Gregorio Baldin (Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia)
Hugo Grotius’ correspondence names frequently Paolo Sarpi. Grotius knew some of Sarpi’s texts, but his discovery of the Venetian friar dates back to the late 1620s, when he had already written his most important philosophico-political works. Nevertheless, some of Grotius’ texts, in particular the De Imperio Summarum Potestarum circa Sacra (written between 1614 and 1617), show significant analogies with Sarpi’s ideas. To understand these analogies, it is necessary to glance at the political and cultural milieu of the early 17th-century Europe, when important political and religious events happened. The political and religious scenarios of the Republic of Venice and the United Provinces let us understand the reasons for some of the similarities between the writings of Sarpi and that of Grotius, but they also explain the reasons of their different orientations about the Synod of Dordrecht. However, Grotius and Sarpi evidently agree on some important topics, like irenicism, and the opposition to dogmatic disputes, but they especially share a particular concept of sovereignty, and of the jus circa sacra which must pertain to sovereign authority.