Gregorio Baldin

Hobbes, Sarpi and the Interdict of Venice

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With regard to Hobbes' analysis of excommunication as a weapon used by Popes to exercise control over temporal states and sovereigns, it emerges that his discussion of the topic in "De Cive" is related to his treatment of another ban promulgated by the Roman Chuch: the "interdict". The few references to interdict in Hobbes' works suggest that he considered one specific historical event: the "Interdict crisis of Venice", which occurred in 1606-1607. Moreover, Hobbes' analysis of excommunication in "Leviathan", and his controversy with Bellarmine, lead us to a consideration of Sarpi's works. Certain aspects of these may suggest Hobbes used in his argument some themes drawn from the writings of the Venetian friar. In turn this stimulates a deeper comparison of the political and theologico-political thought of these two men.


  • Hobbes
  • Sarpi
  • Interdict
  • Venice
  • Excommunication


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