# 20215

DE BALINGHEM, Antonius (1571-1630); BELLERE, Balthazar (1564-1639), printer

Histoire de l’estat de la chrestienté au Iapon, et du glorieux martyre de plusieurs chrestiens en la grande persecution de l’an 1612, 1613, & 1614.

Le tout tiré des lettres enuoyées à Rome par les Peres de la Compagnie de Iesus au Iapon, & tourné d’Italien en François par vn Pere de la mesme compagnie. A Dovay [i.e. Douai] : De l’Imprimerie de Baltazar Bellere, au Compas d’or, L’an 1618. Duodecimo, contemporary stiff vellum (stained), spine with early manuscript title Histoire du Japon, title page with engraved printer’s device incorporating the Jesuit trigram and with early ownership inscription Bibliothece Bernard (?), pp 543, [2]; engraved headpieces and intitials; title with old repair, marginal damp stain to top edge of first and last few leaves, some browning, else the contents clean and sound.

A rare work attributed to the Jesuit writer and translator Antonius (Antoine) de Balinghem (St. Omer 1571 – Lille 1630), containing detailed accounts of the recent persecution and martyrdoms of Kirishitan (Japanese Christians) and missionaries in Japan. These eyewitness accounts were taken from letters sent to Rome by Jesuit missionaries.

The work was published in Douai by the Jesuit printer, bookseller and engraver Balthasar Bellère (1564-1639). Born in Antwerp (Anvers), Bellère was the son of the printer Jean Bellère. From 1590 he was living in Douai, where he married the daughter of Jean Bogard, another printer associated with the Jesuits. Bellère appears not have published under his own name prior to 1593; he would print another work by Balinghem, Abrégé de la vie de S. François-Xavier, in 1622.

Balinghem’s collection of persecution accounts was published relatively soon after the visit of the second Japanese mission to Europe, the so-called Keichō Embassy, in 1614-15. Histoire de l’estat de la chrestienté au Iapon was one of several books published in France in 1618 which dealt with the subject of the Japanese martyrdoms, among them Luis Piñeyro’s La nouvelle histoire du Iapon (Paris: Jean Foüet) – also published in Paris under the same and two similar titles by Adrian Taupinart – and Lettres annales du Iappon, des annees M. DC. XIII. & M. DC. XIV (Lyon : Claude Morillon), compiled by the translator, Michel Coyssard. The order of publication of these works, including Balinghem’s, is not clear.

Not in Cordier, Japonica.

OCLC locates only 2 copies (Bibliothèque nationale de France; Erfgoedbibliotheek Hendrik Conscience, Antwerp); copies are also held in the libraries of the Catholic University of Louvain and the University of Tsukuba (Max Besson Collection).