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1516 Nauclerus World Chronicle Medieval Germany Swabia Post-incunabula * Erasmus For Sale
[Early Printing - Post-Incunabula - Germany - Tübingen - Thomas Anshelm] [European History - Ancient and Medieval] [Chronicles]
[German History - Schwabia]
[Nicolaus Baselius] [Johannes Reuchlin] [Philipp Melanchton] [Erasmus of Rotterdam]
[Bookbindings - Renaissance and Late-Gothic]
Printed in Tübingen by Thomas Anshelm (for Conrad Breuning, Kilian Veszler & Johann Zuyfel), March 1516. First Edition.
Two volumes in one. Text in Latin.
RARE FIRST EDITION OF THIS ESTEEMED AND INFLUENTIAL WORLD CHRONICLE, BEAUTIFULLY PRINTED IN A MASSIVE FOLIO! This monumental work, which "possesses greater accuracy than any prior historical compilation" (Enc. Britannica), has long been highly valued as a treasure trove of medieval historiography. This edition also includes the continuation written by Nicolaus Baselius and covering events from 1501 to 1514.
This chronicle had an enormous success and was several times reprinted; this 1516 First Edition, however, is of considerable rarity.
This 1516 Editio Princeps of Nauclerus' Chronicle, published posthumously, has been one of the most significant typographical productions of Tübingen, a medieval university town in South Germany. The publication of it involved some of the key figures of German reformation: the printing has been supervised by Philipp Melanchthon; the verso of title carries a commendatory letter by Erasmus to the printer "praising Anshelm's Latin, Greek and Hebrew types and his service to humanistic studies," and also "trying to excuse the lack of elegance in the author's style" (Contemporaries of Erasmus, I, p.61; III, p.7); this is followed by a preface by Johann Reuchlin.
Our exemplar is complete, wide-margined and attractively bound in fine Renaissance blindstamped pigskin over (partially restored) wooden boards, and carries a charming ownership inscription dated 1543 from the medieval Altomünster Abbey (Kloster Altomünster) in Bavaria, Germany, as well as some very curious 16th-century marginalia (see the Provenance section below).
The title page is embellished with the fine large woodcut coat-of-arms of Johann Nauclerus depicting a cleric at the helm of a boat; a black man at the prow, another at the top of the mast; and yet another holding two paddles.
"This beautiful folio volume is a masterpiece of Tübingen's book production of the period, and known as the "great book of Tübingen." It contains the first extensive history of Swabia and is considered the first scientific and critical historical work published in Germany. It was written at the instigation of Emperor Maximilian and seen through the press by Melanchthon. It starts with a letter by Erasmus to the printer (Allen II, 221), followed by a letter by Reuchlin.
The [chronicle] mentions the Portuguese discoveries in the East Indies, and contains on leaf 304 recto, under the year 1495, a curious and very early reference to Syphilis ("Scabies Elephantiae"). On the authority of seacaptains of the period, this disease has always been regarded as of West Indian origin. This reference has escaped the attention of all bibliographers of Americana (see, however, Proksch, Venerische Krankheiten, I, p. 230)." (Lathrop Harper Catalogue, Issue 195, no.172)
First chancellor of the University of Tübingen, educator and confidant of count Eberhard im Bart of Württemberg, Johannes Nauclerus wrote this work In the 1490s, on the suggestion, as noted above, of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor; the book, however, remained unpublished until 1516, six years after the author's death. The Memorabilium omnis aetatis, in two volumes, chronicles the world history from the time of Adam to the year 1500. This work does not follow the traditional temporal divisions of "ages" (aetates) and "realms" (regna), but uses a chronological order based on generations.
The chronicle begins with an account of Biblical events, such as the building of the Tower of Babel, presented in parallel with events from ancient Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian etc. history mixed with mythology.
Nauclerus includes the story of Merlin and King Arthur and his knights, incorporated in the fabric of the British history (probably derived from Geoffrey of Monmouth) offering the view that Merlin was born of his mother's intercourse with an incubus ("Merlinus ab incubo daemone conceptus" - fol. 64r of Part II of our edition).
A detailed account of the Crusades is given. The final part of Nauclerus' chronicle presents very valuable contemporary accounts of important events of the European history during the Renaissance period, including an important report of the burning of Girolamo Savonarola in Florence (1498).
Nauclerus consulted an unusually large number of different sources (such as Otto of Freising, Burchard of Ursperg, Eilmer of Malmesbury, et al.), indicating that he was already committed to the new spirit of humanism. Some of the sources he consulted no longer exist and their contents are only known through Nauclerus' work, making it particularly valuable.
Nauclerus has been seen by some as "the most striking expositor of Germanic racism [...] Nauclerus sees the German nation as the aboriginal and dominant stock of Europe, the conquerors, whose blood and vigour was infused into the English, French and Italian nations during the Völkerwanderungen of the early Christian era." (A. G. Dickens, Reformation Studies, p.496).
While hardly a "Germanic racist", Nauclerus in his Chronicle does put a considerable emphasis on the German/Germanic history, traditions and national character. His native Swabia receives special attention. Nauclerus/Vergenhans "incorporates into his book a laudatory text, which can be called a 'speach,' twelve folio pages in length, on Suevia and the Swabians. He begins with the lament on the infamous death of Konradin, then describes the contemporary territory and borders of the Swabian nation, characterizes the main rivers, landscapes and cities geographically, economically and in terms of their rulers. He analyzes the social structure of the imperial cities in particular, and discuses new and traditional forms of jurisdiction. Here he criticizes the fact that the traditional courts are increasingly being superseded by the courts of learned judges, and by application of Roman law; in the same way he criticizes sharply the lack of education in the families of the gentry living in their castles all over the land. Thus his praise for the Swabians and their land is paralleled by his criticism; the basis for both is the myth of Suevia, which inspires him with love of his home country and with the patriotism of someone who wants to restore the cultural, if not the political, greatness of Suevia." (Ulrich Gaier, National Myths in Anthropological Perspective, in German Literature, History and the Nation, ed. by Ch. Emden, and D. Midgley, p.60)
Johannes Nauclerus (aka Naukler) (ca. 1425-1510) was a 16th century German historian and humanist. He was born Johann Vergenhans to a noble Swabian family. As was the fashion of the time, the family's name had been Latinized, to Nauclerus, i.e. "skipper," being a close translation of Vergenhans, meaning "ferryman." The family's coat of arms depicted a man on a sailing ship.
Nauclerus became a doctor of law in 1450 and supervisor to Count Eberhard V of Württemberg. In 1460, he was head of the church in Stuttgart. He spent some time in Rome, and had contact with Pope Pius II. From 1464 to 1465 he taught at the University of Basel.
In 1477 he became the first rector of the University of Tübingen and subsequently its second chancellor.
VD 16, N 167. Adams N 76. Steiff 84. Benzing, Reuchlin 146.Thompson I, 426. Steiff, Buchdruck in Tübingen, 84. Proctor 11743. Potthast 806.
Two parts in one volume. Thick Royal folio; textblock measures 37 cm x 25½ cm. Early 16th-century South German half pigskin over thick wooden boards (partially renewed), blindstamped with roundel and diamond-shaped tools including a stag, a double-headed eagle and a rosette; and with acorn tools as corner-pieces. Spine also with blind-stamped decorations and with four prominent bands raised over double cords.
Foliation: (8), 191, (1 blank); (14), 317 leaves (numbered in roman numerals), forming the total of 1062 pages.
Signatures: π8 a-z6 aa-ii6 (ii6 blank present); [*]8 [**]6 A-N6 O8 P-Z6 AA-ZZ6 Aa-Ee6 Ff4, Gg6 [-Gg6 blank].
Collated and COMPLETE (without the final blank, but internal blank ii6 present).
Title page with a large woodcut representing author's coat of arms.
Leaf Gg5 with colophon and woodcut white on black printer's device (with Anshelm's monogram in a circle and a banner with Hebrew letters) on recto and a register on verso.
Separate title page to the second part with letterpress elegantly arranged in the shape of a chalice.
Opening initial "C" on leaf a3 supplied in contemporary hand in black ink.
Printed in large Roman type, in single colum; running titles in large gothic type. Capital spaces (unrubricated) with guide letters.
Preliminaries to the 1st part include Erasmus' epistle to the printer on verso of the title; Reuchlin's Preface on π2r - π3r and the Indexes on π3v - π8r (π8v blank).
Nicolaus Baselius' prefatory epistle to the reader on verso of the divisional title followed by extensive indexes.
Altomünster Abbey (Kloster Altomünster) in Bavaria, Germany, with their ownership inscription dated 1545 on an early endsheet, preserved and mounted on the renewed front pastedown.
(Originally a small monastery was founded here in about 750 by (and named after) Saint Alto, a wandering monk. Sometime before 1000 the Welfs enlarged it and made it into a Benedictine abbey. Welf I, Duke of Bavaria resettled the monks in 1056 to the newly founded Weingarten Abbey in Altdorf, while the nuns formerly resident at Altdorf moved to Altomünster, where they lived until the monastery was dissolved in 1488 by Pope Innocent VIII. In 1496 by grant of Duke George the Rich the Bridgettines of Maihingen were permitted to establish a Bridgettine monastery at Altomünster. It was dissolved in 1803 during the secularisation of Bavaria, but was later revived, and is now the last Bridgettine monastery in Germany.)
Occasional curious marginalia in at least two different 16th-century monastic hands, with many interesting notes on the book's comtent.
For example on Fol. 65 (recto) of Volume I the marginal note calls the story of the Trojan Horse a poetical fiction ("figmentum poeticum").
On Fol. 131 (verso) of Volume II next to the story of "Pope Joan" the marginal note, in a rather angry tone, calls the story "false and heretical fiction" on the authority of Georg Scherer (1540-1605) who proved it by solid arguments ("firmis rationibus probat").
Many of the marginal notes concern the events of German ecclesiastical history.
Very Good antiquarian condition. The rear and outer portions of the front wooden board renewed. Leather rubbed and with a few tiny wormholes, but still fairly fresh and supple with blindstamping fairly clear; minor loss at the junction of leather and wood on front cover. First title-page with some marginal dust-soiling, and with discrete reinforcement at gutter. Somewhat heavier soiling to verso of the final leaf (register). The final quire with some marginal repairs (somewhat more extensive on the last leaf Gg5 but without any loss of text. Some scattered marginalia in neat 16th-century hands; name of Erasmus on verso of title crossed, but visible.
Light marginal worming to some leaves and a few small wormholes within the printed area in the beginning of the volume, gradually diminishing and disappearing completely in Vol. 2, with the holes being quite small, resulting in no loss of legibility. Pastedowns renewed, with a large portion of original endsheet (with a fine 16th-century monastic possession note) retained and laid down on front pastedown. In all, a pleasing, wide-margined example of this beautiful and rare first edition, clean, solid and in attractive Renaissance half-pigskin binding.
Please click on thumbnails below to see larger images.
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