The Correspondence of Caspar van Baarle (505 letters)

Primary Contributors:

ePistolarium, CKCC project, Huygens ING, The Hague

Caspar Barlaeus, by Joachim von Sandrart. Brush on paper. (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Caspar Barlaeus (1584–1648)

Born in Antwerp, Caspar van Baarle [van Baerle, or Barlaeus] moved as an infant with his family to Zaltbommel in the Dutch Republic following the Spanish occupation. Having enrolled as a student of theology and philosophy at Leiden in 1617, he was appointed there as professor of philosophy and held this post until 1619, when he was forced to resign on account of his remonstrant views. Thereafter he turned to medicine and graduated from Caen, although he did not proceed to practise. By 1631 he had moved to Amsterdam where he was appointed professor of philosophy at the Athenaeum Illustre.

Partners and Additional Contributors

The Circulation of Knowledge project [CKCC] was established in 2008 as a partnership between the Descartes Centre at the University of Utrecht, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands (Huygens ING), the Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), and the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The project began by digitizing the metadata and curating existing full-text transcriptions of c.20,000 letters to or from nine prominent intellectuals resident in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. In 2013, this material was published as open access in a sophisticated web application — the ePistolarium — which provides scholars with multiple means of exploring and analysing both metadata and full texts across all nine correspondences. As well as conducting full-text searches, mapping and graphing the metadata, and extracting people mentioned, the ePistolarium is capable of interrogating the entire corpus to analyse and visualize co-citation networks, and produces the results of keyword extraction and experimental topic-modelling.

CKCC’s 20,020 records represent the largest single dataset contributed to EMLO during the second phase of Cultures of Knowledge. The re-publication of these records within EMLO marks the inauguration of the rolling incorporation of major new catalogues which will continue throughout 2015 and beyond. As well as integrating CKCC’s metadata into an expansive union catalogue, EMLO’s records link back to the original letter texts published within the ePistolarium.

The metadata and transcripts for Caspar Barlaeus’s correspondence (edition G. Brandt, below) were supplied to CKCC by the University of Amsterdam under the supervision of Frans Blom and Marjolein van Zuylen. EMLO would like to thank Walter Ravenek for his careful preparation of CKCC metadata and Miranda Lewis for her work on the people and place records associated with the correspondence.

Key Bibliographic Source(s)

The metadata and texts for the transcriptions published in ePistolarium were taken from Casparis Barlæi med. doct. ac philosophiae in ill. Amstel. Gymnasio dum viveret professoris Epistolarum liber … , ed. Geeraert Brandt (Amsterdam, 1667), and Briefwisseling van Caspar Barlaeus (1584–1648), naar de editie van Geeraerd Brandt, Amsterdam, 1667, pub. Marjolein van Zuylen and A.J.E. Harmsen (see below).


The letters presented currently in EMLO, 505 in total, span the years 1615 to 1647. Written in Latin and Dutch, they were exchanged largely within the Dutch Republic, with a number being sent to and from Grotius in Paris, following the latter’s escape from Loevestein.

A link is provided from each record in EMLO to the online transcription in the ePistolarium catalogue where, it should be noted, the Gregorian calendar is used throughout.

Visualized search result showing the correspondence network of Barlaeus (ePistolarium, CKCC project, Huygens ING, The Hague).

Further resources


Casparis Barlæi med. doct. ac philosophiae in ill. Amstel. Gymnasio dum viveret professoris Epistolarum liber … , ed. Geeraert Brandt (Amsterdam, 1667).

Briefwisseling van Caspar Barlaeus (1584–1648), naar de editie van Geeraerd Brandt (Amsterdam, 1667), pub. Marjolein van Zuylen and A.J.E. Harmsen (Universiteit Leiden,

K. van der Horst, Inventaire de la correspondance de Caspar Barlaeus (16021648) (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1978).

Launch Catalogue

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