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Conimbricenses or Collegium Conimbricenses is the name by which Jesuits of the University of Coimbra in Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

, Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 were known. The Conimbricenses were Jesuits who, from the end of 16th century took over the intellectual leadership of the Roman Catholic world from the Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

s. Among those Jesuits were Luis de Molina (1535–1600) and Francisco Suárez
Francisco Suárez
Francisco Suárez was a Spanish Jesuit priest, philosopher and theologian, one of the leading figures of the School of Salamanca movement, and generally regarded among the greatest scholastics after Thomas Aquinas....

 (1548–1617). In their stricter sense the Coimbra Commentaries, also known simply as Conimbricenses, are mainly a group of eleven books on Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 (of which only eight are really commentaries). On the register of the college at various times appeared the names of two hundred Jesuits including professors and students. Toward the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth, voluminous commentaries on the philosophical writings of Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 went forth from the university. These commentaries were dictations to the students by the professors and as such were not intended for publication. Still they were actually published, but fraudulently. In order to interpret and disown incorrect and unauthorized editions, Father Claudius Acquaviva, the General of the Society of Jesus, assigned Father Peter Fonseca, the provincial of the Portuguese province, the task of supervising the revision of these commentaries for publication. Father Fonseca was widely known as the Aristotle of Portugal. The different treatises appeared in the following order:
  1. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in octo libros physicorum
    Physics (Aristotle)
    The Physics of Aristotle is one of the foundational books of Western science and philosophy...

     Aristotelis Stagyritæ
    (Coimbra, 1591, reprint Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 1984);
  2. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in quattuor libros physicorum Aristotelis de Cœlo
    On the Heavens
    On the Heavens is Aristotle's chief cosmological treatise: it contains his astronomical theory and his ideas on the concrete workings of the terrestrial world...

    (Coimbra, 1592);
  3. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in libros meteorum
    Meteorology (Aristotle)
    Meteorology is a treatise by Aristotle which contains his theories about the earth sciences. These include early accounts of water evaporation, weather phenomena, and earthquakes....

     Aristotelis Stagyritæ
    (Coimbra, 1592);
  4. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in libros Aristotelis qui parva naturalia
    Parva Naturalia
    The Parva Naturalia are a collection of seven works by Aristotle, which discuss natural phenomena involving the body and the soul:* Sense and Sensibilia * On Memory...

    (Coimbra, 1592);
  5. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in libros Ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nichomachum
    Nicomachean Ethics
    The Nicomachean Ethics is the name normally given to Aristotle's best known work on ethics. The English version of the title derives from Greek Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, transliterated Ethika Nikomacheia, which is sometimes also given in the genitive form as Ἠθικῶν Νικομαχείων, Ethikōn Nikomacheiōn...

     aliquot Cursus Conimbricensis disputationes in quibus præcipua quaedam Ethicæ disciplinæ capita continentur
    (Coimbra, 1595);
  6. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in duos libros Aristotelis de generatione et corruptione (Coimbra, 1595, reprint Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 2003);
  7. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in tres libros Aristotelis de Anima (Coimbra, 1592 reprint Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 2006). This treatise was published after the death of Father Emmanuel Golz (whom Father Fonseca had commissioned to publish the earlier volumes by Father Comas Maggalliano (Magalhaens). To it he added a treatise of Father Balthazaar Alvarez De Anima Separata and his own work Tractatio aliquot problematum ad quinque Sensus Spectantium;
  8. Commentarii Collegii Conimbricensis Societatis Jesu in universam dialecticam nunc primum (ed. Venice, 1606, reprint Hildesheim, Georg Olms, 1976).

To this last treatise was prefixed a forward disowning any connection whatever with the work published at Frankfurt in 1604 and claiming to be the "Commentarii Conimbricenses". The portion of the preface referred to is substantially the following: "Before we could finish the task entrusted to us of editing our Logic, to which we were bound by many promises, certain German publishers fraudulently brought out a work professing to be from us, abounding in errors and inaccuracies which were really their own. They also substituted for our commentaries certain glosses gotten furtively. It is true these writings thirty years previously were the work of one of our professors not indeed intended for publication. They were the fruit of his zeal and he never dreamed they would appear in print."

The last treatise was prepared for printing by Father Sebastian Couto. The entire eight parts formed five quarto volumes, enjoyed a wide circulation, and appeared in many editions, the best known being those of Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, and Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

. The Commentaries are in flowing Latin and are supplemented by reliable explanations of the text and exhaustive discussion of the system of Aristotle. Karl Werner
Karl Werner
Karl Werner was an Austrian theologian.-Works:In the second half of nineteenth century, he published monographs related to the doctrines of the great doctors of the medieval and 16th century scholastic. The monographs addressed the thought of, among others, Roger Bacon, St. Bonaventure, St...

 said that the Jesuits of Coimbra gave the world a masterpiece, whose equal is yet to be seen and which has received the admiration it deserves. Father de Backer gives an exact list of all the editions. The later ones have added the Greek text of Aristotle.

Original Text


  • The Conimbricenses: some questions on signs, Milwaukee: Marquette University Press 2001 (Translation with introduction and notes by John P. Doyle of the commentary to the first chapter of Aristotle's De Interpretatione).