An unknown book: my most recent scientific discovery.
Quite unexpectedly, I discovered in Brussels, then in Madrid an unknown and unpublished book of Diego de Saavedra Fajardo, a giant in Spanish Golden Age diplomacy and political thinking, the anonymous and mysterious Antineutralidad. It was dedicated to the Count-Duke of Olivares, and written in 1640. My paper on its content and importance is available here. I started to work on the transcription. It's going to be a lengthy volume.
I substantiate the claim in the paper that the legal and political treatise is a mature masterpiece of the diplomat, in cultural significance comparable to his other principal work, the anti-Machiavellian Political Emblems (Empresas políticas).
The Thirty Years' War, the House of Austria, the Spanish hegemony in Europe, the Reason of State and the Holy Roman Empire are the principal themes and so much more. I was thrilled to learn the novelty and originality of this book.
The battle between Machiavelli and the rest of Europe is ON!
Here are some teasers:
"Another, secondary purpose of the book was to synthesize, integrate and systematize the reason of State of the Spanish Monarchy in the context of divine providence and the history of the world, including the end times in Christian eschatology."
"Some of these themes, like that of the Burgundian Circle, the Ottomans and divine providence seem to be disconnected at first glance, but in the argumentation of Saavedra Fajardo they melt together and constitute a complete arsenal of diplomatic, political and rhetorical weapons and thoughts, and are totally interconnected."
"Saavedra’s legal reasoning, which is much more fully elaborated in the Antineutralidad, provides an insight into a less-known facet of the Spanish Monarchy’s political and diplomatic efforts and shows that there were strong and sound (although sometimes very anachronistic) legal reasons for Spain to stand its ground in Europe and maintain the status quo."
"The clearest evidence of the authorship of the Antineutralidad is the selection and usage of its sources and their nature, number and variety."
"Since the Murcian author was a global figure, representing a global power, in a time when the modern order of global and international law was formed, an even more comprehensive and interdisciplinary research framework is required to fully capture and understand his thoughts, motives and methods. The Antineutralidad, more than any of his writings, calls for that level of methodological granularity and completeness."
"With the book (and the three other discourses from 1640 and an even closer look at his diplomatic endeavours) he gets even more multifaceted and rounded: the picture that emerges is that of a good debater, a well-trained historian, a jurist and legal advisor to Spanish policy making and a strategist."
"As a result of his outstanding erudition, comparable to the top writers of the Spanish Golden Age literature, and of his first-hand, in-the-field experiences with imperial matters, he managed to develop a genuine, valid and robust reasoning and a theoretical structure in order to defend and justify the Spanish and Catholic cause during the Thirty Years’ War."
"As a consequence, in the world of 1640 the “antineutrality” of the German natio towards France and Sweden (and their allies) was the necessary and sufficient condition of the survival of the global hegemony of the Spanish Monarchy and of the dynasty, the Casa de Austria, and of the fulfilment of the divine prophecies of the Scriptures."