Saturday, January 8, 2022

A Cedar of Lebanon sighting

 Wissenschaftliche Stadtbibliothek Mainz, Hs I 171 is a manuscript from the second half of the 15th century. The provenance is from the Carthusians of Mainz.

The text on ff. 21v-22r is identified as a "Vision de anno 1387." The title identifies it as a vision found in an old book: "Sequitur alia visio Reperta in uno antiquo libro."

The text is in fact the "Cedar of Lebanon" vision (see Robert Lerner's 1983 Powers of Prophecy for the definitive study).

The preceding text, the "Visio de anno 1454" on ff. 20r-21v, is the Revelatio I of Denis the Carthusian.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Extract of Various Prophecies

For the booklet of excerpts from Lichtenberger and Grünpeck and other sources known variously as the Auszug etlicher Prophezeiungen, Extract of Various Prophecies, and (inaccurately) as the "Anonymous Practica"/"Anonyme Praktik," whose most thorough previous description is pp. 145-53 in Heike Talkenberger's Sintflut (1990), I have a recently published article that clears up some of the mysteries:

Jonathan Green. “The Extract of Various Prophecies: Apocalypticism and Mass Media in the Early Reformation.” Renaissance and Reformation 40.4 (2017): 15–42.

  • The previously unknown source of the foreword is Simon Eyssenmann’s annual astrological prognostication for 1514 (VD16 E 4757).
  • The concluding 54 lines of verse are likewise not an original compilation, but appear to be taken from a 108-line poem printed together with an astrological prognostication or calendar for 1508; see Carl Gottfried Scharold, Dr. Martin Luthers Reformation in nächster Beziehung auf das damalige Bisthum Würzburg historisch dargestellt (Würzburg, 1824), 1:64n1, xx–xxiii (appendix item vi). Fragments of both previously unknown sources appear as pastedowns in the same volume (Augsburg, Staats- und Stadtbibliothek 4 Med 1284).
  • The extracts from Lichtenberger are most closely connected to an edition published in 1497 by Bartholomaeus Kistler in Augsburg (ISTC il00209000/GW M18245) and another set of extracts published in 1532 (VD16 ZV 11958).
  • The Dutch edition dated to 1509 (NB 26021) should be dated to around 1523.
  • The decisive actor behind publication of the Extract of Various Prophecies is Hans Stainberger, bookseller of Zwickau, although his personal involvement in composition is unlikely.
  • The 14 known editions of 1516-1525 make the Extract of Various Prophecies the most frequently printed prophetic work during that decade.
  • The circulation of the Extract of Various Prophecies is associated with several interesting Reformation-era controversies, and illustrates the spread of apocalyptic motifs and the formation of audiences for apocalypticism in Reformation-era Germany.
I sketch out the the relationship between texts and editions as follows (this image does not appear in the published article):

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    A very short review: Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism (1998)

    McGinn, Bernard, John Joseph Collins, and Stephen J. Stein, eds. The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism. 3 vols. New York: Continuum, 1998. ISBN 978-0826412522.

    I usually save short reviews for academic work that is of the highest quality or makes a substantial impact on my own work. So this review is about 20 years late, but well deserved. I came across the three-volume Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism while browsing in the university library last fall and ended up reading it from cover to cover, from cover to cover, and from cover to cover - for all three volumes, from ancient Persia to the late twentieth century.

    The articles were on the whole well written, authoritative, and thoroughly documented. I thought there were only two real clunkers; the rest ranged from highly informative to truly excellent. Now matter how distant any article seemed at first, I found that almost every article was relevant to my research on early modern Germany and helped me see my work in a much broader context, while the best articles motivated me to rethink and redefine what I research and how I go about it. When I first started the research project that turned into Printing and Prophecy, I planned to look only at prophecy as a communicative act in late medieval and early modern Germany, but soon found I couldn't avoid dealing with astrology and the Reformation. Now I see that I can't avoid dealing with apocalypticism as well. The Encyclopedia of Apocalytpicism is going to be one of those reference works that stays near my desk for just about any research project.

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Vanished booklets of the 1560s: a few core samples

    When talking about printing, literature, or anything having to do with medieval and early modern texts, it is easy to overlook something that must not be overlooked: how much of what was once written or printed has now vanished. For practicas, annual astrological prognostic booklets, which were by nature ephemeral, we can assume that many editions have left no surviving copies, but pinning down how many or characterizing the relationship of the known to the unknown is tricky.

    One source of evidence are book lists that can be compared to known editions. For practicas in the 1560s, we have two interesting sources in practica compilations, one printed in Frankfurt for the year 1565 (VD16 ZV 29072) and the other printed in Basel for 1569 (VD16 P 4544), both of which claim to reprint all the astrologers who have made prognostications for that year.

    The first collection, for 1565, includes sections from the practicas of ten astrologers: Johannes Huldrich Ragor, Nikolaus Neodomus, Johannes Hebenstreit, Andreas Rosa, Christoph Statmion, Sebastian Brelochs, Gregor Fabricius, Nicolaus Winckler, Simon Heuring, and Moritz Steinmetz. Of these, nine are known from printed editions of practicas for 1565; only Ragor's is otherwise unknown. (This is an interesting list of astrologers. Six are well known practica authors, while four are sparsely attested: Ragor [otherwise attested only for 1581], Neodomus [attested only for 1565], Sebastian Brelochs [only attested for 1565 and 1568-69, in contrast to his widely published predecessor Anton Brelochs], and Moritz Steinmetz [only attested for 1565]. But the editor also omits a few astrologers with practicas for 1565, including Valentin Engelhart, Georg Holsthen, and the well-known Joachim Heller.) In comparison, VD16 records 16 practica editions from 12 authors, but lacks Johannes Ragor's.

    The second collection, for 1569, includes chapters from eight astrologers: Nicolaus Winckler, Johannes Hebenstreit, Victorinus Schönfeld, Simon Heuring, Valentin Butzlin, Erasmus Reinhold, Sebastian Brelochs, and Hieronymus Wilhelm. Again, half of the authors are well known, while the other four are more obscure (Sebastian Brelochs again, Valentin Butzlin, Erasmus Rehinhold, and Hieronymus Wilhelm). The editor again omitted some well-known astrologers with known practicas for 1569, including Georg Caesius, Andreas Rosa, and Christoph Statmion. The included chapters are drawn from four practicas that are unattested in VD16.

    So to sum up: The collection for 1565 tells us that VD16 misses 1 out of 13 authors (7.7%). The collection for 1569 tells us that VD16 misses 4 out of 11 authors (36.4%). For both years, VD16 records 23 editions from 14 authors. The two collections suggest that VD16 misses at least 4 out of 18 authors (22.2%). This isn't an answer to the question of missing editions, but it does give us some interesting core samples to think about.

    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.

    Saturday, September 19, 2015

    Simon Eyssenmann: bibliography v 0.13

    Simon Eyssenmann was a Leipzig professor and author of astrological prognostications following in the footsteps of Wenzel Faber and Conrad Tockler. He is all but forgotten today, but there may be some interesting things going on with his work. So here is the start of a bibliography for him, beginning with his practicas and the few relevant items of secondary literature.

    Update 0.13
    I've added the one non-practica found in VD16 and the two additional contributions to other works.

    Update 0.11: Klaus Graf has come up with many additional links for Eyssenmann over at Archivalia. Otherwise, for now I only have time to add one work to which Eyssenmann was a contributor.

    1. Practica for 1514. Latin. N.p., n.p. VD16 E 4756.
      Title page only preserved in Zwickau, Ratschulbibliothek.
    2. Practica for 1514. German. Augsburg: Johann Schönsperger. VD16 E 4757.
      Copy in Erlangen UB
    3. Practica for 1514. Low German. Lübeck: Georg Richolff the Elder. VD16 E 4758.
      Described only in BC 551 A.
    4. Practica for 1515. Latin. Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel. Not in VD16.
      Wroclaw UB (facsimile)
    5. Practica for 1517. Latin. N.p., n.p. VD16 E 4759.
      Title page only preserved in Zwickau, Ratschulbibliothek.
    6. Practica for 1516. German. Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel. Not in VD16.
      Wroclaw UB (facsimile)
    7. Practica for 1516. German. Landshut: Johann Weißenburger. VD16 E 4760.
      If the copy in the British Library is E 4760, then this edition is [8] rather than [4] leaves.
    8. Practica for 1516. German. Nuremberg: Jobst Gutknecht. VD16 E 4761.
    9. Practica for 1517. German. Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel. VD16 E 4762.
      Title page only preserved in Zwickau, Ratschulbibliothek.
    10. Practica for 1518. Latin. Leipzig: Jakob Thanner. VD16 ZV 5648.
      Halle ULB (facsimile)
    11. Practica for 1518. German. N.p., n.p. VD16 E 4763. 
    12. Practica for 1519. German. Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel. VD16 E 4764.
      Title page only preserved in Zwickau, Ratschulbibliothek.
    13. Practica for 1520. German. Nuremberg: Jobst Gutknecht. VD16 E 4766.
      Munich BSB (facsimile)
    14. Practica for 1520. German. Augsburg: Erhard Oeglin. VD16 E 4765.
      Munich BSB (facsimile)
    Others: A Latin practica for 1520 listed in WorldCat (link), with the title "Juditium Lipsense ad annum currentem vigesimum supra millesimum quingentesimum," but with no additional information about a printer or location.

    Other works
    1. Euchiridion Arithmetices. Leipzig: Jakob Thanner, 1511. VD16 E 4755.
      Munich BSB (facsimile) and Leipzig UB. This brief treatise on arithmetic begins with a dedication to Conrad Tockler, another Leipzig academic who published practicas for 1504-1514, whom Eyssenmann describes as his teacher. It closes with two additional texts, addressed to Wolfgang Christophorus Udalriuch, son of Udalrich LIndacher of Leipzig, and Conrad Funck of Leipzig, son of Andreas Funck.

    Contributions to additional works
    1. Dedication (to Conrad Funck of Leipzig, son of Andreas Funck) in a Latin edition of excerpts from Plutarch's De viris clarissimis liber. Leipzig: Jakob Thanner, 1509. VD16 ZV 12591.
    2. Dedication (to "Simperto Widenman de Schretzen") in an edition of Petrus Gaszowiec's Computus novus. Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel, 1514. VD16 P 1863.
    3. Six lines of Latin verse contributed (along with verses from eighteen other intellectuals) to Hieronymous Dungersheim's Confutatio apologetici cuiusdam sacre scripture falso inscripti ad illustrissimum principem Georgium Saxonie ducem. Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel, 1514. VD16 D 2947.
      The Munich BSB copy is from the library of Hartmann Schedel.

    Secondary literature
    • Eis, Gerhard. "Beiträge zur Spätmittelalterlichen deutschen Prosa aus Handschriften und Frühdrucken." Journal of English and Germanic Philology 52 (1953): 76–89.
    • Zoepfl, Friedrich. "Der Mathematiker und Astrologe Simon Eyssenmann aus Dillingen." Jahrbuch des Historischen Vereins Dillingen an der Donau 61/63 (1961 1959): 86–88.

    Friday, August 28, 2015

    Sanctus Columbanus fecit hos caracteres

    Well, that's weird.

    In another Vatican manuscript (Pal. lat. 482) available in digital facsimile from the Heidelberg UB, there is a series of alphabetic signs in an otherwise empty column on f. 15v (click to see the whole leaf on the Heidelberg UB site): 

    At first glance, this looks like a secret alphabet. In that case, the secondary literature probably starts with Bernhard Bischoff, "Übersicht über die nichtdiplomatischen Geheimschriften des Mittelalters," Mitteilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung 62 (1954): 1-27. I don't find other examples associating Columbanus with secret writing, but Bishoff notes several attributions of secret writing to Irish clerics.

    But several of the letters look quite normal. Is the series rather an initialism, with each letter standing for a word in some devotional passage? If that is the case, the secondary literature one needs is entirely different.

    And one can't help but notice that there's a certain symmetry between the haloed "q" and the "p" signs at the beginning and end of the fourth line, or the "Christmas trees" on the left and right side, or the forwards uncial e in the third line and the backwards uncial e in the first line. Was there some kind of mirror-image game at the basis of these characters?

    Who knows? It's weird. When you browse through manuscripts, you find weird things.