Giacomo Aconcio

1492-c.1566. Advocate of toleration. Known also as Jacobus Acontius and Jacopo Aconzio, he was an evangelical Catholic (following the teaching of Juan de Valdés) who later supported Protestantism. On the accession of the strict Pope Paul IV in 1557 he had fled to Basle and joined the circle of Castellio and Curione. In 1559 he went to England, was naturalized, and remained there until his death. For services as an ordinance officer he received a state pension. He attached himself to the “Strangers' Church” in London, but was excommunicated for defending Adrian Haemstede, pastor of the Dutch congregation, who had befriended Anabaptists. Aconcio's famous Satanae Stratagemata (1565) was a powerful plea for tolerance, stressing that religious strife was devil- inspired and that peaceful discussion was the best way to defeat Satan. He supported this by six articles of faith, imprecise but orthodox.