Friday, February 3, 2012

Flacius reads Zengg

Update 3 May 2013: The mystery I refer to below has now been solved.

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Matthias Flacius included "Dietrich von Zengg" as one of his witnesses to truth in his 1556 Catalogus testium veritatis (VD16 F 1293, p. 937):
Theodericus primum minorita, postea episcopus Croatiae, vixit anno 1410. In fine suae prophetiae, una cum aliis Rhythmicis prophetiis impressae, praedixit fore, ut Romana sedes, quae simonia et libidinibus esset contanimatissima, corruat...
It's clear that Flacius was reading the same prophecy that we know, where one finds at the end (VD16 T 736, a4r):
Auch so hat wol geredt die Kriechisch zung vonn der blindtheyt der Simoney / vnd vonn der vnkeüsch der Römischen priester / darvon der Römisch stůl wirdt fallen...
But there are a few mysteries. Flacius says that Theodericus/Dietrich lived in 1410, and refers to an edition of Zengg printed with other prophecies in verse. The printed editions consistently date Zengg to 1420, however, and none of them appear at first glance to combine Zengg with verse prophecies. Was Flacius reading an edition of Zengg that's now lost?

No. He was referring to Melchior Amberbach's 1548 Vom Ende der Welt (VD16 A 2161).

I don't think so. I suspect that Flacius is instead inexactly describing - or misremembering? - the most recent edition, printed in 1546 by Hans Guldenmund in Nuremberg (VD16 C 953), the only  an edition that combines Zengg with another text. In this case the other prophecy is the "Hidden Prophecy" of Johann Carion and the interpretation of the same that had begun circulating that same year (or a decade after Carion's death). Guldenmund's edition of 1546 repeats the title formulation of Hieronymus Andreae's edition of 1536 (VD16 T 737), so the dating of Zengg to 116 years earlier by Andreae keeps Zengg in 1420, while Guldenmund's title page moves Zengg to 1430 by failing to update the title formula. Flacius moves in the opposite direction, placing Zengg ten years earlier.

Guldenmund's edition of Carion and Zengg is also not entirely lacking in verse. Carion's "Hidden Prophecy" is prose, but the "Interpretation of the Hidden Prophecy" inserts sixteen lines of verse before the "Hidden Prophecy" ("Es ist am tag / man hats erfaren // Das groß trübsal vor tausent jaren"), and includes two short extracts of Latin verse in the interpretive section. I wouldn't have immediately thought of the "Interpretation of the Hidden Prophecy" as verse prophecies, but Flacius may have remembered it that way.

"Dietrich von Zengg" is also excerpted by Wolfgang Lazius in his Fragmentum vaticinii of 1547 (VD16 ZV 9507), which contains many prophecies in verse, but the excerpt doesn't include the section summarized by Flacius, and doesn't identify the author by name or by nation. I suspect the mysterious reference in Flacius is not to Lazius or to a lost edition of Zengg, but to an imperfectly remembered edition of 1546.

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I have a number of presentations coming up soon, so posting may be light in February.

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