Friday, March 30, 2012

1570-80 and other year-list prophecies

The unnamed prophecy for 1570-80 that I mentioned here and here is interesting for its wide and durable circulation (here's a facsimile of a version printed in 1620), but it should probably be seen as just one instance of a particular type of prophecy. Other prophecies also take the format of a list of events associated with a succession of years.

The clearest example I know in print is the prognostication of "Theobertus von England" (ISTC it00142500), with predictions for 1470-78. Robert Lerner (Power of Prophecy 6 n. 10) mentions Latin versions of what appears to be the same prophecy in Latin, beginning Anno lxxo erunt tempora frigida... This prophecy for the years 1470-78 appears in three Munich manuscripts, cgm 754, clm 3586 (in German, according to the catalog), and clm 18770. Karin Schneider's manuscript catalog gives the years for the cgm 754 version as 1370-78, and it's not clear if the author "Theobertus Anglicus" is found in the manuscript. The Latin incipit in cgm 754 is similar to the ending of the first sentence of the German text (ouch wirt ein kaltes weter und schedlich uber den Sumer), but the correspondence of first to last parts of a sentence suggests that the text has undergone some modification. None of the manuscripts have been digitized yet, but someone should check the German broadside text against them.

The prognostications for particular years are different from those found in the 1570-80 prophecy, which makes the year-list prophecies for 1470-78 and 1570-80 an interesting case where one prophecy borrows the structure from another, but not the content. The influence of "Theobertus von England" lies not just in how it brought certain predictions into circulation, but also in how it served as a template for other prognostications.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Johannes Capistrano

While updating my database of printed German prophecies and prognostications up to 1620, I came across several works that experienced bursts of popularity, the latest of which was the prophecy of Johannes Capistrano that went through over a dozen editions soon after 1619. This prophecy, attributed to the well-known fifteenth-century preacher, is one of several prophetic works that appeared at the outbreak of the Thirty Years War. Complicating the picture is that some editions of the same prophecy are anonymous or attributed to someone else, while other works attributed to Capistrano appear to be different prophecies. How these works all relate to each other, let alone to the historical Capistrano, does not appear to have been worked out yet. I find only brief mentions of these booklets in Leppin's Antichrist und jüngster Tag and in Barnes's Prophecy and Gnosis. One possible place to start looking: Ottokar Bonmann, “Zum Prophetismus des Johannes Kapistran, 1386-1456,” Archiv Für Kulturgeschichte 44 (1962): 193–98.

Here is my initial attempt to sort out the seventeenth-century editions.

A. Woldenckwürdige Weissagung unnd Propheceyung von den jetzigen Läufften / und sonderlich von dem noch instehenten 1619. Und nachfolgenden 1620. 1621. 1622. 1623. Jahren.

An extract from a longer work? Note the beginning of the text: "Aus Capistrani Propheceyung ist ins Gemein zu mercken..."
  1. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 1:623600X
  2. Breslau, n.p., 1619. VD17 1:063418D
  3. N.p., n.p., 1619.VD17 3:312297Y
  4. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 14:002792C
  5. N.p., n.p., 1619.VD17 23:254248T
  6. Frankfurt am Main, n.p., 1619. VD17 23:657415H
  7. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 39:124824V
  8. N.p., n.p., 1620. VD17 39:125809Z
B. Prognosticon, Das ist / Weissagung Auff das Jahr / nach der Geburt unsers Herrn und Seligmachers Jesu Christi / MDCXIX...

The prophecy also appear anonymously in four editions.

  1. N.p., n.p., 1619. VD17 14:002803G
  2. N.p., n.p., 1619.VD17 23:238261P
  3. Prague, n.p., 1620. VD17 3:608064Z
  4. Prague, Carol Schwing, 1620. VD17 23:266472Q

C. Prognosticon, Daß ist: Weissagung Darinnen Vom Zustand der Christenheit...In eines alten gelehrten Mannes Andreas Perlachius genant / von Wien seiner Bibliothek gefunden worden

Attributed not to Capistrano, but to the Viennese astrologer Andreas Perlach. Considering that Perlach had once accused Johann Carion of resorting to necromancy rather than the honorable art of astrology, the publication of this pamphlet probably saw Perlach rolling over in his grave.

  1. N.p., n.p., 1631. VD17 3:021230Y

D. Prognosticon. Das ist. Woldenckwürdige weissagung oder Prophezeigung von den jetzigen und letzten laufften der Welt und der betrübten Jahren Erstlich / 1620. Und nach folgenden 1621. 1622. 1623. 1624. 1625. Jahren...

This may be the longer work from which the previous ones provide an extract. The preface to the reader in the digitized Schlüsselseiten is in any case more extensive, and the following material is similar but not identical.

  1. Breslau: Georg Baumann, 1621. VD17 23:291795E

E. Capistrani Prophezey / Vom Zustand des Römischen Reichs. Seit der Offenbahrung deß Heiligen Evangelii

This appears to be a much different work. The first edition below includes a Latin text and a woodcut image of papal oppression. This text claims an origin in 1460 and a rediscovery in 1547. Despite the similar place, printer, and date, the two Baumann editions appear to be different texts, and I'm not confident that the second is actually Baumann's.

  1. N.p., n.p., 1621. VD17 14:003063G
  2. Breslau: Georg Baumann, 1622. VD17 39:148285H
  3. N.p., n.p.,1663. VD17 23:258724U

Friday, March 16, 2012

Separated at birth II

As I've been checking the works of practica authors in VD16/17, I've come across a few more authors that appear to be the same person recorded under different names, just like Nikolaus Weise/Wyse, Lukas von Köln/Cöllen, and Werner/Berner Hartmann. New candidates for having one entry too many in the Personennamendatei include the following.

Unless there were two student astrologers in Ansbach in the late sixteenth century whose names differed by only one letter, a misprinted title page appears to have led to a dual entry:
  • Georg Kaeslinus - PND 129822523. Author of VD16 K 9 (Practica Auff das 1596. Jahr ... Gestellet durch Georgium Kaeslinum Onolsbacheneium studiosum Philosophiae et Mathematicae). Frankfurt/Main: Johann Kollitz, 1596.
  • Georg Kreslin - PND 120811375. Seventeen entries in VD16/17, including VD16 ZV 18224 (Bergk Practica oder Prognosticon ... Durch Georgium Kreslinum Onolspachensem, Studiosum Astronomiae). Nürnberg: Valentin Fuhrmann, 1597.

Treating umlauted vowels differently, and the VD16/17 divide, lead to another pair:

  • Sebastian Köstner - PND 119735253. Author of VD16 ZV 22595 (Prognosticon astrologicum ... durch Sebastian Köstner von Waldenfels inn Francken). Nürnberg: Valentin Fuhrmann, 1599.
  • Sebastian Koestner - PND PND 124834248. Author of VD17 23:287276V (Prognosticon Astrologicum ... Durch Sebastian Cöstner von Waldenfels inn Francken). Nürnberg: Fuhrman, [1604].

Even Strasbourg isn't big enough for two astrologers named Onuphrius. Yet another VD16/17 pair:

  • Onuphrius Callus - PND 119635410. Two entries in VD16, including VD16 ZV 22587 (Prognosticum astrologicum ... durch M. Onofrium Callum Theologastrosophum). Straßburg: Anton Bertram, 1599.
  • Onofrius Callus - PND 120774364. Author of VD17 3:655331B (Prognosticum Astrologicum ... durch M. Onofrium Callum, Argentinensem). Straßburg : Bertram, [1607].

Umlauts and the VD16/17 divide team up to create three astrologers named Josias Müller active in Parchim in Mecklenburg in the late sixteenth/early seventeenth centuries:

  • Müller, Josias - PND 119763966. Two entries in VD16, including VD16 ZV 22590 (Practica ... Durch D. Iosiam Mullerum Astronomum et Medicum zu Pergim / im Fürstenstenthumb Mechelburg residerende). Nürnberg: Alexander Philipp Dietrich, Johann Lauer, 1598.
  • Mueller, Josias - PND 119768852. Author of VD16 ZV 22598 (Practica ... D. Iosiam Mullerum Astronomum et medicum zu Pergim / in Fürstenstenthumb Melchelnburg residerende). Nürnberg: Abraham Wagenmann, Johann Lauer, 1600.
  • Müller, Josias - PND 12925035X. Two entries in VD17, including VD17 12:651957A (Practica ... Durch D Iosiam Mullerum Astronomum et Medicum zu Pergim). Nürnberg : Lauer, Wagenmann, [1605].

And, finally, Paul and Paulus Engricensis, both astrologers from Gräfenhainichen:

  • Paul Engricensis - PND 119663627. Three entries in VD16, including VD16 ZV 5042 (Prognosticon ... Durch Paulum Engricensem, Vom Gräffenhänichen /Astronomum). Eisleben: Urban Gaubisch, 1597.
  • Paulus Engricensis - PND 12034467X. Author of VD17 12:640731Y (Prognosticon ... Durch Paulum Engricensem vom Gräffenhenichen/ Astronomum). Eisleben: Hörnigk, [1601].

Friday, March 9, 2012

From Avignon, to Antwerp, to Nuremberg and Strasbourg and Basel: The strange paths of the prophecies of Wilhelm Friess

I mentioned not long ago that the first prophecy of Wilhelm Friess, with most of its many editions printed in 1558, was in fact an abridgment and reworking of Johannes de Rupescissa's Vademecum of 1356. Now I've found language I had thought was specific to Friess in a later vernacular manuscript of the Vademecum, which plugs Friess even more directly into the reception of Rupescissa.

Now that I have a better understanding of the first and second prophecies of Wilhelm Friess, I think the most significant questions regarding these prophecies, the most popular German prophetic pamphlets of the second half of the sixteenth century, are as follows:

  1. Where does the first prophecy come from (answer: Rupescissa, with an important stop in Antwerp), and how are the four different versions of the first prophecy related?
  2. What was the context for its transmission, and why did the prophecy achieve such popularity in Nuremberg in 1558?
  3. How are the first and second prophecies of Wilhelm Friess related?
  4. How are the three redactions of the second prophecy related, and what was the historical context for their origin? Who wrote them, and where, and when, and what did the nightmare vision of the second prophecy mean in context?
  5. And what does this tell us about printed prophecies in early modern Germany?

I think I have answers to all these questions at this point, and the answers turn out to be fairly interesting, although not at all what I expected when I first started working on what I thought would be a neat little follow-up article to Printing and Prophecy back in 2010.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A comparison of comets

Recently I've been working on extending my examination of practicas (annual astrological prognostications) into the decades beyond what I examined in Printing and Prophecy, or beyond 1550. While I've been looking at later decades, I've noticed that comet booklets turn up intermittently, as do comets, but also that the response can vary wildly. Some comets generate a few editions, while others are the occasion for dozens. The comet of 1618-19, which appeared just as central Europe was sliding into the Thirty Years War, appears to have seen a typographic panic attack of unprecedented proportion. By searching VD16/17 for "comet*" for years that I already knew had 7 or more comet editions, I came up with the following graph:

1531 was Halley's comet, followed in quick succession by the appearance of two other comets in the following years. The comet of 1577 was particularly visible, although it would be worth investigating what about its historical context made comet prognostications such a hot commodity. And the comet of late 1618 is in a class by itself. This graph hardly even counts as preliminary work, of course, but it might point the way to some interesting projects.