Sarpi, Paolo

Sarpi, Paolo

(pä`ōlō sär`pē), 1552–1623, Venetian councillor, theologian, and historian. In 1565 he became a Servite friar and later theologian and adviser to the republic. In the conflict that developed in 1606 between Venice and Pope Paul VPaul V,
1552–1621, pope (1605–21), a Roman named Camillo Borghese; successor of Leo XI. He was created cardinal (1596) by Clement VIII and was renowned for his knowledge of canon law.
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 he staunchly defended in his writings the right of the state to control ecclesiastic matters. In 1607 his prestige was increased when he was wounded in an attempt, said to be sponsored by the pope, to seize him by force. His most important work is his history of the Council of Trent (published in London in 1719), in which he viewed the council as the triumph of papal absolutism and centralization.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sarpi, Paolo


Born Aug. 14, 1552, in Venice; died there Jan. 14, 1623. Venetian scholar and political figure. Monk; doctor of theology.

Besides theology, Sarpi studied medicine, physics, and mathematics. He was appointed counsellor on theological questions to the government of the Republic of Venice in 1606, at the height of the conflict between Venice and Pope Paul V. He joined in the struggle against the papacy, defending the state’s independence from the church and denouncing the pope and the Jesuits. Sarpi wrote a history of the Council of Trent, in which he exposed the misdeeds of the papacy. Sarpi based the work on dispatches of Venetian ambassadors, diaries, letters, accounts of the council’s participants, and other valuable sources.


Opere, vols. 1–8. Bari, 1931–58.
Lettere, vols. 1–2. Florence, 1863.


Vainshtein, O. L. Zapadnoevropeiskaia srednevekovaia istoriografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964. Pages 297–300.
Chabod, F. La política di Paolo Sarpi. Venice-Rome, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.