachet examines the Catholic Church’s attitude towards printing, exploring its biases and tactics.

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Paolo Sachet, Ph.D. (2015, the Warburg Institute), is Visiting Lecturer at the Università degli Studi di Milano. He has published numerous articles on Renaissance scholarship and the book world and co-edited The Afterlife of Aldus: Posthumous Fame, Collectors and the Book Trade (2018).
“This book successfully combines the history of the book and religious history. It presents an abundance of detailed information about the people and processes of publication harvested from a wide range of archival, manuscript, printed books, and secondary scholarship, and presents the results in clear prose and detailed footnotes. It is an excellent and original study.”
Paul F. Grendler, University of Toronto, emeritus. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 1 (Spring 2022), pp. 276–278.

List of Illustrations
Editorial Note

1 Introduction

2 Prelude
 1 Stimuli from Verona
 2 Stimuli from Germany
 3 The Stampatore Cameralebefore and after the Sack

Cardinal Marcello Cervini’s Printing Enterprises (1539–1555)

3 Portrait of a cardinale Editore
 1 Cervini’s career and cultural interests

4 Cervini’s Greek Press
 1 From the establishment to the demise of the press
 2 The output of the press
  2.1 Eustathius’s commentaries on Homer
  2.2 Theophylact’s commentary on the Gospels

5 Cervini’s Latin Press
 1 Francesco Priscianese and Cervini’s Latin press
 2 The output of the press
  2.1 Editio princeps of Arnobius
  2.2 Letters of Innocent III and of Nicholas I
  2.3 Pamphlets of Cardinal Bessarion and of Henry VIII
  2.4 Additional publications

6 Cervini’s editorial activity after 1544
 1 Beyond Rome
 2 Back to theUrbe

7 Epilogue
 1 Two Cardinals Exploiting Printing
 2 Blado and Nicolini as Official Printers
 3 The Greek Community in Venice
 4 Olaus Magnus
 5 Loyola and the First Jesuits

8 Conclusion

Documentary Appendixes
 A. The Greek Partnership Accounts (asf,Cervini, vol. 51, ff. 128v–[136bis]v)
 B. Short-title Catalogue of Books Sponsored by Cervini

All interested in book studies, religious history and history of ideas as well as early modern Italy, Renaissance and Counter-Reformation.
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