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Privilege granted to Andrea Palladio for his Four Books on Architecture, with supporting endorsement by member of the Roman Inquisition, Rome (1571)

Source: Vatican Secret Archives, Sec. Brev. Reg. 18 F. 708

Privilege granted to Andrea Palladio for his Four Books on Architecture, with supporting endorsement by member of the Roman Inquisition, Rome (1571), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Superscript = inserted by original or different author between lines

[ ] = inserted by original or different author in margin

{ } = supplied by transcribers

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

Strike through = crossed out, but legible

[XXX] = illegible



Sec. Brev. 18 F 708


Endorsement by Roman Inquisitor translation




I, Brother Aurelio Schilino, Inq. [Inquisitor], attest to having had the book titled The four books of architecture by Andrea Palladio diligently reviewed, so that it may be published.

from St. [illegible] the 30 of November 1570



Handwritten Privilege Translation


[1-9] For the beloved son, Andrea Palladio the Architect. Beloved son, greetings, etc. Since, as you arranged for it to be explained to us recently, you have diligently composed, through various labors and sleepless nights, The Four Books of Architecture, which you prepared to bring to print, and before long to publish, for the common utility of all; and since you seriously suspect that some men, [using] a stolen copy, may take the profits properly earned by you on this account [i.e., on account of your publication], you have arranged for us to be humbly petitioned, [requesting] that we might judge it proper to make an accounting of both the labor and the expenses, which you have necessarily expended in connection to this [project], and provide timely protection [of your profits] in advance [of the printing and publishing].


[9-12] Therefore, we, considering, in our paternal affection, that this petition of yours is worthy, and desiring to honor, with suitable favors and kindness, each man who strives to act with good intentions to the extent we are able [to] with God[‘s aid], [and] being disposed to all petitions of this kind,


[13-23] [we] decree, by explicitly warning each and all printers, and every other person to whose notice our present decrees may arrive, established anywhere in the whole Christian world, under [penalty of] excommunication and other [penalties] which may be declared upon our judgment, and [also warning] people living in Rome and in the cities, countries, and places of the Holy Roman Church, and subject, whether indirectly or directly, to us and to the same Church, under [penalty of] [a fine] of five hundred ducats of gold and the loss of any books which they may have printed, to be incurred through the very counterfeiting itself, with the compensation to be assessed without any objection, one part added to the Apostolic Treasury, the other to you,


[23-27] [decreeing to these warned individuals that], for the subsequent ten year period, beginning from the printing of the present volumes and defined consecutively  [i.e., after the ten years have passed],  [no one] may, ought, or shall presume to engrave, print, or sell once printed, your aforementioned Four Books on Architecture, without your permission or [the permission of those] holding the right from you,


[27-32] pronouncing that the wrongdoers and all those who are disobedient are henceforth liable on account of the deed itself [under penalty of] the aforesaid sentence of excommunication, and that the penalty of money is and will be necessarily carried out by our subordinates, and that the loss of the books must be carried out by the commissioners and tax collectors, and should be carried out in all places, as is mentioned above, wholly and unfailingly.


[33-44] And likewise we command and order every last one of our legates of the Apostolic throne, vicelegates, and also patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and other regulars of places, and governors, potentates, and other officials consistent with this list, that when and however many times they are requested concerning this matter on your behalf or by those who hold such right from you, to cause to be effectively observed these here edicts in places of churches, cities, holy places, and saints, and that [these officials should] promptly and efficiently discharge and confer every favor and assistance in the above matters to you or to him [having the right from you], and to proceed against wrongdoers through all suitable remedies of law and action, with the help of the secular arm employed or appealed to for this if necessary. 


[44-45] Notwithstanding apostolic statutes, regulations, and whatever else contrary. 


[45-50] Moreover, since it may be difficult for these very edicts to be brought to every place, we wish that the credibility which would apply to the original edicts if they were shown or displayed be applied exactly the same everywhere to the copies of those edicts, signed by the hand of a public Notary and secured by the seal of some person situated in an ecclesiastical office.


[50-] Dated in Rome at Saint Peter's under the ring of the fisherman on the 12th day of January, 1571, in the fifth year. 


Cesare Glorieri.

[folio #712v]


January 1571, in the fifth year, for Andrea Palladio the Architect, so that others not print The Four Books of Architecture, concerning those [books already] composed, for ten years,

Petitioner: [Michiel] Soriano of Venice





Superscript = inserted by original or different author between lines

[ ] = inserted by original or different author in margin

{ } = supplied by transcribers

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

Strike through = crossed out, but legible

[XXX] = illegible



Sec. Brev. 18 F 708


Endorsement by Roman Inquisitor





Io. F. Aurelio Schilino Inq. faccio fede d’haver fatto veder con dilig(en)tia il libro intitulato Gli quattro libri dell’architettura d’Andrea Palladio, aciò sia posto in luce. 

da S. [illeg] alli XXX Novemb. 1570




Handwritten Privilege




1.              Dilecto filio Andreae Palladio Archite{c}to

2.              Dilecte fili salutem etc.  Cum sicut nobis nuper exponi fecisti

3.              tu variis laboribus, ac vigiliis quatuor libros de Archite{c}tura

4.              diligenter composueris, quos ad com{m}unem omnium utilitatem

5.              propediem in lucem edere, et imprimi facere paratus existis

6.              Quoniam autem dubitas ne aliqui sumpto inde exemplo pr{a}e-

7.              -mia merito tibi propterea debita intercipiant, nobis humiliter

8.              supplicari fecisti, ut tum laborum tuorum, tum impensarum, quas

9.              circa hoc te subire oportet, rationem habere, tibique in pr{a}emissis

10.           opportune providere de benignitate apostolica dignaremur.  Nos igitur

11.           honestam hane petitionem tuam paterno considerantes affectu

12.           ac singulos, qui ad bene agendum tendunt, quantum cum Deo

13.           possumus opportunis favoribus et gratiis prosequi cupientes,

14.           huiusmodi supplicationibus inclinati Universis et singulis Impressori-

15.           -bus ac caeteris personis ad quarum notitiam praesentes nostrae pervenerint

16.           ubilibet in toto Christianorum orbe constitutis, sub excommunicationis sententia

17.           et aliis arbitrio nostro declarandis. In nostris vero et sanctae Romanae

18.           Ecclesiae Civitatibus, Terris, et locis nobis et eidem Ecclesiae

19.           mediate, vel immediate subiectis degentibus quingentorum

20.           ducatorum auri et amissionis librorum, quos impresserint, per

21.           contrafacientes ipso facto incurrendis, et pro una Camerae

22.           apostolicae, pro reliqua autem medietatibus tibi sine aliqua con-

23.           -tradictione applicandis poenis expresse praecipiendo man-

24.           -damus, atque inhibemus, ac posthac decem annis durantibus

25.           aedita praesentorum inchoandis, et successione finiendis, dictos tuos




26.           quatuor libros de Archite{c}tura sine licentia tua, seu a te causam

27.           habentibus excudere, imprimere, vel impressos venundare

28.           possint, sive debeant, aut quovismodo praesumant Decer-

29.           -nentes ex nunc Contrafacientes et non parentes omnes

30.           excommunicationis sententia ante dicta eo ipso ligatos, et a subditis

31.           nostris etiam pecuniariam et amissionis librorum p{o}enam ab exacto-

32.           -ribus et comissariis nostriis, ut praefertur, integre, et irrimisibiliter

33.           exigendam fore et esse, et exigi debere omnino debere.

34.           Et nihilominus quibuslibet nostris et apostolicae sedis legatis,

35.           et vicelegatis, necnon Patriarchis, Archiepiscopis, episcopis, et aliis

36.           locorum ordinariis, ac Gubernatoribus, Potestatibus, et aliis

37.           officialibus nostris harum serie pr{a}ecipimus et mandamus, ut

38.           quando et quoties pro parte tua seu a te causam habentis

39.           huiusmodi fuerint desuper requisiti, praesentes litteras nostras in locis

40.           Ecclesiarum, Civitatum, locorum et diorum suarum respective publicarum

41.           et cum effectu observari faciant, tibique et illi omnem favorem

42.           et auxilium in praemissis prompte et efficaciter praestent et

43.           exhibeant; Ac contra inobedientes per omnia opportuna iuris et

44.           facti remedia procedant; Adhibito seu invocato ad hoc

45.           si opus fuerit, auxilio brachii saecularis.  Non obstantibus Con-

46.           -stitutionibus et ordinationibus apostolicis, caeterisque contrariis qui-

47.           -buscumque. Caeterum quia difficile foret easdem praesentes litteras ad sin-

48.           -gula loca defferi volumus quod illarum transumptas manu Notarii

49.           publici subscriptis, et sigillo alicuius personae in Ecclesiastica




50.           dignitate constitutis munitis, ea prorsus fides ubique

51.           adhibeatur fides, quae originalibus litteris adhiberetur

52.           si forent exhibitae vel ostensae.  Datum Romae apud

53.           Sanctum Petrum sub annulo Piscatoris Die XII Januarii

54.           1571 Anno Quinto


Cae. Glorierius


[folio #712v]


Januarii 1571 Anno 5

Pro Andrea Palladio Architecto

De non imprimendo quatuor

libros de Architectura per eos

compositos ad Xm

or'[ator] venetus Sorianus







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