Antonio Pigafetta was an Italian scholar and explorer from the Republic of Venice. He joined the expedition to the Spice Islands led by explorer Ferdinand Magellan under the flag of King Charles I of Spain and, after Magellan's death in the Philippines, the subsequent voyage around the world. During the expedition, he served as Magellan's assistant and kept an accurate journal which assisted him in translating the Cebuano language, it is the first recorded document concerning the language. Pigafetta was one of the 18 men who returned to Spain in 1522, under the command of Juan Sebastián Elcano, out of the 240 who set out three years earlier; these men completed the first circumnavigation of the world. Pigafetta's surviving journal is the source for much of what is known about Magellan and Elcano's voyage. At least one warship of the Italian Navy, a destroyer of the Navigatori class, was named after him in 1931. Pigafetta belonged to a rich family city of Vicenza in northeast Italy. In his youth he studied astronomy and cartography.
He served on board the ships of the Knights of Rhodes at the beginning of the 16th century. Until 1519, he accompanied Monsignor Francesco Chieregati, to Spain. In Seville, Pigafetta heard of Magellan's planned expedition and decided to join, accepting the title of supernumerary, a modest salary of 1,000 maravedís. During the voyage, which started in August 1519, Pigafetta collected extensive data concerning the geography, flora and the native inhabitants of the places that the expedition visited, his meticulous notes proved invaluable to future explorers and cartographers due to his inclusion of nautical and linguistic data, to latter-day historians because of its vivid, detailed style. The only other sailor to maintain a journal during the voyage was Francisco Albo, Victoria's last pilot, who kept a formal logbook. Pigafetta was wounded on Mactan in the Philippines, where Magellan was killed in the Battle of Mactan in April 1521 by the local ruler Lapu-Lapu, he recovered and was among the 18 who accompanied Juan Sebastián Elcano on board the Victoria on the return voyage to Spain.
Upon reaching port in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the modern Province of Cadiz in September 1522, three years after his departure, Pigafetta returned to the Republic of Venice. He related his experiences in the "Report on the First Voyage Around the World", composed in Italian and was distributed to European monarchs in handwritten form before it was published by Italian historian Giovanni Battista Ramusio in 1550–59; the account centers on the events in the Mariana Islands and the Philippines, although it included several maps of other areas as well, including the first known use of the word "Pacific Ocean" on a map. The original document was not preserved. However, it was not through Pigafetta's writings that Europeans first learned of the circumnavigation of the globe. Rather, it was through an account written by a Flanders-based writer Maximilianus Transylvanus, published in 1523. Transylvanus had been instructed to interview some of the survivors of the voyage when Magellan's surviving ship Victoria returned to Spain in September 1522 under the command of Juan Sebastian Elcano.
After Magellan and Elcano's voyage, Pigafetta utilized the connections he had made prior to the voyage with the Knights of Rhodes to achieve membership in the order. Antonio Pigafetta wrote a book, in which a detailed account of the voyage was given, it is quite unclear when it was first published and what language had been used in the first edition. The remaining sources of his voyage were extensively studied by Italian archivist Andrea da Mosto, who wrote a critical study of Pigafetta's book in 1898 and whose conclusions were confirmed by J. Dénucé. Today, four manuscripts survive. One of the three books is in French. Of the four manuscripts, three are in French, one in Italian. From a philological point of view, the French editions seem to derive from an Italian original version, while the remaining Italian editions seem to derive from a French original version; because of this, it's still quite unclear whether the original version of Pigafetta's manuscript was in French or Italian though it wasn't in French language.
The most complete manuscript, the one, supposed to be more related to the original manuscript, is the one found by Carlo Amoretti inside the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and published in 1800. Amoretti, in his printed edition, modified many words and sentences whose meaning was uncertain; the modified version published by Amoretti was translated in other languages and therefore the edits by Amoretti spread in foreign editions too. Andrea da Mosto critically analyzed the original version stored in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and published a faithful version of Pigafetta's book in 1894. Andrea da Mosto's edition is deemed more rigorous than Amoretti's edition. Regarding the French versions of Pigafetta's book, J. Dénucé extensively studied them and published a critical edition. A
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas
Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas was a chronicler and writer of the Spanish Golden Age, author of Historia general de los hechos de los castellanos en las Islas y Tierra Firme del mar Océano que llaman Indias Occidentales, better known in Spanish as Décadas and considered one of the best works written on the conquest of the Americas. He was Chief Chronicler of Castile and the Americas during the reigns of Philip II and Philip III. Cristóbal Pérez Pastor called him the "prince of the historians of the Americas", he is considered the most prolific historian of his era, his works include a general history of the world, a history of Portugal, a description of the Americas. His output features translations of works from Italian and Latin into Spanish, a translation of his own Descripción de las Indias Occidentales into Dutch. Herrera is not given much value by modern historians. A standard Spanish reference work describes him as "an official historian, not impartial.... An opportunist, a schemer, greedy....
He plagiarized entire works which were unpublished at the time.... He had no interest in Native American civilization and therefore never dealt with it." He was born in Cuéllar, Province of Segovia, into a well-to-do noble family, the son of Rodrigo de Tordesillas and Inés de Herrera. He himself placed his mother's surname before his father's in opposition to convention, he undertook his earliest studies in the grammar school of his hometown, developing a notable facility for getting to know people and an inexhaustible capacity for work, which would be confirmed. His education pursued at the University of Salamanca, reached its pinnacle in Italy. In 1570 he traveled to Italy in the service of Prince Vespasiano I Gonzaga, one of the most distinguished personages of his era in Italy, his knowledge of Latin increased. In 1572 Gonzaga was named Viceroy of Navarre. Herrera established a residence in Pamplona, he continued to enjoy the viceroy's confidence when he took up the analogous post in Valencia in 1575, although Herrera moved his residence to Court as Gonzaga's most trusted aide, resolving issues on his behalf before the King and the Court.
Meanwhile, Herrera expanded his circle of friends and established contact with influential people as, little by little, he amassed a small fortune. In the last years of Gonzaga's life, he introduced Herrera to King Philip II as one learned in historical matters, it was the starting point of a relationship which Herrera was able to maintain, beginning by doing the self-interested courtesy of dedicating his historical works to important people. To get his acquaintance with the King started on the right foot, he translated from the Italian Giovanni Tommaso Minadoi's Historia della guerra fra turchi et persiani. While living in Pamplona he met the woman who would become his first wife, Juana de Esparza y Artieda, they married in 1581 and the union afforded him a social standing of a certain distinction, despite his not yet having secured significant capital or equity, although he was on his way to achieving it. Their only child, died in 1587 at a young age, three years after her mother. After a decade of widowerhood, he married secondly a woman from Cuéllar, María de Torres Hinestrosa, a descendant on one side of the Lords of Henestrosa, on the other, via an illegitimate child, of King Alfonso IX of León.
They had no children. During the years after the death of his first wife, Herrera dedicated himself to strengthening his position at Court, investing in real estate in Madrid, of course, writing until he secured the post of Chief Chronicler of the Americas in 1596, of Castile in 1598, with an attractive salary. In 1601 he moved to Valladolid with the Court, there pursued his tireless historiographical activity, along with that related to Court and the inevitable tasks of a financial nature. In 1607 he returned to Madrid, living in a house on the Puerta del Sol and devoted to his literary tasks, where he enjoyed a comfortable and stately lifestyle. However, the economic intrigues in which he was involved led to his being placed under house arrest from 1609 to 1611, he continued his literary activity until his death. Herrera died in Madrid on 28 March 1626 or 27 March 1625, he ordered in his will that his body be buried "in the parish church of Santa Marina in the town of Cuéllar, at the altar there with the arch in the main chapel on the epistle side, to which end it will be prepared by order and will of my heir, placing upon it a sign in Castilian roman letters which will be found among my papers and, conforming to what is found written in Latin, will be placed on my grave", his terms were fulfilled.
Herrera set out a maximum time frame of two years for burial Cuéllar, taking into account possible obstacles in doing so and proposed as a provisional burial place the Monastery of San Hermenegildo, in the chapel of Captain Juan Bautista Anotonelli, whose patron he was, this provision was carried out. In the 19th century, during the ecclesiastical confiscations, the church was sold and the new owner used the tombstone as a stair, so that the gilding of the inscription was lost, while the mortal remains were moved in 1886 to the nearby Church of San Pedro, when this was secularized in 1890, they were moved to one of the rooms of the Cuéllar Town Hall, where they remain today with those of his wife and the tombstone, which at the urgings
Antoine François Prévost
Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles known as the Abbé Prévost, was a French author and novelist. He was born at Hesdin and first appears with the full name of Prévost d'Exiles, in a letter to the booksellers of Amsterdam in 1731, his father, Lievin Prévost, was a lawyer, several members of the family had embraced the ecclesiastical estate. Prévost was educated at the Jesuit school of Hesdin, in 1713 became a novice of the order in Paris, pursuing his studies at the same time at the college in La Flèche. At the end of 1716 he left the Jesuits to join the army, but soon tired of military life, returned to Paris in 1719 with the idea of resuming his novitiate, he is said to have travelled in the Netherlands about this time. Some biographers have assumed that he suffered some of the misfortunes assigned to his hero Des Grieux. Whatever the truth, he joined the learned community of the Benedictines of St Maur, with whom he found refuge, he himself says, after the unlucky termination of a love affair.
He took his vows at Jumièges in 1721 after a year's novitiate, in 1726 took priest's orders at St Germer de Flaix. He spent seven years in various houses of the order, teaching and studying. In 1728 he was sent to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, where he contributed to the Gallia Christiana, a work of historiographic documentation undertaken communally by the monks in continuation of the works of Denys de Sainte-Marthe, a member of their order, his restless spirit made. In London he acquired a wide knowledge of English history and literature, as can be seen in his writings. Before leaving the Benedictines Prévost had begun his most famous novel, Mémoires et aventures d'un homme de qualité qui s'est retiré du monde, the first four volumes of which were published in Paris in 1728, two years at Amsterdam. In 1729 he left England for the Netherlands, where he began to publish a novel, the material of which, at least, had been gathered in London Le Philosophe anglais, ou Histoire de Monsieur Cleveland, fils naturel de Cromwell, écrite par lui-même, et traduite de l'anglais.
A spurious fifth volume contained attacks on the Jesuits, an English translation of the whole appeared in 1734. Meanwhile, during his residence at the Hague, he engaged on a translation of De Thou's Historia, relying on the popularity of his first book, published at Amsterdam a Suite in three volumes, forming volumes v, vi, vii of the original Mémoires et aventures d'un homme de qualité; the seventh volume contained the famous Manon Lescaut, separately published in Paris in 1731 as Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut. The book was eagerly read, chiefly in pirated copies. In 1733 he left the Hague for London in company of a lady whose character, according to Prévost's enemies, was doubtful. In London he edited a weekly gazette on the model of Joseph Addison's Spectator, Le Pour et contre, which he continued to produce in collaboration with the playwright Charles-Hugues Le Febvre de Saint-Marc, with short intervals, until 1740. In the autumn of 1734 Prévost was reconciled with the Benedictines, returning to France, was received in the Benedictine monastery of La Croix-Saint-Leufroy in the diocese of Évreux to pass through a new, though brief, novitiate.
In 1735 he was dispensed from residence in a monastery by becoming almoner to the Prince de Conti, in 1754 obtained the priory of St Georges de Gesnes. He continued to produce novels and translations from the English, with the exception of a brief exile spent in Brussels and Frankfurt, he resided for the most part at Chantilly until his death, which took place while he was walking in the neighbouring woods; the cause of his death, the rupture of an aneurysm, is all, known. Stories of crime and disaster were related of Prévost by his enemies, diligently repeated, but appear to be apocryphal. Prévost's other works include: Le Doyen de Killerine, histoire morale composée sur les mémoires d'une illustre famille d'Irlande Tout pour l'amour, a translation of Dryden's tragedy Histoire d'une Grecque moderne Histoire de Marguerite d'Anjou Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de Malte Campagnes philosophiques, ou mémoires... contenant l'histoire de la guerre d'Irlande Histoire de Guillaume le Conquérant Voyages du capitaine Robert Lade en differentes parties de l'Afrique, de l'Asie, et de l'Amerique, a fictional travel journal Histoire générale des voyages, continued by other writers Manuel Lexique, continued by other writers Translations from Samuel Richardson: Pamela ou la Vertu récompensée, Lettres anglaises ou Histoire de Miss Clarisse Harlovie, from Richardson's Clarissa, Nouvelles lettres anglaises, ou Histoire du chevalier Grandisson.
Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire de la vertu, from Mrs Sheridan's Memoires of Miss Sidney Bidulph Histoire de la maison de Stuart from Hume's History of England to 1688 Le Monde moral, ou Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire du coeur humain
The Biblioteca Ambrosiana is a historic library in Milan, Italy housing the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, the Ambrosian art gallery. Named after Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, it was founded in 1609 by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, whose agents scoured Western Europe and Greece and Syria for books and manuscripts; some major acquisitions of complete libraries were the manuscripts of the Benedictine monastery of Bobbio and the library of the Paduan Vincenzo Pinelli, whose more than 800 manuscripts filled 70 cases when they were sent to Milan and included the famous Iliad, the Ilias Picta. During Cardinal Borromeo's sojourns in Rome, 1585–95 and 1597–1601, he envisioned developing this library in Milan as one open to scholars and that would serve as a bulwark of Catholic scholarship in the service of the Counter-Reformation against the treatises issuing from Protestant presses. To house the cardinal's 15,000 manuscripts and twice that many printed books, construction began in 1603 under designs and direction of Lelio Buzzi and Francesco Maria Richini.
When its first reading room, the Sala Fredericiana, opened to the public on 8 December 1609 it was, after the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the second public library in Europe. One innovation was that its books were housed in cases ranged along the walls, rather than chained to reading tables, the latter a medieval practice seen still today in the Laurentian Library of Florence. A printing press was attached to the library, a school for instruction in the classical languages. Constant acquisitions, soon augmented by bequests, required enlargement of the space. Borromeo intended an academy and a collection of pictures, for which a new building was initiated in 1611–18 to house the Cardinal's paintings and drawings, the nucleus of the Pinacoteca. Cardinal Borromeo gave his collection of drawings to the library, too. Shortly after the cardinal's death, his library acquired twelve manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci, including the Codex Atlanticus; the library now contains some 12,000 drawings by European artists, from the 14th through the 19th centuries, which have come from the collections of a wide range of patrons and artists, collectors, art dealers, architects.
Prized manuscripts, including the Leonardo codices, were requisitioned by the French during the Napoleonic occupation, only returned after 1815. On 15 October 1816 the Romantic poet Lord Byron visited the library, he was delighted by the letters between Lucrezia Borgia and Pietro Bembo and claimed to have managed to steal a lock of her hair held on display. The novelist Mary Shelley visited the library on 14 September 1840 but was disappointed by the tight security occasioned by the recent attempted theft of "some of the relics of Petrarch" housed there. Among the 30,000 manuscripts, which range from Greek and Latin to Hebrew, Arabic, Ethiopian and Persian, is the Muratorian fragment, of ca 170 A. D. the earliest example of a Biblical canon and an original copy of De divina proportione by Luca Pacioli. Among Christian and Islamic Arabic manuscripts are treatises on medicine, a unique 11th-century diwan of poets, the oldest copy of the Kitab Sibawahaihi; the library has a college of Doctors, similar to the scriptors of the Vatican Library.
Among prominent figures have been Giuseppe Ripamonti, Ludovico Antonio Muratori, Giuseppe Antonio Sassi, Cardinal Angelo Mai and, at the beginning of the 20th century, Antonio Maria Ceriani, Achille Ratti (on November 8 1888, the future Pope Pius XI, Giovanni Mercati. Ratti wrote a new edition of the Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis, Latin work firstly published by the cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1582<. The building was damaged in World War II, with the loss of the archives of opera libretti of La Scala, but was restored in 1952 and underwent major restorations in 1990–97. Artwork at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana includes da Vinci's "Portrait of a Musician", Caravaggio's "Basket of Fruit", Raphael's cartoon of "The School of Athens". Uncial 0135 — fragments of the gospels of Matthew and Luke Codex Ambrosianus 435, Ambrosianus 837 — treatise On the Soul of Aristotle Minuscule manuscripts of New Testament: 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 350, 351, 352, 353, 614, 615 Lectionaries ℓ 102, ℓ 103, ℓ 104, ℓ 105, ℓ 106, ℓ 284, ℓ 285, ℓ 286, ℓ 287, ℓ 288, ℓ 289, ℓ 290.
Codex Ambrosianus Catalogus codicum graecorum Bibliothecae Ambrosianae Tomus I Catalogus codicum graecorum Bibliothecae Ambrosianae Tomus II Biblioteca Ambrosiana website, select English The Ambrosian Library at the Catholic Encyclopedia Ambrosiana Foundation, U. S. support organization Inventory Catalog of Drawings at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Edward-Clifford/Edward-Clifford-oil-paintings.html "Ambrosian Library". New International Encyclopedia. 1905
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political and educational thought, his Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. Rousseau's sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise was important to the development of preromanticism and romanticism in fiction, his Emile, or On Education is an educational treatise on the place of the individual in society. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—the posthumously published Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, the unfinished Reveries of a Solitary Walker —exemplified the late-18th-century "Age of Sensibility", featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that characterized modern writing. Rousseau befriended fellow philosophy writer Denis Diderot in 1742, would write about Diderot's romantic troubles in his Confessions.
During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophers among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred in 1794, 16 years after his death. Rousseau was born in Geneva, at the time a city-state and a Protestant associate of the Swiss Confederacy. Since 1536, Geneva had been the seat of Calvinism. Five generations before Rousseau, his ancestor Didier, a bookseller who may have published Protestant tracts, had escaped persecution from French Catholics by fleeing to Geneva in 1549, where he became a wine merchant. Rousseau was proud. Throughout his life, he signed his books "Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Citizen of Geneva". Geneva, in theory, was governed "democratically" by its male voting "citizens"; the citizens were a minority of the population when compared to the immigrants, referred to as "inhabitants", whose descendants were called "natives" and continued to lack suffrage. In fact, rather than being run by vote of the "citizens", the city was ruled by a small number of wealthy families that made up the "Council of Two Hundred".
There was much political debate within Geneva, extending down to the tradespeople. Much discussion was over the idea of the sovereignty of the people, of which the ruling class oligarchy was making a mockery. In 1707, a democratic reformer named Pierre Fatio protested this situation, saying "a sovereign that never performs an act of sovereignty is an imaginary being", he was shot by order of the Little Council. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's father, was not in the city at this time, but Jean-Jacques's grandfather supported Fatio and was penalized for it; the trade of watchmaking had become a family tradition by the time of Rousseau's father, Isaac Rousseau. Isaac followed his grandfather and brothers into the business, except for a short stint teaching dance as a dance master. Isaac, notwithstanding his artisan status, was well educated and a lover of music. "A Genevan watchmaker", Rousseau wrote, "is a man. In 1699, Isaac ran into political difficulty by entering a quarrel with visiting English officers, who in response drew their swords and threatened him.
After local officials stepped in, it was Isaac, punished, as Geneva was concerned with maintaining its ties to foreign powers. Rousseau's mother, Suzanne Bernard Rousseau, was from an upper-class family, she was raised by a Calvinist preacher. He cared for Suzanne. In 1695, Suzanne had to answer charges that she had attended a street theater disguised as a peasant woman so she could gaze upon M. Vincent Sarrasin, whom she fancied despite his continuing marriage. After a hearing, she was ordered by the Genevan Consistory to never interact with him again, she married Rousseau's father at the age of 31. Isaac's sister had married Suzanne's brother eight years earlier, after she had become pregnant and they had been chastised by the Consistory; the child died at birth. The young Rousseau was told a romantic fairy-tale about the situation by the adults in his family—a tale where young love was denied by a disapproving patriarch but that prevailed by sibling loyalty that, in the story, resulted in love conquering all and two marriages uniting the families on the same day.
Rousseau never learnt the truth. Rousseau was born on 28 June 1712, he would relate: "I was born dying, they had little hope of saving me", he was baptized on 4 July 1712, in the great cathedral. His mother died of puerperal fever nine days after his birth, which he described as "the first of my misfortunes", he and his older brother François were brought up by their father and a paternal aunt named Suzanne. When Rousseau was five, his father sold the house that the family had received from his mother's relatives. While the idea was that his sons would inherit the principal when grown up and he would live off the interest in the meantime, in the end the father took most of the substantial proceeds. With the selling of the house, the Rousseau family moved out of the upper-class neighborhood and moved into an apartment house in a neighborhood of craftsmen—silversmiths and other watchmakers. Growing up around craftsmen, Rousseau woul
Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu referred to as Montesquieu, was a French judge, man of letters, political philosopher. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, implemented in many constitutions throughout the world, he is known for doing more than any other author to secure the place of the word "despotism" in the political lexicon. His anonymously published The Spirit of the Laws in 1748, received well in both Great Britain and the American colonies, influenced the Founding Fathers in drafting the United States Constitution. Montesquieu was born at the Château de la Brède in southwest France, 25 kilometres south of Bordeaux, his father, Jacques de Secondat, was a soldier with a long noble ancestry. His mother, Marie Françoise de Pesnel, who died when Charles was seven, was an heiress who brought the title of Barony of La Brède to the Secondat family. After the death of his mother he was sent to the Catholic College of Juilly, a prominent school for the children of French nobility, where he remained from 1700 to 1711.
His father died in 1713 and he became a ward of his uncle, the Baron de Montesquieu. He became a counselor of the Bordeaux Parliament in 1714; the next year, he married the Protestant Jeanne de Lartigue, who bore him three children. The Baron died in 1716, leaving him his fortune as well as his title, the office of président à mortier in the Bordeaux Parliament. Montesquieu's early life occurred at a time of significant governmental change. England had declared itself a constitutional monarchy in the wake of its Glorious Revolution, had joined with Scotland in the Union of 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. In France, the long-reigning Louis XIV died in 1715 and was succeeded by the five-year-old Louis XV; these national transformations had a great impact on Montesquieu. Montesquieu withdrew from the practice of law to devote himself to writing, he achieved literary success with the publication of his 1721 Persian Letters, a satire representing society as seen through the eyes of two imaginary Persian visitors to Paris and Europe, cleverly criticizing the absurdities of contemporary French society.
He next published Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline, considered by some scholars, among his three best known books, as a transition from The Persian Letters to his master work. The Spirit of the Laws was published anonymously in 1748; the book rose to influence political thought profoundly in Europe and America. In France, the book met with an unfriendly reception from both supporters and opponents of the regime; the Catholic Church banned The Spirit – along with many of Montesquieu's other works – in 1751 and included it on the Index of Prohibited Books. It received the highest praise from the rest of Europe Britain. Montesquieu was highly regarded in the British colonies in North America as a champion of liberty. According to one political scientist, he was the most quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible. Following the American Revolution, Montesquieu's work remained a powerful influence on many of the American founders, most notably James Madison of Virginia, the "Father of the Constitution".
Montesquieu's philosophy that "government should be set up so that no man need be afraid of another" reminded Madison and others that a free and stable foundation for their new national government required a defined and balanced separation of powers. Besides composing additional works on society and politics, Montesquieu traveled for a number of years through Europe including Austria and Hungary, spending a year in Italy and 18 months in England, where he became a freemason, admitted to the Horn Tavern Lodge in Westminster, before resettling in France, he was troubled by poor eyesight, was blind by the time he died from a high fever in 1755. He was buried in the Église Paris. Montesquieu's philosophy of history minimized the role of individual events, he expounded the view in Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence that each historical event was driven by a principal movement: It is not chance that rules the world. Ask the Romans, who had a continuous sequence of successes when they were guided by a certain plan, an uninterrupted sequence of reverses when they followed another.
There are general causes and physical, which act in every monarchy, elevating it, maintaining it, or hurling it to the ground. All accidents are controlled by these causes, and if the chance of one battle—that is, a particular cause—has brought a state to ruin, some general cause made it necessary for that state to perish from a single battle. In a word, the main trend draws with it all particular accidents. In discussing the transition from the Republic to the Empire, he suggested that if Caesar and Pompey had not worked to usurp the government of the Republic, other men would have risen in their place; the cause was not the ambition of man. Montesquieu is credited as being among the progenitors, which include Herodotus and Tacitus, of anthropology, as being among the first to extend comparative methods of classification to the political forms in human societies. Indeed, the French political anthropologist Georges Balandier considered Montesquieu to be "the initiator of a scientific enterprise that for a time performed the role of cultural and social anthrop