1613 · Antverpiae,
“In 1576 Lispius returned to Catholic Louvain. However after his property was looted by soldiers a second time he fled again in 1579, this time to the Calvinist University of Leiden. He remained at Leiden for thirteen years and it is to this period that his two most famous books were written – De Constantia Libri Duo (1584) and Politicorum sive Civilis Doctrinae Libri Sex (1589).”
“In his Politicorum sive Civilis Doctrinae Libri Sex (‘Six Books on Politics or Civil Doctrine’) Lipsius drew upon a wide range of classical sources, with a particular emphasis upon Tacitus, and the work has been characterized, not unfairly, as not much more than a compendium of quotations. In it he argued that no State should permit more than one religion within its borders and that all dissent should be punished without mercy. Experience had taught him that civil conflict enflamed by religious intolerance was far more dangerous and destructive than despotism.
“The treatise is concerned with the creation of civil life, defined as ‘that which we lead in the society of men, one with another, to mutual commodity and profit, and common use of all’ (Pol. 1.1). Such a life has two necessary conditions, virtue (virtute) and prudence (prudentia). Book One is devoted to an analysis of these two conditions: virtue requires piety and goodness; prudence is dependent upon use and memory. Book Two opens by arguing that government is necessary for civil life and that the best form of government is a principality. Civil concord requires all to submit to the will of one. ‘Principality’ (principatus) is defined as ‘rule by one for the good of all’ (Pol. 2.3). For the Prince to achieve this he himself must have both virtue and prudence. The remainder of Book Two is devoted to princely virtues, the most important being justice and clemency. Book Three moves on to consider princely prudence, and this remains the theme for the rest of the work. There are two types of prudence, one’s own and the advice of others. Book Three focuses upon prudent advisors in the form of counsellors and ministers. Book Four is concerned with a Prince’s own prudence, which must be carefully developed in the light of experience. This . . . may be divided into civil and military prudence. The rest of Book Four outlines two types of civil prudence, that concerned with matters divine and that concerned with matters human. Military Prudence is the subject of Books Five and Six. Book Five deals with external military prudence (war with foreign powers), while Book Six deals with internal military prudence (civil war).
“The central theme of the work is clear from the outset. Lipsius – pre-empting Hobbes – places order and peace far above civil liberties and personal freedom. Individual political rights are little consolation when surrounded by violent anarchy. The first task for politics is to secure peace for all and this can only be done if power is concentrated in one individual. It can also only be achieved if only one religion is allowed in any particular State. If one has concerns about such a concentration of power, the proper way to reduce them is to educate the holder of power, to develop his virtue and prudence, and to remind him that he holds power in order to secure peace, not to create terror. If a Prince forgets this last point and turns into a tyrant, there may be grounds to challenge his position. However Lipsius emphasizes that there is nothing more miserable than civil war which should be avoided at all costs.” – Encyclopedia of Philosophy. FULL TITLE: Politicorum sive Civilis Doctrinae Libri Sex. Qui ad Principatum maxime spectant [with:] . . . Ad Libros Politicorum Notae, et De Una Religione Liber. Aucta omnia & innouata. [with:] De Una Religione, Adversus Dialogistam Liber . . . [with:] . . . Monita et Exempla Politica. Libri Duo, Qui Virtutes et Vitia Principum Spectant. [with:] Leges Regiae et Leges X. Virales, I. Lipsi opera studiose collectae. Editio ultima; [with:] . . . Dissertatiuncula apud principes: Item C. Plini Panegyricus Liber Traiano Dictus, . . . (Inventory #: LV2118)