Bound up in a single volume we find texts by Urbanus Rhegius on the dignity of the priesthood, Riccardo Bartolini on the aggressions of the Turks, Jakob Mennel on an Augsburg civic ceremony, Juan de Torquemada on the benefits of holy water, Henry of Langenstein on the Immaculate Conception, and Maffeo Vegio on the education of women and children. It is a bit of mystery why these six texts were selected to coexist, as they seem to have little in common, excepting a proximity of the printing offices (Augsburg, Landshut, Tübingen, and Strasbourg are all within a couple hundred miles), a tenuous link with poetry (Rieger, Bartolini, Mennel, and Maffeo all trafficked in verse), and a connection to Emperor Maximilian I (Rieger and Bartolini were both dubbed poets laureate by the Emperor, and Mennel's tract is an account, in part, of Maximilian's blessing from Pope Leo for the Emperor's defense of the HRE against the Turks). Adding to the mystery is precisely who assembled these texts, though there is a tantalizing clue: to verso of the title of Henry of Langenstein's tract is a striking, if somewhat naive, hand-painted, unidentified arms. A curious collection of texts published between 1513 and 1519 (or perhaps 1520), in a binding of wooden boards; the whole a compelling bibliographic object, demanding study.
1) RIEGER, Urban [RHEGIUS, Urbanus]. Opusculum DE DIGNITATE sacerdotvm in | comparabili, ad amplis- | simvm antistitem. D. Hv | gonem DE Landenberg | Constantien[SIS]. eccle | sie episcopvm, Vr | bano Regio | avcto | re | ❦ | Libellus ad candidu[m] Lectorem. || Vita Sacerdotum quanto ſplendeſcat honore | Omneq[ue] q[ue] toto vincat in orbe decus | Vt ſacro rutilos tranſcendat munere cœlos | Aethereis etiam celſior ipſe choris | Non iniucunda ſtringo breuitate, quid h[a]eres. | Ære perexiguo me tibi lector eme. || Eme, lege, & Ratio affectum | iudicando anteuortat. [Augsburg: Johann Miller, 1519]. De dignitate sacerdotum was Urban Rieger's first major work, and his last significant composition before his embrace of Luther and the mainstream Reformation less than a year thence. Written after Rieger had been appointed poet laureate by Maximilian, but before he latinized his name to Rhegius, the treatise was a strictly orthodox Roman Catholic view of the importance and inherent dignity of the office of the priesthood. Rieger would go on to become a cardinal force among reformers, a friend of Luther, and, by 1535, would notably profess a tolerance toward German Jews, an unpopular position among the Reformation elite. Good copy of the first edition. a-i4, k6 =42 ff. Title printed in red and black. Worm track to tail margin of title, not near text; about two sq. ins. of head fore-corner of blank verso of last leaf stained. VD16 R 1866; Kucynski 2224; BM STC 736; Pegg (Pamphlets) 3464. Lamprecht, Dietmar. Urbanus Rhegius: der vergessene Reformator der Lüneburger Heide; eine Erinnerung. Hermannsburg: Missionsbuchhandlung, 1980. Herzog, Johann Jacob. "Urbanus Rhegius." Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Vol X. New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls, 1911, pp. 22-23. 2)
2) BARTOLINI, Riccardo. Ricchardi Bartho | lini uiri eruditiſſimi de conuentu | Auguſten[sis] concinna deſcriptio | rebus etia[m] externar[um] gentium | qu[a]e interim geſt[a]e sunt, cum | elegantia interſertis. || M.D.XVIII. || ❦ [Augsburg: Silvan Otmar, 1518]. By 1518, most of the Perugian poet and archbishop of Salzburg Riccardo Bartolini's output had consisted of Neoleatin verse that "lacks imagination and taste,"1 (though evidently Maximilian liked it, as the Emperor had elevated Bartolini, like Rieger above, to poet laureate), but the present pamphlet is a departure, containing nary a line of doggerel. Rather it is a discussion, on the surface at least, of the origins of the Reichstag or Imperial Diet of the HRE, though it is really an alarmist warning of the perceived growing Ottoman threat, for which Bartolini states the Reichstag was created to address. The pamphlet is prefixed with a prefatory letter by Konrad Adelmann, member of the Augsburg chapter of the philological society Sodalitas litteraria. Good copy, with title woodcut colored by a contemporary hand. A-D4 =16 ff. D4 blank and present. Interior: Two contemporary annotations in ink trimmed by the binder's plough, though still parsable. VD16 B 566; Kuczynski 182; BM STC, 66 (this edition?); Panzer VI, 111. Biografía eclesiástica completa, Vol. II, Part 1, Madrid: Eusebio Aguado, 1849. pp. 196-7.
3) MENNEL, Jakob. De inclito atq[ue] apud Germanos rariſſimo | actu eccleſiaſtico Kalen[das].Auguſti Au | guſte. Celebrato anno domini. | 1518. [Augsburg: Siegmund Grimm and Marx Wirsung, 1518] Though well known for his rare 1520 verse chess manual, and for his monumental die Cronica Hapsburgensis nuper rigmatice (a rhymed genealogical history of the Hapsburg Dynasty), Jakob Mennel's is also celebrated for this account of the dual ceremony in Augsburg of the bestowal of cardinalship upon Albrecht of Brandenburg and the blessing of Maximilian I by Pope Leo. The work is also renowned for its two woodcuts—the first of an angel bearing emblems of the two awards, and the second of Mennel's family crest—both of which have been attributed to either Leonard Beck (of Theuerdank fame), or Hans Weiditz the Younger, the Petrarca Master. Good copy of the only edition. A-B4 =8 ff. Title woodcut of an angel, final woodcut of Mennel family crest. Small inkstains to fore-margin of title. VD16 M 4614; BM STC 618; Panzer VI, 152. Musper, Theodor-Heinrich. "Nachlese zum Petrarkameister," Gutenberg Jahrbuch, 1951, pp. 110-117. Musper's commentary in GJB "…[published] on the occasion of Albrecht of Brandenburg's creation as cardinal in honour of his defence of Christianity against the Turks, and the awarding of a sword and helmet-like fur cap, blessed by Pope Leo X on Christmas Day, to Emperor Maximilian through the hands of the Papal legates Cajetan and Lang."
4) TORQUEMADA, Juan de. De efficatia Aque | benedicte Magiſtri Joannis | de Turre cremata. [Landshut: Johann Weißenburger, 15201]. Cardinal Juan de Torquemada’s treatise on holy water. In chapter five of the treatise, Torquemada remarks on aqua benedicta as a medical philter, one particularly effective as a fertility agent, as prophylaxis against plague and sickness, and as a remedy for melancholy and insanity. R. W. Scribner notes that Torquemada separates the potential effects of holy water into three categories, the third of which is devoted to its physical efficacy. Four of its effects were spiritual or moral: recalling the heart from earthly things, remitting venial sin, as preparation for prayer, or for doing good works. Two were psychic or psychological: purifying the mind from fantasies and driving out impure spirits. The last four were a matter of direct physical efficacy: removing infertility in humans and animals, encouraging fertility in all earthly things, repelling pestilence, and protecting against sickness. Torquemada’s treatise, composed during the Council of Basel in 1437, was a response to accusations of heresy leveled by the Pope at exiled Wycliffite Peter Payne, leader of the Bohemian reformers known as the Orphans. Payne absconded, but was captured two years later, imprisoned, then successfully ransomed by the Taborites, with whom he quickly allied himself. In recent decades the Tractatus de efficacia aquae benedictae has been recognized as a significant and unique medical text, the earliest and most thorough consideration of holy water as a remedy against a variety of infirmities. Good copy. Quarto, A-B4 = ff. Title woodcut of figures at a baptismal font, Weissenburger's wooduct device at end. VD16 J 798. Dated by some sources to 1515, including K. Schottenloher in his Die Landshuter Buchdrucker des 16. Jahrhunderts. Scribner, R. W. “Cosmic Order and Daily Life: Sacred and Secular in Pre-Industrial German Society,” Popular Culture and Popular Movements in Reformation Germany. London & Ronceverte: Hambledon Press, 1987, p. 12.
5) HENRY of LANGENSTEIN. Heinricus de Haſſia planta | tor gymnaſij Viene[n]ſis in Auſtria co[n]- | tra diſceptationes et co[n]trarias | predicatio[n]es fratru[m] me[n]dica[n] | tiu[m] ſuper conceptio[n]e | b[eati]ſſime Marie | virginis et co[n]tra macu | lam ſ[an]cto Bernhar- | do mendaciter impoſitam. || […] [Strasbourg: Reinhard Beck, 1516]. In his Contra disceptationes, mathematician, scholastic, and backyard astronomer Henry of Langenstein defends the tenet of Immaculate Conception against attacks on its legitimacy by some members of the Mendicant orders. The thorough defense, which first appeared in print at Milan in 1480, is one of more than a hundred works ascribed to Henry, who might be best known for his four anti-astrological tracts published after the appearance of a comet in 1368; the group of works prefigured Pico della Mirandola's position against astrology as a science more than a century later. Quarto, A-F4 =24 ff. Interior: Title printed in red and black within a four-part decorative woodcut border. Head margins cut close, with loss to headlines and folio numbes of approximately a third of the pages. Provenance: Contemporary painted arms, unidentified, to verso of title. VD16 H 2130. Roth, Ferdinand Wilhelm Emil. "Zur Bibliographie des Henricus Heinbuche de Hassia, dictus de Langen-stein," Beiheft zum Centralblatt für Bibliothekswesen. Leipzig: 1888.
6) VEGIO, Maffeo. Franciſci Philelphi poete laure | ati et oratoris clariſſimi de educatione libero | rum, clariſq[ue] eorum moribus opus ſaluberri | mum, in quo omnis bene beateq[ue] uiuendi | diſciplina, omne bene dicendi genus ac | diuinae philoſophorum theologo | rumq[ue] ſententiae com | periuntur. || N. BONA SPES | Hunc memori trutinate breuem ſub mente libellum | Si iuuenum mor es uultis habere probos. [Tübingen: Thomas Anselmus, 1513] A fine edition of Maffeo Vegio's celebrated work on the education of children, edited by Francesco Filelfo. "After joining the Augustinians, [Vegio] wrote several volumes, including De educatione liberorum et eorum claris moribus (On the Education of Children and Their Moral Training )—the most Christian in spirit of all humanistic educational treatises. In it he proposed St. Augustine and his mother, St. Monica, as models for Christian educators. Among its significant features, it urged the study of classical literature together with the study of the scripture and of the Church Fathers. It also provided for the education of girls, and emphasized the development of sound moral character as the chief end of education." Quarto, aa-bb4, cc8, dd-ff4, gg8, hh--ii4, kk8, ll4, mm6 =62 ff. Interior: Worm track to blank tail margin of last two leaves. VD16 V 477; Graesse Vol VI, Part 2, p. 273. Graesse suggests that the name Filelfo was erroneously substituted for Vegio, a mistake that first occurred in a 1511 edition, and recurred in a French edition of 1513. 2Sexton, V. Staudt. "Vegio Maffeo," New Catholic Encyclopedia (online).