Friday, March 23, 2012

Johannes Capistrano

While updating my database of printed German prophecies and prognostications up to 1620, I came across several works that experienced bursts of popularity, the latest of which was the prophecy of Johannes Capistrano that went through over a dozen editions soon after 1619. This prophecy, attributed to the well-known fifteenth-century preacher, is one of several prophetic works that appeared at the outbreak of the Thirty Years War. Complicating the picture is that some editions of the same prophecy are anonymous or attributed to someone else, while other works attributed to Capistrano appear to be different prophecies. How these works all relate to each other, let alone to the historical Capistrano, does not appear to have been worked out yet. I find only brief mentions of these booklets in Leppin's Antichrist und jüngster Tag and in Barnes's Prophecy and Gnosis. One possible place to start looking: Ottokar Bonmann, “Zum Prophetismus des Johannes Kapistran, 1386-1456,” Archiv Für Kulturgeschichte 44 (1962): 193–98.

Here is my initial attempt to sort out the seventeenth-century editions.

A. Woldenckwürdige Weissagung unnd Propheceyung von den jetzigen Läufften / und sonderlich von dem noch instehenten 1619. Und nachfolgenden 1620. 1621. 1622. 1623. Jahren.

An extract from a longer work? Note the beginning of the text: "Aus Capistrani Propheceyung ist ins Gemein zu mercken..."
  1. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 1:623600X
  2. Breslau, n.p., 1619. VD17 1:063418D
  3. N.p., n.p., 1619.VD17 3:312297Y
  4. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 14:002792C
  5. N.p., n.p., 1619.VD17 23:254248T
  6. Frankfurt am Main, n.p., 1619. VD17 23:657415H
  7. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 39:124824V
  8. N.p., n.p., 1620. VD17 39:125809Z
B. Prognosticon, Das ist / Weissagung Auff das Jahr / nach der Geburt unsers Herrn und Seligmachers Jesu Christi / MDCXIX...

The prophecy also appear anonymously in four editions.

  1. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 14:002803G
  2. N.p., n.p., 1619.VD17 23:238261P
  3. Prague, n.p., 1620. VD17 3:608064Z
  4. Prague, Carol Schwing, 1620. VD17 23:266472Q

C. Prognosticon, Daß ist: Weissagung Darinnen Vom Zustand der Christenheit...In eines alten gelehrten Mannes Andreas Perlachius genant / von Wien seiner Bibliothek gefunden worden

Attributed not to Capistrano, but to the Viennese astrologer Andreas Perlach. Considering that Perlach had once accused Johann Carion of resorting to necromancy rather than the honorable art of astrology, the publication of this pamphlet probably saw Perlach rolling over in his grave.

  1. N.p., n.p., 1631. VD17 3:021230Y

D. Prognosticon. Das ist. Woldenckwürdige weissagung oder Prophezeigung von den jetzigen und letzten laufften der Welt und der betrübten Jahren Erstlich / 1620. Und nach folgenden 1621. 1622. 1623. 1624. 1625. Jahren...

This may be the longer work from which the previous ones provide an extract. The preface to the reader in the digitized Schlüsselseiten is in any case more extensive, and the following material is similar but not identical.

  1. Breslau: Georg Baumann, 1621. VD17 23:291795E

E. Capistrani Prophezey / Vom Zustand des Römischen Reichs. Seit der Offenbahrung deß Heiligen Evangelii

This appears to be a much different work. The first edition below includes a Latin text and a woodcut image of papal oppression. This text claims an origin in 1460 and a rediscovery in 1547. Despite the similar place, printer, and date, the two Baumann editions appear to be different texts, and I'm not confident that the second is actually Baumann's.

  1. N.p., n.p., 1621. VD17 14:003063G
  2. Breslau: Georg Baumann, 1622. VD17 39:148285H
  3. N.p., n.p.,1663. VD17 23:258724U

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