Publishing for the Popes: The Cultural Policy of the Catholic Church towards Printing in Sixteenth-Century Rome

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Sachet, Paolo
  • Subject: CLL | HIS

Printing had a huge impact on the development of religion and politics in sixteenth-century Europe. Harnessing the printing press is generally regarded as a key factor in the success of the Reformation. The positive role played by printing in Catholic cultural policy, by contrast, has not been sufficiently recognized. While scholars have focused on ecclesiastical censorship, the employment of print by Catholic authorities – especially the Roman curia – has been addressed only sporadically and superficially. The aim of my dissertation is to fill this gap, providing a detailed picture of the papacy’s efforts to exploit the resources of the Roman printing industry after the Sack in 1527 and before the establishment of the Vatican Typography in 1587. \ud \ud After a brief introduction (Chapter 1), I provide an exhaustive account of the papacy’s attempts, over sixty years, to set up a Roman papal press (Chapter 2). I then focus on two main Catholic printing enterprises. Part I is devoted to the editorial activity of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, later Pope Marcellus II. I discuss the extant sources and earlier scholarship on Cervini (Chapter 3), his cultural profile (Chapter 4) and the Greek and Latin presses which he established in the early 1540s (Chapters 5 - 6). Part II concentrates on the projects for a papal press involving the Venetian printer Paolo Manuzio. After an overview of the sources and previous studies (Chapter 7), I analyse Manuzio’s attempts to move to Rome, the establishment of a papal press under his management and the committee of cardinals which supervised it (Chapters 8 - 10). Chapter 11 examines the printing of the first edition of the Tridentine decrees, undertaken in 1564. \ud \ud Chapter 12 contains the overall conclusion to the dissertation. Documentary Appendixes A and B list the publications sponsored by Cervini and the books printed by Manuzio’s Roman press.
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