The Correspondence of Antonio Agustín

Primary Contributors:

Guy Lazure, Spanish Republic of Letters, University of Windsor, Canada

Antonio Agustín y Albanell, taken from an engraving by Francisco Montaner of a drawing by José Maea. Before 1791. (Source of image: Wikimedia Commons)

Antonio Agustín (1517–1586)

The canon law historian Antonio Agustín y Albanell was born at Saragossa on 26 February 1517. He studied in Spain at the universities of Alcalá and Salamanca before travelling in 1536 to Italy, where he continued his education in Bologna, Padua, and Florence, and where he made the acquaintance of such influential scholars as the jurist Andrea Alciati (1492–1550).

At the request of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Pope Paul III appointed Agustín as Auditor of the Rota in 1544, and in 1555 he was sent by Pope Paul IV to the court of Mary I of England as papal nuncio and counsellor to Cardinal Reginald Pole. The following year, Agustín was ordained and within days took up the appointment as Bishop of Alife in the Kingdom of Naples; just five years after this he became Bishop of Lérida in Spain. Agustín attended the Council of Trent from 5 October 1561, and in 1576 — by appointment of Pope Gregory XIII — he accepted the archbishopic of Tarragona.

A numismatist, a collector of archaeological artifacts, and a bibliophile, Agustín amassed an impressive library, a partial inventory of which was published following his death in Tarragona at the age of sixty-nine on 31 May 1586. Whilst his works published during his lifetime, including the Emendationum et Opinionum libri IV (Venice, 1543) were influential as pioneering examples of exemplary research into the sources of canon law, a number of his significant works, includuing De quibusdam veteris canonum ecclesiasticorum collectoribus iudicium ac censura (Rome, 1611), Opera omnia (Lucca, 1765–74) and Dialogos de las armas, i linages de la nobleza de España (Madrid, 1734), appeared posthumously.


Partners and Additional Contributors

The metadata for the listing of Antonio Agustín’s correspondence has been supplied to EMLO by Guy Lazure, director of the Spanish Republic of Letters database at the University of Windsor, Canada, as part of an ongoing exchange of data with the Cultures of Knowledge project.

Thanks are extended both to Guy and to his colleagues at the Spanish Republic of Letters. EMLO digital fellow Alex Hitchman and EMLO editorial assistant Charlotte Marique helped to set out the metadata in the format required for upload to the union catalogue.


Key Bibliographic Source(s)

Antonio Agustín, Epistolario de Antonio Agustín, ed. Cándido Flores Sellés (Salamanca, 1980).

Antonio Agustín, Opera Omnia (Lucca, 1772), vol. VII, pp. 189–90.

Juan Andrés, Antonii Augustini Archiepiscopi Tarraconensis Epistolae Latinae et Italicae nunc primum editae (Parma, 1804), p. 381.

Joan Carbonell, ‘La relación epistolar inédita entre Antonio Agustín y el Papa Gregorio XIII’, Faventia, 22, 2 (2000), pp. 133–4.

Jean–Louis Ferrary, Correspondance de Lelio Torelli avec Antonio Agustín et Jean Matal (1542–1553) (Como, 1992).

Jaime Villanueva, Viage literario a las Iglesias de España (Madrid, 1851), vol. 20, pp. 216–17.



Agustín’s correspondents included some of the leading scholars, collectors, and ecclesiastical and political figures of his day, including Latino Latini, Jean Matal, Benito Arias Montano, Fulvio Orsini, Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, Andreas Schott, and Laevinus Torrentius. Agustín’s brother, Pedro Agustín (1512–1572), who was bishop successively of Elne and Huesca, was a frequent correspondence. Agustín’s relationship with a succession of pontiffs was maintained, in particular with Ugo Boncompagni who became pope Gregory XIII in 1572 and who had been a friend since the years of the Council of Trent. 


Scope of Catalogue

It should be noted that many of the manifestation types in this inventory still need to be checked.


Further resources

Antonio Agustín, Epistolario de Antonio Agustín, ed. Cándido Flores Sellés (Salamanca, 1980).

Antonio Agustín, Opera omnia, ed. Josephus Rocchius, 8 vols (Lucca, 1765–74).

Marc Mayer, ‘Towards a History of the Library of Antonio Agustín’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 60 (1997), pp. 261–72.

Marc Mayer, ‘Antonio Agustín y Albanell‘, on Real Academia de la Historia, accessed online 12 November 2018.

William Stenhouse, ‘Antonio Agustín and the Numismatists’, The Princeton University Library Chronicle, vol. 69, no. 2 (2008), pp. 262–79.

Launch Catalogue

Please see our citation guidelines for instructions on how to cite this catalogue.