Law, Medicine and Engineering in the Cult of the Saints in Counter-Reformation Rome: The Hagiographical Works of Antonio Gallonio, 1556-1605


The Oratorian priest Antonio Gallonio (1556-1605) devoted his life to writing about saints. The thread running through his hagiographical oeuvre was renunciation of this world: humility, subservience and endurance. Yet he engaged with the expertise of lay people, jurists, physicians and engineers, so as to appeal to their interests and convert them. In order to emphasize how saints endured torture, healed disease and exercised piety rather than ingenuity, Gallonio ventured into those secular disciplines, even if he did not endorse them. This book surveys Gallonio’s published and unpublished works and his position in Roman society, to expose the tensions between a theocratic clergy and the self-assertion of skilled and scholarly professionals in the Italian Counter-Reformation.

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Jetze Touber, Ph.D. (2009) in History, Groningen University, is Postdoctoral Fellow at Utrecht University. He has published on hagiography, biblical scholarship, antiquarianism and natural history in the early modern period.
“In this clear and insightful new study Jetze Touber brings together Gallonio’s disparate (manuscript and in print) writings in the field of hagiography. This corpus, written in both Latin and Italian, was aimed at a wide public and Touber does a marvelous job, showing how Italian and Latin versions were written with different audiences in mind.”
Jan Machielsen, Oxford. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 66, No. 2 (April 2015), p. 437.

1. Introduction
1.1 Gallonio and the Oratory
1.2 Social discipline and intellectual history
1.3 Working method
1.4 Vero figliuolo del nostro Padre

2. Hagiography and Historiography
2.1 Hagiography and Historia sacra
2.2 Gallonio’s sources
2.3 The Christian history of the Oratorians
2.4 Conclusion

3. Judicial Proceedings and Malicious Torture
3.1 Canonization process
3.2 Confessors
3.3 Martyrs
3.4 Conclusion

4. Health and Holiness
4.1 Spiritual and physical health
4.2 Gallonio and the physicians
4.3 The body of the saint
4.4 Conclusion

5. Martyrological Technology
5.1 Nobility, emblems, machinery
5.2 Technical operation
5.3 Illustration
5.4 Conclusion

6. Collecting Material about Saints
6.1 Collection
6.2 Classification
6.3 Presentation
6.4 Conclusion

7. Epilogue

Works by Antonio Gallonio
Primary Sources
Secondary Works

All those interested in the relationship between Church and secular disciplines, in particular law, medicine and engineering, as well as those generally interested in intellectual and religious history of the early modern period.