- Nuntiaturberichte aus Deutschland nebst ergänzenden Aktenstücken: Die Kölner Nuntiatur, Vol. 4: Nuntius Atilio Amalteo, Part 2:1607 Oktober-1610 Oktober (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 87, Number 4, October 2001
- pp. 742-743
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The Catholic Historical Review 87.4 (2001) 742-743
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Nuntiaturberiche aus Deutschland nebst ergänzenden Aktenstücken: Die Kölner Nuntiatur, Vol. 4: Nuntius Atilio Amalteo, Part 2: 1607 Oktober-1610 Oktober
Nuntiaturberiche aus Deutschland nebst ergänzenden Aktenstücken: Die Kölner Nuntiatur, Vol. 4: Nuntius Atilio Amalteo, Part 2: 1607 Oktober-1610 Oktober. 2 Sections (Halbbände). Edited by Stefan Samerski. (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. 2000. Pp. lxiii, 480, 481-589. 236,- DM paperback.)
In 1584 following the War of Cologne, which saw the defeat of the attempt of Prince-Archbishop Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg to secularize this crucial Rhenish ecclesiastical territory, Pope Gregory XIII established a nunciature in Cologne. Like Lucerne (1579) and Graz (1580), Cologne was considered one of the "small" nunciatures, whose principal concern was church reform, as opposed to the older nunciatures in Vienna, Paris, and Madrid, where high politics was more at issue. The nunicature at Cologne was responsible for the three archbishoprics of Cologne, Mainz, and Trier, as well as a number of other bishoprics in the north and west including Liège, the apostolic vicariate of the north, and until the establishment of the nunciature at Brussels in 1596, the Netherlands and even England. It continued to exist until the French Revolution, but its importance diminished substantially after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Now that these two hefty tomes have seen the light of day, the Görres-Gesellschaft has successfully sponsored the publication of the Nuntiaturberichte from Cologne for the years 1584-1596, 1606-1614, and 1621-1634. There seems to be nothing further in the pipeline at the moment. The two tomes under review constitute part two of the volume devoted to the nunciature of Atilio Amalteo. (Each nuncio is given his own volume which is first broken down into parts and then when necessary into sections or Halbbände.) The first part of the volume for Amalteo covered the period from September, 1606, to September, 1607; it was edited by Klaus Wittstadt and appeared in 1975 (reviewed ante, LXIII [April, 1977], 320-321).
These two tomes maintain the high editorial standards of the Nuntiaturberichte, and their notes are a mine of information and bibliography. Altogether they comprise 1317 documents. Nearly all of these are communications between Amalteo and the cardinal-nephew under Paul V, Scipione Borghese. Since their correspondence has survived almost completely, there was little room for complementary documentation. Most of these communications are published in their entirety apart from salutation and conclusion; a brief synopsis in German precedes the Italian original. Samerski provides a helpful introduction to the correspondence including a biographical sketch of Amalteo which summarizes his brief monograph, Atilio Amalteo (1545-1633). Diplomatico pontificio di impronta tardohumanista al servizio della Riforma cattolica (Venice, 1996).
Born in 1545 to a family of the minor nobility in the Veneto, where his father was both a poet of some note and a medical doctor in Oderzo, Amalteo received a humanist education and then studied civil and canon law at Padua. In 1570 he moved to Rome where he studied theology at the Roman College, an experience which helped forge a bond with the Jesuits that continued into his period as nuncio. He was ordained a priest in 1582. Meanwhile an uncle helped [End Page 742] him to make contacts in the city, and gradually he rose in the curial bureaucracy. He secured a post in the secretariat of state in 1578, where Cardinal Tolomei Galli, secretary of state under Gregory XIII, served as his mentor. Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini, the future Clement VIII, took him on a mission to Poland in 1588, and in the following years he twice was part of papal missions to Transylvania. The year 1596 found him accompanying Cardinal de Medici on a mission to France that eventually helped in the conclusion of the Treaty of Vervins (1598). So Amalteo was sixty-one-years old and a man of considerable experience when he was appointed to the nunciature...