Briefve et sommaire description de la vie et mort de…

CHRISTOVÃO, Prince of Portugal (1573-1638).

Briefve et sommaire description de la vie et mort de Dom Antoine, Premier du nom, & dix-huictiesme Roy de Portugal. Avec plusieurs Lettres seruantes à l’histoire du Temps. Paris, Gervais Alliot, 1629.

First edition. 8vo (170 x 110mm), pp. [xvi], 302, [2], engraved arms of the King of Portugal to title, woodcut initial and headpiece, slight yellowing, upper edge a bit dusty, in contemporary vellum, spine painted in black, with six compartments marked by gilt tooling where the raised bands would be, five of the compartments with central gilt monogram DG within decorative gilt cornerpieces, the sixth compartment with orange morocco label lettered in gilt, blind filet along sides of spine, gilt edges, with the later bookplate of Annibal Fernandes Thomaz and an early manuscript number, possibly shelfmark, on the rear pastedown.

Christopher, Prince of Portugal’s biographical portrait of his father, Antonio, Prior de Crato (1531-1595), illegitimate son of Prince Louis, Duke of Beja and claimant to the Portuguese throne. Antonio - who glories in such names as ‘The Determined’, ‘The Fighter’, ‘The Independentist’ and ‘The Resistant’ - was proclaimed King of Portugal on 19th July 1580 but was defeated on 25th August at the Battle of Ancântara by the armies of rival claimant Philip II of Spain, led by Fernando Álvarez de Toldedo, Duke of Alba. After his defeat, Antonio fled to the Azores where he minted coin, organised resistance to Philip’s rule and established an opposition government that lasted until 1783.
As a Knight of Malta, Antonio never married but is thought to have fathered ten illegitimate children. One of these, Christopher, author of the present work, was born in Tangier in April 1573. Always an ardent champion of his father’s claims, he continued to fight his father’s cause long after his death in 1595. This biography of his father contains several interesting documents relating to Dom Antonio’s applications for foreign help in fighting Philip II and regaining the throne, most notably to the court of Elizabeth I. This work is very much part of a political campaign: it contains a lengthy dedication to the young Louis XIII of France, discussing the role of his parents in Antonio’s struggle, and an Avertissement au lecteur in which Christopher makes a plea for French involvement, pointing out that the royal line of Portugal is in direct descent from the French royal family.

OCLC lists BL, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Catholic University of America and Kansas.

Keywords: Continental Books
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