This section, like the rest of this website, is only a preview of the information you can find in The love for truth. Life and work of Michael Servetus. (El amor a la verdad. Vida y obra de Miguel Servet) Col. Government of Navarre (2011).

Michael signed his works in three different ways:

1-In some works he appears as Michael Servetus alias Revés in 1531 and 1532 in On the errors of the Trinity and the Dialogues on the Trinity. In 1553 he appears as Servetus and  M.S.V (Michael Servetus from Villanueva) in the colophon of the Restitution of Christianity. These are the three most dangerous works for the printer and Michael's family. None of these works bears the names of their printers (Hans Setzer, in 1531 and 1532, and Balthasard Arnoullet in 1553) nor the printers' marks, nor the city where they were printed (Haguenau and Vienne Isère).




Fig. 1 The errors of the Trinity 1531. Michael Servetus, alias Revés, from Aragón, Spanish.


Fig. 2 Dialogues of the Trinity 1532. Michael Servetus, alias Revés from Aragón, Spanish.


Fig. 3  Restitution of Christianity 1553. The initials M.S.V appear in the colophon.



Using the information on these book covers, the Spanish Inquisition would have searched for Michael's family in Sijena. It is not clear why in 1532 Michael again shows the Spanish Inquisition  the path to the Servetus alias Revés family  by placing the same data on the cover of a dangerous book. In 1553 Michael will cause the French Inquisition to search for his family in Villanueva de Sijena, for the third time, by placing this name on his Restitution of Christianity.

2- In other works he appears as Michael de Villanueva (Villanovanus). This name appears on the cover of several works between 1535 and 1538 and again in 1542 in an inner prologue (note that Michael de Villanueve receives his first death sentence in 1538 in the Judgement of the University of Paris[Dean Tagault]). They are known works. Figs. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Fig. 4-a Cover of The Geography of Claudius Ptolemy 1535 Michael de Villanueva

Fig 4-b Detail of the previous work (Geography..) in which appears Tudela “Tucris” 1535

Fig. 5 The Apology against Leonard Fuchs 1536 Michael de Villanueva

Fig. 6 Syruporum or Universal explanation of the syrups 1537 Michael de Villanueva

Fig. 7 Bible of Santes Pagnini 1542 Michael de Villanueva

Fig. 8 Detail of the work of the Fig. 7. Inner prologue in which appears Michael de Villanueva (Villanovanus. This is the last time his name appears on any of his works.


3-Anonymous works. Michael de Villanueva's name did not appear on the cover of any of his works after he received his first death sentence from the University of Paris. This will happen with his Biblia expostremis doctorum in 1542 and some others. All of these works bear the name of the printer, the printer's mark, the name of the editor and the city in which they were printed. Here are some examples:



Fig. 9-a Biblia sacra ex postremis doctorum 1542


Fig. 9-b Biblia cum glossis 1545 Cover Tome I


In addition to these Bibles, in this section we add newly discovered works: new medical works, including a manuscript, and new Spanish or Latin-Spanish works.



Known works of Michael Servetus or Michael de Villanueva

1531 On the errors of the Trinity (Haguenau, Johan Setzer). The cover reads: “By Michael Servetus alias Revés, from Aragón Spanish”. Out of fear, the work bears only the year of printing, but no printer's mark, imprint mark or city.

1532 Dialogues on the Trinity (Haguenau, Johan Setzer. By Michael Servetus alias Revés from Aragón, Spanish. Without printer's mark, imprint mark or city, out of fear. Only the  year of printing appears. Johan Setzer will die this same year. He was a much appreciated printer for Melanchthon.

1535 The Geography of Ptolemy (Lyon, Gaspard and Melchior Trechsel). The name Michael de Villanueva appears on the covers of the two editions. It is the first French edition of the Geography of Ptolemy; there is a second edition with small modifications in 1541, Vienne Isère, by H. De la Porte/ G. Trechsel.

1536 The apology against Leonhart Fuchs. Lyon, printed by Gilles Huguetan, but with prologue from Paris. Michael de Villanueva appears on the cover.

1537  Syruporum  universa ratio  or Universal explanation of the syrups, edited by Simon des Colines, in Paris. Michael de Villanueva appears on the cover of all the editions. There is a second edition by Vicenzo Valgrise in Venice in 1545; 3rd, 4th and 5th editions in 1546, 1547 and 1548 by Guillaume Rovillium (Rouillé), in Lyon, but printed by Jean Pullon alias de Trin.

1538 Discourse of Michael de Villanueva in favour of Astrology and against a certain physician (very possibly in Paris). This caused the first death sentence against Michael by the University of Paris. The sentence was commuted upon the withdrawal of the edition. Michael de Villanueva appears on the first page. From 1538 the name of Michael de Villanueva will never appear on the cover of a first edition of any of his works.

1542 Sacred Bible according to the translation of Santes Pagnini. Lyon, printed by Gaspard Trechsel and edited by H. De la Porte. In one of the prologues the name Michael de Villanueva appears, but not on the cover. It is an exception. Subsequently his name will not appear even in prologues.

1542 The Sacred bible according to the old doctors (Biblia sacra ex poxtremis doctorum). Printed in Vienne Isère by Gaspard Trechsel, edited by De la Porte. In 1999 the author of this web found previously unknown editions of this work : in 1542 by De la Porte/Guillaume Boulle, and by Jacques de Joncte from Lyon. The author also found previously unknown later editions: in 1546, 1548, 1549, two in 1551, 1556,1561 and 1562-63. Some of the editors are Payen (Paganus), G. Millis, Joannes Pullon alias de Trin and Rovillium. There are  fewer and fewer texts and notes in the editions after 1542.

1546 Manuscript of Paris, draft of the Restitution of Christianity, in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Includes a manuscript description of the minor circulation of the blood, and Michael's fundamental theological ideas. Neither of the two names he used appears.

1553 The Restitution of Christianity. Without printer's mark, imprint mark, or city. Printed in Vienne Isère by Balthasard Arnoullet. First printed description of the minor circulation of the blood, and that was a scoop for humankind. On the cover, in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, the name Michael appears in Hebrew. “Servetus” appears on page 199.  M.S.V. ('Michael Servetus from Villanueva') appears in the colophon. Just 3 copies survived.

The Edinburgh copy is missing 16 pages that can be completed with the “Manuscript of Edinburgh” (1553?). We have doubts about where this manuscript was written (Geneva prison?); when it was written (1553?) and who wrote it (“Servetus”?). This maniscript has a different handwriting.


  1) Bibles
    New Works: 2) Medical works
  3) Spanish translation works.


Recently the researcher Francisco Javier González Echeverría has discovered 10 new works, and has demonstrated, after a long investigation, that they belong to Michael de Villanueva/ “Servetus.” The Spanish works of Michael de Villanueva were found through the brothers Melchior and Gaspard Trechsel, and went on with the brothers Francois and Jean Frellon.The latter was especially relevant in the research. Jean Frellon affirmed that “Michael de Villanueva had, among others works, translated diverse grammatical treatises from Latin to Spanish in his printing works” and that “Michael had completed a Spanish Summary” in the judgement of Vienne Isère against Michael de Villanueva.

 González Echeverría also found the first image of the cover and inside of the Bible of 1545 through the Lyon printers and editors 's contracts of 1540 between Michael de Villanueva with the Fellowship of Booksellers. This fellowship gathered many printers and editors, such as the Trechsel and the Frellon bros.


These works had always been printed before or after- in the case of some Spanish ones and medicals ones- by the brothers Frellon. Searching for the different editions of the works in order to compare them was a truly  arduous task.

The exception is the work Andria (La andriana). We have not found a previous or later version of this work printed by Frellon. Although the vocabulary and style of the Spanish translation are very similar to Michael's, we will leave a question mark on the authorship of this book until the research is completed. We have tried to summarize the data from the research for each book, and we encourage you to check the figures that follow each of them.  These figures are the nuts and bolts of the research process, and the irrefutable proof of its existence, which we defend.


  1. Bibles

1-The author of this website has provided previously unknown editions of the Biblia sacra ex postremis doctorumalready mentioned (in 1542 by De la Porte/Guillaume Boulle, and by Jacques de Joncte from Lyon. A copy of the edition of 1542 by Joncte was found for the first time by the author of this website in the City Hall Library of Huesca, Aragon). We aso provided unknown editions by Jacques de Joncte, Guillaume Boulle, Payen, Gabiano, Millis, Pollun alias de Trin, in the subsequent years to 1542 (1st edition).


Bible sacra ex postremis doctorum, 1542, Lyon, Jacques de Giunta( de Joncte), City Hall Library of Huesca( Spain)



2- 1545 -Sacred Bible with commentaries (Biblia Sacra cum glossis..) printed in 1545. As far as we know, this is the first time that images of this work have been reproduced graphically. The contract was described by Julien Baudrier in 1913, and the description of the work was analyzed in his magnificent study of the Lyon Bibliography.  

We used the 1964 edition of Baudrier's study, volume 12, but this work had never been graphically reproduced before. In his biography of Michael Servetus, the American servetologist Bainton (1953, p.57) only mentions the contract  Baudrier described.  Bainton says nothing else about this Bible, and of course he does not describe or reproduce it graphically. We think this is very strange omission of an important work, and we think he did not look it up. Neither Madeline  E. Stanton nor A. Alcalá found it. In the Spanish edition of Bainton (1973), translated by A. Alcalá with bibliography by Stanton, Alcalá writes “our census did not provide data of any copy” p.261.

This Biblia Sacra cum Glossis or Sacred Bible with commentaries, Lyon, printed by Gaspard Trechsel and Antoine Vincent is the so-called “Lost Bible” or “Ghost Bible” by A. Alcalá (2003,OO.CC de Miguel Servet, Volume I, p.XCII).  

Other servetologists who did not see the Bible claim that Michael de Villanueva signed the work. This is not true, for it is an anonymous work. However, it perfectly conforms to the contract of 1540 between Michael de Villanueva and the Fellowship of Booksellers. This can be seen in the “Registry of the Parliament” of this work of 1545 itself. The contract called for the addition of the commentaries by Erasmus and Robert Estienne I, and those commentaries appear in the work.

The Bible consists of 7 volumes (6 volumes plus an index) illustrated with woodcuts from drawings by Hans Holbein the Younger. These woodcuts are similar to those we will see in the Illustrated biblical works of Michael, Ymagines  de las historias del Testamento Viejo (1540) or in Los retratos o tablas de las historias del Testamento Viejo (1543). 1545 copies checked against in the Library of Tudela in Navarre. There may be later Italian editions, but these have not been confirmed to date.

In Fig. 10, see how these works by Michael de Villanueva all share identical woodcuts by Hans Holbein. This appears in the works Ymagines (1540) with a simple Spanish translation, in Retratos o Tablas (1543) versified in Spanish in perfect “quintillas”(a kind of Spanish poetry), and in the Sacred Bible with commentaries of 1545 at the beginning of the Chapter of Paralipomenos (Biblical book of the Chronics).




Left: “Ymagines de las historias del testamento viejo.” 1540. Michael de Villanueva (commentaries in Latin and Spanish).

Center: Retratos o tablas de las historias del testamento viejo 1543. Miguel de Villanueva. Besides the woodcuts, there is similarity between the commentaries in Latin and Spanish (in this case the Spanish text is versified) and the image of the left.

Right: Biblia sacra cum glossis or Biblia with commentaries 1545. This copy is in Tudela. We observe the same woodcut as in the previous images.





Fig. 11 Cover of the Sacred Bible with commentaries. Biblia Sacra cum glossis. 1545.



Fig. 12 Inside photography of this Bible.






Fig. 13 shows the royal privilege of the printer A. Vincent. It was granted by King Francis I of France, in Amboise, with the great simple tail seal of yellow wax. It also shows the Lettres d’Attache (another privilege), also granted by the king, with the same seal from Blois.




Fig. 14 shows the Greetings to the Christian reader which mentions Cicero and Robert Estienne I (Robert Stephani), as the contract of 1540 between Michael de Villanueva and the Fellowship of Booksellers required.


Fig. 15 shows another anonymous greeting and the colophon of Gaspard Trechsel.







  1. Medical works

Michael de Villanueva worked as a physician until the end of his life. He stood out even as a medical student at  the University of Paris. One of his teachers, Winter von Andernach, described him as  “..Michael de Villanueva, wise man in any kind of humanistic science, and has no match in the doctrine of Galen.” Michael wrote medical books and was the first to describe the minor circulation of the blood in print.  He also corrected and published works of the classical masters of Medicine: Materia Medica-Dioscorides, pharmacopoeia-Dispensarium, Opera Omnia of Galen...etc, adding his knowledge and wisdom of medical science to them.

1538 A book we call  Manuscript of the Complutense of Madrid (Complutense, University of Madrid). This manuscript was probably written in Paris, and possibly near the year 1538. It consists of a printed book with hundreds of manuscript written notes, both interlinear and marginalia, demonstrating deep medical knowledge. This book is a Dioscorides-Materia Medica of Jean Ruel, edition of 1537, printed by Simon des Colines; the manuscript notes modify and enrich the printed text. There are medical annotations in Latin, Spanish, Greek, etc... Michael describes the “concoctio” (a very important medical concept for Michael, characteristic of his Universal explanation of the syrups) from the first page. He describes the Iris plant or “crassitudo”(another important medical concept for Michael). He also talks of figures such as: Plinius, Galen, Massaria (who perhaps Michael knew in Basel). Michael also mentions important locations from his life such as Vienne Isère (France), Paris. There are similarities between the manuscript notes in this Dioscorides-Materia Medica and his own Discorides-Materia Medica, published later (Dioscorides Materia Medica 1543, by Frellon).


Fig. 16 Cover of this Dioscorides-Materia Medica by Ruel (1537)which Michael de Villanueva wrote on.



We ordered a graphological-comparative peer brief on the manuscript writing in this Materia Medica compared with the Manuscript of Paris (c. 1546). It was carried out by paleographers from Seville, and it concluded that both documents were written by the same hand. Remember that the Manuscript of Paris is a draft of part of Michael's Restitution of Christianity. In this manuscript Michael describes the minor circulation of the blood and many of his theological ideas.


Fig. 17. One of the parts of the Manuscript of Paris.




Fig. 18 Manuscript of Paris, description of  part the minor circulation of the blood.



Fig. 19 part A shows:

- (red arrow) the manuscript Spanish word, “astrología”(Astrology).

- (blue arrow) In another manuscript marginalia in the left,  Michael refers to a Chapter from Book I of Cicero's  De divinatione (On divination). He writes that Cicero wrote the plant aristolaquia was  given that name by an astrologist-inventor. We note that Michael de Villanueva was teaching Astrology in the University of Paris in 1538, and that he specifically explained  Cicero's On divinatione.  He was accused of teaching Cicero's work in the Judgement of Paris by the Dean, Jean Tagault.

In part B: (green arrow) A manuscript note in Spanish that reads “amor de hortelano”(a plant).

All through this so-called Manuscript of the Complutense there is very often (almost at every start of each term) a Spanish translation in  manuscript of the Latin term of the referred animal, plant or mineral. Many times this Spanish translation appears linked to the Latin term that was traditionally used in the recipe handbooks on pharmacy

The Spanish used in this Manuscript of the Complutense University is not the Spanish of Andrés Laguna or Juan Jarava. It was compared with both of them--not just graphologically but also in the terminology--and in both cases their language is  very different from the Spanish used in this manuscript.


Fig. 20 Details from the many commentaries in Latin, Greek and Spanish.

Red arrow: the Latin word “sepia” appears corrected as “xivia

Green arrow: It says that “Mullus” is “Mulet” (France/Gaul) in French.




Fig. 21 Further details

Red arrow: Notes on the “concoction” (co[n]coquit) written in Latin.

Blue arrow: The plant “Lirio Cardeno” is written down in Spanish.

Green arrow: The plant “Lirio Espadaña” (there is a line on it) is written in Spanish.

Pink arrow: Mentions Galen (Gal).



Fig. 22 Mentions Dauphiné, the Gaul, the Alps...

(It should not be forgotten that Michael lived, among other places, in a part of France called Dauphine, Vienne in Dauphine, nowadays called Vienne Isère).


Fig. 23 Mentions Galen (initial G. means Galen) in the upper part.
Mentions Paris (parisiis est ostensa,in Paris it was shown”) in the last line.

There are also multiple similarities between the manuscript text and the commentaries we will see in the Materia Medica- Dioscorides of 1543 by Michael de Villanueva, printed by Frellon. Some are literal. The reader can see the comparison between the manuscript and the later Materia Medica. We note two examples below.


Fig. 24 In the left, Manuscript of the Complutense, term “Maioribus” and the adjacent manuscript commentary.

In the right, Materia Medica- Dioscorides by Michael of 1543, term “Maioribus” and the already printed commentary.

Similarity between both works.



Fig. 25. In the left, Manuscript of the Complutense, term “Minoribus” and the adjacent manuscript commentary.

In the right, Materia Medica-Dioscorides by Michael of 1543, term “Minoribus” and the already printed commentary.

Similarity between both works.


This is only a summary of the data we gathered from this manuscript, which is flooded with notes. See El amor a la verdad (Love for truth) for more details.

1543 Materia Medica-Dioscorides 1st edition Lyon, in 16º format, Jean and Francois Frellon 1543. Medical commentaries on Vienne Isère, Montpellier, and his fellow physician Guillaume Rondelet, a great anatomist. This work was previously considered anonymous by the scholars. It has several subsequent editions, with slight changes to the text on the original cover from 1543, but the inner text is identical in all the editions: 1546, edition of Jean and Francois Frellon; 1547 Jean Frellon; 1547 Thibault Payen/Paganus (the studied edition from Sesma, in Navarre) which was unique (the first copy of the edition), the cover is from 1546 and the colophon from 1547; 1550, Venice edition by Domenico Lilio( Giglio), and the ones from 1554 and 1555, both by Jean Francois de Gabian( de Gabiano) and Jacques Faure. This was the work John Riddle denominated “Anonymous B.” There is a monograph on this Materia Medica- Dioscorides work by González Echeverría.


First row in the left, Fig. 26. The cover of the Paganus edition (1546) and in the the colophon (1547), which shows it was a first copy of the edition. This copy was found in Sesma (Navarre).

Second row in the right: Materia Medica- Dioscorides, printed by Frellon in 1547 (the first edition was also

Second row in the left, Fig. 27. The second commentary mentions Vienne Isère/ Vienne in Dauphiné in Latin.

Second row in the right Fig. 28. A mention of Montpellier (in Latin Mo[n]spessulano) and G. Rondellet (colleague and friend of Michael de Villanueva).

As we noted before there are several similarities between this work and the Manuscript of the Complutense.


1543  Pharmacopoeia ‘Dispensarium’ or ‘Enquiridion’ (1º edition, in 16º format- also called pocket edition, Jean and Francois Frellon). The prologue mentions the previously described Materia Medica-Dioscorides of the same year, 1543 and says that this is a complementary work. The prologue says that this work contains new recipes( actually 224, out of a total of 447 recipes). The other 223 recipes are by T. Lespleigney and F. Chappuis.  There are also Julepes, Syrups, and Sapa Rives that had previously appeared in Michael's Universal explanation of the syrups. The authorship of this pharmacopoeia- Dispensarium was attributed by some authors to Antoine Stuppa, the corrector (Stuppa didn't like working in the printing works of Jean Frellon, he finally left for Basel without completing his Bachelor's degree). There are several subsequent editions: in 1546 by the Frellon bros; in 1547 by Thibault Payen- (cover of 1546 and colophon of 1547, first copy of the edition), copy in the National Library of Madrid-; 1550 by Jean Frellon; in 1556 by Payen, and in 1561 by Thomas Bertheau. We communicated this discovery in National and International Congresses on History of Medicine.



Fig. 29 The cover of the pharmacopoeia Dispensarium (Enchiridion), with the printer's mark of Thibault Paganus (Payen). The cover and colophon are dated differently, 1546 and 1547 respectively.  These are the same dates on the cover and colophon of the edition of the Materia Medica- Dioscorides found at Sesma.



Fig. 30 Several original formulas “Julepes”.  Michael de Villanueva had already mentioned these in his Universal explanation of the Syrups (1537).





Fig. 31 The “Sapa Rives” are explicitly mentioned in Michael's Universal explanation of the syrups.




Fig. 32 In this case he refers to his teacher from Paris University, Sylvius (Jacques Dubois, or Jacobus Sylvius). We see that one of his original recipes mentions Sylvius on syrups.


Michael maintained his friendship with Sylvius, unlike Vesalius who attacked Sylvius. We will see Michael will also include some Sylvius's works  in his next work  the Opera Omnia of Galen, printed by Frellon.

1548-1551  Complete Works of Galen or Opera Omnia of Galen, Lyon, Frellon. Galen was a Greek physician (130-200 a.c). His works have been complemented and corrected by other wise men through the centuries, resulting in new editions of his works (the editions of the Opera Omnia of Galen, by Luca Antonio Giunta and family , were the most famous, structured and complete in those times). This edition was corrected and completed by Michael de Villanueva. It contains a total of five volumes (four volumes plus an index) with original commentaries by the authors. Over 82 years, there were 10 Venetian editions of the Giunta-Opera Omnia  (these works were deeply studied by the great Harvey Cushing, a Harvard neurosurgeon, and expert on history of medicine), three in Basel, and just one in French, Michael de Villanueva's, printed by Jean Frellon. Conrad Gesner appears on the cover, but, as the printer explains inside the book, Gesner only provides the chapter numbers . A few pages after he appears for the first time, Gesner does not appear anymore. As we see in the rest of the volumes, Gesner's contribution is merely symbolic, for he just appears on one page of the Galeni Varia Opera (diverse topics) volume, 1551.

Fig 33

Fig 34

Fig. 33 Left, the main cover of the Complete Works of Galen, Opera Omnia of Galen.

Right, cover of the first volume of this work.


Fig. 34 Left, cover of a volume of the Opera Omnia, called “Isagogic Books.”

Right, cover of the volume called “De Varia” (diverse topics).




Fig. 35 Left, the volume labeled “De varia,” a part of the Opera Omnia of Galen.

Right, the printer Jean Frellon explains the few pages Conrad Gesner contributed to.

Specifically in a page in the Varia volume


Michael de Villanueva admired Galen, and what's more, he was the best known galenist according to his teachers. This checked copy belongs to the University of Salamanca, old books section. It was also checked against previous and subsequent editions from Venice and Basel.

In his Complete Works of Galen, Michael includes texts from then-living authorities such as Vesalius (mostly with certain consideration in his commentaries on him), Winter von Andernach, Janus Cornarius, John Caius, and the previously mentioned Jacques Dubois (Sylvius)...


Fig. 36 He includes text from Andrea Vesalius on the dissection of veins and arteries.




Fig. 37 He Includes Vesalius and Andernach in the work “Anatomicis Administrationibus” (of the Opera Omnia)





Fig. 38 Left, he includes the text from Nicola Regio Calabro in Greek and Latin.

Right he includes his teachers Sylvius and Andernach.



Fig. 39  Left , he includes text from Vesalius.

Center, he includes text from Caius.

Right, he again includes text from Caius.


This work has the inevitable typographer's prologue, our Jean Frellon, “good friend and brother” of Michael.

The book only has a few illustrations, for example on sight.


Fig. 40 Left, main part of the printer's greetings to the reader from Jean Frellon. We think this is the greeting to the reader which appears in Volume I and in the Varia-Fragmenta volume.


Right, he includes Nicola Regio Calabro and an illustration on sight (one of the few illustrations). This is in the De usu partium (use of the parts) Volume I.




Fig. 41. He includes Janus Cornarius' chapters on breathing. This is one of the few texts by Janus Cornairus included in this work.


The printer of this work, Jean Frellon, will never print again after Michael Servetus' death, in 1553, and we will just see him on book covers as an editor.

1554 Materia Medica- Dioscorides by Mattioli and Michael de Villanueva appeared the year after Michael Servetus' immolation.  We call this Materia Medica the Lyon printers tribute to Michael de Villanueva” edition. It is a shared edition with four different editors (all of them are professional printers but here they appear as editors). The text is always printed – in this shared edition- by Balthasard Arnoullet (also one of the four editors), who printed Michael's Restitution of Christianity. The text is always the same, but there are four different covers, one for each of the printers who participates in this work, that is, Jean Frellon, Guillaume Rovillium, Antoine Vincent and Balthasard Arnoullet. All of them had published works by Michael de Villanueva, and were his friends. This unique shared edition by Mattioli and De Villanueva will be printed in 1554 and never re-edited. It is the most unusual book that we found in the  Lyon bibliography. There is nothing on the cover that suggests the editors will “insert” marginalia and interlinear commentaries from an author other than the one who appears on the cover, Mattioli. Nevertheless, the book has commentaries both by the Italian physician Andrea Mattioli (mentioned on the cover) and by Michael de Villanueva. Mattioli's commentaries are signed at the end of the interlinear text with an abbreviation “MAT,” and De Villanueva's are noted with an asterisk -in all of them but one- and they are identical to those in the Materia Medica-Dioscorides of 1543 by Michael de Villanueva. This can be seen in the figure we present.


Fig. 42 The left image is the Materia Medica-Dioscorides of 1543 by Michael- see printed commentary.


On the right we have the “Lyon printers edition to Michal de Villanueva” of 1554- we see the same commentary as in 1543, noted with * (asterisk)

These marginalia are identical to Michael de Villanueva's marginalia of 1543.


Fig. 43 On the left side of the Materia Medica-Dioscorides of Michael, we see a marginalia.

On the right of the Materia Medica-DioscoridesTribute edition” we see the same marginalia.






Fig. 44 The four covers, one for each printer/friend, each book has identical text inside. The four shared editions printed by Balthasard Arnoullet:

A) Cover by Jean Frellon ©Bayerichse staatsBibliothek digital.

B) Cover by Balthasard Arnoullet © 1154jpg. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

C) Cover by Guillaume Rouillé (Rovillium) ©1284. (virtual Faculty of Medicine, Buenos Aires)

D) Cover by Antoine Vincent ©Library. Faculty of Medicine. Complutense University of Madrid.


E) Prologue by the printer Arnoullet, shared by all four editions (one per printer/friend). It is a very eye catching prologue that starts with Death as the capital letter (maybe making an allusion to the death of Michael de Villanueva in the previous year 1553).


This work was denominated “Anonymous D” of the Materia Medicas- Dioscorides, by the expert on Dioscorides, prof John M. Riddle.


   3. - Works of Spanish translation

A-Biblical Illustrated Works

Today, Antwerp, Leuven, etc, are cities in Belgium, but in the 16th century, this area was called Flanders, and it belonged to the Spanish empire. Flanders was more flexible on religion, and during those years it did not even have a Inquisition yet. This flexibility made Flanders a region where these works could be published more easily. But in 1540 Emperor Charles V issued the so called “Punishment of Gent (a city in Flanders)”. This "Punishment" prohibits the translation, in whole or in part, of any sacred work from Latin into any common language.  It also prohibited the publication of any sacred work by a German author (such as Hans Holbein the Younger).

Both the Trechsel and the Frellon bros had great interest in printing Spanish works in a Spanish territory such as Flanders. Near 1526 the Trechsel contracted with the artist Hans Holbein the Younger to create drawings that would be turned into woodcuts many years later. It seems that the Trechsel's mainly intended to produce illustrated editions of the Bible.

Many years later, two Spanish works on quotes from the Old Gospel appear with illustrations by Hans Holbein the Younger.

These works were intended to complement printed illustrated Bibles, such as the previously mentioned Bible of 1545 (Biblia Sacra cum Glossis) by Michael de Villanueva. They were also edited to display Hans Holbein's prestige, but his name didn't appear in the Spanish translations (though it does appear in the French editions). Because of its illustrations, these two works form the series called Icones.

1) 1540 Ymagines de las historias del Viejo Testamento.... Historiarum veteris instrumenti Icones (Images of the stories of the Old Gospel). It was printed in Antwerp by Johan Steelsius.

This work was originally printed in Latin (just Latin) in 1538 in Lyon, with the same 92 illustrations by Hans Holbein, printed by Gaspard and Melchior Trechsel and edited by Francois and Jean Frellon (common mark). Steelsius received the original woodcuts from G. Trechsel and the Frellon bros from Lyon. The title of this edition is in both Latin and Spanish


Fig. 45 Cover of Ymagines de las historias del Viejo Testamento (with Latin text and Spanish translation of the text)



There is a prologue in Spanish prose by Steelsius. In this work there is a Spanish translation of the Latin text of the heading that follows the woodcuts of Hans Holbein. Michael de Villanueva, Frellon's corrector, could not change the Latin text (that was already fixed many years ago) in any chapter, not even in the chapter on the Trinity.

Many of the Spanish terms and Gallicisms (French influenced words) that appear in Ymagines will appear in later grammatical treatises by Michael de Villanueva. Ymagines is a prose version of the poem Retratos o tablas by Michael de Villanueva that Frellon will print three years later, with almost the same illustrations.


Fig. 46 Image of Adam and Eve from Genesis.

On the image we see the Latin text

Below the image we see the Spanish translation of the Latin text.


2) 1543  Retratos o tablas de la historia del Testamento Viejo (Portraits and figures from the story of the Old Gospel). Unlike the French editions, this book has no Latin cover. The book is printed entirely in Spanish – except the Latin heading and colophon. Lyon, cover in Spanish, printed by the Frellon bros.

The first edition has versified Spanish text of the associated work, Ymagines de las historias del Viejo Testamento. This work “Retratos...” appears in the form of Spanish verses: 5 novenas of Arte mayor, and 94 quintillas (novenas and quintillas are a kind of Spanish poetry), that follow the 94 illustrations by Hans Holbein the Younger (2 more illustrations than the previous work). The Latin text from the heading is exactly the same, and the author has to both translate the text and versify it without changing the meaning.

The prologue is by the printer Francois Frellon, and it is translated into Spanish. The work contains words commonly used in Aragon and Navarre (Spanish regions) from the Ebro river area (Tudela, Zaragoza), such as “ciudat” (all of the images of Retratos o tablas del Viejo Testamento that appear in this website are from the facsimile edition published by the author of the website, Francisco Javier González Echeverría)


Fig. 47 Cover of the work “Retratos o tablas de la historia del Testamento Viejo,” edited by the Frellon bros, 1543.



Fig. 48 Images and text of the work.

- The woodcuts of Hans Holbein the Younger

- Latin text (upper part of the image)

- Versified Spanish text (lower part of the image).




Fig 49


Fig 50


Both figures show words from Aragon and Navarre from the Ebro valley area.

Fig. 49 The term “ciudat”(town)

Fig. 50 The term “mida”(measure)

According to our research, this summary is the so called “Spanish Summary.”  However, it is not Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica, contrary to what D'Artigny claimed after transcribing Jean Frellon's declaration in the Judgement of Vienne Isère against Michael de Villanueva.  D'Artigny translated “Somme” as “Summa,” and he presumed it referred to Aquinas' Summa Theologica. This is not possible, for Aquinas' works were not translated into Spanish or any other national language until the 19th century.


Later edition, or 2nd Lyon edition, Spanish verse (1549), printed and edited by Jean Frellon, identical to the 1543 edition, with 94 illustrations by Hans Holbein, but with 4 more woodcuts on the four evangelists, maybe by some other artists.


This work was checked against previous Latin and French copies, and also with French copies from the same year. The text of the heading was identical, see the same composition in the three works: French edition of 1543, Ymagines in Antwerp in 1540, and Retratos o tablas de las Historias del Testamento Viejo, Lyon 1543.


Fig. 51 Left: French verse edition of 1543. It shows the name of the author and Hans Holbein's name.

Center: Images of the stories of the Old Gospel of 1540, completed by Michael de Villanueva, and illustrated by Hans Holbein. The names of both the Spanish translator and the illustrator do not appear (remind Punishment of Gent).

Right: Portraits or figures from the story of the Old Gospel, Lyon 1543, completed by Michael de Villanueva, and illustrated by Hans Holbein. The names of both the Spanish translator- versifier and the illustrator do not appear (remind Punishment of Gent).



Holbein and the author of the French verses, G. Corrozet names appear in the versified French editions of Frellon, as one can see in the figures.

This work will be the one “Spanish” work by Michael that won't be printed in Flanders, nevertheless it is the most eye catching. González Echeverría produced a monograph & facsimile on this work.

B- Four grammatical-Spanish works without illustrations.

In 1553, Jean Frellon declared that Michael de Villanueva had completed for him, among other works, Spanish translations of grammatical-Latin works. All of them have similar terminology, Spanish vocabulary and typical words from the Ebro Valley (Tudela, Zaragoza). They were aimed at children and young readers.

Keep in mind that some subsequent editions of these unsigned works by Michael de Villanueva were published without their original Latin prologues.  Those prologues mentioned figures such as Mathurin Cordier (Corderius), Robert Estienne I, and  above all Erasmus from Rotterdam, who were  censored in Spain (of which Flanders was a part).

Therefore some of the prologues were removed to make the works less dangerous.

1543 Moral Distichs of Cato or Disticha de moribus nomine Catonis, Francois and Jean Frellon.  This poetic work, written in Latin, appears the same year as the poetic Retratos o tablas, and has a Latin prologue by Jean Frellon. There are subsequent editions: 1551 in Lyon by Jean Frellon; 1556 Jean Frellon and Antoine Vincent as editors, and Michael Dubois as printer;  1563, Antwerp, “in aedibus” (heirs) of Johan Steelsius, and 1565, Antwerp again printed by Philipe Nucio. These last two don't have Jean Frellon's prologue, but they have identical text. This work is based on a book with the same title by Mathurin Cordier, the great French grammarian and humanist.  Cordier wrote a  grammatical treatise in Latin-French and entitled it this way. Cordier/Corderius is mentioned in the prologue as is Erasmus. Erasmus is written with capital letters that stand out in the text to show that Erasmus had already completed Latin versions of this work. We see the Spanish translations of this work next to the Latin text.


Fig. 52 Cover of the Distichs of Cato 1543



Fig. 53 Spanish translation following the Latin text.



The final paragraph of this preface or prologue from the Distichs of Cato holds great interest, for it is identical to the prologue in another of Michael de Villanueva's Spanish works On the eight parts of the sentence (we will see this later). We present the prologue by Jean Frellon, and next to it the paragraph that is identical to it from On the eight parts of the sentence.

   A                            B


Fig. 54 A Preface or prologue from the Distichs of Cato

B Detail from this prologue, which is identical to the one in “Little work on the eight parts of the sentence” by Michael de Villanueva.

C Detail of the prologue of the the work “On the eight parts of the sentence” by Michael de Villanueva. Identical to the one noted on B.



1549 El libro infantil de notas sobre la elegancia y variedad de la lengua latina. (Children's notebook on the elegance and variety of the Latin language). This book is a translation of a Latin-French grammatical treatise by the grammarian Mathurin Cordier.   It had been titled “On the corruption of the perverted work”.. or Commentarius puerorum de Latinae Linguae Elegantia et Varietate, qui De corrupti emendatione hactenus inscriptus fuit…First edition printed in Leuven by Servende Sassenus (van Zassen), edition of the widow of Arnold Byrckmann.


There was a editor relationship stated in contracts between Jean Frellon and Byrckmann for the spreading of Spanish works. That is, when it comes to Spanish works both Byrckmann and Frellon act as one editor/publisher, and any of them could appear on the cover of the works that had been completed by the other. In 1551 there is a second edition of this Spanish work in Lyon by Jean Frellon, with identical text. See the covers of both editions (Leuven one, and Lyon one, printed by Frellon and edited by A. Vincent)

The Latin prologue by Mathurin Cordier that appears in the French version is kept. On it Cordier refers to the printer Robert Estienne.


Fig. 55 Left: Cover of Leuven, first edition

Right: Printed by Frellon cover, edited by A. Vincent.





Fig. 56 We see typical and common phrases and words from the Ebro valley (Tudela, Zaragoza), such as “dame un poquitico” ( give me a little bit).





Fig. 57 Certain games that evoke Michael de Villanueva's childhood and the terminology he knew. One of the many times he writes “Quieres jugar al tejo?” ( Do you want to play 'tejo'?” Tejo is a popular game in many parts of Spain, it is played with a 'teja', a tile.)



1549 Obrita sobre la construcción de las ocho partes de la oración…(Little work on the eight parts of the sentence) or De octo orationis partium constructione libellus. Lyon, printed by Jean Frellon. It has a greeting to the reader which mentions William Lilly(Lily), John Colet, Erasmus and Junien Ranvier. The diminutive “Obrita”( Little work) does not refer to the length of this work of 221 pages, but to show that the work is meant for children. Later edition in Antwerp, 1553, printed by Martin Nucio or Nuyts (this printer will also print the famous work Lazarillo de Tormes that same year). This work has its origin in the book of the same name by Junien Ranvier which was written entirely in French.


Fig. 58 Cover with inverted mark of the Frellon bros in the copy of the National Library of Madrid (the inversion of the mark is merely a printers mistake in this copy).




Fig. 59 Spanish text by Michael de Villanueva (one of the pages of the book)




Fig. 60 Greetings to the Spanish reader text and the last paragraph, identical to the one from the Moral Distichs of Cato, already explained in Fig. 54


* 1549 La andriana de P[ublio] Terencio con toda clase de explicación llevada a cabo de forma más fácil por consideración hacia los más jovenes …(Andria by P[ublius] Terence with all kind of explanations, completed in an easy way in consideration of the youngest..) or Andria P. Terentii omni interpretionis genere, in adulescentulorum gratiam facilior effecta… We will simply call it La andriana, printed in Leuven, edited by the widow of Arnold Byrckmann, and printed by Servand Sassenus. This translation retains the Latin prologue by the physician and humanist Charles Estienne, brother of Robert Estienne I. This book appears simultaneously with the previously mentioned Spanish work Libro sobre la elegancia y variedad de la lengua latina. They are both printed in Leuven in the same year. This is the only edition known to date. Both the Spanish terminology and Latin-Spanish are similar to those in  Michael's previous book, El libro infantil de notas sobre la elegancia y variedad de la lengua latina by Michael de Villanueva. There was an editor-relationship,  which is called for in contracts between Byrckmann and Frellon, for the spreading of Spanish works. However, the author of this website, González Echeverría says that “Unfortunately, there is no Frellon edition of this work, neither before or after, to date. So it is very possibly a work by Michael de Villanueva, but we cannot have total certainty about it yet.



Fig 61 See the cover.




Fig 62 Inner Spanish text, translated with some Gallicisms.



Note the great generosity and compromise with knowledge that Michael de Villanueva/ Servetus shows: he completed works by which he increased the knowledge and wisdom of physicians, pharmacologists, theologians, mathematicians, geographers, grammarians, Spanish people--especially Spanish children--by his Spanish works, and many other people, with works that required an enormous effort, completed with great rigor, and on which--in many cases--his name could not appear, but he still selflessly completed them.

I would not like to end this section without noting the importance of the printers in the work of Michael de Villanueva (“Servetus”). Every printer of Michael: Flemish (Seelsius, Sassenus, Byrckmann, Nucio), Venecian (Valgrise and Lilius), German (Setzer), and specially, all the Lyon ones (Frellon, Arnoullet, Trechsel, Vincent, Rovillium, Paganus, De Gabiano, De Giunta(Joncte), Huguetan, Faure, Bertheau, Boulle, Pullon.. etc.) formed a great family, many of them held masonic marks and helped to spread wisdom and culture, sometimes even risking their own lives. This was noticed by some Library directors and architects, such as Windsor and White, in the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign. In the stained-glass windows of its library, the biggest in the world, there are 27 printer's marks, some of them mentioned by us: the Giunta, Robert Estienne I, Arnold Byrckmann, Froben, etc and in the number fourteen stained-glass window there is the mark of the printer brothers François and Jean Frellon, with their usual mark, the crab and the moth, with the lemma in Latin, Matura, or its translation, “Haste” in English.


Fig 63 Stained-glass window dedicated to Jean Frellon in Urbana- Champaign University in Illinois.



Fig. 64 Because of all this, our logotype is the Mark of the printers of Frellon, the crab and the moth, with the lemma in Latin “Matura.”

Jean Frellon, after the death of his brother François Frellon, will keep using this MARK. We remind he considered Michael “his good brother and friend