Three letters to Raffaele de' Medici concerning the Diet of Worms (MSS 043)

Raffaele de' Medici, of the Florentine Medici family, was born in 1477. He was present at the coronation of Pope Leo X in 1513, and in 1519, was appointed commissioner at Borgo S. Sepolcro. Later, he was created a knight of St. James by the Emperor Charles V. In 1532, de' Medici was named one of the forty-eight senators at Florence. He was commissioner at Pisa, in 1542, and at Pistoia, in 1545. Raffaele de' Medici died on 1 September 1555.

Girolamo [Hieronomo] Aleandro, an Italian scholar and cardinal, was born at Motta di Livenza, near Venice, on 13 February 1480. Pope Leo X appointed him as the apostolic nuncio to Charles V in 1520. That appointment was made to allow Aleandro to combat Martin Luther. At the Diet of Worms, April 1521, he denounced Luther and convinced the Diet to condemn him. Aleandro died in Rome on 1 February 1542.

The collection consists of three letters, addressed to Raffaele de' Medici, concerning Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms. Two of the letters are from Girolamo [Hieronomo] Aleandro, both in Italian, dated 5 May 1520 and 1 June 1521. In the second letter, Aleandro writes that it was he who composed the Edict of Worms, which placed Luther under the ban of the Church and State. The third letter in, French, was written by Henry de Lesomet, from Worms, on 29 April 1521, and concerns the Court and the leave-taking of Martin Luther.

The letter dated 5 May 1520 (21 x 23 cm.) has a water mark of a bishop's head piece. An external marking in pencil, "1056A", appears on the verso. The letter dated 1 June 1521 (21 x 33 cm.) has an external marking, "1056", in pencil on the verso. The letter dated 29 April 1521 (22 x 22 cm.) has a 2 cm. cut in seven places. This cut was apparently made when the document was folded, as they appear to match. Each letter is accompanied by typewritten transcription and English translation. Photographs have been made for each.

The images below are available in PDF format (5 MB).

Letter dated 5 May 1520 — Translation from Latin:

II XI Magnificent and most famous Lord and honourable master: I am not writing to Your Lordship about the recent Lutheran affair, because it seems to me superfluous to repeat it, writing at great length and perhaps to the extent of vexing my most Reverend and Illustrious Patron, about something which your Lordship will thoroughly understand. I only beg your Lordship that you may always count me among the number of your servants, and as I have written in the last few days, should it be appropriate, to recommend me duly to both patrons, I speak of the Pope and the Cardinal; and so, if you see fit to command anything of me, or condescend to write even a few words to me, you will turn me from your servant to your slave. Whereupon, I humbly commend myself to you.

At Worms, 5 May 1520.

Your servant at your Lordship's command, Hier[onimo] Al[eandro]

[Address] To the magnificent and most famous Lord and honourable master, Raffaele de Medici

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Letter dated 29 April 1521 — Translation from French:

Monsieur, I commend myself right heartily to you. Monsieur de Hoochstrate has sent me some letters, which I send to you. I beg you please to be so good as to write to me if you have received them, and in addition to let me have news of yourself. As for news hereabouts, the Court is still here, and it is said that it will leave within eight or ten days. Luther left the day before yesterday, perverse and obstinate in his opinions. I could scarcely believe that he is not punished by God and the world. And with this I shall close, praying God to look after you. From Worms, the 29th of April 1521.

Your entirely good friend and servant,

Henry de Lesomet

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Letter dated 1 June 1521 — Translation from Italian:

Magnificent and most famous Lord. We may at last be through with this Diet, which has exhausted both our bodies and our purse. Your Lordship will see and appreciate the fine execution that the Emperor has made at Worms against Luther�s books, and of the Imperial decree which, if I had not composed it, I would have said that it was just due to good luck, so far as the substance was concerned. Believe me, I have striven to maintain the honour of the Pope, which they would not have done now if they had made their own decree. God inspired the Emperor when he expressly ordered that I should undertake such a task. At the same time as all these notable events, I have compiled them in authenticated form, and have myself drawn up the instruments, because they asked me to do so. Trust that I shall not have let myself be deceived, as I hope. Certain great personages have by various means intervened to prevent a war between the Emperor and the French, but I believe they are working in vain, and there is a cry of war on all sides. May God inspire our rulers for the best, which seems to me to be at least not to deviate on one side or the other. May God's will be done. You must know that even if the Emperor has some difficulties at the beginning, he will be victorious in the end. So, by your kindness, which is immense, as for many other causes that you may well think of, I beg Your Lordship to be so kind as to commend me, and to be glad that the affair of Luther, in which you have had a good deal of the trouble, has had this desirable ending (and certainly better than many presumed) to the honour of God and the satisfaction of my patrons the Pope and the Cardinal. I shall shortly send you the Latin decree, which I shall see is sent throughout the nations of Christendom. Again, I commend myself to you.

Mainz, the first of June 1521.

As there is nothing more to be done by me in the Luther affair, nevertheless because I am at the command of my patrons, I shall go on to Flanders to perform the rest of the service.

From your humble servant

Hier[onimo] Al[eandro]

[Address] To the magnificent and most famous Lord, Raffaele de Medici, my most worthy Patron


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For additional information about this collection, consult the finding aid.