An incunable leaf from the Latin edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle with woodcuts of Tivoli, heretics, bishops, physician, philosopher.
Recto: Text in Antiqua Rotunda typeface printed by letterpress on laid & watermarked rag paper. Below the text is a full width (200x225 mm.) woodcut of the city of Tiburtina, Italy, now called Tivoli, and a woodcut of Secundus, an Athenian philosopher.
Verso: Text and nine woodcuts - the physician Galienus (examining a specimen of urine), bishops, heretics, the philosopher Justinus and the scholar Aquila.
Printer: Anton Koberger, Nuremberg.
Content: The leaf is from The Sixth Age of the Chronicle. A section of the text on Recto begins: Secundus, an Athenian philosopher, was held in honour at this time. He led a Pythagorean life, being always silent. The reason of his silence was this: Once upon a time he indecently proposed intercourse to his own mother, and not knowing him to be her own son, she consented. When she learned that he was her own son, she died of shame. When Secundus noted this, he set himself a penance, never to talk to anyone again.
Tiburtina, a city of the Latin district, to this day still called ancient Tibur, was at this time (as Aelius (Helius) Spartianus the historian states) built up on a wonderful scale through the Emperor Hadrian, rising from a village to a city. It lies 16,000 paces from Rome on the River Anio, in a low, uneven region.
Condition: This leaf is in very good/excellent condition with sharp impressions of the woodcuts and text. Full margins.
The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.
Size: Leaf c.465x320 mm. Text & woodcut area: c.370x225 mm. Archivally mounted, ready to frame.
Notes: Author: Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514)
Woodcut illustrators: Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (with the assistance of their studio apprentices, including the young Albrecht Dürer).
Publisher and printer: Anton Koberger, 1493, Nuremberg
One of the most famous early illustrated books, this ambitious text chronicles the history of the world, from the Creation to 1493. It is considered to be the first book to successfully integrate illustrations and text. The contents are divided into seven ages:
First age: from Creation to the Deluge
Second age: up to the birth of Abraham
Third age: up to King David
Fourth age: up to the Babylonian captivity
Fifth age: up to the birth of Jesus Christ
Sixth age: up to the present time (i.e. 1493)
Seventh age: outlook on the end of the world and the Last Judgement.
This monumental work is more than simply a fine example of the skills of early printers and illustrators, it also reflects the spirit of its time. While on the one hand it demonstrates the influence of Renaissance humanism, it also shows a society in the process of transformation from medieval to modern and from a scribal culture to a print culture.
The Chronicle was originally published in Latin in 1493, and a German edition followed later that year. The Latin edition was printed using a typeface known as Antiqua Rotunda, while the German employed Bastarda Schwabacher.
Scholars estimate that approximately 1400-1500 Latin copies and 700-1000 German ones were printed.
References: Goff S307, ISTC No. is00307000 Incunabula Short Title Catalogue, British Library.
Item No. PSE102