Jacopo Brocardo

Jacopo Brocardo (Anglicised as James Brocard(e), Latin: Jacobus Brocardus Pedemontanus) (c.1518 – 1594?) was an Italian Protestant convert and biblical interpreter. He regarded the year 1584 as the inauguration of a major new cycle. He prophesied that the last age would last 120 years from the birth of Martin Luther in 1483. As an apocalyptic thinker he was influenced by Martin Cellarius.[1]


He was born in Pinerolo around 1518. He became a scholar and grammarian, and a follower of Giulio Camillo.[2][3]

Brocardo is not considered a very reliable witness to his own biography. He was in France in the late 1540s, and he met Martin Bucer.[4] On his own account, he became a Protestant convert in 1563.[5] He was arrested in Cividale del Friuli in 1565.[6] When questioned by the Inquisition, he admitted reading forbidden works, by Johann Carion, Johann Reuchlin, Paul Riccius and Cornelius Agrippa.[2] In time the Council of Ten released him, or he escaped or bribed his guards; and he went to northern Europe.[7] There he found a friend, patron and supporter in Jacques de Ségur-Pardaillan, encountered in Heidelberg, where he was from 1573.[4][8][9] Ségur was also a significant diplomat for the anti-Ligue forces in France, in the period 1583 to 1585.[10] Jacques Auguste de Thou was under the impression that Ségur was trying to implement Brocardo's prophetic and ecumenical vision, to the benefit of Henry of Navarre.[11] Brocardo was in England around 1580 and in the Netherlands where he then studied at Leiden; it is suggested he may have followed the movements of Ségur of the period.[4][12]

Brocardo lived an itinerant life.[13] He was a member of Reformed churches in France and the Netherlands, where he was not comfortable, before moving to Bremen (1585).[4][14] He ended his life in Nuremberg, where he was from 1591. There he was welcomed by the circle of Joachim Camerarius, and knew Jacques Bongars in 1594.[4]


Title page of The Revelation of St. Jhon reveled (1582) by Jacopo Brocardo

Brocardo wrote a number of humanist works in earlier life. After a break he began publishing biblical exegesis.[4]

An interpreter of Joachim of Fiore, Brocardo wrote an apocalypse commentary. His intention was support the Huguenot cause in the French Wars of Religion, though the work was not acceptable to some orthodox Calvinists.[15] His extreme views, with those of William Fulke and John Napier, were picked up by Catholic polemicists.[16] Synods at La Rochelle (1581) and Vitré (1583) banned this kind of exegesis.[17] In 1581, also, the synod at Middelburg expressed problems with his views; Lambert Daneau and Martin Lydius were asked to reason with him.[18]

Brocardo discussed a threefold coming of Jesus Christ.[19] The sixth seal of Joachim was interpreted as the Protestant Reformation, and he took Savonarola to be a final Elijah.[12][20] Brocardo used gematria and Ezekiel's Wheel.[21] He was a Christian Kabbalist.[22]

These ideas proved more acceptable to nonconforming Protestants, and a similar theory by Julius Sperber circulated aft the end of the century.[23] The work was translated into English in 1582, by James Sanford.[24] His ideas influenced Simon Studion, and Tobias Hess.[25][26] Via Christoph Besold Brocardo's prediction on the conversion of the Jews made its way into the work of Heinrich Alsted.[27]

Brocardo's writings were influential also on the dialogue Gli eroici furori of Giordano Bruno.[28]


  • Marjorie Reeves (1976). Joachim of Fiore and the Prophetic Future. SPCK. ISBN 0-281-02887-7.


  1. ^ Reeves, p. 142.
  2. ^ a b Marion L. Kuntz (2001). The Anointment of Dionisio: Prophecy and Politics in Renaissance Italy. Penn State Press. pp. 119–23. ISBN 978-0-271-04201-5. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  3. ^ Jean Claude Margolin; Sylvain Matton (1993). Alchimie et Philosophie à la Renaissance: Actes du Colloque International de Tours, 4-7 Décembre 1991. Vrin. p. 194. ISBN 978-2-7116-1172-0. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f (in Italian) treccani.it, Brocardo, Iacopo.
  5. ^ Reeves, p. 144.
  6. ^ Prospero Antonini (1865). Il Friuli orientale Studi (in Italian). Francesco Vallardi. p. 348. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  7. ^ Cesare Cantù (1868). Gli eretici d'Italia: discorsi storici (in Italian). Unione Tipografico-Editrice. p. 141. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  8. ^ Ingeborg Jostock (2007). La censure négociée: Le contrôle du livre à Genève 1560-1625 (in French). Librairie Droz. p. 426. ISBN 978-2-600-01115-0. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  9. ^ Reeves, p. 145.
  10. ^ Susanna Åkerman (1998). Rose Cross Over the Baltic: The Spread of Rosicrucianism in Northern Europe. BRILL. p. 79. ISBN 978-90-04-11030-4. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  11. ^ Reeves, p. 148.
  12. ^ a b Hilary Gatti (18 October 2010). Essays on Giordano Bruno. Princeton University Press. pp. 133–4. ISBN 978-1-4008-3693-2. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  13. ^ David Brady (1983). Beiträge zur Geschichte der biblischen Exegese. Mohr Siebeck. pp. 66–7. ISBN 978-3-16-144497-5. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  14. ^ Andrew Cunningham; Ole Peter Grell (2000). The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Religion, War, Famine and Death in Reformation Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 53–. ISBN 978-0-521-46701-8. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  15. ^ John J. Collins (1 October 2003). The Continuum History of Apocalypticism. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-8264-1520-2. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  16. ^ Anthony Milton (1 March 2002). Catholic and Reformed: The Roman and Protestant Churches in English Protestant Thought 1600-1640. Cambridge University Press. p. 582. ISBN 978-0-521-89329-9. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  17. ^ Michel Grandjean; Bernard Roussel (1998). Coexister dans l'intolérance: l'édit de Nantes (1598) (in French). Labor et Fides. p. 123. ISBN 978-2-8309-0878-7. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  18. ^ (in Dutch) Biographisch woordenboek der Nederlanden. Deel 2. Derde en vierde stuk, Jakob Brocardo.
  19. ^ Theodore Dwight Bozeman (1988). To Live Ancient Lives: The Primitivist Dimension in Puritanism. UNC Press Books. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8078-1785-8. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  20. ^ Rodney L. Petersen Executive Director Boston Theological Institute (11 May 1993). Preaching in the Last Days : The Theme of "Two Witnesses" in the 16th and 17th Centuries: The Theme of "Two Witnesses" in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Oxford University Press. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-19-536083-7. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  21. ^ Philip Beitchman (1998). Alchemy of the Word: Cabala of the Renaissance. SUNY Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7914-9617-6. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  22. ^ Yvonne Petry (2004). Gender, Kabbalah, and the Reformation: The Mystical Theology of Guillaume Postel, 1510-1581. BRILL. p. 185. ISBN 978-90-04-13801-8. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  23. ^ Aza Goudriaan (6 December 2010). Revisiting the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619). BRILL. p. 122. ISBN 978-90-04-18863-1. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  24. ^ Hilary Gatti (18 October 2010). Essays on Giordano Bruno. Princeton University Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-4008-3693-2. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  25. ^ Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke Chair of Western Esotericism and Director of the Centre for the Study of Western Esotericism University of Exeter (16 September 2008). The Western Esoteric Traditions : A Historical Introduction: A Historical Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-19-971756-9. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  26. ^ Susanna Åkerman (1998). Rose Cross Over the Baltic: The Spread of Rosicrucianism in Northern Europe. BRILL. p. 98. ISBN 978-90-04-11030-4. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  27. ^ H. Hotson (2000). Paradise Postponed: Johann Heinrich Alsted and the Birth of Calvinist Millenarianism. Springer. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-7923-6787-1. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  28. ^ Michael Wyatt (1 December 2005). The Italian Encounter with Tudor England: A Cultural Politics of Translation. Cambridge University Press. p. 326 note 10. ISBN 978-1-139-44815-4. Retrieved 5 March 2013.

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Media files used on this page

Brocard Revelation.jpg
Title page of The Revelation of St. John reveled (1582), by Jacopo Brocardo.