Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Osório, Jerónimo

Born: Portugal, 1514
Died: Tavira, Portugal, 1580
  • Thomas EarleEmail author
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_701-2


Easily the best-known Portuguese writer in sixteenth-century Europe, Osório engineered wide exposure for his many books, on a variety of topics, but all of them in Latin. He was educated outside Portugal, including a particularly formative period in Bologna, but most of his life was spent in his own country, where for more than 20 years he was bishop of the Algarve.

Though not an original thinker, Osório’s ability to convey orthodox Catholic beliefs in elegant Latin prose brought him many readers, including in the Protestant world. His early works of the 1540s, On Civil and Christian Nobility and On Glory, show him to have been a Christian humanist, with an unusual (for Portugal) interest in and knowledge of the work of Homer. However, he could not accept the work of the classical philosophers because it was not based on revealed religion. He was also profoundly critical of Machiavelli, on the grounds of his hostility to Christianity.

Osório was also well known, especially in England, for his open letter to Queen Elizabeth, who he tried to persuade to return to the faith of her ancestors. It led to a polemic with Anglican theologians which lasted for many years. His writings about kingship do not move very far from the ideas of St Thomas Aquinas.

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Primary Literature

  1. Osório’s work can be most easily accessed through the Portuguese translations by A. Guimarães Pinto.Google Scholar
  2. Carta a D. Isabel, Rainha de Inglaterra. 2006. See Pinto, A Guimarães, belowGoogle Scholar
  3. Da ensinança e educação do rei. 2005. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da MoedaGoogle Scholar
  4. De Religione. 2006. See Pinto, A. Guimarães, belowGoogle Scholar
  5. Tratado da Glória. 2005. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.Google Scholar
  6. Tratados da Nobreza Civil e Cristã. 1996. Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.Google Scholar
  7. The History of the Portuguese in the Reign of Emmanuel, (English translated by Gibbs, J.), 1752. London: A. Millar.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Earle, T.F. 2009. Portuguese writers and English readers: Books by Portuguese writers printed before 1640 in the libraries of Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society.Google Scholar
  2. Pinto, A.G. 2006. Humanismo e Controvérsia Religiosa: Lusitanos e Anglicanos (with translations of works by Osório, see above). Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.Google Scholar
  3. Soares, N.C. 1994. O Príncipe Ideal no século XVI e a Obra de D. Jerónimo Osório. Coimbra: Instituto Nacional de Investigação Científica.Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK