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The Politica of Justus Lipsius and the Commonplace-Book Author(s): Ann Moss Source: Journal of the History of Ideas,

Vol. 59, No. 3 (Jul., 1998), pp. 421-436 Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press Stable URL: Accessed: 25/09/2008 11:39
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Ann Moss

WesternEuropein the sixteenthcentury,schoolboysand Throughout would recoggrown men educatedin the Latinschools of the humanists nize the commonplace-book as an indispensable tool for makingsense of the bookstheyread,for assimilating to them, transmitted the written culture and for possessingthe meansof production in theirturn.This handyorganizer of informationand rathereffective retrievalmechanismhas been treatedwith a fair amountof contemptafter being sidelinedtowardsthe end of the seventeenthcenturyand then falling into public disrepute,its rich stock of preciouscommonplaces devaluedinto the small changeof merebanalities. Norindeeddoes it suitthe agenda scholars of post-Romantic and criticslookingin a simplisticway for signs of originality and innovation. However,the last few years have seen commonplaces in their more studies back on the with several critical sophisticated guise particular agenda, and, latterly,two majoroverviewspublishedin a single year.'The thesis this paperis thatthe commonplace-book is centralto an underunderlying standingof how knowledge was organizedin the early moder period. More thanthat,the commonplace-book of inveskeys us into procedures modesof articutigationand debateand into the dialecticaland rhetorical which were to have force;and it exhibits latingthought agreed persuasive the commonalityof expectations,the common places, which ensureda commonrouteinto a sharedareaof communication conwhenthe cultural sensus of Western to breaking Europewas strained point. One test of this thesiswill be whether it can be usefullyappliedto texts which fit badly into interpretative framesfamiliarto the moder reader. The particular of this of commonpurpose paperis to applythe principles
et a la 'See F. Goyet,Le Sublimedu "lieucommun dans l'Antiquite ": l'inventionrhetorique Renaissance(Paris,1996);A. Moss, PrintedCommonplace-books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought(Oxford, 1996); and also, Ann Blair, The Theaterof Nature: Jean Bodin and RenaissanceScience (Princeton,1997).

of the Historyof Ideas,Inc. Copyright1998 by Journal


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case, in orderat least to sugplace-book readingto just such an awkward the of an gest possibility recovering historically readingstrategy probable whichmaymorefully recuperate thetextfor the moder reader. ThePolitica of the eminentStoic philosopherand scholarof antiquity, JustusLipsius (1547-1606), is a networkof quotationsfrom ancientauthoritieslinked it as one of his most together by Lipsius'sown words.He himselfregarded achievements. His and their seventeenth-cenimportant contemporaries knew perfectlywell how to readit, and thereis plentyof turydescendants evidence that they regardedit highly.2Modem readersfind it an embarnot knowingquitewhatto do with a bookfromwhichthe author rassment, himself, eclipses yet keeps a deadhandon it: "Allof it is mine andnothing is."3Modemcriticstend to assumeit is all Lipsius,ridingroughshod over the quotation or and treat that is to think indicators4; they prefer nothing the text solely as a compilation of extracts5; or they get tied in knotstrying to rescue Lipsius's voice drownedout in his quotations.6 But Lipsius's in 1589 knew how to read it, becausehe told them:"For originalreaders whatis it buta well-arranged of accounts or COMMONPLACES?"7 register If we are going to get anywherenearthe originalpoint of reception, we must remindourselvesaboutcommonplaces and commonplace-books. It was Erasmusin De copia who gave the first systematicguidelinesfor but by the time of Lipsius schoolboys in makingcommonplace-books, every Latin school in NorthernEuropewere busy excerptingfrom their
2 calls it approvingly "cedocteet laborieux readers, Amongits mostdiscriminating Montaigne tissu"(Essais, I, xxvi, "De l'institutiondes enfants," ed. A. Thibaudet [Paris,1950], 180). Charles aboutthe statusof quotation Sorel,rather later,is on the whole ambivalent collections,butmakesan exceptionfor the Politica:"Les Politiquesde JusteLipse sont des Sentencesqu'il a recueilliesde tous les bonsAutheursde l'antiquit6, tellementqu'il n'y a de lui que l'ordreet la contexture,mais il y a parfaitement reiissi,et c'est le plusbeauRecueildu Monde"(LaBibliothequefranfoise [Paris, 1664], 60). 3 "... vere possim dicere omnia nostra, et nihil" (Justus Lipsius, Politicorumsive civilis doctrinaelibri sex, qui adprincipatummaximespectant [Leiden, 1589], sig. ** V). 4 1572-1651 (Cambridge,1993), 45-62. E.g., R. Tuck,Philosophyand Government 5 in J. Lafond moraleet politique," E.g., J. Lafond,"Lecenton et son usage dansla litt6rature andA. Stegmannn(eds.), L'Automne de la Renaissance 1580-1630 (Paris, 1981), 117-28. 6 The best short account of the Politica in relation to other aspects of Lipsius's works is probablyM. Morford,"TaciteanPrudentiaand the Doctrines of JustusLipsius,"in T. J. Luce and A. J. Woodman(eds.), Tacitusand the TaciteanTradition(Princeton, 1993), 129-51, and Stoics and the Neostoics: Rubensand the CircleofLipsius (Princeton,1991). For a fullerreview of the political theories contained in the Politica, see G. Oestreich,Neostoicism and the Early Moder State, B. Oestreich and H. G. Koenigsberger(eds.), D. McLintock(trs.) (Cambridge, 1982), esp. ch. 3; also J. Jehasse,La Renaissancede la critique:L'essorde l'humanismeeruditde 1560 a 1614 (Saint-Etienne,1976), andC. Mouchel, Ciceronet Seneque dans la rhitoriquede la Renaissance(Marburg, to Lipsiusof ideascontainedin this paper,see J. 1990). Foran application K. Waszink,"Inventioin the Politica: CommonplaceBooks and the Shape of PoliticalTheory," Enenkeland C. Heesakkers(eds.), Lipsiusin Leiden(Voorthuizen,1997), 141-62. 7 "Quidenim aliud ista, quam velut tabulaequaedamdispositae, et LOCI COMMUNES sunt?"(Politica [1589], p. 3 of the Brevesnotae paginatedseparatelyat the end of the book).

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texts as they read, either under the schoolmaster's instructions or at their own discretion. The commonplace-book was a probe and an instrument for redistributingtext so as to ensure maximal retrievabilityand optimum application. Here is one of the many enthusiastic promoters of the practice, writing in 1564: So that the more importantpassages in the authors set for reading and the more brilliant sententiae, exempla, similitudes, words, phrases, and outstanding figurative expressions may be the more readily imprinted on the memory and available and ready for use as occasion requires, it is extremely useful to have the commonplaces of the main intellectual disciplines arranged in a definite order, under which students may note down everything worth storing to memory from what they hear or read in their texts, apportioning their excerpted material into clearly defined categories. In this way students will have a storehouse from which to draw an abundantsupply of excellent material, sententiae, similitudes, narrations, and so forth, for any matter on which they are requiredto speak or write.8 Lipsius agreed. Pupils under his tuition were constantly exhorted to "read"and at the same time "excerpt."His advice to the young reader of Tacitus is to divide his excerpted quotations into headed sections, or tituli, the technical term used in commonplace-books. Two of these tituli are moralia, "those things which go towards shaping us as individuals, with lives which incline to virtuesand are alien to vice," and civilia, "topicswhich are of concern to the life and governanceof the community."9 These primary divisions correspondto the two differentbut relateddisciplines of Ethics and Politics, first experiencedas disciplines at school and as sections in the commonplace-book.By collecting quotationsand orderingthem in his commonfor himself a well-labelledandwell-organized place-bookthe studentconstructs store of material,internalizesit by memory and constantuse, and has it at the ready to reproduce,recycle, and recombine in compositions where authorial controlis most evident in the choice and deploymentof quotation. But commonplace-booksare not to be put away as childish things. In his Epistolica institutio(1591) on the subjectof privateletterwriting,particularly in its final threechapters,Lipsius was to talk to the grown man, still faithfulto the intellectualhabitsof his youthbut practicingnow a versatileimitatiovirilis, resourced by the commonplace-book at its most eclectic, which shapes an
8 D. Chytraeus,De ratione discendi et ordine studiorumin singulis artibus instituendo (Wittenberg,1564), sig. C 3 -C 3'. 9See M. Morford,"Tacitean Prudentia,"134.


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adultstyle and articulates the "communication of the soul."In the Politica also is readwell the his intended schoolroom: Lipsius beyond functioning ers are "experts in Latin," in the knowledgeof things."'0 "expert now a little in are We, expert knowledgeof the commonplace-book, ready to read the sign upon the door of the 1589 edition: "The spider's web [textus]is no whit the betterbecauseit spins it from its own entrails thatthe spideris a dangerous [andremember species];andmy text no whit the worse because, as does the bee, I gatherits componentsfrom other authors' The honey-gathering flowers."" bee was the most familiarof all emblems for the commonplace-book, readerwas and the contemporary the Like any of into which he had come. immediatelyapprised territory compilerof commonplace-books, Lipsiusclaims for himself the initiative of findingandarranging functionsof inventioanddispositio rhetorical (the essential to composition):finding quotationsin authoritative sources to illustratethe topics chosen; and then arrangingthem in sections under the title of the heads, tituli or capita in the technicaljargon.'2 Moreover, whole work,Politica, integratesit effortlesslyinto the universeof comThe pedagogic traditionsstemmingin particular from monplace-books. Melanchthon and Sturmstressedthe value of drawingup discipline-specific commonplace-books, with appropriate headingsand subdivisions, and withinsuch schemespolitica had theirplace side by side with ethica
and economica.

To showin detailthe entriesunder one of the headsof Lipsius's political the plateson pages 426 and 427 reproduce Caputiii commonplace-book, of Book II.3 There is a headingintroducing a questionproposedfor debate (is the office of monarchequally suitablefor either sex?). Propositions of this kind, whetherphrasedas questionsor not, had been staple heads or, as here, subheadsfor commonplace-books since Erasmuspublished his blueprint in De copia. Collectedunderthe head are a series of as Lipsius,in his liminary quotations, very clearlymarked typographically, with the insisted should be. can be read material, they They consecutively
'0"SermonisLatinibene peritus... rerumetiam peritus"(Politica [1589], sig. ** 3 + 2). The A chaptersfrom the Epistolica institutioare in JustusLipsius, The Principles of Letter Writing: Bilingual Textof Justi Lipsii "EpistolicaInstitutio,"ed. and tr. R. V. Young and M. T. Hester (Carbondale,1996), 34-51. sane textus ideo melior,quia ex se fila gignunt:nec nostervilior, quiaex " "Nec aranearum alienis libamus,ut apes"(Politica [1589], Brevesnotae, 4). 12 "Cumenim Inventioet Ordoa nobis sint, verbatamenet sententiasvarie conquisivimusa scriptoribus priscis"(Politica [1589], sig **V). 13 The reproductions are takenfromthe Antwerpedition of 1623, andprecisely replicatethe well as as the wordingof the original 1589 edition.The pages arethe recto typographical lay-out and the verso of a single leaf. For convenience,they are here laid out as a single opening, which means that the marginsare reversed.This does not materiallyaffect the points made aboutthe disposition of the text.

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benefit of the intervening link passages,but they are also eminentlyexas indeed have fromthe texts clearly tractable, they alreadybeen extracted identifiedin the outermargins, just as they would be in a commonplacebook. These mobile snippetsare the very stuff of commonplace-books, and in the book's liminary material the values as Lipsiusassignsto them same of to their collected promoters commonplace-books assigned quotations. of sententiae,and it First, they have the stylistic elegance and sharpness was commonplace-books, with their predilection for brief and witty sententiae, exempla, and similitudes, which encouragedand resourcedthe the argutadictio, characteristic of Lipsiusand style of politicaldiscourse, Second, they have "the weight of received many of his contemporaries. and that lies authority," authority with the ancients.They are testimonia, of argumentation.'4 auctoritates,and therebyelementsin stratagems This bringsus back to the main head,or titulus,so phrased as to initiatedebate,andto the innermargins, whichmarkhow the argument might The titulus to a refers to its definition the of monarch and of office go. is givenin the firstparagraph, partes.The definition typoagainhighlighted A definition extension or division of that refinement graphically. preliminary by is offeredfordebate in whom in theformof a partition: "thissingleindividual
virineanfaeminae]?" sovereigntyis invested:manor woman [uniusimperium,

Anargument is setin train whichdraws hereandwillcontinue todraw throughoutthissectionon theplacesof argument rhetoric. in and dialectic recognized These"places," or"seats" of argument, from in thisinstance notably arguments and in are the center cause,adjuncts, examples, signaled margins. At firstsightthelower-case in thebodyof thetextto Roman typeinserted thequotations marshal intolinesof argument of thestatus mightseemto query thePoliticaascommonplace-book, forcommonplace-book compilers normally themselves to their indeed The editor of the Politica is kept prefaces. present herein hisownvoice,connecting ashe hisgathered orbuilding them, quotations into a fabric of his own his own to time bonded from time says, design by words.15 of a it is entirelycongruent andpurpose with the nature However, that the their dialectical force of its assembled commonplace-book quotations, statusas testimony andauthority, andutilizedin sugshouldbe demonstrated of the genre, The moresophisticated gestedoutlinesfor argument. examples
14 "Quid utilius potui, quam tot sententias in unum conducere:pulchras,acres, et, ita me Salus amet, ad salutemnatasgenerishumani?...Ut in uno aliquo telo aut gladio multuminterest, a quamanuveniat:sic in sententia, ut penetret,valdefacitrobustae Auctoritatis alicuiuset receptae informative pondus"(Politica [1589], sig. ** 2). Mouchel, Ciceron et Seneque is particularly aboutargutadictio andprose style;Moss, PrintedCommonplace-books, explainsthe connection betweencommonplace-books anddialecticalstratagems. '5"Eas[sententias]interse haudindecentervinximus,aut interdum velut caementoquodam commisimusnostrorum verborum" et lignaab aliis accipio ... (Politica [ 1589], sig. ** 2); "Lapides architectus varieundiqueconduxi"(ibid., Brevesnotae, 3-4). ego sum, sed materiam


Ann Moss

Justus Lipsius


Ann Moss

especially in the Protestant north, not only grouped extracts by topical heads but furtherdistributedthem by topics or places of argument(definition, genus, species, similars, opposites, adjuncts, examples, arguments from the honorable and the expedient, and so on) or they aligned them to the Aristotelianpredicaments.Thus when Lipsius starts to move his quotations into argumentativepositions, as signaled in the center margins, he is merely suggesting possible ways that his book could be exploited, entirely in line with what was to be expected of a commonplace-book. What Lipsius rarely does in the Politica is to construct and to close arguments.The section ends with deliberateambivalence:"thereforewomen are capable of wielding the sceptre, as these latter quotations testify; and I agree that this should be so, unless the laws and customs of their forefathers decree otherwise."To close argumentswould indeed go entirely counterto the mentalityof the commonplace-book.The quotationsit collected underits various heads were as diverse as could be, for not coherencebut plenitudewas the guiding principle, and open-endednessits characteristicfeature. The reader/ researcher would expect to find a pluralityof opinions and a skeleton of argumentationwhich could be dressedin borrowedwords to confrontany circumstance. In his notes to the original 1589 edition Lipsius makes it clear that he expects his reader to recognize the Politica as a commonplace-book and treat it as one: "These are COMMONPLACES,under which you should duly register extracts from what you have read or will read on the same subject. Look and imitate."'6 Lipsius envisages an actively cooperating readerwho will make the Politica his own by adding to it indefinitely, and this is exactly the way printed commonplace-books were advertised. The intended reader will be quick to slip out of the editor's control. Similarly, the marginal annotations, as in any commonplace-book, release the reader from the concatenationof quotationscenter-page.On the near side are places of argumentwhich may be emptiedof theirpresentoccupants,filled with new quotations,and even turnedto otherpurposes.On the far side, referencesto the originallocations of the quotationssend the readeraway to theiroriginal contexts, thereto pick up meaningswhich may supplementandcomplicatewith all sorts of ironies the sense imposed on the extractin its new place. Such subtleties are for "readersexpert in Latin" (sermonis Latini bene periti), the very readers Lipsius intended, their expertise acquired by making commonplace-books from the time of their early adolescence.'7
"Quidenim aliud ista, quam tabulae quaedamdispositae, et LOCI COMMUNES sunt case in the original],adquoscommodereferaslectatibiin hoc argumento autlegenda?Vide, [upper et imitare" (Politica [1589], Brevesnotae, 3). 17 The most notorious subteltyof this kind was, of course, the potentiallyambiguous"ure, seca"(bur, lance) appliedto religiousdissentersin Book IV.Inhis AdversusDialogistam,Lipsius thatonly the non-Latinate wouldtake critic,DirckCoornhert, disdainfully impliedto his vernacular this literally,because they would fail to recognize the Ciceronianmedical metaphor.

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More advanced and skeptical Latinists, notably Henri Estienne, had played such games before. In his Parodiae morales of 1575 Estienne brought together commonplace-book entries and centos. Centos are poems constructed out of extracted quotations, displaced and relocated with fully intended irony and double entendre.Lipsius also called his Politica a cento, a form in which "deviationsfrom the original sense of an extract are freely made and are to be praised,"justifying his practice by reference to the sort of poets Estienne had collected in his Parodiae morales.'8 Perhaps that kindred spirit and assembler of interspersed quotations, Michel de Montaigne, had this potential for irony in mind when he called the Politica a "learned and painstakingly interwoven" cento, in which Justus Lipsius allowed himself to be seen, in this as in his other works.'9 Nevertheless, in its form, its layout on the page, the Politica is not like Justus Lipsius's other works. They, too, will have begun in their early stages as assemblies of quotations under heads. This was an essential part of the normal production mechanism for authors schooled by the humanists and writing discursively on matters within the school disciplines. The finished work was to a large extent the product of a combination of quotations (be they disguised, paraphrased,reduced to a reference, or reproducedverbatim) and the dialectical/rhetorical operatorsof which we have had examples in Lipsius's center margins. Occasionally we are able to see this process in operation.DurhamUniverthe manuscript sity,for example,has quiterecentlyacquired workingnotebooks of a contemporary of Lipsius, HenryHoward,Earlof Northampton and future statesmanunderJamesI, in which we can watchhim filling his lean yearsunder Elizabethby composing a Dutiful Defense of the LawfulRegimentof Women, that is to say a book on the same subject-headas Politica II, iii: "uniusimperium. virine, an faeminae?"Howard collects quotationsunder subheads relevant to his topic, moves quotations from place to place, and not infrequently indicates how the argument is to proceed within the subhead by sketching it out in terms of the dialectical operators. We also have the sense of how the project progressed from the notebooks in our possession. Sections are crossed out as quotationsare moved to anothersection or into
quendamconcinno (tale omnino nostrumopus) in quo liberi (Politica semperet laudatia sententiaisti flexus? Consulantpoetas,qui olim et nuncsic luserunt"
[1589], sig ** 3 + 1). 18"Nonne enim Centonem

'9"Jene dis les autres,sinon pourd'autantplus me dire. Cecy [his criticismof works which arestrungtogetherfromquotations] ne touchepas des centonsqui se publientpourcentons:etj 'en ay veu de tres-ingenieuxen mon temps,... outreles anciens.Ce sont des espritsqui se font voir et tissude ses Politiques" (Essais, I, xxvi, parailleurset parla, commeLipsiusen ce docteet laborieux ed. cit., 179-80). See F. Goyet, "Aproposde 'ces pastissagesde lieux communs,'" Bulletinde la Societe desAmis de Montaigne,5-6 (Jul-Dec., 1986), 11-26; "Lerole des notes de lecturedans la in Montaigne," 1987),9-30; "TheWord'Commonplaces' genese des Essais,"ibid.,7-8 (Jan.-July, in L. Hunter(ed.), Toward a Definitionof Topos(London, 1991), 66-77.


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other notebooks which representa more advanced state of the work, which eventually reached the stage of a presentationmanuscriptbook for which Howard could claim the authorship, though he never saw it through into print. HenryHoward'sprocedureis the normalone for writingbooks. Lipsius for some reasondecides thathis Politica will not follow the normandwill remainin a state which his readerswill recognize as a commonplace-book,even as they The difficultqueskindof composition."20 registersurpriseat this "unexpected tion is why he shoulddo this, a questionI can only broachby way of speculation andlooking at how the Politica was reformulated or revampedby JustusLipsius himself and by his translators. The world in which the Politica was written and printed, in 1589, was a world riven by political and religious dissension stirringactive warfarein more than one country in Europe. Ideological divisions threatenedto fragment the humanist cultural consensus, and universally accepted typologies of discoursewere possibly losing theircohesivepower.Lipsiushimself was in a very precariousstate of equilibrium(his flight from Leiden and reconciliation with the CatholicChurchwere imminent),21 andthe presentpapersuggests that the Politica appearsto be an attemptto performfragmentation,to explicate and division into a nexus division, and at the same tine to write fragmentation their which its readerswould immediatelyrecognize as that which structured universeof thoughtand culture. To hear the message, attend to the medium. Justus Lipsius has chosen to make his Politica a commonplace-book, that is, he has descended to a of level below thatof a finished work in orderto expose to his readersa stratum all readingand writing habits which they all knew about and which underlay their surface differences.In so doing he returnshis readersto the original matrixcommon to all humanistandposthumanist methodsof conceiving, generatAbove all, perhaps,he and the ing, organizingknowledge: commonplace-book. knowingly reminds his readersthat the commonplace-book,that source and emblemof theirmost productiveintellectualhabits,has as its peculiarproperty world the inherent In the contemporary capacityto balanceunityandmultiplicity. of bodies politic outside the Politica, multiplicitymay indeed tend to disorder, But to these fatalproclivitiesmindsschooledby commonplaceunityto tyranny. books may yet oppose a cultural model in which fragmentationand contradiction are contained under single heads and new material is incorporated into the preexisting and extendible body of the book without internal danger to it.
20 Lipsius calls his novel concatenationof borrowedwords a "inopinatum quoddamstili genus"(Politica [1589], sig. ** v). 21 See Jehasseand see Tuck;andfor the effect of ideological disarrayon writing-paradigms, T. Hampton,Writingfrom in RenaissanceLiterature (Ithaca, History:TheRhetoricofExemplarity 1990).



If Lipsius chose to privilege one of the traditionalheads of the discipline politica, Principatus, defined as the rule of one (unius), it was not in order to give it sole sway. It comes with the recommendation that "any one who wishes may have a try at putting together heads to do with government by democracy or aristocracy."22 Moreover, the unitary principle represented by the Principatus head does not reduce to a regimented whole the clearly fragmentedtext, with its separateand divided entities, its spaces, and its typographical differences. Fragmentation and unity cohere; and division, as we have seen in the case of II, iii, rather than destroying the unity of the single "imperium,"is a dialectical place of argument for accommodating the gender bifurcation endemic to that unity: "I shall divide and explicate,"or "I shall divide and set in order"(diducam, et explicabo). All through the Politica Lipsius proceeds by binaries, which are signs of contraries in opposition but also seeds of a potential resolution engendered by the combination of quoted extract and dialectical mover. Not the least importantof these dialectically operated and productive divisions is the one he makes in the early chapters of the fourth book between the unity he demands of public forms of religious observance and the diversities he tolerates in private devotional practice. To those used to making their own private collections of public commonplaces and responding adequately to the invitation to read the Politica as commonplace-book, such a division makes sense as a stratagemfor argumentation,and possibly for more than that. Lipsius's carefully woven cento, or, rather, his commonplace-book of varied strands and fragments, is offered to the knowing reader as an image of a political system which holds together unity and diversity in steady balance: "In short, as embroiderersmake a single unified tapestryout of threads of different colors, so out of a thousand different parts have I constructed this uniform and cohesive body."23 For Justus Lipsius himself the balance tipped in 1591 when he left Leiden to returnto Louvain and to the Catholic church. For editions of the Politica published at Catholic centers of distribution,Lipsius let himself be persuadedinto making some small adjustments.He could have changed the formatof his text, but the interestingthing is thathe did not. A very few quotations are omittedfrom the Catholic editions (the censor's approvaldates from 1593, though there is a Lyons edition in 1592), but this loss is compensated by the addition of others which are uncontroversial and keep the shape of the text on the page. What is of more significance is the disappearance from Catholic editions of the phrases in which Justus Lipsius had
"Siquisvolet ... paucaaliquotCapitaconcinnetin PopuliautOptimatium statu:nameos non libavi"(Politica [1589], sig. ** 2 - ** 2v). 23"Adsummam,ut Phrygionese varii coloris filo unumaliquodaulaeumformant;sic nos e mille aliquotparticulisuniformehoc et cohaeranscorpus"(Politica [1589], sig. ** 2).


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explicitly related the Politica to a commonplace-book,phrases to be found in 1589 at the beginning of the separately paginated Breves notae. This move correlates very closely with observations that may be made about confessional differences and the history of the commonplace-book.24 It was in Reformation Europe, particularly those parts of Europe influenced by the pedagogic theory and practice of Melanchthon and Sturm, that the commonplace-book was the strongest impetus for the construction of discourse based on clearly tabulatedratiocinative procedures. That was because it was in that environmentthat the commonplace-bookwas tightly linked to the generationof composition by dialectical and rhetoricalplaces of argument. Catholic pedagogues were every bit as keen on collecting quotations under heads, but they played down the dialectical connection and the opportunity it gave to individuals to produce reasoned discourse from their collected knowledge. The Jesuits cut it out altogether, and for them the commonplace-book became a treasure-trovefor rhetorically sophisticated performers, a ready resource for wit and verbal pyrotechnics, but it did not put their pupils in control of argument. What exactly does Justus Lipsius do in the revised Notae to the Catholic editions? He excises all direct reference to commonplace-books and to the generatingpowers they gave their readersand collaborators.In its place, he inserts a quotationfrom Suetonius describing how the emperorAugustus was wont to collect precepts and examples ad verbum in the good authors, which he then sent to his officers throughoutthe empire to serve as guides to their conduct. One might conclude thatthe Catholic editions of the Politica propose to reserve to princes alone the power to select and activate the assembled quotations, whereas in the Protestant editions that power was offered to the reader, to whom the work was advertised as a commonplace-book: "look here, reader,and imitate,"as Lipsius had said while still at Leiden. Nevertheless, it is only these few phrases hidden in the annotations which change. The readily recognizableformatof the text remainsinviolate. The Catholic Justus Lipsius left his Politica to reiterate virtually the same statement as the publicly ProtestantJustus Lipsius had written. However, the Catholic Justus Lipsius did write a Commentaryon the Politica in the form of Monita et exempla politica, published in 1605.25This work,
24See Ann Moss, PrintedCommonplace-books, but ch. 6. The subjectmeritsfurther research, this paragraph in so faras they gives the essentialsof my conclusionsso far.Commonplace-books, mediateda commoncultureinheritedfromthe Renaissancerecoveryof antiquity, crossedconfessional boundariesand were agents for culturalunity in post-ReformationEurope,a function I believe Lipsius was promotingin the Politica. 25 Monita et exemplapolitica. Libri duo qui virtuteset vitia principumspectant, editions into French,Les publishedat Louvain,Antwerp,andParisin 1605;it was immediatelytranslated Conseils et exemplespolitiques de Juste Lipse (Paris, 1606), but there were probablyno other translationsuntil considerablylater.

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because it is a collection of examples extracted from diverse sources to illustrategeneral propositions,falls within the scope of commonplace-books. But its difference from the Politica helps to confirm the status of that work as a particularlysophisticated and carefully poised political commonplacebook. The counsels (monita) of the Monita et exempla are short propositions openly derived from the headings in the Politica, and they serve as section heads or tituli, as they might in a commonplace-book. However, the receptacles they label are filled with material ratherdifferent from the quotations of the Politica, which were authoritative, aphoristic, pregnant with argument.Here instead are ratherlax amplifications leading to narrations of exemplary events and figures from history ancient and modern, long, loose paraphrasesof texts which are not identified. There is neither the philological nor the dialectical rigor of the Politica. The closest relatives of the later work are, on the one hand, contemporaneouslypublished Latin collections of exempla, for example, the highly eclectic and continuously expanded Theatrumvitae humanae of Theodor Zwinger, and on the other hand, vernacular collections of historical narratives exemplifying political propositions, for example, the Aggiunte which Giovanni Botero had appended to his Ragion di stato in 1598 and which translation into other vernaculars metamorphosed into entertaining fictions. Was the Politica metamorphosedin translation?It will be recalled that it is a severely Latin text, written for the attentionof "sermonisLatini bene periti." It was only such readers, educated in the humanist Latin schools, and not the Latinless vernacular public, who were sensitized to the commonplace-book format of the text and all that entailed. It should prove instructive to examine whether translatedversions of the Politica retained the page layout and the typographical signs which marked the work as a commonplace-book. If not, they may, however accurate the verbal rendering, prove a travesty of the original. The Italian version of Ercole Cati, published posthumously at Venice in 1618, pulls away in the direction taken by the Catholic Lipsius of the Monita et exempla and the Italian,Botero, before him.26 Cati retainsthe fragmentedlook of Lipsius's pages butwithoutthe dividingspaces and withoutthe typographical distinction. Significantly, given his southern Catholic readership, he does not reproduce Lipsius's margins replete with dialectical and rhetorical heads of argument. What he does is to append to the text extensive supplements, sometimes narratives of some length, providing a wealth of exemplification, ancient and, especially, modern. Such diversity is certainly heterogeneous, even heterodox. The heading for debate on the
26 Ercole Cati, Della politica, overodel governodi stato libri sei (Venice, 1618); see also J.L. Fournel,"Unereceptionambigue:la diffusionde la pensee politiquede JusteLipse en langue vulgaire dans l'Italie de la premieremoiti6 du XVIIe siecle," in C. Mouchel (ed.), Juste Lipse (1547-1606) en son temps (Paris, 1996), 479-501.


Ann Moss

gender of monarchs inspires Cati to a rousing description of Elizabeth parading her heart and stomach before the troops in advance of the Armada. However, fascinating though such addenda are, they are not a cohesive or structural element within the body of the text. They are external agents foreign to it and threatento dissipate and weaken it. If Cati pulls this commonplace-bookin the direction of fragmentation, there are other versions which pull away from multiplicity towards unity, particularly when they originate in bastions of confessional conviction. The two French translations, made in 1590 and 1594, were by Calvinists and were published at La Rochelle and Geneva.7 In both cases any resemblance to the layout of a commonplace-bookdisappears.The text, both quotations and link passages, is printedas continuousprose in solid blocks, without typographicaldifferentiation.Referencesto the sources of quotationsare sporadicandlack precision.Thereis very little freedomto move outsidethe text as it is presentedhere.The marginalnotes whichLipsiushadprovidedto construct a variety of argumentsare now transformed coninto statementssummarizing tent. Whether we are witnessing a wholesale takeover of the Politica or a concession to the simpler needs of the unlearned,it is the case that the open places of the originalworkhave been closed. They werejust as firmly closed in Spain in 1604, when a vernacularversion appearedwith all the text in long blocks of undifferentiated prose and without the marginaldialectical indicators.28

In England, it is somewhat gratifying to discover, we have a compromise. William Jones, in his Sixe Bookes of Politickes of 1594, tends to consolidate the original text into long paragraphs.29 This obscures the commonplace-bookformat, even though he distinguishes the quotationsby italic type. What he appreciates,unlike other translators,and what he does retain, in Lipsius's margins. despite advice to omit them, are the argument-indicators Theirprecise dialecticalfunctionseems lost on him, buthe sees that"theyhave this singularitie in them (which I have not seene in any other [worke]) that If the they do entertaineone another,as if they were a continued speech."30 Jones version stays closer with Lipsius than other vernacularrenderings,it is because of his desire not to be thought "a corrupt,and faithlesse translator," rather than for any obvious sensitivity to the commonplace-book affinities of his text. But there is one point where he is a more faithful politiCharles Le Ber, Les six livres des Politiques ou doctrine civile de Justus Lipsius (La Rochelle, 1590); Simon Goulart,Les Politiquesde Juste Lipsius(Geneva, 1594). 28 Bernardino de Mendo,a, Los seys libros de las Politicas o Doctrina Civil de lusto Lipsio (Madrid,1604);I have yet to see the Dutchversionof 1590,the Polishversionof 1595,the German version of 1599, or the Italianversion of 1604 by Antonio Numai. 29 W. Jones, Sixe Bookes of Politickesor Civil Doctrine, writtenby JustusLipsius (London, 1594). 30 Ibid., sig. A iiiv.

Justus Lipsius


cal subject than he is a faithful translator:"And as concerning something left out in the third Chapterof the second Booke, it was a thing done of set purpose; for some important cause which I meane not here to utter."31 What is left out is all the testimony to the moral deficiencies of women which make them unfit to rule. When political commonplace-books conform to the dictates of political expediency, there will be things left out as well as things put in. In its originalLatinform the Politica had a long andprestigiouspublishing history.In both its Protestantand its Catholic versions, it seems to have been printedlittle short of one hundredtimes in the years between its first appearance and the middle of the eighteenthcentury.32 Fromthe point of view of the decline in the lateryears commonplace-bookmentalityand its long, drawn-out of the seventeenthcentury,it would be interestingto determinewhether the originalcarefulformatof the Latinwork was retained.This certainlyseems to in have been the case for the editions appearingin the heydayof its popularity, the thirtyyears or so after 1589. In thatperiod commonplace-bookswere still common currency. in origin, Printedexemplars,whetherCatholicor Protestant had startedto take on a baroqueextravaganceand to grow accretionsof sometimes monstrousproportions.The Politica, however,was unique in the authorial controlexercisedon the teleological design of its organizedextracts,which doubtlesshelped to keep it immunefrom editorialinterference.But if the sugwas still gestions madein this paperarevalid, its statusas a commonplace-book its to of Latinate readers whatever clearly recognizable political persuasionor religious confession, for whom it was emblematicof theircommon humanistic culture, the speech community to which they all belonged, and their shared patternsof thought.It was perhapsits very format,even more than the somewhat ambiguousreputation of its author,thatensuredits survivalfor so long in its originalform. As the commonplace-book began to lose its central hold on the European mentality, however, so the tight design of the Politica began to unravel. In 1664 and 1674 there are separate,posthumouspublications of an editionof the Politica compiledby MatthiasBeregger for his studentsof statecraft at Strasbourg, where he occupied a chair of history up until 1640. This edition had a very detailed index, and the 1674 version, at least, has a sort of praelectio locating the Politica very firmly in the category of commonplace-books. But the praelectio does not seem to envisage Lipsius's book as a resource for the construction of arguments, nor does its writer seem to relish the collected sententiae. For him they are first and foremost
31Ibid., sig. A iiii.

For the publishinghistorysee G. Oestreich,AntikerGeist undmoderer Staat bei Justus Lipsius (1547-1606) (Gottingen, 1989) and, on its influence,his Neostoicism,ch. 6.



Ann Moss

of the the studentto make a thorough investigation promptsto encourage texts from which the extractshave been taken.Lipsiusis the surestguide of material into the repository which,in the fulnessof its originalformulain of the Politica,will providethe not the tion, carefullypoised abstracts students'educationin politicalscience. The marginof textualreferences has entirelydeflectedattention places, awayfrom the marginof dialectical and indeed from the quotedextractsthemselves,now judged to be often "obscure" and "unfinished" unless read back to their source. The comno longer generatesthought,and the Politica has lost its monplace-book resonance.It is not much more thana superblywell organizedreference book for collectingold examplesof whatthe writerof thepraelectiothinks is the least ratiocinative of sciences:politics.33 DurhamUniversity.

33 Justi Lipsii Politicorumsive civilis doctrinaelibri sex ... ex institutoMatthiaeBemeggeri (Frankfurt, 1674), sig. A 7 + 5v - B 3v. Therearealmostcertainlymoreeditionsof this publication, possibly presentedin differentways, thanI have so far located. My 1664 edition is a "synopsis" made by J. A. Bostius for his students at Jena, and reprintedin 1667; my 1674 edition was preparedby J. H. Boecler, who succeeded Berneggerat Strasbourgin 1640, taughtthere until 1672, and then removedto Uppsala. See G. Oestreich,Neostoicism, ch. 6, passim.