Friday, May 31, 2013

Practica teütsch: Reading the fine print

This week released digital facsimiles of four astrological prognostications for the year 1605 from the Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Bern. These four practicas are remarkable in that none of them had previously been found in VD17, and because the authorship has been misattributed in two cases.

Friday, May 24, 2013


The quatrain for 1588 that shows up all over the place in the 1580s first appears in print in 1547 1553. It's often attributed to Regiomontanus, although that seems unlikely. (See earlier posts here and here; the essential bibliography is Volker Leppin, Antichrist und Jüngster Tag, 139-49.) Wigand Spanheim's account is not untypical:

Daher hat der fürtreffliche Mathematicus Iohannes Regionmontanus, so umbs jar Christi 1457. gelebt / dieses Reymens weyß von dem jetzt künfftigen 88. jar vor 130. jaren geweyssagt:
Tausent / fünffhundert achtzig acht /
Das ist das jar das ich betracht.
Geht in dem die welt nit under /
So gschicht sonst großmercklich wunder.
While I still think the attribution to Regiomontanus is spurious, I was surprised to come across the following in the UB München manuscript catalog for 2o Cod. ms. 684 (fol. 120r), a manuscript dated to 1465:

Friday, May 3, 2013

An overlooked essential source: Melchior Ambach, Vom Ende der Welt (updated)

Update 25 May 2013: "Dietrich von Zengg" wasn't included in the manuscript that Ambach published. Instead, he borrowed its text directly from an edition published either in 1536 or 1546.

While working on Printing and Prophecy, I made a note to myself about a work that looked interesting but that I didn't have a chance to consult, Melchior Ambach's Vom Ende der Welt (VD16 A 2161). My time in München was limited, the booklet only contained six leaves, the date of printing of 1545 was near the end of the time period I was interested in, and the title formulation (Vom Ende der Welt / Und zukunfft des Endtchrists. Wie es vorm Jungsten tag in der Welt / ergehn werde. Alte und newe Propheceyen / Auff diese letzste böse zeit ... in rheumen gestelt) suggested that this was merely some pastor's versified treatment of Daniel and Revelation.

All of that turns out to be wrong.