Only edition. Remarkable news brief reporting the activities of Maximilian I on his visit to Brussels and the surrounding Brabant region in 1516-17, with notes on the jousts, festivals, and exhibitions he attended. Most notable is Maximilian's visit to the Brussels zoo founded by young Charles V, in which was held in captivity a young elk. The anonymous author, reporting firsthand, writes:
"Also in Brussels, where the Spaniards dressed in red and yellow came in and out on the right-hand side, there is a closed gate through which one enters. There is a crossbow pitch on it, but also an appealing entrance with delightful spice trees. Therein is a structure where an elk stands in a stall. Anyone can come to it when it is well-kept. One must also go through many gates and locks to come to it. It is a strange animal of wondrous nature, tall in size, with a short, thin, and split foot which is long along the back and has few joints so that it cannot lay well, though the legs can still bend. It has a strange color which one does not know, nor can one recognize whether it is gray or the color of a cow. It has a head like a donkey's, but different in that its ears are not so long and it has a raised maw. It is taller than a deer, bears no horn, and has a moderate tail, as indeed the natural masters wrote. It does not like to lay, and if it does it cannot stand up well. In Brussels it tends to lie too much when it nonetheless lays. Its slovenly demeanor does not allow itself to be domesticated, so one is well to think that being so bound is against its nature. The elk is named Alces in Latin, and its further virtues like claws, horns, and others, how its gallbladder and ears (against the custom of all animals) have the same form as a human's [untranslatable], and what a quick sprint it has, as well as how it is captured and other things can be read by admirers of the natural arts especially in Pliny LI.VIII. ca. vv. necnon in hortulo sanitatis in tractatu de aialibus. Going through the back gate from the elk, one arrives, in the right, a zoo of great, surpassing breadth with pretty trees and numerous houses protected by walls. Included therein is a ditch and hill with a shooting garden. In it there are over one and a half hundred rabbits which are sheer across the hill through the ditch. After that is still a little hill against the city wall, therein are many [untranslatable]. After that, in the back of the zoo, there are over one and a half hundred animals which look like the roebuck and dog and whose horns look like roe or stag horns in that they are thin and broad. They are called "Tendel" according to the Dutch language. There is a charming open house therein on both sides, and in the middle there are bears and rauffen[?]. In the best house it is totally clean and amusing, and there is much straw on the floor with an attractive fountain nearby and always together at least twenty or thirty with each other, some small and some large. So it is truly a lovely delight." [Tr. © Scott Galliart, 2021]
This enormous species of deer, the so-called "great beast," was seldom seen in continental Europe at the time, either in the wild or in zoos or menageries, and was generally only known from written descriptions in classical sources—and these were never in agreement over exactly which animal was being described. (It wasn't until 1555 that the elk was first accurately attested, by Olaus Magnus in his Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus [Rome: Joannes Maria de Viottis].) The arresting title woodcut in our news report is evidently the first illustration of an elk in a printed book, though Dürer executed a drawing of an elk c1501-4, which image was later used in the background of his engraving Adam and Eve (1504). Dürer, however, clearly drew his elk from a taxidermied model (perhaps one of Maximilian's, given to him by the city of Nuermberg in 1501), whereas the image in our news report was certainly drawn from life. In the margin of C1v, a contemporary reader has sketched a tiny elk in ink, marking the start of the salient item. Withal a fascinating account of a captive elk and the world it inhabits, composed at the dawn of the Reformation. Four copies located (BSB, U Freiburg, NL Scotland, BL).
Strasbourg: Johann Knobloch, 1517.
Quarto, 189 x 141 x 9 mm (binding), 186 x 138 x 3 mm (text block); A-C4,  ff. Modern blind-tooled calf, unlettered. Interior: Slight stains and toning; a few wormholes, mostly marginal, though two or three touch printed area; last four leaves damaged at inner tail corner, with loss of a few words on each page; this has been quite invisibly mended, with text expertly renewed in manuscript indistinguishable from the printed text. The mends have been accomplished with such subtle skill that we were entirely unaware of them until the sheets were examined on a light table.
VD16 K36; Pflugk-Harttung, Julius von, Im Morgenrot der Reformation, Hersfeld: Vertriebsanstalt christlicher Kunstwerke, 1912, p. 105; Podgorny, Irina, "The elk, the ass, the tapir, their hooves, and the falling sickness: a story of substitution and animal medical substances," Journal of Global History, CUP: 2018, pp. 46-68. On Dürer: Rowlands 1993; Strauss 1974; Winkler 1936-9.