Friday, April 7, 2017

A prognostication for Valentine's Day 1469 from the desk of Hartmann Schedel

Bettina Wagner's work on letters, notes, and other miscellanea from Hartmann Schedel has uncovered quite a few interesting things, including this cataclysmic prognostication for 1469 copied onto a loose leaf. It's an interesting text that I haven't seen before. An attempt at a transcription and translation follow. Punctuation has been added and capitalization has been altered for sense and abbreviations have been resolved silently.
Anno Mo cccco lxviiiio quartadecima die mensis Januraii incipietur delusio mundi, evacuatio cleri, derisio christianitatis, deposit[i]o potentiarum scilicet Imperatoris et regum. Insuper quartadecima die mensis februarii circa[?] meridiem eclipsabitur sol et quasi omnino emittet formam sue dispositionis. Et significat iiiior mala. Primum quod deus movebit celum et terram in suo empisperio quasi mundum subverteret. Secundum quod virtutes superiorum movebuntur scilicet ordo contra[?] ordinem. Tercium de magna et in audita sangwinis effusione qualis numquam fuit a mundi origine timendum est. Quartum fames magna ita quod maritus non curabit uxorem nec uxor maritum nec pater et mater prolem curabit, quia quasi unanimiter desperabunt. Post hec sequitur pestis in audita de uno in alterum precedens et pauci effugient. Sed qui superstites manebunt bene habebunt et in cunctis prosperabuntur.

Dicitur quod hanc prenostica Scola Parisiensium fecit que missa dicitur magistro Johanne Gerstman.

On the fourteenth day of January 1469 will begin the deception of the world, the purging of the clergy, the mockery of Christendom, and the cessation of power, namely of the emperor and of kings. And then on the fourteenth day of February around noon, the sun will be eclipsed and almost entirely expel the form of its disposition. [NB. Is the thought that the sun will lose its light and weaken, or shine out its entire force at once?] And this signifies four evils. First, that God will move heaven and earth in their orbits ["hemispheres"] as if to overturn the world. Second, that the powers of the superior [planets] will be moved, namely one order against the other. Third, one must fear a great and unprecedented outpouring of blood the likes of which have never been from the beginning of the world. Fourth, so great a famine that a husband will not provide for his wife, nor a wife for her husband, neither father and mother for them children, because almost all will be united in despair. After these things, an unheard of plague will follow, advancing from one side to the other, and few will escape it. But what survivors will remain will be well and prosper in all things.

It is said that the school of Paris made this prognostication, which is said to have been sent to Master Johannes Gerstman.

The text, an amalgamation of astrology and catastrophic prophecies, bears some resemblance to the "Toledo Letter" and to the prognostication of "Meister Theobertus von England" printed around 1470 both in their construction and in their attributions to foreign astrologers. According to the NASA catalog of solar eclipses, there was a solar eclipse on 13 January 1469, which approximately matches one of the dates in the prognostication, but that eclipse was not visible in Europe. The eclipse of 9 July 1469 would have been much more dramatic. The closing note that anyone who survives will experience marvelous things is a motif that appears many times, particularly in the lead up to 1588.

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