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Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Medieval and Early Modern Jurists

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Report No. t248

Henricus de Bottis

c. 1500–1544

 

Alternative Names

Henricus Bottaeus; Henri de Bottis; Enrico Botteo

 

Biography/Description

Library cataloguers seem to have settled, without much confidence, on the vernacular name ‘Enrico Botteo’ (the surname does not seem to exist) for ‘Henricus de Bottis’ (from the title page of his only printed work, De synodo episcopo et de statutis episcopi synodalibus [first ed. Lyon 1529 (online)]). The work was reprinted in Tractatus 1549, and again in TUI 1584 (t. 13.2), and not again, so far as we can tell. WorldCat. The 1529 edition does not tell us much about the author, but it does give him the toponym ‘Bressianus’, and the dedicatory epistle of the author is dated ‘ex burgo Bressiano’. This certainly suggests Bourg-en-Bresse (dép. Ain), which is not too far from Lyon. The surname is, perhaps, Italian, ‘degli Botti’. There are modern Italian surnames ‘Botta’, ‘Botti’, and ‘Botto’. Ganino Cognomini Italiani (website). All three surnames exist in modern France, as do ‘Botte’ and ‘Botty’. Geopatronyme.com (website). None of them is common. We have no confidence translating H’s surname into a modern vernacular and would leave it in Latin. We have some confidence identifying H. with Bourg-en-Bresse. Brescia would seem to be excluded by ‘ex burgo Bressiano’, by the fact that the topic is one much more typical of France than of Italy, and, perhaps most tellingly, by the fact that the dedicatory epistle is addressed to, among others, Louis de Gorrevod (ca. 1473–1535), bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and of Bourg-en-Bresse (English Wikipedia).

These speculations are confirmed by our recent discovery that H. was a correspondent of Erasmus. Correspondence of Erasmus, ed. J. K. Farge and C. Fantazzi, vol. 12–13 (Toronto 2010–2011) nos. 1921, 1963, 1985; cf. J. K. Farge, ‘Henri de Bottis’ in Contemporaries of Erasmus, P. G. Bietenholz ed. (Toronto 1985) 1.176–177. In the correspondence H. complains of having been disciplined by Noël Béda at the Collège de Montaigu in Paris. That may have been before 1514, when Béda ceased to be directly in charge of the collège. That would put H’s birth date around 1500. He subsequently obtained a doctorate in utroque, perhaps at Paris and Orléans, but perhaps at some place that could award both degrees. When he was corresponding with Erasmus in 1527 X 1528, H. was the official of the short-lived diocese of Bourg-en-Bresse. J. K. Farge, ‘Henri de Bottis’, reports that H. was born in Beynost (dép. Ain) and died in 1544. We have not confirmed these details but have no reason to doubt them.

(We are grateful to Rowan Dorin for the references that set us straight.)

Source: CERL Thesaurus.

TUI database