Mariana, Juan De (?1535/1536–1624)

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MARIANA, JUAN DE (?1535/15361624)

MARIANA, JUAN DE (?1535/15361624), Spanish Jesuit (Alcalá de Henares, 1554), historian and economic and political theorist. Born in Talavera de la Reina (Toledo), Mariana was among the most important Spanish scholars of his time, and taught at Rome, Sicily, Paris, and Toledo.

Mariana published his history of Spain, De Rebus Hispaniae, in 1592, and revised and translated it into Spanish in 1601 as Historia general de España. His Castilian-centric vision of Iberian history, full of rousing speeches and moral lessons, was typical of the historiography of the period, in the tradition of Livy. Written in the wake of the Armada's defeat (1588) and reissued after Philip II's (ruled 15561598) death, a time when Spain's glory was beginning to fade, it was both pessimistic and romantic. It was also the first general history of Spain, and became an important source for later readers, particularly in the history-crazed late eighteenth century.

In 1599, Mariana published his great political treatise, De Rege et Regis Institutione, written as a guide for the young Philip III. In it, Mariana set out his vision of the best form of government: a hereditary monarchy in which the king is advised by a council and limited by an elected assembly. Thus, Mariana is justly thought to have originated the idea of constitutional monarchy. In De Rege, he praised the Cortes (parliament) of Aragón, the representative assembly of eastern Spain, which had retained more rights than the Cortes of Castile. During the reign of Philip III (ruled 15981621), the Cortes, whose members represented Castile's major cities, became the arena for an ongoing struggle between the monarchy, in desperate need of money, and the cities, increasingly prone to place conditions on their grants. Behind the struggle over taxation lay a deeper conflict over the true location of authority.

Mariana advocated equality under the law: "If the king requires obedience of his subjects, he must also show obedience to the laws, because the king must be subject to those laws sanctioned by the Republic, whose authority is greater than his" (De Rege, I.9). He was neither a democrat nor a revolutionary, and he was not alone in believing that sovereignty originated in the kingdom, not the king (Jean Bodin had published La république in 1577), but his words were more adamant than those of his contemporaries. For Mariana, government was partly the result of nature but also of human will; if people made government, they could also unmake it and were justified in doing so if rulers violated their contract. If monarchs ignored the words and wishes of their subjects, and if the Cortes were unable, because of a monarch's attitude, to continue meeting, then "any citizen, in the name of the people, has the right to kill the tyrant" (De Rege, I.6). His analysis was taken by some to be a justification for the 1589 murder of Henry III of France (ruled 15741589). When Henry IV of France (ruled 15891610) was assassinated in 1610, De Rege was publicly burned in French bonfires and listed on the Inquisition's Index, which, ironically, Mariana had collaborated on a decade earlier.

In 1605 Mariana turned his attention to economics, writing seven economic treatises, the most influential of which, De Monetae Mutatione, dealt with currency. The work proved as controversial as De Rege. Mariana was one of a chorus of economists who saw in debased coinage the ultimate explanation for Spain's decline, and his criticisms of copper coinage, which he regarded as taxation because it increased the money supply, causing inflation, drew the attention of the powerful duke of Lerma, Philip III's favorite. Lerma persuaded the king to seek papal approval for Mariana's arrest in 1610. On trial in Madrid, he defended himself by pointing out that his writings had aimed only to defend the king; nonetheless, the charge of lèse-majesté was proved. Philip, who had not prosecuted Mariana for De Rege, left punishment to Rome, which dropped the matter. Mariana was released in 1611. He continued living in Toledo until his death in 1624.

A work published after his death, written around 1605, Discurso de los grandes defectos que hay en la forma del govierno de los Jesuitas, was a criticism of his own order. It was aimed particularly at the government of Claudius Aquaviva, the general of the Society of Jesus, who in Mariana's opinion was excessively bureaucratic and dictatorial. Seen as a plea for greater democracy, it was immediately condemned by the order.

See also Bodin, Jean ; Henry III (France) ; Henry IV (France) ; Jesuits ; Lerma, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, 1st duke of ; Philip II (Spain) ; Philip III (Spain) ; Spain .


Grice-Hutchinson, Marjorie. The School of Salamanca: Readings in Spanish Monetary Theory, 15441605. Oxford, 1952.

Lewy, Guenter. Constitutionalism and Statecraft during the Golden Age of Spain: A Study of the Political Philosophy of Juan de Mariana, S.J. Geneva, 1960.

Mariana, Juan de. Obras. Biblioteca de autores españoles, vols, 3031. Madrid, 1950.

Smith, Gerard, ed. Jesuit Thinkers of the Renaissance: Essays Presented to John F. McCormick, S.J. Milwaukee, 1939.

Soons, Alan. Juan de Mariana. Boston, 1982.

Ruth Mackay

Mariana, Juan de

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Spanish theologian and historian; b. Talavera, Spain, April 2, 1536; d. Toledo, Feb. 16, 1624. He entered the Jesuits in 1554; studied philology, theology, and history at alcalÁ; taught theology in Rome (1561), Sicily (1564), and Paris (1569); and preached in Italy, France, and Flanders. In 1574 he returned to Toledo and devoted himself to writing. His history of Spain, first published in Latin in Toledo in 1592, was augmented, revised, and translated into Spanish by him in later editions. It is somewhat uncritical. His Re rege et regis institutione (Toledo 1599), written at the request of Philip II and dedicated to Philip III, did not attract much attention until the assassination of Henry IV of France in 1610. In the work Mariana held that power was conferred on monarchs and sanctioned by the people, who in the last analysis, as he saw it, had the right of tyrannicide. Kings, therefore, should be educated so that this extreme may be avoided. Henry's assassin, however, had never heard of Mariana. There was an outcry in France against Mariana and the Jesuits, and the Jesuit general threatened any approval of tyrannicide with severe penalties. In his De monetae mutatione, one of the Tractatus VII theologici et historici (Cologne 1609), Mariana attacked monetary debasement and openly accused Spanish fiscal officials of fraud. He was imprisoned in a Franciscan monastery for a year, where he is supposed to have composed a discourse on the ills of the Jesuits. Some scholars hold that this work is not entirely his; others hold that he had completed it in MS by 1605 and that it was confiscated by the government when he was imprisoned in 1610. It was published in Bordeaux in 1625, the year after Mariana's death, and was frequently used as a weapon against the Jesuits. Mariana was one of a group of Spanish Jesuits who, by splitting from the rest of the society in its early years, would almost have destroyed the society. He composed the Scholia in Vetus et Novum Testamentum (Madrid 1613). A monument was erected to him in Talavera in 1888.

Bibliography: a. astrain, Historia de la compañia de Jesús, 7 v. (Madrid 190225) v.34. j. laures, The Political Economy of Juan de Mariana (New York 1928). l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon 116365. c. testore, Enciclopedia cattolica 8:146147. a. mercati and a. pelzer, Dizionario ecclesiastico (Turin 1954-58) 2:849. d. mansilla, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 7:4849.

[m. b. martin]

Juan de Mariana

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Juan de Mariana

The Spanish Jesuit Juan de Mariana (1536-1624), a man of critical insight, accuracy, and courage, is well known as a historian and political thinker.

Juan de Mariana was born in Talavera de la Reina in the old kingdom of Toledo. He joined the Jesuits in 1554 and studied at the University of Alcaláde Henares. In 1561 he went to Rome, where he taught theology to, among other pupils, Robert Bellarmine, who was to become the most famous cardinal of his time. From there he went to Sicily, and in 1569 he was sent to Paris. His lectures on St. Thomas Aquinas were a great success, but in 1574, pleading ill health, he obtained permission to return to Spain. He retired to the Jesuit house in Toledo, where his literary activity was occasionally, and rudely, interrupted by the outside world. He died there on Feb. 16, 1624.

In Mariana's lifetime his writings had brought him into conflict with the Spanish monarchy, the French monarchy, and his own order. His first published work was Historiae de rebus Hispaniae (Toledo, 1592), in two different printings, one containing 20 and the other one 25 books. It reached to the conquest of Granada (1492). He then added 5 more books, making a total of 30 (Mainz, 1605) and bringing the history of Spain to the death of Ferdinand V and the accession of Charles V (1516). In a later abstract he brought events to the accession of Philip IV (1621). The success of the work was such that Mariana himself translated it into Spanish (the first edition was published in Madrid in 1601; J. Stevens translated it into English in 1699). Although uncritical about the legendary past, Mariana does try to bring the history of his country to the best standards of historiography and research of his times; the documentary part, however, is sadly lacking. Stylistically, it is a classic of Spanish prose.

In Toledo in 1599 Mariana published De rege et regis institutione, which was soon to become notorious. When Henry IV of France was murdered in 1610, it was quickly remembered that Mariana had advocated tyrannicide (book I, chapter 6); the book was burned in France, and it attracted considerable odium upon the Jesuits. His Tractatus septem (Cologne, 1609) again brought the author into the limelight of scandal, for two of the treatises (De morte et immortalitate and De monetae mutatione) were placed on the Index Expurgatorius, and the author came to grief with state and Inquisition alike. His tract criticizing his order (De los grandes defectos que hay en la forma del govierno de los Jesuitas, Bordeaux, 1625) came out posthumously, and it did not improve his standing with his own order.

Further Reading

John Laures, The Political Economy of Juan de Mariana (1928), has valuable pages on Mariana's economics, but it has been largely superseded by Guenter Lewy, Constitutionalism and Statecraft during the Golden Age of Spain: A Study of the Political Philosophy of Juan de Mariana S. J. (1960). Indispensable background information is contained in Bernice Hamilton, Political Thought in Sixteenth-century Spain (1963).

Additional Sources

Soons, Alan, Juan de Mariana, Boston: Twayne, 1982. □

Juan de Fuca Plate

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Juan de Fuca Plate The small lithospheric plate in the north-east Pacific Ocean which is being subducted slowly under the North American Plate, giving rise to the generally andesitic volcanic chain from northern California to southern British Columbia. The Juan de Fuca Plate is a remnant of the Farallon Plate. The Juan de Fuca Ridge is offset from the East Pacific Rise by the San Andreas Fault.