By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: An Essay on Colophons - With Specimens and Translations
Author: Pollard, Alfred W. (Alfred William)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Essay on Colophons - With Specimens and Translations" ***

produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)

Transcriber’s Note:

The following presumed errors have been corrected in the text.

Page 107, “1457” changed to “1497” (printed by Geoffroy de Marnef in 1497)

Page 154, “precedette” changed to “procedette” (non diligente impressore

Page 162, “rari” changed to “rara” (Cum quondam fuerit copia rara tui.)

Footnote 4, “nome” changed to “nomen” (Enee Siluio nomen erat) and
“incolaru” changed to “incolam” (de Lubeck Colonie incolam)

Index entry for Indictions, page reference “70” changed to “170”

The Publication Committee of the Caxton Club certifies that this copy of
“An Essay on Colophons” is one of an edition consisting of two hundred
and fifty-two copies on French hand-made paper and three copies on
imperial Japanese paper, printed from type, and completed in the month of
August, nineteen hundred and five.


                           ESSAY ON COLOPHONS

                             WITH SPECIMENS
                            AND TRANSLATIONS

                            ALFRED W. POLLARD

                         AND AN INTRODUCTION BY
                             RICHARD GARNETT


                             THE CAXTON CLUB

                           Copyright, 1905, by
                             THE CAXTON CLUB



        INTRODUCTION                                                    ix

     I. THE COLOPHON’S REASON FOR EXISTENCE                              3

          Homer. Florence: [B. Libri,] 1488                              5

          Breslau Missal. Mainz: P. Schoeffer, 1483                      8

    II. COLOPHONS AT MAINZ                                               9

          Latin Bible. Mainz: Fust and Schoeffer, 1462                  10

          Cicero. De Officiis. Mainz: Fust and Schoeffer, 1465          18

          S. Jerome’s Epistles. Mainz: P. Schoeffer, 1470               20

          Tritheim. Chronicarum opus. Mainz: Joh. Schoeffer, 1515       27

   III. COLOPHONS AT VENICE                                             30

          Cicero. Epistolae ad Familiares. Venice: John of Speier,
            1469                                                        32

          Cicero. Epistolae ad Familiares. Second Edition. Venice:
            John of Speier, 1469                                        33

          Pliny. Historia Naturalis. Venice: John of Speier, 1469       35

          Dante. Divina Commedia. Venice: Wendelin of Speier, 1476      40

          Cicero. Rhetorica. Venice: N. Jenson, 1470                    42

          Decor Puellarum. Venice: N. Jenson, 1461 for 1471             45

          Cicero. De Oratore. Venice: C. Valdarfer, 1470                49

          Cicero. Orationes. Venice: C. Valdarfer, 1471                 50

          Caracciolus. Quadragesimale (and several other books).
            Venice: Bartolommeo of Cremona, 1472                        52

    IV. PRINTERS’ COLOPHONS IN OTHER TOWNS                              57

          Meissen Missal. Freiberg: C. Kachelofen, 1495                 66

          Bononia illustrata. Bologna: Plato de Benedictis, 1494        73

          Guido de Baysio. Super Decretis. Venice: John of Cologne
            and Nicolas Jenson, 1481                                    78

          Boniface VIII. Decretals. Basel: M. Wenssler, 1477            82

          Fasciculus Temporum. Louvain: Veldener, 1476                  84

          Ioh. Faber. Breuiarium super codice. Louvain: John of
            Westphalia, c 1475                                          84

          S. Cyprian. Epistulae. Rome: Sweynheym and Pannartz,
            1471 (and in many other of their books)                     87

          Cicero. Orationes Philippicae. Rome: Ulrich Han [1470]
            (and in several other of Han’s books)                       88

     V. PUBLISHERS’ COLOPHONS                                           91

          Latin Bible. Vicenza: Leonardus Achates, 1476                 94

          Laurentius Valla. Elegantiae. Rome: Arnold Pannartz, 1475     96

          Gasparo Visconti. Rithmi. Milan: Ant. Zarotus, 1493          103

          Journal Spirituel. Paris: Vérard, 1505                       105

          Statius. Achilleis. Parma: Steph. Corallus, 1473             109

          Franciscus Curtius. Consilia. Milan: U. Scinzenzeler, 1496   116

    VI. COLOPHONS OF AUTHORS AND EDITORS                               123

          Georgius Natta. Repetitiones. Pavia: C. de Canibus, 1492     126

          Henricus Bruno. Super Institutionibus. Louvain: Aeg. van
            der Heerstraten [1488?]                                    128

          Petrus de Ancharano. Repetitio. Bologna: Jo. Jac. de
            Benedictis for Benedictus Hectoris, 1493                   141

          Roman Missal. Venice: G. Arriuabenus and P. de Paganinis,
            1484                                                       147

          Cicero. Epistolae Familiares. Milan: Lauagna, 1472           150

          Homiliae. Basel: N. Kessler, 1498                            155

   VII. REPETITIONS, THEFTS, AND ADAPTATIONS                           159

  VIII. DATES IN COLOPHONS                                             170

        INDEXES                                                        185



Leaving the Colophon in its bibliographical aspects to the able hand by
which these are about to be treated, it may not be amiss to preface Mr.
Pollard’s researches by a brief inquiry into the origin and significance
of the term itself, and the reason why the colophon for so long performed
the office of the title-page.

_Colophon_ originally meant the head or summit of anything. It is
clearly cognate with κορυφή, but is a word of far less importance, for
while thirteen derivatives from κορυφή are given in Liddell and Scott’s
Dictionary, κολοφών has not one. The former word is continually used by
Homer; the latter is first met with in Plato, and then and afterwards
only in a figurative sense. Yet it is clear that the word must from the
first have borne the signification of “summit” or “crest,” for such is
the position of the city of Colophon, which must have derived its name
from its elevation, just as a modern house may be called “Hilltop.” Names
of this kind, if not given at the first, are rarely given at all; we must
suppose, then, that _colophon_ was a recognized Greek word for “summit”
when the city was founded about the tenth century B.C., according to
Strabo by a Pylian colony, though this seems difficult to reconcile with
the fact of Colophon being an Ionian city. In any case, the word has long
survived the place.

According to the information supplied by the New English Dictionary,
_colophon_ made a brief appearance in English, in the first half of the
seventeenth century, in its secondary classical sense of a “finishing
stroke” or “crowning touch,” being used thus in Burton’s “Anatomy of
Melancholy,” and again in 1635 by John Swan, who writes in his “Speculum
Mundi” of how God “comes to the Creation of Man and makes him the
colophon or conclusion of all things else.” Of the use of the word
_colophon_ in the particular significance elucidated in this essay—the
end or ultimate paragraph of a book or manuscript—the earliest example
quoted in the New English Dictionary is from Warton’s “History of English
Poetry,” published in 1774. A quarter of a century before this it is
found as a term needing no explanation in the first edition of the
“Typographical Antiquities” of Joseph Ames, published in 1749. How much
older it is than this cannot lightly be determined. The bibliographical
use appears to be unknown to the Greek and Latin lexicographers, medieval
as well as classical. Pending further investigation, it seems not
unlikely that it may have been developed out of the secondary classical
sense already mentioned sometime during the seventeenth century, when
the interest in bibliography which was then beginning to be felt
would naturally call into existence new terms of art. The Latin word
_subscriptio_, which is used in a not very dissimilar sense, could
hardly have been modernized without ambiguity. The Greek κορωνις, used
for a flourish at the end of a manuscript, had not entered into any
modern language. It is possible that it was thus only at a comparatively
late date that a need was felt for a special word to denote the final
paragraph of a book, and that the metaphorical use of _colophon_ for a
“finishing touch” caused it to be specialized in this sense. But whenever
this use of the word _colophon_ may have arisen, it is manifest that
if this paragraph is to convey any description of the book, it fulfils
the office of a title-page; and when we examine the manner in which
_colophon_ came to bear this special connotation, we shall see that the
printer’s colophon could not, except for a very short period while men’s
ideas were still indefinite, have coexisted with the title-page.

The idea especially implied in the Greek proverbial phrase “to put on the
colophon” is that of putting the finishing stroke to anything, as when a
building is completed by the addition of the coping-stone, or a discourse
is summed up by a recapitulation of its general gist. Is the word simply
used in the sense of a crowning peak? or has it a special connection
with the city of Colophon? Ancient writers assert the latter, and assign
two reasons, one of which at least seems fanciful. Strabo says that
the allusion is to the decisive charges of the Colophonian cavalry,
which were made at the last moment. There seems no other indication of
Colophon having possessed a high military reputation. The Scholiast on
the “Theaetetus” of Plato gives a more probable derivation; he says that,
on account of their having received the Smyrnaeans into their city,
the people of Colophon were allowed a casting-vote in the Panionium,
or congress of the twelve Ionian cities, and hence the expression was
equivalent to “turn the scale.” There would be nothing unreasonable in
this supposition if we were sure that the Colophonians actually had this
casting-vote; but the notion may well have been invented to explain
the proverb; and, after all, if κολοφών has the sense of “crest,” no
historical explanation seems necessary.

We have, however, solely to consider here the application of the term
_colophon_ to books, and must ask, What portion of a book would embody
that final touch which we have seen to be essential to the idea of
a colophon? In modern times we should probably say the imprint, for
although the printer’s name, as well as the publisher’s, may be given
at the bottom or on the reverse of the title-page, it is more usual to
find it at the end. The ancient colophon also gave this information, but
it commonly gave much more. To understand the part it played in early
printing, we must go back to its predecessor, the manuscript.

Manuscripts, as the parents of printed books, have necessarily exercised
the greatest influence on their development. A step which might have
been very important was taken when, probably early in the fifth century,
the form most convenient for the printed book was established by the
definitive supersession of the roll form of manuscript by the _codex_, or
manuscript in modern book form. Codices are of sufficient antiquity to be
figured in the paintings at Pompeii, but the derivation from _caudices_,
thin leaves of wood, shows that they were not at first much used for
literary purposes, but rather for accounts or memoranda. When they began
to compete with the roll, a step in the direction of convenience which
may be appreciated by us if we can imagine that all our books had at
one time been printed in newspaper form, we find the colophon already
installed under the title of _index_. This did not denote the key to
the contents of a book, thought so indispensable in modern times, but
to the title, giving generally the subject and author of the book with
the utmost brevity, and written at the end, precisely like a colophon,
which in fact it was, though not bearing the name. As the papyrus roll
was not bound, there could be no lettering upon a cover unless when, as
was sometimes the case, a fine manuscript was inclosed within a case or
wrappage for its protection; and the inconvenience of having to open
every roll to find the title soon suggested the idea of hanging the index
outside the roll on a separate slip, brightly dyed so as to attract
attention. Examples may be seen in paintings from Pompeii. The general,
though as yet by no means universal, displacement of papyrus by parchment
led to the introduction of binding, early in the fifth century, as the
best method of preserving codices. It had, of course, been practised
before, but could not make much progress while the majority of books were
papyrus scrolls; and even in the case of codices it seems to have been
chiefly employed for the opportunity it afforded of adorning a valued
manuscript with a splendid exterior. The disuse of the roll, however,
soon made binding universal. In the Customs of the Augustinian priory at
Barnwell it is distinctly laid down: “As the books ought to be mended,
printed, and taken care of by the Librarian, so ought they to be properly
bound by him.”

The question of binding, as it concerns the colophon, is chiefly
interesting from the point it raises whether the colophon, representing
as it certainly did the title-page, was the sole clue to the contents of
a manuscript, or whether the binding was lettered by a label affixed,
or by the author’s name being written on it. The books represented in
the picture of “Ezra Writing the Law,” the frontispiece to the Codex
Amiatinus, reproduced in Mr. Clark’s work on “The Care of Books,” show no
signs of lettering; and centuries later, in the Augustinian Customs, we
find the librarian enjoined not to pack the books too closely together,
“_ne nimia compressio querenti moram invectat_.” Delay, therefore, in
finding a book on the shelf was recognized as an evil to be guarded
against: it is scarcely likely that this would have been so manifest if
the books had been distinctly lettered, or that the librarian would not
have been enjoined to supply lettering if lettering had been the practice.

It would seem, then, that the colophon of a manuscript would be the
principal means of affording information respecting its contents; but,
if we may so far extend the signification of the term as to cover any
addition made at the end by the transcriber, and having no reference
to the subject-matter of the book, it was capable of conveying much
beside. How touchingly the feelings of the copyist, “all with weary task
fordone,” craving to be assured that he has not labored in vain, are
portrayed in this final note to a volume written in the ninth century!

    I beseech you, my friend, when you are reading my book, to keep
    your hands behind its back, for fear you should do mischief to
    the text by some sudden movement, for a man who knows nothing
    about writing thinks that it is no concern of his.[1] Whereas
    to a writer the last line is as sweet as the port is to a
    sailor. Three fingers hold the pen, but the whole body toils.
    Thanks be to God, I, Warembert, wrote this book in God’s name.
    Thanks be to God. Amen.

Very moving, too, is the injunction of some tender spirit in a manuscript
of the fourteenth century:

    Whoever pursues his studies in this book, should be careful to
    handle the leaves gently and delicately, so as to avoid tearing
    them by reason of their thinness; and let him imitate the
    example of Jesus Christ, who, when he had quietly opened the
    book of Isaiah and read therein attentively, rolled it up with
    reverence, and gave it again to the Minister.

On the other hand, manuscripts frequently contain anathemas against the
pernicious race of book thieves, which can hardly be deemed uncalled
for when we remember the frank admission innocently volunteered by a
Sicilian knight, in a ballad translated by Rossetti, that he had stolen
his Bible out of a church, “the priest being gone away.” Sometimes
additional force is sought to be given to these imprecations by the
assertion that the book is to be regarded as the personal property of the
patron saint of the church or monastery—St. Alban, for example.

We have dwelt at some length upon the question of colophons, or
inscriptions corresponding to colophons, in manuscripts, as these have
been little investigated, and form the groundwork of the more important
inquiry concerning the development of the colophon in the printed book,
which is the subject of Mr. Pollard’s essay. It would be interesting to
collect from medieval manuscripts and bring together in one corpus the
ejaculations of medieval scribes, whether minatory, hortatory, or simply
expressive of gratitude or relief at the termination of their irksome
labors. How far this latter sentiment may have been qualified by the
artist’s pleasure in his calligraphy must be matter of conjecture. If he
was illuminator as well as transcriber, he must frequently have had ample
ground for complacency. It would be a proof how little the conception of
painting as an art independent of every other was developed if we could
suppose the illustrator of a fourteenth-century Dante, for example,
whose talent would in this age have made his fortune as a painter of
pictures, condescending to the humble labors of a copyist, exquisite as
his calligraphy might be. Yet the craft of the illuminator was destined
to be absolutely obliterated by printing, while that of the transcriber
exercised an important influence on early printing, as evinced by the
care which the first printers took to adapt their types to the forms of
letters prevalent in the manuscripts of their respective countries.

The same adaptation is observable in the use of the colophon by the
early printers in the place of a title-page, when, as was not always the
case, they thought fit to give a title at all. To us this seems almost
incomprehensible. The immense advantage of a book bearing a title on its
front and manifesting its nature from the first is so apparent that our
practical age cannot comprehend how it could have been less obvious to
our predecessors than to ourselves. It further seems in accordance with
common sense and general usage in all similar matters that proclamation
should be made at the beginning and not at the end, at the entrance and
not at the exit, as the dedication of the temple is inscribed above the
portico. The neglect of this apparently self-evident rule is perhaps to
be explained by the influence of the “traditions of the scribes,” which
affected early printing in many ways. We have alluded to the manner in
which types were modelled upon the style of handwriting in use in the
respective countries, the beautifully clear Italian type contrasting
so markedly with the massive and imposing ruggedness of the Gothic. We
also see how the tradition of illumination long induced printers to
leave blank spaces for capital letters, especially at the beginnings
of chapters, to be filled in by the artist, and to employ the services
of a “rubricator” to preserve at least some phantom of the wealth of
color which the printing art was destroying as effectually as in our day
the photograph has killed the woodcut. The elegant border, also, was a
legacy from the manuscript to the printed book, and this, fortunately
lending itself to engraving, admitted of preservation. The service
rendered by printing to engraving, it may be parenthetically remarked,
is a great set-off against the injury it inflicted upon art in the
shape of pictorial illustration. All these circumstances indicate the
strong influence of the scribe upon the printer; and it is perhaps not
surprising that the latter should for some time have followed the example
of his predecessor, and given no title except occasionally the brief
heading which frequently precedes the first chapter of a manuscript.
This was never set out on a distinct leaf, an indispensable condition of
a title-page, until many years after printing had effectually dethroned
transcription as the method of the reproduction of books. The first
title-page did not appear until some twenty years after the invention of
printing. Title-pages became the rule about 1490, but it was not until
1493 that the announcement of the printer or publisher, hitherto buried
in the colophon, began to appear upon them.

This it is which gives the colophon such extraordinary importance in the
history of early printing. Wherever one exists, the question of place
and printer, and frequently the question of date, is entirely solved.
Where there is no colophon, we are left to conjecture. The problem is,
indeed, generally soluble by a really scientific investigation, but it
is only of late that science has been thoroughly brought to bear upon
it by a Bradshaw and a Proctor. It is no unimportant matter, for every
determination of the locality of an early book is a paragraph added
to the history of the culture of the country where it originated. The
beginnings of printing, as of other arts, were obscure, and we must be
most grateful for any information which has been afforded us by men
who assuredly no more thought of posterity than does any tradesman who
advertises his wares without reflecting that he too is contributing
something to the history of culture or of industry. The ancient printers
had no more notion than Shakspere had what interesting figures they would
appear in the eyes of posterity.

The colophon, however, does much more than reveal matters of fact. It
admits us in a measure into the intimacy of the old printer, shows us
what manner of man he was, and upon what he rested his claims to esteem
as a benefactor of the community. We find him very decided in asserting
his superiority to the copyist, a reaction, perhaps, against a feeling
entertained in some quarters that the new art was base and mechanical in
comparison with the transcriber’s, with which, in the estimation of the
devotee of calligraphy, it could only compare as a motor-car may compare
with an Arab steed. That such a feeling existed in highly cultivated
quarters we learn from the disdain for printing expressed by the eminent
scholar and educator Vespasiano da Bisticci, who had collected the
library of the Duke of Ferrara, and who looked upon the manuscripts he
had gathered with such joy and pride as an admiral of the old school
may have looked upon his lovely frigates in comparison with the ugly,
but undeniably more powerful, ironclad. Such printers as Jenson might
have replied that their typographical productions were hardly inferior
in beauty to the manuscript, but we are not aware that they ever took
this line. They rather lay stress upon a more tangible advantage—their
superior accuracy. They also affirm, and with truth, that their work
is easier to read. “As plain as print” is a proverb which has grown
up of itself. They might also have dwelt upon the various sorrows and
afflictions which copyists prepared for their employers, so graphically
described by Petrarch. Petrarch’s lamentation must have been a rare
enjoyment to the first printer who published it, if he understood it and
had professional feeling.

Much more might be said about the old printer as revealed by the
colophon—his trade jealousies, his disposition to monopolize, his
deference to patrons, his joy at having carried his work through the
press, his conviction that his labors have not been unattended by the
divine blessing. That inferior person, the author, too, occasionally
gets a good word, especially when his authorship assumes the form of
translation or commentary. But our business is mainly with the colophon
in its literary and bibliographical aspects, and it is time to make way
for Mr. Pollard, whose monograph upon it will, we believe, be found the
fullest, the most entertaining, and the most accurate extant.

                                                              R. GARNETT.





The interest of individual colophons in early printed books has often
been noted. The task which, under the kind auspices of the Caxton Club,
is here to be assayed is the more ambitious, if less entertaining, one
of making a special study of this feature in fifteenth-century books,
with the object of ascertaining what light it throws on the history
of printing and on the habits of the early printers and publishers.
If, instead of studying each colophon singly for the sake of the
information it may give us as to the book which it completes, or for
its own human interest,—if it chance to have any,—we compare the same
printer’s colophons in successive books, and the colophons of different
printers in successive editions; if we group those which have similar
characteristics, and glance also at the books which have no colophons at
all, or quite featureless ones, then if there is anything to be learnt
from colophons, we ought to be by way of learning it; and if there is
only very little to be learnt, that also is a fact to be noted.

The existence, incidentally referred to in our last paragraph, of
books which have no colophons, or colophons from which all positive
information is conspicuously absent, is a point which may well be
enlarged on. In Mr. Proctor’s “Index of Early Printed Books” the one
unsatisfactory feature is the absence of any distinguishing mark between
the books which themselves contain a statement of their printer’s name,
and those of which the printer was discovered by the comparison of
types, or ornaments, or other inferential evidence. Mr. Proctor used
humorously to excuse himself for this omission on the ground that he had
already used so many different symbols that if he had added one more
to their number the camel’s back would have broken. But the omission,
while occasionally vexatious to the student, is regrettable chiefly as
obscuring the greatness of Mr. Proctor’s own work. If all books gave
full particulars as to their printers and dates, there would have been
little need of Bradshaw’s “natural-history” method, or of Mr. Proctor’s
almost miraculous skill in applying it. It is the absence of colophons
in so many books that calls into play the power of identifying printers
by their types, and of dating books by the appearance of new “sorts,” or
the disuse of old ones. A single instance will suffice to illustrate the
secrets thus revealed. To Ludwig Hain, Bartolommeo di Libri of Florence
is the printer of four books. In Mr. Proctor’s Index he is credited
with no fewer than one hundred and twenty-six in the collections of the
British Museum and the Bodleian alone, among these being the famous first
edition of Homer and some of the finest Florentine illustrated books. He
is thus raised from obscurity to the front rank of Italian printers,
an example of a man who, though he did excellent work, hardly ever
troubled himself to take credit for it. In the face of such an instance
the partial nature of the information we can gather from colophons is at
once plain. And yet from this very absence of Libri’s name we glean some
really characteristic evidence. For, to begin with, the great Florentine
Homer is not without a colophon. On the contrary, it possesses this very
explicit one:

    [Illustration: Homer. Florence: [B. Libri,] 1488.]

    Ἡ τοῦ Ὁμήρου ποίησις ἅπασα ἐντυπωθεῖσα πέρας εἴληφεν ἢδη σὺν
    θεῷ ἐν Φλωρεντίᾳ, ἀναλώμασι μὲν τῶν εὐγενῶν καὶ ἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν,
    καὶ περὶ λόγους ἑλληνικοὺς σπουδαίων, Βερνάρδου καὶ Νηρίου
    Τανάιδος τοῦ Νεριλίου φλωρεντίνοιν· πόνῳ δὲ καὶ δεξιότητι
    Δημητρίου μεδιολανέως κρητὸς, τῶν λογίων ἀνδρῶν χάριν καὶ λόγων
    ἑλληνικῶν ἐφιεμένων, ἔτει τῷ ἀπὸ τῆς Χριστοῦ γεννησέως χιλιοστῷ
    τετρακοσιοστῷ ὀγδοηκοστῷ ὀγδόῷ μηνὸς Δεκεμβρίου ἐνάτῃ.

    This printed edition of all Homer’s poetry has now come to
    its end by the help of God in Florence, by the outlay of
    the well-born and excellent gentlemen, enthusiasts for Greek
    learning, Bernardo and Nerio, sons of Tanais Nerli, two
    Florentines, and by the labor and skill of Demetrio of Milan,
    a Cretan, for the benefit of men of letters and professors of
    Greek, in the year from Christ’s birth the one thousand four
    hundred and eighty-eighth, on the ninth day of the month of

Here Demetrio Damilas, the Cretan of Milanese descent, is anxious enough
to advertise himself: perhaps all the more anxious because his name seems
to have been suppressed in the case of some previous Greek books in which
he may have had a share. He compliments also, as in duty bound, the
brothers Nerli, without whose munificence the book could not have been
produced. But the craftsman at whose press the Homer was printed was too
insignificant a person for a scholar of the very self-regarding type of
the first professors of Greek to trouble to mention him, and thus Libri
is ignored by Damilas as completely as the later printers were ignored by
the publishers. In some of his larger works of a less learned kind,—books
by Boccaccio, the Florentine Histories of Bruni and Poggio, and the Logic
of Savonarola,—Libri, when left to himself, was at the pains to print his
name. But in the mass of “Rappresentazioni,” Savonarola pamphlets, and
other seemingly ephemeral books which he made attractive by procuring
for them delightful woodcuts, he did not take sufficient pride to claim
the credit which Mr. Proctor after four centuries recovered for him. The
scribes who preceded the printers were by no means forward in naming
themselves. Though not to the same extent as Libri, the early printers
largely imitated their reticence. More especially with vernacular books
they were careless of connecting themselves, because vernacular books
were as yet despised. Hence, though we shall have to quote some in the
chief languages of Western Europe, the comparative rarity of vernacular
colophons. Hence, on the other hand, the comparative frequency of the
Latin ones, which can be culled from all kinds of learned books, more
especially from the laborious legal commentaries which now possess so
few attractions beyond their beautiful, though crabbedly contracted,
typography. It is a pity, because the Latin found in colophons is often
far from classical, and occasionally so difficult that our renderings
will be offered in fear and trembling. But it was in Latin that literary
distinction was mainly to be won in the fifteenth century, and it was
therefore with Latin books that the printers desired their names to
be associated. Colophons, in fact, are the sign and evidence of the
printer’s pride in his work, and this is the main clue we have in seeking
for them.


[Illustration: Breslau Missal. Mainz: P. Schoeffer, 1483.]




[Illustration: Latin Bible. Mainz: Fust and Schoeffer, 1462.]

It was said at the end of our first chapter that the presence of a
colophon in an old book is to be taken as a sign of its printer’s pride
in his work. This being so, it would seem only reasonable to expect that
the very earliest books of all, the books in which the new art made its
first appearance before the book-buying world, should be found equipped
with the most communicative of colophons, telling us the story of the
struggles of the inventor, and expatiating on the greatness of his
triumph. As every one knows, the exact reverse of this is the case, and a
whole library of monographs and of often bitterly controversial pamphlets
has been written for the lack of the information which a short paragraph
apiece in three of the newly printed books could easily have given. What
was the reason of this strange silence we are left to guess. It will be
thought noteworthy, perhaps, that all three of these too reticent books
are Latin Bibles—the 42-line Bible variously assigned to Gutenberg and
to Fust and Schoeffer, the 36-line Bible variously assigned to Gutenberg
and Pfister, and the 48-line Bible known to have proceeded from the press
of Johann Mentelin of Strassburg. It is indeed a curious fact, and it is
surprising that the folly of Protestant controversialists has not leapt
at it, that not merely these three but the great majority of Latin Bibles
printed before 1475 are completely silent as to their printers, place
of imprint, and date. Of the fourteen editions which in the catalogue
of the British Museum precede that which Franciscus de Hailbrun and
Nicolaus of Frankfort printed at Venice in 1475, only three reveal their
own origin—those printed at Mainz by Fust and Schoeffer in 1462 and by
Schoeffer alone ten years later, and the edition of 1471, printed by
Sweynheym and Pannartz at Rome. On the other hand, the three editions
printed before 1462, as well as those of Eggestein and the “R-printer”
at Strassburg and of Ruppel and Richel at Basel, are all anonymous. We
might imagine that there was a fear that the natural conservatism of the
church would look askance at the new art, and that therefore in printing
the Bible it was thought best to say nothing about it. But, as a matter
of fact, it was not only in their Bibles that these printers showed their
reticence. Gutenberg never put his name in any book at all. Bertold
Ruppel never dated one; Eggestein dated nothing till 1471, Mentelin
nothing till 1473, Richel nothing till 1474. Most of their books are
anonymous. When we remember that Mentelin was printing at Strassburg,
a city with which Gutenberg had many relations, as early as 1458, and
Eggestein not long after; that Ruppel was Gutenberg’s servant and Richel
was Ruppel’s partner and successor, it would almost seem as if all this
reticence were part of a distinct Gutenberg tradition, an attempt to keep
the new art as secret as possible, either in order to lessen competitors
and keep up prices, or (to take another alternative) because some of
these printers may have broken promises of secrecy imposed on them with
this object, and were thus less anxious to advertise themselves.

In strong contrast to the almost furtive behavior of this group of
printers is the insistent glorification of themselves and the new art by
Johann Fust the goldsmith and Peter Schoeffer the scribe, his son-in-law.
The contrast is so great that it must certainly be reckoned with by those
who hold that to Fust and Schoeffer must be assigned the production of
the anonymous 42-line Bible, though in the tangled relations of the Mainz
printers about 1454 there may have been reasons for silence at which we
cannot guess. As printers in their own names the known career of Fust and
Schoeffer begins with the publication, in 1457, of the famous Psalter in
which we find our first colophon:

    Presens spalmorum [_sic_ for psalmorum] codex venustate
    capitalium decoratus Rubricationibusque sufficienter
    distinctus, Adinuentione artificiosa imprimendi ac
    caracterizandi absque calami vlla exaracione sic effigiatus, Et
    ad eusebiam dei industrie est consummatus, Per Johannem fust
    ciuem maguntinum, Et Petrum Schoffer de Gernszheim Anno domini
    Millesimo.cccc.lvij In vigilia Assumpcionis.

    The present copy of the Psalms, adorned with beauty of capital
    letters, and sufficiently marked out with rubrics, has been
    thus fashioned by an ingenious invention of printing and
    stamping without any driving of the pen, And to the worship of
    God has been diligently brought to completion by Johann Fust, a
    citizen of Mainz, and Peter Schöffer of Gernsheim, in the year
    of the Lord 1457, on the vigil of the Feast of the Assumption.

A few notes on some of the words in this colophon may be offered.
“Codex,” which has been paraphrased “copy,” meant originally a collection
of tablets waxed over for writing on, and so any book in which the
leaves are placed one on another instead of being formed into a roll.
“Capital letters” must be understood of large initials, not merely, as
the phrase is often used to mean, majuscules, or “upper-case” letters.
“Adinventio” appears to mean simply invention, and not, as with our
knowledge of stories of “prefigurements” of printing in Holland afterward
completed in Germany we might be inclined to think, the perfecting of an
invention. The epithet “artificiosa” probably only means skilful, without
emphasizing the contrast between the artificial methods of printing as
compared with the natural use of the hand. About “caracterizandi” it is
not easy to feel quite sure. Does it complete “imprimendi” by adding
to the idea of pressing the further idea of the letter (χαρακτήρ)
impressed, or is “imprimendi” already fully equivalent to printing, while
“caracterizandi” refers to engraving the letters on the punches? Lastly,
it may be noted that in _calamus_, “reed,” and _exaratione_, “plowing
up,” which properly refers to the action of the “stilus” of bone or metal
on the waxed surface of a tablet, we have reference to two different
methods of writing, one or other of which must necessarily be slurred.
Not all colophons present so many small linguistic difficulties as
this, but few are wholly without them, and many of the renderings which
will be offered in ensuing chapters must be accepted merely as the best
paraphrases which could be attained.

This first colophon was repeated by Fust and Schoeffer with very
slight alterations in the Psalter of 1459 (in which were added the
words “et honorem sancti iacobi,” “and to the honour of S. James,”
the patron of the Benedictine monastery at Mainz, for whose use the
edition was printed), in the “Durandus” of the same year, the Clementine
Constitutions published in 1460, and the Bible of 1462.

Meanwhile, in 1460, there had been published at Mainz an edition of the
“Catholicon,” a Latin dictionary compiled by Joannes Balbus of Genoa, a
Dominican of the thirteenth century. The colophon to this book, instinct
with religious feeling and patriotism, and interesting for its pride in
the new art and use of some technical terms, yet lacks the one important
piece of information which we demand from it—the name of the printer.

    Altissimi presidio cuius nutu infantium lingue fiunt diserte,
    Quique numerosepe paruulis reuelat quod sapientibus celat,
    Hic liber egregius, catholicon, dominice incarnacionis annis
    Mcccclx Alma in urbe maguntina nacionis inclite germanice,
    Quam dei clemencia tam alto ingenij lumine, donoque gratuito,
    ceteris terrarum nacionibus preferre, illustrareque dignatus
    est, Non calami, stili, aut penne suffragio, sed mira
    patronarum formarumque concordia proporcione et modulo,
    impressus atque confectus est.

    Hinc tibi sancte pater nato cum flamine sacro
    Laus et honor domino trino tribuatur et uno
    Ecclesie laude libro hoc catholice plaude
    Qui laudare piam semper non linque mariam.
                    Deo Gracias.

    [Illustration: Balbus. Catholicon. Mainz: [J. Gutenberg,] 1460.]

    By the help of the Most High, at Whose will the tongues of
    infants become eloquent, and Who ofttimes reveals to the lowly
    that which He hides from the wise, this noble book, Catholicon,
    in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation 1460, in the bounteous
    city of Mainz of the renowned German nation, which the clemency
    of God has deigned with so lofty a light of genius and free
    gift to prefer and render illustrious above all other nations
    of the earth, without help of reed, stilus, or pen, but by the
    wondrous agreement, proportion, and harmony of punches and
    types, has been printed and finished.

    Hence to Thee, Holy Father, and to the Son, with the Sacred Spirit,
    Praise and glory be rendered, the threefold Lord and One;
    For the praise of the Church, O Catholic, applaud this book,
    Who never ceasest to praise the devout Mary.
                    Thanks be to God.

In addition to the “Catholicon,” the British Museum possesses three
books in the same type, which are, therefore, ascribed to the same
press—a “Tractatus racionis et conscientiae” of Matthew of Cracow, and
two editions of the “Summa de articulis fidei” of S. Thomas Aquinas; but
these, perhaps because they are only little books, have no printer’s
colophon. On November 4, 1467, a Latin-German vocabulary known as the
“Vocabularius Ex Quo” was finished at Eltville, near Mainz, by Nicolaus
Bechtermünze and Wigandus Spiess of Ortenberg, having been begun by
Heinrich Bechtermünze, brother of Nicolaus. It is printed in the same
type as the “Catholicon,” reinforced by some slight additions, and
it is noteworthy (as illustrating what we may call the hereditary or
genealogical feature which runs through many colophons) that in taking
over the type used in the “Catholicon,” part of the wording of its
colophon was taken over also, though a few words appear to be borrowed
from Fust and Schoeffer. To show this we may quote the colophon to the
1467 “Vocabularius” as transcribed by Mr. Hessels (“Gutenberg: was he the
inventor of printing?” p. 141):

    Presens hoc opusculum non stili aut penne suffragio sed noua
    artificiosaque invencione quadam ad eusebiam dei industrie per
    henricum bechtermuncze pie memorie in altauilla est inchoatum
    et demum sub anno domini M.cccc.l.xvij ipso die leonardi
    confessoris, qui fuit quarta die mensis nouembris, per nycolaum
    bechtermuncze fratrem dicti henrici et wygandum spyesz de
    orthenberg est consummatum.

    Hinc tibi sancte pater nato cum flamine sacro
    Laus et honor domino trino tribuatur et uno:
    Qui laudare piam semper non linque mariam.

    This present little work, not by the help of stilus or pen, but
    by a certain new and skilful invention to the worship of God,
    was diligently begun at Eltville by Heinrich Bechtermünze of
    pious memory, and at last, in the year of the Lord 1467, on the
    day of Leonard the Confessor, which was on the fourth day of
    the month of November, by Nicolaus Bechtermünze, brother of the
    said Heinrich, and Wigandus Spiess of Orthenberg, was brought
    to completion.

    Hence to Thee, Holy Father, and to the Son, with the Sacred Spirit,
    Praise and glory be rendered, the threefold Lord and One.
    O thou who never ceasest to praise the devout Mary.

The omission of the third line of the “Catholicon” quatrain, obviously
because the word “Catholice” no longer had especial import, makes the
construction even more mysterious than in the original, nor is this the
only instance we shall find of such mauling.

While the Eltville colophon thus mainly takes its phrasing from that
of the “Catholicon,” with a few words from Fust and Schoeffer’s thrown
in, the latter firm were themselves not above borrowing a happy phrase,
since in the “Liber Sextus Decretalium Bonifacii VIII” not only do we
find an antithesis introduced to the “artificiosa adinuentio,” but in
some copies, if Maittaire is to be trusted, the praise of Mainz is bodily
taken over, so that the full colophon now reads:

    Presens huius Sexti Decretalium preclarum opus alma in urbe
    Maguntina inclyte nacionis germanice, quam dei clemencia
    tam alti ingenii lumine donoque gratuito ceteris terrarum
    nacionibus preferre illustrareque dignatus est, non atramento
    plumali canna neque aerea, sed artificiosa quadam adinuentione
    imprimendi seu caracterizandi sic effigiatum et ad eusebiam dei
    industrie est consummatum per Iohannem Fust ciuem et Petrum
    Schoiffher de Gernsheim. Anno domini M.cccclxv. die uero xvii
    mensis Decembris.

    The present splendid edition of this sixth book of Decretals,
    in the bounteous city of Mainz of the renowned German nation,
    which the clemency of God has deigned with so lofty a light of
    genius and free gift to prefer and render illustrious above all
    other nations of the earth, has been thus fashioned not by ink
    for the pen nor by a reed of brass, but by a certain ingenious
    invention of printing or stamping, and to the worship of God
    diligently brought to completion by Johann Fust, a citizen of
    Mainz, and Peter Schoiffher of Gernsheim, in the year of the
    Lord 1465, and on the 17th day of December.

By this time even a patient reader may well be weary with this ringing
of the changes on the two colophons first printed, respectively, in 1457
and 1460. But, without pushing the suggestion too far, we may at least
hazard a guess as to how they came thus to be amalgamated in December,
1465. For it was in this year that Gutenberg, who, when all is said, is
the most probable printer for the “Catholicon” and the other books which
go with it, became a pensioner of Adolph II, Archbishop of Mainz, and
presumably gave up printing. The two small books in the “Catholicon” type
(_i.e._ the “Tractatus racionis et conscientiae” and the “De articulis
fidei”) appear in Schoeffer’s catalogue of 1469-70. Whether he bought
the stock of them as early as 1465 cannot be proved, but it would seem
reasonable to connect his taking over the “Catholicon” colophon in that
year with the disappearance of Gutenberg from any kind of rivalry. As
between printers in different cities, there was certainly no copyright
in colophons any more than there was in books. We shall see presently
how, when books of Schoeffer’s were reprinted at Nuremberg and Basel,
his colophons, with slight alterations, were taken over with them.
But in Germany at this time, between citizens of the same town, trade
rights, I fancy, were much more respected than at Venice, for instance,
or at Paris, where the editions of Caesaris and Stoll were impudently
pirated by two other firms in the very same street. At all events, it is
worth noticing that the “Catholicon” printer’s colophon seems to have
been taken over by Schoeffer, who bought some of his stock, and by the
brothers Bechtermünze, who had the use of his types.

Passing now to other of Schoeffer’s colophons, we find in the edition
of the “Officia et Paradoxa” of Cicero of this same year, 1465, a more
personal form of the colophon, which gives us an explicit statement that
Fust, the capitalist of the business, probably owing to failing health,
now left the actual superintendence of the printing to his son-in-law
Schoeffer, the quondam scribe. It runs:

[Illustration: Cicero. De Officiis. Mainz: Fust and Schoeffer, 1465.]

“Presens Marci tulii clarissimum opus Iohannes Fust Moguntinus ciuis, non
atramento plumali, canna neque aerea, sed arte quadam perpulcra, Petri
manu pueri mei feliciter effeci finitum, Anno 1465.” This statement,
that “I, Johann Fust, citizen of Mainz, completed the book by the labor
or instrumentality (manu) of my son Peter,” was repeated in the reprint
of February 4, 1466, and thenceforth the name of Fust disappears from the
annals of printing.

In 1467 we find the colophon attributed by Maittaire to some copies of
the “Sextus Decretalium” repeated (with the omission of Fust’s name) in
the “Secunda Secundae” of S. Thomas Aquinas and the second edition of
the Clementine Constitutions, and this became for some time Schoeffer’s
normal colophon. In 1470, however, he varied it in his edition of S.
Jerome’s Epistles in order to introduce a compliment paid by the saint
to the city of Mainz, which made it peculiarly appropriate that his work
should be popularized by a Mainz printer. This colophon runs:

    [I]gitur Sophronii Eusebii Ieronimi orthodoxi, Ecclesie Christi
    propugnatoris clarissimi, Liber Ieronimianus, aut si mauis,
    quod et ipse velim, Liber Epistolaris explicit, ut dignitas
    nominis Ieronimiani egregio viro Johanni Andree permaneat,
    qui hoc ipsum zelo deuotionis erga virum sanctum affectus
    tempore prisco vulgauit in orbem. Est autem presens opus arte
    impressoria feliciter consummatum per Petrum schoiffer de
    Gernsshem in ciuitate nobili Moguntina. Cuius nobilitati vir
    beatus Ieronimus scribens ad Agerutiam de monogamia testimonium
    perhibet sempiternum multis milibus incolarum eiusdem in
    ecclesia pro fide catholica sanguine proprio laureatis.

    Huic laudatori reddit moguntia vicem,
    Tot sua scripta parans usibus ecclesie.

    Anno domini M.cccc.lxx. Die septima mensis septembris que fuit
    vigilia natiuitatis Marie. Da gloriam Deo.

    [Illustration: S. Jerome’s Epistles. Mainz: P. Schoeffer,

    Thus of Sophronius Eusebius Hieronimus [_i.e._, S. Jerome], the
    Orthodox, the most renowned champion of the Church of Christ,
    there comes to an end the book called after him Hieronominian,
    or if you prefer it the Book of his Epistles, the title I
    myself should wish to give it in order that the honor of the
    title Hieronimian may be reserved for the illustrious Johannes
    Andreae, who in olden time published to the world this very
    work from the zeal of his devotion to the holy man. Now the
    present work by the printing art has been happily brought to
    completion by Peter Schoiffer of Gernsheim in the noble city of
    Mainz, as to whose nobility the blessed man Jerome, writing to
    Agerutia concerning monogamy, bears eternal witness to the many
    thousands of its inhabitants who with their own blood have won
    crowns of laurel in the church for the catholic faith.

    Printing the words of him who gave this praise,
    Mainz helps the church the while her debt she pays.

    In the year of the Lord 1470, on the seventh day of September,
    which was the vigil of the Nativity of Mary. Give glory to God.

In 1472, in the “Decretum Gratiani cum glossis,” we get another variant
and an addition of some importance:

    Anno incarnationis dominice 1472 idibus Augustiis, sanctissimo
    in Christo patre ac domino domino Sixto papa quarto pontifice
    maximo illustrissimo, nobilissime domus austrie Friderico,
    Romanorum rege gloriosissimo, rerum dominis, Nobili nec
    non generoso Adolpho de Nassau archiepiscopatum gerente
    maguntinensem, in nobili urbe Moguntia que nostros apud maiores
    Aurea dicta, quam diuina etiam clementia dono gratuito pre
    ceteris terrarum nationibus arte impressoria dignata est
    illustrare, hoc presens Gratiani decretum suis cum rubricis,
    non atramentali penna cannaue, sed arte quadam ingeniosa
    imprimendi, cunctipotente adspiranti deo, Petrus Schoiffer de
    Gernsheym suis consignando scutis feliciter consummauit.

A similar colophon was used in the “Nova compilatio Decretalium Gregorii
IX” of 1473, and the phrase “suis consignando scutis” occurs again in
Schoeffer’s edition of S. Bernard’s Sermons (1475) and in several books
of the three following years. In 1479, in an edition of the “Decretals
of Gregory IX,” the phrase is varied to “cuius armis signantur,” after
which Panzer records it no more. This first mention of the shields has
for us far more interest than the pompous recital of how Sixtus IV was
pope, and Frederick of Austria king of the Romans, and Adolph of Nassau
archbishop of Mainz when this “Decretal of Gratian” was printed “in the
noble city of Mainz, which our ancestors used to call the golden city,
and which has been so highly favored by its preëminence in printing.”
Needless discussions have been raised as to what was the use and import
of printers’ devices, and it has even been attempted to connect them
with literary copyright, with which they had nothing whatever to do,
literary copyright in this decade depending solely on the precarious
courtesy of rival firms, or possibly on the rules of their trade-guilds.
But here, on the authority of the printer who first used one, we have a
clear indication of the reason which made him put his mark in a book—the
simple reason that he was proud of his craftsmanship and wished it to
be recognized as his. “By signing it with his shields Peter Schoiffer
has brought the book to a happy completion.” When Wenssler of Basel
copied Schoeffer’s books, he copied him also in affixing their marks
and in drawing attention to them in the same way. Wenssler, too, was
a good printer, and though he was certainly not claiming copyright in
books which he was simply reprinting, he was equally anxious to have his
handiwork recognized.

If yet further evidence be wanted, we can find it in the colophon to
Schoeffer’s 1477 edition of the “Tituli Decisionum antiquarum et
nouarum,” which reads as follows:

    Anno domini M.cccc.lxxvij. pridie nonis Ianuariis graui
    labore maximisque impensis Romanam post impressionem opus
    iterum emendatum: antiquarum nouarumque decisionum suis
    cum additionibus dominorum de Rota: In ciuitate Maguntina
    impressorie artis inuentrice elimatriceque prima Petrus
    Schoyffer de Gernssheym suis consignando scutis arte magistra;
    feliciter finit.

Some other features which occur in the wording of this will be noted
later on. For our present purpose it is of interest to find the mark of
the shields attached to a book which is distinctly stated to have been
printed “Romanam post impressionem,” “after the edition printed at Rome,”
and for which, therefore, no literary copyright is conceivable.

In the 1473 reprint of the “Sextus Decretalium” we note that Schoeffer
now considered himself venerable, or perhaps it would be fairer to
say “worshipful” (“per venerandum virum Petrum schoiffer de Gernshem
feliciter est consummatum”), but in his edition of S. Augustine’s “De
Ciuitate Dei,” of the same year, we find a more important variant. This

    Igitur Aurelii Augustini ciuitatis orthodoxe sideris prefulgidi
    de ciuitate Dei opus preclarissimum, binis sacre pagine
    professoribus eximiis id commentantibus rubricis tabulaque
    discretum precelsa in urbe moguntina partium Alemanie, non
    calami per frasim, caracterum autem apicibus artificiose
    elementatum, ad laudem Trinitatis indiuidue, ciuitatis dei
    presidis, operose est consummatum per Petrum schoiffer de
    gernsheim. Anno domini M.cccc.lxxiij. die v. mensis septembris.
    Presidibus ecclesie catholice Sixto tercio pontifice summo Sedi
    autem moguntine Adolfo secundo presule magnifico. Tenente autem
    ac gubernante Christianismi monarchiam Imperatore serenissimo
    Frederico tercio Cesare semper augusto.

    Thus the most renowned work of Aurelius Augustinus, a shining
    star of the city of orthodoxy, the De Ciuitate Dei, with the
    notes of two distinguished professors of Biblical Theology, set
    out with rubrics and index, in the exalted city of Mainz of the
    parts of Germany, not by the inditing of a reed, but skilfully
    put together from the tips of characters, to the praise of the
    undivided Trinity, ruler of the City of God, has been toilfully
    brought to completion by Peter Schoiffer of Gernsheim, in
    the year of the Lord 1473, on the fifth day of the month of
    September, the catholic church being under the rule of Sixtus
    III as supreme pontiff, and the see of Mainz under that of the
    magnificent patron Adolf II, while the most serene Emperor
    Frederick III, Caesar Augustus, held and guided the monarchy of

The struggles of the fifteenth-century Latinists to express the
technicalities of printing are always interesting, and the phrase
“caracterum apicibus elementatum” is really gallant. Following the
Greek στοιχεῖα, the Romans used the word “elementa” originally for the
component sounds of speech and then, by transference, for the letters
of the alphabet. “Elementatum,” therefore, is strictly appropriate, and
might be rendered “with the letters built up or put together,” while
“caracterum apicibus” of course refers to the engraving in relief which
forms the face of the type.

In 1475, perhaps as an echo of some verses in the “Noua compilatio
Decretalium Gregorii IX” of 1473, we find a new phrase tacked on to the
“arte impressoria” in an edition of Justinian, noting the fact that
though Providence did not consider antiquity worthy of the art, it had
been granted to our times (“qua quidem etsi antiquitas diuino non digna
est visa indicio, nostra nichilominus tempestate indulta”). In 1476
again Schoeffer advertises that his edition of Justinian’s Institutes
was printed “in the noble city of Mainz am Rhein, the inventress and
first perfectress of the printing art” (“In nobili urbe Maguncia
Rheni, impressorie artis inuentrice elimatriceque prima”), while in the
Clementine Constitutions of the same year he substitutes “alumnaque” for
“elimatriceque,” presumably in the sense of pupil or practiser, reverting
subsequently to “elimatrice.” In 1478 he once more varies the praises
of Mainz by calling her “domicilium Minerve firmissimum,” “the most
stable home of Minerva.” With this year 1478, which closes the period of
Schoeffer’s chief activity, we may bring our survey of his colophons to
an end. Thereafter he printed more intermittently, and, if the absence of
colophons may be trusted, as I think it may, with less interest in his
work. But during these twenty-two years from 1457 to 1478, inclusive, he
had made his books bear continual testimony to one great fact, that the
art of printing had been invented and brought to perfection in Germany,
in the city of Mainz; and in any weighing of the comparative claims
that have been advanced on behalf of Germany and Holland, I think that
the evidence of Schoeffer’s colophons alone would suffice to give the
priority to Germany and Mainz.

Of the clearness and energy of the claim made in these Mainz colophons,
we have already given abundant illustration, nor can there be any
doubt that it obtained wide publicity. Schoeffer printed at least one
advertisement of his books, and he had an agency for their sale in
Paris. Besides this, his editions were copied by other printers. So
far as publicity could be insured in the fifteenth century, it was
insured by Schoeffer, aided by the printer of the “Catholicon,” for
the statement that printing was invented at Mainz; and despite the
rivalry between city and city, and between country and country, during
all the years that this assertion was being repeated in one colophon
after another, no printer in any other book ventured to challenge it.
No doubt there are facts on the side of Holland which have to be
explained as best we may, but in the face of these Mainz colophons the
explanation must be of such a kind as to leave undisputed the fact
that it was at Mainz that printing with movable types—“mira patronarum
formarumque concordia proporcione et modulo”—first became a practicable
art. On the other hand, as to the individual inventor of this art the
fifteenth-century colophons are absolutely silent. There is nothing in
any Mainz colophon answering to the boast of John of Speier at Venice,
“primus in Adriaca formis impressit aenis,” by which he asserted his
individual priority over any other firm. The only statement of the kind
is in the extraordinarily crabbed verses added by the corrector Magister
Franciscus, after the colophon, to the “Institutiones Justiniani” of
1468, and reprinted in that of 1472, and in the Decretals of 1473, but
omitted in 1476. This states that two Johns, both of whom the town of
Mainz produced (genuit), were the renowned first stampers of books
(librorum insignes protocaragmaticos), and that with them was associated
a Peter; and the natural interpretation of these allusions identifies the
“protocaragmatici” (though the “proto” may refer to preëminence quite
as well as to priority) with Johann Gutenberg, Johann Fust, and Peter

So far as they are intelligible, therefore, these verses in the
Institutes of Justinian confirm and extend the evidence of the colophons,
and may be cheerfully accepted. Our last colophon in this chapter is not
quite in the same case. This famous and ingeniously arranged addendum to
the edition of the “Compendium de Origine regum et gentis Francorum” of
Johann Tritheim, printed by Johann Schoeffer at Mainz in 1515, is shown
as one of our illustrations, but may nevertheless be transcribed here for
the sake of expanding its contractions:

    [Illustration: Tritheim. Chronicarum opus. Mainz: Joh.
    Schoeffer, 1515. (Reduced.)]

    Impressum et completum est presens chronicarum opus, anno
    domini MDXV. in uigilia Margaretae uirginis. In nobili
    famosaque urbe Moguntina, huius artis impressorie inuentrice
    prima. Per Ioannem Schöffer, nepotem quondam honesti uiri
    Ioannis Fusth, ciuis Moguntini, memorate artis primarii
    auctoris. Qui tandem imprimendi artem proprio ingenio
    excogitare specularique coepit anno dominice natiuitatis
    M.CCCC.L. indictione XIII. Regnante illustrissimo Romanorum
    imperatore Frederico III, praesidente sanctae Moguntinae sedi
    Reuerendissimo in Christo patre domino Theoderico pincerna de
    Erpach, principe electore. Anno autem M.CCCC.LII. perfecit
    deduxitque eam (diuina fauente gratia) in opus imprimendi,
    opera tamen ac multis necessariis adinuentionibus Petri
    Schöffer de Gernsheim ministri suique filii adoptiui, cui etiam
    filiam suam Christinam Fusthinn, pro digna laborum multarumque
    adinuentionum remuneratione nuptui dedit. Retinuerunt autem
    hii duo iam praenominati, Ioannes Fusth et Petrus Schöffer,
    hanc artem in secreto (omnibus ministris ac familiaribus eorum,
    ne illam quoquo modo manifestarent, iureiurando astrictis)
    Quo tandem de anno domini M.CCCCLXII per eosdem familiares
    in diuersas terrarum prouincias diuulgata haud parum sumpsit

    Cum gratia et priuilegio Caesaree Maiestatis iussu et impensis
    honesti Ioannis Haselperg ex Aia maiore Constantiensis

This may be rendered:

    The present historical work has been printed and completed in
    the year of the Lord 1515, on the vigil of Margaret, virgin,
    in the noble and famous city of Mainz, first inventress of
    this printing art, by John Schöffer, grandson of a late worthy
    man, John Fust, citizen of Mainz, foremost author of the said
    art, who in due course by his own genius began to think out
    and investigate the art of printing in the year of the Lord’s
    nativity 1450, in the thirteenth indiction, in the reign of
    the most illustrious Emperor of the Romans Frederick III,
    and when the most reverend father in Christ, Theoderic the
    cup-bearer, of Erbach, prince-elector, was presiding over the
    sacred see of Mainz, And in the year 1452 perfected and by the
    favor of divine grace brought it to the work of printing, by
    the help, however, and with many necessary inventions[2] of
    Peter Schöffer of Gernsheim, his workman and adoptive son, to
    whom also he gave his daughter Christina Fust in marriage as a
    worthy reward of his labors and many inventions.[2] And these
    two already named, Ioannes Fust and Peter Schöffer, kept this
    art secret, all their workmen and servants being bound by an
    oath not in any way to reveal it; but at last, from the year of
    the Lord 1462, through these same servants being spread abroad
    into divers parts of the world, it received no small increase.

    With the favor and privilege of the Imperial Majesty and at the
    command and expense of the worthy John Haselperg of Reichenau
    of the diocese of Constance.

It would be too much to call this colophon untruthful, inasmuch as the
term “primarius auctor,” like “protocaragmaticus,” does not necessarily
claim primacy in point of time; nevertheless, it certainly suggests
this primacy and generally assigns to Fust a more decisive part than we
can easily believe that he played. We need not censure too hardly John
Schoeffer’s family feeling, even though it led him to ignore Gutenberg
in a way which earlier testimony forbids us to believe to be just; but
it seems evident that family feeling was so much to the fore as to place
this long historical colophon on quite a different footing from that of
the earlier ones written by Schoeffer himself.




While to Mainz belongs the supreme credit of having brought printing
to the position of a practical art, the city in which it attained
its highest perfection and popularity in the fifteenth century was
undoubtedly Venice. The output from the Venetian presses represented some
forty per cent. of the entire book production of Italy, and its quality
was at least as remarkable as its quantity. It is natural, therefore,
to turn from Mainz to Venice in our quest for interesting colophons,
as wherever printers did good work and took pride in it we may expect
to find correspondingly good colophons. Certainly at Venice we have no
ground for disappointment in this respect. The Venetian colophons are
plentiful and full of information, though chiefly about the publisher’s
side of printing. What makes them a little alarming to the pedestrian
editor is that so many of the earliest and most interesting specimens
are in verse. The books most favored by the first Venetian printers were
editions of the Latin classics and Latin translations of the Greek ones.
To see these through the press each printer had to retain the services
of a corrector, who filled a position half-way between the modern
proof-reader’s and editor’s. The printers, not being able to write Latin
themselves with any fluency, naturally left their colophons in the hands
of their correctors, and these gentlemen preferred to express themselves
in verse. The verse, even allowing for the fact that it is generally
intended to be scanned by accent rather than quantity, is often of a kind
which would get an English school-boy into considerable trouble; and it
would be a nice question as to whether Omnibonus Leonicenus and Raphael
Zovenzonius, who wrote it for John and Wendelin of Speier; Antonius
Cornazanus, who was in the pay of Jenson; or Valdarfer’s corrector,
Lodovicus Carbo, should be held the most successful. Just, however,
because its poetic ornaments are commonplace, to render this verse into
prose seems more than usually unsportsmanlike. Good poetry can stand
the test of prose, and the poetaster meddles with it at his peril, as
witness the uniform inferiority of metrical renderings of the Psalms to
the prose of the Great Bible or Prayer-Book version. But mediocre poetry
when turned into prose becomes simply ridiculous, and so the present
translator, without reckoning himself as even a “minimus poeta,” has
wrestled manfully with these various verse colophons and “reduced” them,
as best he could, into English rhymes, since these, poor as they are,
misrepresent the originals less than any attempt he could make in prose.
Here, then, without more apology, are the colophons from the earliest
Venetian books, which fall into an interesting sequence.

The first printer at Venice, it will be remembered, was John of Speier,
who obtained a special privilege for his work which would have cramped
the whole craft at Venice had not his death removed the difficulty. In
his first book, an edition of Cicero’s “Epistolae ad Familiares,” printed
in 1469, the colophon is cast into these verses:

    [Illustration: Cicero. Epistolae ad Familiares. Venice: John of
    Speier, 1469.]

    Primus in Adriaca formis impressit aenis
    Vrbe Libros Spira genitus de stirpe Iohannes.
    In reliquis sit quanta uides spes, lector, habenda,
    Quom labor hic primus calami superauerit artem.


    In Adria’s town, one John, a son of Speier,
      First printed books by means of forms of brass.
    And for the future shall not hope rise higher
      When the first fruits the penman’s art surpass?


Of this first Venetian edition of Cicero’s letters we know from a
subsequent colophon that only one hundred copies were printed, one
twenty-fifth part of the whole edition now being preserved in the four
copies at the British Museum. It was obviously sold out very rapidly,
and in some three or four months’ time the printer had got out a second
edition, to which he added a new colophon.

    [Illustration: Cicero. Epistolae ad Familiares. Second Edition.
    Venice: John of Speier, 1469.]

    Hesperiae quondam Germanus quisque[3] libellos
      Abstulit: en plures ipse daturus adest.
    Namque uir ingenio mirandus et arte Ioannes
      Exscribi docuit clarius aere libros.
    Spira fauet Venetis: quarto nam mense peregit
      Hoc tercentenum bis Ciceronis opus.


    From Italy once each German brought a book.
    A German now will give more than they took.
    For John, a man whom few in skill surpass,
    Has shown that books may best be writ with brass.
    Speier befriends Venice: twice in four months has he
    Printed this Cicero, in hundreds three.


The puzzle here is to determine how many copies there were of the
second edition. Mr. Horatio Brown, in “The Venetian Printing Press” (p.
10), courageously asserts that “the second edition of the _Epistulae_
consisted of six hundred copies, published in two issues of three hundred
each; and that the whole six hundred took four months to print.” This
is clearly inadmissible, as everything we know of fifteenth-century
printing forbids us to suppose that John of Speier kept the whole book
standing in type and printed off a second “issue” when he found there
was a demand for it. The fourth month must be reckoned from the date of
the first edition, and we have to choose, as to the number of copies in
the second, between supposing that the three hundred, the “tercentenum
opus,” refers to this alone, and that the poet did not intend to make any
statement about the number of the first edition at all, or else that the
second edition consisted of two hundred copies, and that these, with the
hundred of the first, made up a total of three hundred. In either case
his language is ambiguous, as the language of poets is apt to be when
they try to put arithmetic into verse.

I have followed Mr. Proctor in making the second edition of Cicero’s
letters precede the Pliny, but—as, in common with many other students
of old books, I am made to feel daily—to be no longer able to go to him
for information is a sore hindrance. I should have thought myself that
the Pliny, a much larger book, was begun simultaneously with the first
edition of Cicero, and that Wendelin’s colophon to the “De Civitate
Dei” obliged us to link the Pliny with the first rather than the second
edition. Perhaps, however, this arithmetic in verse is once more a little
loose. Certainly the Pliny colophon, which is free from figures, is all
the better poetry for that reason. It is the book here that speaks:

    [Illustration: Plinius. Historia Naturalis. Venice: John of
    Speier, 1469.]

    Quem modo tam rarum cupiens vix lector haberet,
    Quique etiam fractus pene legendus eram:
    Restituit Venetis me nuper Spira Ioannes:
    Exscripsitque libros aere notante meos.
    Fessa manus quondam moneo: calamusque quiescat,
    Namque labor studio cessit: et ingenio.


    I, erst so rare few bookmen could afford me,
      And erst so blurred that buyers’ eyes would fail—
    To Venice now ’twas John of Speier restored me,
      And made recording brass unfold my tale.
    Let rest the tired hand, let rest the reed:
    Mere toil to zealous wits the prize must cede.


The aspersion on the scribes was undeserved. If truth be told, either
because they used too thin an ink, or else from too slight pressure, the
early Venetian printers seldom did full justice to their beautiful types;
and though their vellum copies are really fine, those on paper are no
easier to read than the average fifteenth-century manuscripts which they
imitated. We must, however, forgive John of Speier his little boastings,
as this was the last colophon he was to print; and our next, which comes
at the end of S. Augustine’s “De Civitate Dei,” contains his epitaph:

    Qui docuit Venetos exscribi posse Ioannes
    Mense fere trino centena uolumina Plini
    Et totidem magni Ciceronis Spira libellos,
    Ceperat Aureli: subito sed morte peremptus
    Non potuit ceptum Venetis finire uolumen.
    Vindelinus adest, eiusdem frater et arte
    Non minor, Adriacaque morabitur urbe.


    John, who taught Venice there might written be
    A hundred Plinys in months barely three,
    And of great Cicero as many a book,
    Began Augustine, but then death him took,
    Nor suffered that he should Venetians bless
    Finishing his task. Now Wendelin, no less
    With skill equipped, his brother, in his room
    Means to take Adria’s city for his home.


The business which thus passed into his hands was certainly carried on by
Wendelin vigorously, for during the next three years he turned out over
a dozen folios or large quartos a year. He seems, indeed, to have outrun
his resources, for as early as 1471 his colophons tell us that some of
his books were financed for him by John of Cologne, and after the summer
of 1473 his type passed into the possession of this John and his “very
faithful partner, Johann Manthen.” As Wendelin’s name disappears from
colophons for three years, it is probable that his services were taken
over with his types; in 1470, however, he was his own master and the
object of much praise from his colophon-writer. In his Sallust of this
year we read:

    Quadringenta dedit formata volumina Crispi
      Nunc, lector, Venetis Spirea Vindelinus.
    Et calamo libros audes spectare notatos
      Aere magis quando littera ducta nitet?

    To Venice Wendelin, who from Speier comes,
    Has given of Sallust twice two hundred tomes.
    And who dare glorify the pen-made book,
    When so much fairer brass-stamped letters look?

The Livy of the same year ends with a poem of forty-six lines, which
praises Wendelin for bravely rescuing such of Livy’s Decads as remained,
“saevis velut hostibus acri Bello oppugnatas,” and by multiplying copies
saving them from the fate which had befallen the rest. A poem like this,
however, must be reckoned rather with congratulatory verses than as a
colophon, though the line in these Venetian books is not always easy to
draw. Two more of Wendelin’s publications in 1470 may be pressed into our
service—a Virgil and a Petrarch. Of these the Virgil ends:

    Progenitus Spira formis monumenta Maronis
      Hoc Vindelinus scripsit apud Venetos.
    Laudent ergo alii Polycletos Parrhasiosue
      Et quosuis alios id genus artifices:
    Ingenuas quisquis Musarum diligit artes
      In primis ipsum laudibus afficiet:
    Nec vero tantum quia multa uolumina, quantum
      Quod perpulchra simul optimaque exhibeat.


    Wendelin of Speier these records of the art
    Of Maro now to Venice doth impart.
    Let some of Polycletus praise the skill,
    Parrhasius, or what sculptor else you will;
    Who loves the stainless gifts the Muses give
    Will pray that Wendelin’s renown may live;
    Not that his volumes make so long a row,
    But rather for the grace and skill they show.


The colophon to the Petrarch claims credit for the restoration of a true
text, a point on which the scholars of the Renaissance were as keen, up
to their lights, as those of our own day, and which is often emphasized
in their laudatory verses as the one supreme merit:

    Que fuerant multis quondam confusa tenebris
      Petrarce Laure metra sacrata sue,
    Christophori et pariter feruens Cyllenia cura
      Transcripsit nitido lucidiora die.
    Vtque superueniens nequeat corrumpere tempus
      En Vindelinus erea plura dedit.

    The songs that Petrarch to his Laura made
    With many a doubt obscure were overlaid:
    Now, by Cristoforo’s and Cyllenio’s care,
    Than day itself their text shall shine more fair.
    Lest by corrupting time they still be tried,
    Wendelin these printed copies multiplied.

In 1471 Wendelin, or his correctors, lest their inspiration should be
too hard worked, invented a simple couplet which would apply to any book
equally well.

    Impressum formis iustoque nitore coruscans
      Hoc Vindelinus condidit artis opus.

    Printed from forms, with modest splendors bright,
    This Wendelin designed to give delight.

This is found in the “Apophthegmata” of Plutarch, the “Memorabilia” of
Valerius Maximus, the “Singularia” of Pontanus, the “Aureae Quaestiones”
of Bartolus de Saxoferrato, etc.; and must have been a welcome second
string in case of need. Nevertheless, when a second edition of Sallust
was called for, Wendelin’s private poet was equal to the occasion,
producing the quatrain:

    Quadringenta iterum formata uolumina nuper
      Crispi dedit Venetis Spirea Vindelinus.
    Sed meliora quidem lector, mihi crede, secundo
      Et reprobata minus antea quam dederat.

The verses are so incredibly bad, not merely in their entire disregard of
quantity, but in grammar as well, that it would be pleasant to reproduce
the peculiar iniquity which makes their charm. What the writer meant to
say was something to the effect that:

    Wendelin of Speier to Venice now once more
    Of printed Sallusts hath given hundreds four.
    But here all’s better, all may trusted be:
    This text, good reader, is from errors free.

Faithfully to reëcho the discords of the original is above the present
translator’s skill.

As money troubles thickened about him, Wendelin’s colophons became less
buoyant and interesting; but in 1473, when the transfer of his business
to John of Cologne and Manthen of Gerresheim was impending, we find these
verses in one of the huge law-books in which the early printers were so
bold in investing their money—the “Lectura Bartoli de Saxoferrato super
secunda parte Digesti Veteris”:

    Finis. M. cccc. lxxiii.

    Non satis est Spire: gratissima carmina Phoebo,
      Musarum cantus, historiasque premi.
    Omnis habet sua vota liber. Non cessat ab arte.
      Has pressit leges, Iustiniane, tuas.
    Spira tua est virtus Italas iam nota per urbes,
      Ore tuum nomen posteritatis erit.


    ’Tis not enough for Speier to print the songs
      That Phoebus loves, the Muses’ tales and lays:
    Each book is favored. Not for rest he longs,
      But thus to print Justinian’s laws essays.
    Speier, now Italy’s cities know thy glory,
    And future ages shall repeat the story.

When Wendelin resumed business on his own account in 1476, he published
very few books; but one of these, the “Divina Commedia” of Dante, printed
in that year, has an Italian colophon in the ambitious form of a sonnet:

    [Illustration: Dante. Divina Commedia. Venice: Wendelin of
    Speier, 1476.]

    Finita e lopra del inclito e diuo
    Dante alleghieri Fiorentin poeta
    La cui anima sancta alberga lieta
    Nel ciel seren oue sempre il fia vivo.
    Dimola benvenuto mai fia priuo
    Deterna fama che sua mansueta
    Lyra opero comentando il poeta,
    Per cui il texto a noi e intellectiuo.
    Christofal Berardi pisaurense detti
    Opera e facto indegno correctore
    Per quanto intese di quella i subietti.
    De Spiera Vendelin fu il stampatore:
    Del mille quattrocento e settanta setti
    Correuan gli anni del nostro signore.

    Here ends the work of Dante, the most high
      Florentine poet, famed to every age,
      Whose holy soul now finds glad harborage
    (Aye may he there abide!) in heaven’s clear sky.
    From Benvenuto d’Imola let none try
      To wrest the credit due for comment sage
      On this great poem, by which every page,
    Poet himself, he helps to clarify.
    Pesaro’s son, Christoph Berardi hight,
      Hath all corrected, though with many a fear
    Of lofty themes, hard to pursue aright.
      The printer Wendelin, who from Speier came here:
    And since Christ’s birth there urges now its flight
      The fourteen hundred six and seventieth year.

This putting of dates into verse is sad work. In Jenson’s early
colophons, instead of dates (which are added in prose), we have the
name of the reigning doge to wrestle with. Thus, in his edition of the
“Rhetorica” and “De Inuentione” of Cicero we find the following verse and
prose colophon:

    [Illustration: Cicero. Rhetorica. Venice: N. Jenson, 1470.]

    Emendata manu sunt exemplaria docta
      Omniboni: quem dat utraque lingua patrem.
    Haec eadem Ienson Veneta Nicolaus in urbe
      Formauit: Mauro sub duce Christoforo.



    Omnibonus with his learned hand hath these
    Copies revised, skilled in two languages;
    And Nicolas Jenson shaped them by his pains
    At Venice, while Cristoforo Moro reigns.

    The last book of the Rhetorics of Marcus Tullius Cicero, the
    most renowned orator, comes happily to an end. 1470.

So again in an edition, of the same year, of the Letters to Atticus we
have a similar colophon, the poetical portion of which might easily have
led a reader to believe that he was invited to buy a work by Atticus
himself instead of letters mainly addressed to him:

    Attice, nunc totus Veneta diffunderis urbe,
      Cum quondam fuerit copia rara tui.
    Gallicus hoc Ienson Nicolaus muneris orbi
      Attulit: ingenio daedalicaque manu.
    Christophorus Mauro plenus bonitate fideque
      Dux erat: auctorem, lector, opusque tenes.

    et Quintum fratrem, cum ipsius Attici vita feliciter expliciunt.

    All Atticus is now in Venice sold,
    Though copies were right rare in days of old.
    French Nicolas Jenson this good gift has brought,
    And all with skill and crafty hand has wrought.
    Our doge, Cristoforo Moro, true and kind.
    Thus book and author, reader, here you find.

    The Letters of Marcus Tullius Cicero to Atticus, Brutus, and
    his brother Quintus, with the life of the said Atticus, come
    happily to an end. 1470.

In the next year we have to deal with the little group of vernacular
books printed by Jenson, to one of which the omission of an X from
the date in the colophon has given such notoriety. The three which
are correctly dated are: (i) “Una opera la quale se chiama Luctus
Christianorum ex Passione Christi, zoe pianto de Christiani per la
Passione de Christo in forma de Meditatione.”

    COLOPHON: A Christi Natiuitate Anno M.CCCCLXXI. Pridie nonas
    Apriles a preclarissimo librorum exculptore Nicolao gallico.
    Impressa est passio christi dulcissima.

    In the year 1471 from Christ’s Nativity, on April 4th, by
    the most famous engraver of books, Nicolas Jenson, there was
    printed The Most Sweet Passion of Christ.

(ii) “Parole devote de lanima inamorata in Misser Iesu.”

    COLOPHON: MCCCCLXXI. Octauo Idus Aprilis: per Nicolaum Ienson
    gallicum opusculum hoc feliciter impressum est.

    1471, April 6th, by Nicolas Jenson, a Frenchman, this booklet
    was happily printed.

(iii) “Una operetta la quale si chiama Palma Virtutum zioe triumpho de
uirtude: la quale da Riegola forma et modo a qualunque stato,” etc.

    COLOPHON: Deo Gratias. Amen. Opus Nicolai Ienson Gallici.

    Thanks be to God, Amen. The work of Nicolas Jenson, a
    Frenchman. 1471.

It will be noticed that the second colophon is shorter than the first,
and it should be mentioned that in yet another book of the same kind,
the “Gloria Mulierum,” Jenson did not trouble to put his name at all,
doubtless thinking, according to the view propounded in our first
chapter, that these little vernacular books of devotion would bring him
no particular credit. If we look now at the book with the misprinted
date, “Una opera la quale si chiama Decor Puellarum, zoe Honore de
le Donzelle: la quale da regola forma e modo al stato de le honeste
donzelle,” we find this colophon:

    [Illustration: Decor Puellarum. Venice: N. Jenson, 1461 for

    Anno a Christi Incarnatione MCCCCLXI per Magistrum Nicolaum
    Ienson hoc opus quod Puellarum Decor dicitur feliciter
    impressum est. Laus Deo.

    In the year from Christ’s Incarnation 1461, by Master Nicolas
    Jenson, this book, which is called Maidens’ Honor, was happily
    printed. Thanks be to God.

Just as the subjects of all the books are of the same class, and just as
they are all printed in the same types and the same size, so we find a
general agreement in the colophons (as compared with those used by Jenson
in the books issued in 1470), tempered with modifications which seem to
fall into an orderly sequence. In subject the “Pianto de Christiani” and
“Parole devote de l’anima inamorata” seem to pair best together, and
the “Decor Puellarum” (regola de le honeste donzelle) with the “Palma
Virtutum” (regola a qualunque persona). The first two are exactly dated
within three days of each other, the second pair have only the date
of the year. Probably there were two sets of compositors, one of whom
printed the first pair, the other the second, and we see them starting
by calling Jenson a “most famous engraver of books,” dropping these
flowers in the “Decor Puellarum,” and quickly getting down to the curt
formula of the “Palma Virtutum.” The typographical evidence, without
further corroboration, would entitle us to feel sure that the omission
of a second X in the date MCCCCLXI was purely accidental,[4] but it
is satisfactory to find that the form of the colophon itself makes it
impossible to separate it from its fellows and unreasonable to place it
earlier than the fuller and more boastful form used in the “Pianto de

Though the colophons of his vernacular books were thus already tending to
curtness in 1471, Jenson still paid some attention to those of his Latin
publications. Thus, in an edition of Suetonius’s “Lives of the Caesars”
of that year we find the quatrain:

    Hoc ego Nicoleos Gallus cognomine Ienson
      Impressi: mirae quis neget artis opus?
    At tibi dum legitur docili Suetonius ore
      Artificis nomen fac, rogo, lector ames.


    Nicolas Jenson, a Frenchman, I
    This book have printed. Who’ll deny
    The skill it shows? Then, reader kind,
    The while ’tis read please bear in mind
    The printer’s name with friendly thought
    Who this Suetonius has wrought.


In the “De Bello Italico aduersus Gotthos” of Leonardo Aretino, printed
in the same year, we find this sentiment expressed more concisely in a
couplet which could be inserted in any book:

    Gallicus hunc librum impressit Nicolaus Ienson.
      Artifici grates, optime lector, habe.

    Nicolas Jenson, a Frenchman, took
    The pains to put in print this book.
    Then to the craftsman, reader good,
    Be pleased to show some gratitude.

Lastly, in this same year, we have two variants of a prose colophon which
contains a fine phrase of epigrammatic brevity. In an edition of the
“Familiar Letters of Cicero” it runs:


    Opus praeclarissimum M. T. Ciceronis Epistolarum Familiarium a
    Nicolao Ienson Gallico viuentibus necnon et posteris impressum
    feliciter finit.


    A very notable book, the Familiar Letters of Marcus Tullius
    Cicero, printed by Nicolas Jenson for this and also for future
    generations, comes happily to an end.

The phrase, but slightly enlarged, recurs in the “Institutes of
Quintilian” of the same year.

    Quintilianum eloquentiae fontem ab eruditissimo Omnibono
    Leoniceno emendatum M. Nicolaus Ienson Gallicus viuentibus
    posterisque miro impressit artificio annis M.CCCC.LXXI Mense
    Maii die xxi.

    Quintilian, the fountain of eloquence, corrected by the most
    learned Omnibonus Leonicenus, was printed by Nicolas Jenson, a
    Frenchman, with wonderful craftsmanship, for this and future
    generations, in the year 1471, on the 21st day of the month of

After this, until he joined John of Cologne, Jenson’s colophons become
short and featureless. Meanwhile, however, a third printer, Christopher
Valdarfer of Ratisbon, had set up a press at Venice, and toward the
close of 1470 joined in the contest of poetical colophons. His first
contribution to it appears to be these three couplets in praise of his
edition of Cicero’s “De Oratore”:

    [Illustration: Cicero. De Oratore. Venice: C. Valdarfer, 1470.]


    Si quem oratoris perfecti audire iuuabit
      Materiam: fons est hoc Ciceronis opus.
    Hic tersum eloquium uelut Attica lingua refulget:
      Christophori impressus hic liber arte fuit.
    Cui stirps Valdarfer patria estque Ratispona tellus.
      Hunc emat, orator qui uelit esse, librum.

    Who’d know the perfect orator’s stock-in-trade
    Only this work of Cicero let him read,
    Where polished speech, like Greek, doth light impart,
    And all is printed by Cristoforo’s art,
    Whose clan’s Valdarfer, Ratisbon his home.
    The would-be orator need but buy this tome.

In the following year he issued another volume of Cicero, containing
thirty orations, and added to it, doubtless by the hand of “Lodovico
Carbo,” his corrector, seven couplets of verse whose phrasing has somehow
impelled me to render them into disgracefully jingling rhymes:

    [Illustration: Cicero. Orationes. Venice: C. Valdarfer, 1471.]

    Germani ingenii quis non miretur acumen?
      Quod uult Germanus protinus efficiet.
    Aspice quam mira libros impresserit arte:
      Quam subito ueterum tot monumenta dedit
    Nomine Christophorus, Valdarfer gentis alumnus,
      Ratisponensis gloria magna soli.
    Nunc ingens Ciceronis opus causasque forenses,
      Quas inter patres dixit et in populo,
    Cernis quam recto, quam emendato ordine struxit:
      Nulla figura oculis gratior esse potest.
    Hoc autem illustri Venetum perfecit in urbe
      Praestanti Mauro sub duce Christophoro.
    Accipite hunc librum quibus est facundia cordi:
      Qui te Marte colet sponte disertus erit.


    Of praising German talent what tongue can ever tire?
      For what a German wishes, ’tis done as soon as said.
    The skilful printing of this book should cause you to admire.
      How quickly, too, are published all these records of the dead.
    ’Tis Christopher who prints them, of the old Valdarfer stock,
      A credit and a glory to the soil of Ratisbon;
    Who issues now the speeches of great Cicero _en bloc_,
      “To the Senate,” “To the People,” and his Pleadings every one.
    You may see the order follows the best editorial school:
      No appearance could more justly please the eye.
    ’Tis printed here in Venice, ’neath the noble Moro’s rule;
      Who Cicero reads no other road to eloquence need try.

    1471. Lodo. Carbo.

After 1471 Valdarfer moved from Venice to Milan, where books from his
press began to appear in 1474. Adam of Ammergau made some original
contributions to the poetical tradition, but in his 1472 edition of
Cicero’s Orations conveyed, and very clumsily, a couplet from Valdarfer’s
edition of the previous year:

    Hoc ingens Ciceronis opus, causasque forenses
      Quas inter patres dixit et in populo,
    Tu quicunque leges, Ambergau natus ahenis
      Impressit formis. Ecce magister Adam.


    Who prints you now the speeches of great Cicero _en bloc_,
      “To the Senate,” “To the People,” and his Pleadings every one?
    Know, reader, that in Ammergau is his ancestral stock;
      ’Tis Master Adam of that place has this edition done.


The Venetian verse tradition seems now to have settled down into a
convention that a new printer should announce his arrival in Latin
elegiacs, but need not continue the practice. Franciscus de Hailbrun
complied with it to this extent in some dull lines in an edition of the
“Quadragesimale” of Robertus de Licio in 1472; and it is in another
edition of the same work that Panzer first records three couplets which,
with the addition of a prose sentence, also constant in form, occur in
numerous books printed by Bartolommeo de Cremona:

    [Illustration: Caracciolus. Quadragesimale (and several other
    books). Venice: Bartolommeo of Cremona, 1472.]

    Quem legis impressus dum stabit in aere caracter
      Dum non longa dies uel fera fata prement,
    Candida perpetue non deerit fama Cremonae.
      Phidiacum hinc superat Bartholomeus ebur.
    Cedite chalcographi: millesima uestra figura est,
      Archetypas fingit solus at iste notas.


There is nothing very remarkable in these lines, but they are better than
most of those with which I have been wrestling, and shall be dignified,
therefore, by being rendered into prose instead of doggerel; for which
also there is another reason in the fact that the meaning, just when it
becomes interesting, is not as clear as could be wished. The best version
I can make is as follows:

    While the character which you read shall remain stamped in
    brass, while neither length of days nor the cruel fates destroy
    it, Cremona shall not lack a continuance of glittering fame. By
    this craft Bartolommeo surpasses the ivory of Pheidias. Give
    place, ye writers in brass; your number is a thousand, but he
    alone fashions the well-known models.

    In 1472, when Nicolò Truno was ruling Doge of Venice, this book
    was successfully printed.

“Chalcographi,” which I have rendered literally as “writers in brass,”
is, of course, no more than “typographers,” which means literally
“writers with type.” But what exactly were the “notas archetypas,” the
well-known models? And how did Bartolommeo of Cremona use them so as to
distinguish himself from other “chalcographi”? For a moment the obvious
answer appears to be that Bartolommeo is claiming credit for himself,
not as a printer, but as a type-founder. The explanation, however, cannot
stand in any sense which would differentiate Bartolommeo from his fellows
in the way in which a modern type-founder differs from the printers
who buy their types of him. For we know that Bartolommeo was himself
a printer; and, on the other hand, it was the rule at this period for
every printer to cast his own types, so that in doing this he would not
be accomplishing anything exceptional. If he had been a type-seller in
the modern fashion, we may be assured that he would have addressed the
chalcographers, his presumable customers, much more respectfully. I can
only imagine, therefore, that the “notas archetypas” was simply a good
font of type which Bartolommeo thought that other printers were likely to

In the editions of Virgil which he printed at Padua in 1472 (unless there
is a mistake in the date), and again in 1473, Leonardus Achates announces
himself very concisely:

    Urbs Basilea mihi, nomen est Leonardus Achates:
      Qui tua compressi carmina, diue Maro.

    Anno Christi humanati M.CCCC.LXXII. Venet. Duce Nicol. Trono.

    Basel I have for my town, for my name Leonardus Achates,
      I who have printed thy lays, Virgil, thou poet divine.

    In the year of Christ’s taking our manhood 1472. At Venice,
    Nicolò Trono being Doge.

The verse tradition was also complied with by Jacobus de Fivizano in
a Virgil of 1472, by Jacobus Rubeus in an Ovid of 1474, and by Erhard
Ratdolt and his companions on the title-page of the Calendar of Johannes
de Monteregio in 1476. Two years later, when printing was becoming so
great an industry at Venice that such toys as colophons in verse must
have begun to appear a little undignified, an editor in the service of
John of Cologne, ordinarily a man of quite commercial colophons, burst
out into this song in his praise, at the end (of all places in the
world) of the Commentary of Bartolus de Saxoferrato on a section of the
Justinian Code:

    Sacrarum occiderant immensa uolumina legum,
    Proh scelus! et uanos damnabat menda labores,
    Tantus in ora hominum calamosque influxerat error.
    Nullus erat tantam auderet qui uincere molem,
    Et dubium nullus posset qui nauibus equor
    Scindere foelici cursu; nulli hec uia uiuo
    Insuetumne patebat iter; mortalia nondum.
    Ingenia aptarant scribendis legibus era.
    Ergo noua est primus celebrandus laude Ioannes
    Quem magni genuit preclara Colonia rheni:
    Elysiis certe dignus post funera campis
    Inuentas propter, iustus si est Iuppiter, artes.
    Hic uenetis primus leges impressit in oris
    Et canones, nostro grandis prouintia celo,
    Quodque hominum generi cunctis uel gentibus unum
    Sufficiebat opus: soli hec est palma Ioanni.
    Addidit et doctis multum censoribus aurum
    Solus matura ut liberarent omnia lance
    Peruigiles, magnum emptori et memorabile donum.
    Nam uia que erratis fuerat durissima quondam
    Nunc facilem cupidis monstrat discentibus arcem.
    Emptor habes careant omni qui crimine libri,
    Quos securus emas procul et quibus exulat error.
    Accipe et Auctori dentur sua premia laudes.

    The Volumes of the Sacred Law had died,
    So much were they by error damnified;
    Which had so deeply steeped each mouth and pen,
    To free them seemed too hard for mortal men;
    Nor was there one dared hope that he might be
    A happy pilot through that doubtful sea.
    No feet that unaccustomed road might pass;
    None yet for writing laws had moulded brass.
    John of Cologne on Rhine, to him we raise,
    Earnt by new merits, a new song of praise.
    Yes, his invention, if Jove justice yields,
    Shall win him when he’s dead Elysian Fields.
    To the great profit of our realm, his hands
    These laws first printed in Venetian lands;
    And from that work which served for all mankind
    ’Tis given to John alone glory to find.
    He, too, alone gave learned men much gold
    That they might free each text from errors old,
    And in the ready platter place such food
    That the blest buyer find there nought but good.
    Thus all the road, erst for men’s feet too hard,
    Right to the topmost height lies now unbarred.
    Buy, then, these flawless books with a light heart;
    And, buying, praise the printer for his art.

With these lines, certainly more poetical than those of most verse
colophons, we may bring this chapter to a close.





The examples already quoted from books printed at Mainz and Venice will
have sufficiently illustrated some of the general features which run
through early colophons—the professions of religious thankfulness and
devotion, and the desire of the printer to glorify not only the new art
but himself as its most expert practitioner. These features will recur
in other colophons we shall have occasion to quote, but there is no need
to pick out many examples from books printed in other towns specially to
illustrate them. The piety of German printers frequently prompted such
devout colophons as this which Johann Zainer at Ulm added to his edition
of the “Quodlibet” of S. Thomas Aquinas, and the one example may serve
for all:

    Immensa dei clementia finitur Quodlibet liber sancti Thome
    de Aquino ordinis fratrum predicatorum in eiusdem gloriam
    compositus. Impressus Ulm per Iohannem czainer de Rutlingen.
    Anno domini Millesimo quadringentesimo septuagesimo quinto. Pro
    cuius consummatione Rex regum laudetur in secula benedictus.

    By the unbounded clemency of God there is brought to an end the
    book Quodlibet of St. Thomas Aquinas, of the order of Friars
    Preachers, composed for the glory of the same. Printed at
    Ulm, by Johann Zainer of Reutlingen, in the year of the Lord
    fourteen hundred and seventy-five. For the completion of which
    may the King of kings, for ever blessed, be praised. Amen.

As to boasting, there is more than enough of it to be found wherever we
turn; but it will not be amiss to collect some instances of the special
vaunts of the prototypographers,—the men who claimed to have been the
first to practise their craft in any particular town,—as these are
sometimes of importance in the history of printing. Thus, in the “Lectura
super Institutionum libros quatuor” of Angelus de Gambilionibus de
Aretio, printed by Joannes de Sidriano of Milan, we have a most precise
statement of the day on which the first printed book was finished at

    Explicit prima pars huius operis revisa per me Angelum de
    Gambilionibus de Aretio die xvi octobris ferrarie. 1448. Fuit
    hoc opus impressum Papie per Ioannem de Sidriano Medioanensem
    [_sic_] huius artis primum artificem qui in urbe ticicensi
    [_sic_] huiusmodi notas impresserit et istud pro primo opere
    expleuit die xxx mensis octobris 1473.

    Here ends the first part of this work revised by me, Angelus de
    Gambilionibus of Arezzo, 16th October, 1448, at Ferrara. This
    work was printed at Pavia by Joannes de Sidriano of Milan,
    the first practiser of this art who printed books of this kind
    in the city once called Ticinum, and who finished this as his
    first work on the 30th October, 1473.

Equally precise is Bartolommeo de Cividale in the short colophon he adds
to his edition of Petrarch’s Trionfi, the first book printed at Lucca:

    Impressus Lucae liber est hic: primus ubi artem
      De Civitali Bartholomeus init.

    Anno mcccclxxvii die xii Maii.

    This book was printed at Lucca, where Bartolommeo de Cividale
    first inaugurated the art, on May 12, 1477.

In the “Manuale” or “Liber de salute siue de Aspiratione Animae ad Deum”
of S. Augustine, printed at Treviso in 1471, we find Gerard de Lisa
boasting, with more poetry, but less precision:

    Gloria debetur Girardo maxima lixae,
      Quem genuit campis Flandria picta suis.
    Hic Tarvisina nam primus coepit in urbe
      Artifici raros aere notare libros.
    Quoque magis faueant excelsi numina regis
      Aurelii sacrum nunc manuale dedit.

    Gerard de Lisa may great glory claim—
    He who from Flanders’ glowing meadows came—
    For in Treviso’s town he foremost was
    To print rare books by the skilled use of brass.
    And that the heavenly powers may more him bless,
    Comes Austin’s holy manual from his press.

Curiously enough, a year before Joannes de Sidriano issued the first
book at Pavia, printing had been inaugurated at Mantua with another
work by the same not very illustrious author—Gambiglioni’s “Tractatus
Maleficiorum.” In this Petrus Adam de Michaelibus writes:

    Petrus Adam Mantus opus hoc impressit in urbe.
      Illic nullus eo scripserat aere prius.

    Petrus Adam printed this work in the town of Mantua. None had
    written there on brass before him.

All these claims seem sufficiently well established, but that of Filippo
of Lavagna in the “De medicina” of Avicenna (translated by Master Gerard
of Cremona) is much less tenable. Here he says distinctly at the end of
Book II:

    Mediolani die xii februarii 1473 per Magistrum Filippum de
    Lauagnia huius artis stampandi in hac urbe primum latorem atque

    At Milan, on the 12th day of February, 1473, by Maestro Filippo
    of Lavagna, the first bearer and inventor of the art of
    stamping in this town.

We know that Antonio Zaroto had printed at Milan a “Festus de Verborum
significationibus” on the 3d August, 1471, while the earliest date
credited to Lavagna is that of his edition of the “Epistolae ad
Familiares” of Cicero, 25th March, 1472. It is true that the pretty
colophon to his “Miraculi de la Vergene Maria” tells another tale:

    Dentro de Milano e doue stato impronta
    L’opra beata de miraculi tanti
    Di quella che nel Ciel monta e dismonta
    Accompagnata con gli angeli e sancti.
    Philippo da Lauagna qui vi si conta
    E state el maestro de si dolce canti.

    Impressum anno Domini MCCCCLXVIIII di xviiii Maii.

    Within Milan is where has been printed the blessed work of
    so great miracles of Her who ascends and descends in Heaven,
    accompanied by the angels and saints. Filippo da Lavagna here
    is the speaker, and is become the master of so sweet songs.
    Printed in the year of the Lord 1469, on May 19.

But this is another instance of the risks of using Roman numerals
(compare the three “1468” colophons cited in Chapter III), since the V
in this date is clearly a misprint for a second X, which in some copies
correctly takes its place.

A possible explanation of Lavagna’s boast in 1473 lies in the fact that
he was by birth a Milanese, while Zaroto came from Parma; so that if we
may take the latter half of the colophon to mean “the first man in this
town who introduced and discovered this art of printing,” it would be
literally correct—that is, if we can be sure that Lavagna was actually
a printer at all, a point on which Mr. Proctor was very doubtful. But
to raise this question is perhaps only a modern refinement, since
without the help of the doctrine _qui facit per alium facit per se_ we
must accuse many worthy fifteenth-century tradesmen of lying in their

Another dubious statement, which may perhaps be explained, was
introduced, amid some very vainglorious boasting, in the colophon to the
Oxford edition of the Epistles of Phalaris. This runs:

    Hoc opusculum in alma vniuersitate Oxonie a natali christiano
    Ducentesima et nonagesima et septima Olimpiade foeliciter
    impressum est.

    Hoc Teodericus Rood quem Collonia misit
      Sanguine Germanus nobile pressit opus:
    Atque sibi socius Thomas fuit Anglicus Hunte
      Dii dent ut Venetos exsuperare queant.
    Quam Ienson Venetos docuit vir Gallicus artem
      Ingenio didicit terra britanna suo.
    Celatos Veneti nobis transmittere libros
      Cedite: nos aliis, vendimus, O Veneti.
    Que fuerat uobis ars prima nota latini
      Est eadem nobis ipsa reperta patres.
    Quamuis semotos toto canit orbe Britannos
      Virgilius, placet his lingua latina tamen.

    This little work was happily printed in the bounteous
    University of Oxford in the two hundred and ninety-seventh
    Olympiad from the birth of Christ.

    This noble work was printed by Theodoric Rood, a German by
    blood, sent from Cologne, and an Englishman, Thomas Hunte,
    was his partner. The gods grant that they may surpass the
    Venetians. The art which the Frenchman Jenson taught the
    Venetians, the British land has learnt by its mother-wit.
    Cease, Venetians, from sending us the books you engrave: we
    are now, O Venetians, selling to others. The art which was
    first known to you, O Latin Fathers, has been discovered by us.
    Although Virgil sings of the Britons as all a world away, yet
    the Latin tongue delights them.

This is certainly not a truthful colophon, for we cannot believe that
any foreign students would have sent to Oxford to buy the letters of the
pseudo-Phalaris or any other books there printed, while the assertion
that Britons learnt printing by their mother-wit accords ill with the
fact that Theodoric Rood came from Cologne to practise the art on their
behalf. Mr. Horatio Brown, however, perhaps presses the fifth line a
little too hard when he asserts that “these verses prove that public
opinion abroad assigned the priority of printing in Venice to Jenson.”
John of Speier had died so early in his career, and the work of Jenson is
to this day so universally recognized as the finest which was produced
at Venice, that the Frenchman may fairly be said to have taught the
Venetians printing, without claiming for him priority in order of time.
It should, perhaps, also be noted that while Hain and Mr. Brown print the
important word as _docuit_, Mr. Madan gives it as _decuit_, from which
it might be possible to extract the assertion, not that he _taught_ the
Venetians the art, but that he _graced_ them with it. It would need,
however, a fifteenth-century Orbilius to do justice upon the perpetrator
of such vile Latin, while _e_ for _o_ is an easy misprint, and _docuit_
is confirmed by the obvious antithesis of _didicit_ in the next line.

More important, because more detailed than any of the boasts we have
yet quoted, are the claims and pleas put forward in the colophons to
the edition of the commentary of Servius on Virgil, printed by Bernardo
Cennini and his son Domenico, at Florence, in 1471-72. The first of these
occurs at the end of the Bucolics, and is repeated, with the substitution
of “Georgica” for “volumen hoc primum,” after the Georgics. The second
comes at the end of the book.

    (1) Ad Lectorem. Florentiae. vii Idus Nouembres. MccccLxxi.
    Bernardus Cennius [_sic_], aurifex omnium iudicio
    prestantissimus, et Dominicus eius F[ilius] egregiae indolis
    adolescens, expressis ante calibe caracteribus, ac deinde fusis
    literis, volumen hoc primum impresserunt. Petrus Cenninus,
    Bernardi eiusdem F[ilius], quanta potuit cura et diligentia
    emendauit ut cernis. Florentinis ingeniis nil ardui est.

    (2) Ad Lectorem. Bernardinus Cenninus, aurifex omnium iudicio
    praestantissimus, et Dominicus eius F[ilius], optimae indolis
    adolescens, impresserunt. Petrus eiusdem Bernardi F[ilius]
    emendauit, cum antiquissimis autem multis exemplaribus
    contulit. In primisque illi cura fuit, ne quid alienum Seruio
    adscriberetur, ne quid recideretur aut deesset, quod Honorati
    esse peruetusta exemplaria demonstrarent. Quoniam uero
    plerosque iuuat manu propria suoque more Graeca interponere,
    eaque in antiquis codicibus perpauca sunt, et accentus quidem
    difficillimi imprimendo notari sunt, relinquendum ad id spatia
    duxit. Sed cum apud homines perfectum nihil sit, satis uideri
    cuique debebit, si hi libri (quod vehementer optamus) prae
    aliis emendati reperientur. Absolutum opus Nonis Octobribus. M.
    cccc Lxxii. Florentiae.

    (1) To the Reader. At Florence, on November 7, 1471, Bernardo
    Cennini, by universal allowance a most excellent goldsmith, and
    Domenico his son, a youth of remarkable ability, having first
    modelled the stamps with compasses, and afterward moulded the
    letters, printed this first volume. Pietro Cennini, son of the
    aforesaid Bernardo, has corrected it, as you see, with all the
    care and diligence he could. To Florentine wits nothing is

    (2) To the Reader. Bernardino Cennini, by universal allowance
    a most excellent goldsmith, and Domenico his son, a youth of
    very good ability, have been the printers. Pietro, son of the
    aforesaid Bernardo, has acted as corrector and has made a
    collation with many very ancient copies. His first anxiety was
    that nothing by another hand should be ascribed to Servius,
    that nothing which very old copies showed to be the work of
    Honoratus should be cut down or omitted. Since it pleases many
    readers to insert Greek words with their own hand and in their
    own fashion, and these in ancient codices are very few, and the
    accents are very difficult to mark in printing, he determined
    that spaces should be left for the purpose. But since nothing
    of man’s making is perfect, it must needs be accounted enough
    if these books (as we earnestly hope) are found exceptionally
    correct. The work was finished at Florence on October 5, 1472.

The references to the leaving of blank spaces for the Greek quotations
(a common practice of the earliest printers in Italy) and to the trouble
caused by the accents are particularly interesting, and by ill luck were
not noticed by Mr. Proctor, who would have been delighted to quote them
in his admirable monograph on “The Printing of Greek.”

Difficulties were natural in the early days of the art, and must often
have beset the path of the wandering printers who passed from town to
town, or from monastery to monastery, printing one or two books at each.
As late as 1493 one such printer, not yet identified, who started his
press at Acqui, though he was engaged on only a humble school-book, the
“Doctrinale” of Alexander Gallus, found himself in sore straits owing to
the plague raging in the neighboring towns.

    Alexandri de villa Dei Doctrinale (Deo laudes) feliciter
    explicit. Impressum sat incommode, cum aliquarum rerum, quae
    ad hanc artem pertinent, impressori copia fieri non potuerit
    in huius artis initio: peste Genuae, Ast, alibique militante.
    Emendauit autem hoc ipsum opus Venturinus prior, Grammaticus
    eximius, ita diligenter, ut cum antea Doctrinale parum
    emendatum in plerisque locis librariorum vitio esse videretur,
    nunc illius cura et diligentia adhibita in manus hominum quam
    emendatissimum veniat. Imprimentur autem posthac libri alterius
    generis litteris, et eleganter arbitror. Nam et fabri et
    aliarum rerum, quarum hactenus promptor indigus fuit, illi nunc
    Dei munere copia est, qui cuncta disponit pro sue voluntatis
    arbitrio. Amen.

    The Doctrinale of Alexander of Villedieu (God be praised!)
    comes to a happy end. It has been printed amid enough
    inconveniences, since of several things which belong to this
    art the printer, in making a beginning with it, could obtain no
    proper supply, owing to the plague raging at Genoa, Asti, and
    elsewhere. Now this same work has been corrected by the prior
    Venturinus, a distinguished grammarian, and that so diligently
    that whereas previously the Doctrinale in many places seemed
    by the fault of booksellers too little corrected, now by the
    application of his care and diligence it will reach men’s hands
    in the most correct form possible. After this date books will
    be printed in type of another kind, and elegantly, I think;
    for both artificers and a sufficiency of other things of which
    hitherto the putter forth has been in need he now possesses
    by the gift of God, who disposes all things according to the
    judgment of his will. Amen.

All these promises may have been carried out, but we know of no other
book from this press, and it is more than likely that no other was
issued. Nor was this the only press which was inconvenienced by the
plague, since two years later the disease interrupted Conrad Kachelofen
in the pious task of printing a missal at Leipzig, and caused him to
become the first exponent of the art at Freiberg, as we duly learn from
the colophon:

    [Illustration: Meissen Missal. Freiberg: Conrad Kachelofen,
    1495. (Reduced.)]

    Quanquam alias codices librorum missalium iuxta rubricam
    ecclesie Misnensis per Reuerendissimum in christo patrem
    et dominum dominum Iohannem f[elicis] r[ecordationis] olim
    episcopum Misnensem imprimi satis exacta diligentia procurati
    sunt: tamen quia predicti codices multa necessaria que
    presentes in lucem dedere omiserunt et eorum numerus Misnensis
    diocesis latitudini ac personarum inibi deo famulantium & pro
    libris huiusmodi sepenumero auide inquirentium multitudini non
    satisfacit Ideo Reuerendissimus in cristo pater et dominus
    dominus Iohannes de Salhusen modernus misnensis ecclesie
    episcopus, his aliisque penuriis et defectibus succurrere
    uolens, presens missalium opus iuxta rubricam iam dicte sue
    Misnensis diocesis diligenti opera castigatum atque distinctum
    per industrium Conradum Kachelofen huius impressorie artis
    magistrum oppidique lipsensis conciuem in oppido eodem
    inchoari: atque grassante pestifero morbo in oppido Freiberg
    perfici et foeliciter finiri procurauit. Quod quidem opus
    ad nouarum etiam festiuitatum, pro diuini cultus augmento,
    institutiones aptissimum erit: quarum historie in prioribus
    codicibus minime habentur et in presentibus cum multis aliis
    specialibus uotiuis missis suo ordine annotantur ita ut hec
    noua uolumina cum precedentibus conferentes necessaria potius
    quam superuacanea fuisse animaduertant. Anno salutis quinto et
    nonagesimo supra quadringentesimum et millesimum, Die uero lune
    mensis nouembris nona.


    Gallicus hoc nostro Conradus muneris euo
      Attulit: ingenio dedalicaque manu.
    Antistes Misne, plenus bonitate fideque,
      Dux erat. Auctorem lector opusque tenes.

    Although copies of the missal-books according to the rubric of
    the diocese of Meissen have been caused by the most reverend
    Father in Christ and lord, the lord John of happy memory,
    formerly Bishop of Meissen, to be printed elsewhere with
    sufficiently exact diligence, yet inasmuch as the aforesaid
    copies omitted many necessary things which the present ones
    have published, and the number of them does not suffice for
    so wide a diocese as Meissen and for the multitude of persons
    of the household of God in it who ofttimes eagerly seek for
    books of this kind, Therefore, the most reverend Father in
    Christ and lord, the lord Johann von Salhusen, the Bishop,
    that now is, of the Church of Meissen, wishing to come to the
    aid of these and other wants and defects, caused the present
    missal-book, according to the rubric of his aforesaid diocese
    of Meissen, diligently corrected and arranged, to be begun
    by the industrious Conrad Kachelofen, a master of this art
    of printing and citizen of the town of Leipzig, in that same
    town, and on the approach of the plague to be accomplished and
    happily finished in the town of Freiberg. The which missal-book
    will be found most suitable for the institutions also of new
    festivals for the increase of the divine worship, the lessons
    for these being very defective in the former copies, while in
    the present ones they are noted with many other special votive
    masses in their proper order, so that those who compare these
    volumes with the preceding ones will count them as necessary
    rather than superfluous. In the year of salvation 1495, on
    Monday, November 9th.


    This gift French Conrad brought unto our age;
      His wit and skilful hand achieved the task.
    Meissen’s good, faithful bishop blessed the page:
      Of book or author need none further ask.

From Hain 10425 we learn that a Machasor, or Compendium of Prayers, for
the use of the Italian synagogues was begun at Soncino in September,
1485, and finished at Casal Maggiore in August, 1486; but to what this
change of scene was due the colophon does not say. One would have thought
that in the fifteenth century war as well as pestilence must often have
interrupted the printer at his work; and indeed the sack of Mainz in
1462 was a very notable event in the history of printing. Yet the only
two references to war I can remember in contemporary colophons hardly
view it as an interruption—the first Paris printers (Gering, Krantz,
and Friburger), indeed, tried to use it as an advertisement for their
Sallust, where the verses at the end run:

    Nunc parat arma uirosque simul rex maximus orbis,
      Hostibus antiquis exitium minitans.
    Nunc igitur bello studeas gens Pariseorum,
      Cui Martis quondam gloria magna fuit.
    Exemplo tibi sint nunc fortia facta uirorum,
      Quae digne memorat Crispus in hoc opere.
    Armigerisque tuis alemannos adnumeres, qui
      Hos pressere libros, arma futura tibi.

    The King of France his armaments and men is mustering,
    Upon his ancient enemies destruction threatening.
    Now therefore, men of Paris, show your ardor for the wars,
    Who erst won mighty glory in the service of great Mars.
    Set before you as examples each brave, heroic deed
    Of which in Sallust’s pages due record you may read;
    And count us German printers as adding to your store
    Of fighters, since this history will stir up many more.

The other allusion takes the form of sympathy with the sufferers from
Turkish oppression and invasion, and comes at the end of an edition of
the story of Attila, in a colophon which leads up to the statement that
the book was printed at Venice by showing how it was the fear caused by
Attila which brought about the foundation of the island city.

    Atila persecutore de la Christiana fede. Primamente vene verso
    aquilegia nel tempo de papa Leone e de odopio imperatore de li
    christiani. Laqual cita insembre con molte altre cita castelli
    e forteze nela fertile e bella Italia destrusse. Li habitatori
    de li dicti luoghi fugiendo la sua canina rabia ad modo che nel
    presente tempo, cioe del summo pontifice papa Innocentio, e di
    Federico imperatore e del Inclyto duce Augustino Barbadico in
    Venetia imperante neli anni del signore del M.cccc lxxxxi se
    fuge la crudele ed abhominabile persecutione del perfido cane
    turcho il qual come e ditto de sopra abandonando le lor dolce
    patrie perueneno a le prenominate isole: nelequale fu edificata
    la potentissima famosa e nobile cita de Venetia laqual Idio per
    la sua pieta mantenga felice e prospera e victoriosa per mare e
    per terra longo tempo.

    FINIS. Impressum Venetiis.

    Attila, the persecutor of the Christian faith, first came to
    Aquilegia in the time of Pope Leo and of Odopius, Emperor
    of the Christians. The which city, together with many other
    cities, castles, and strong places in fertile and beautiful
    Italy, he destroyed. The inhabitants of the said places fled
    from his dog-like rage just as in the present time (that
    is, the time of the most high pontiff Pope Innocent, and of
    the Emperor Frederick, and of the renowned doge Agostino
    Barbadico, holding rule in Venice, in the year of our Lord
    1491) people are flying the cruel and abominable persecution
    of the treacherous dog of a Turk. Abandoning their sweet
    fatherlands, as was said above, they came to the afore-named
    islands, in the which was built the most potent, famous, and
    noble city of Venice, the which for its piety may God long
    preserve in happiness and prosperity, victorious by sea and
    land. Finis. Printed at Venice.

Printers—though Pynson’s head was broken in a street riot, and Pierre
le Dru took part in a Paris brawl during his prentice days—have usually
been men of peace; but despite this and any care they may have taken in
avoiding the plague, they died like other men, and several colophons
record the death of the master craftsman while engaged on the work. We
have already seen the rather businesslike lamentation of Wendelin of
Speier for his brother John. In the edition of Boccaccio’s “Genealogiae
Deorum gentilium” printed at Reggio in 1481, Bartholomeus Bruschus (or
Bottonus) mourns rather more effusively for Laurentius:

    Dum tua, Boccacci, propriis Laurentius auget
      Sumptibus et reddit nomina clara magis,
    Hoc opus aere notans, tunc stirps bottona uirentem
      Et quem flet Regium mors inopina rapit.
    Post lachrymas tandem frater uirtutis amore
      Tam pulchrum exegit Bartholomeus opus.

    Impressum Regii anno salutis M.cccc.Lxxxi. pridie Nonas

    Boccaccio, while at his proper cost
      Lorenzo toiled your honor to increase,
    Printing this book, the Bruschian clan him lost;
      And Reggio, in his prime, mourns his decease.
    Tears dried, Bartolommeo undertook,
    With emulous love, to end his brother’s book.

    Printed at Reggio in the year of salvation 1481. October 4th.

But neither do these verses come anywhere near the simple pathos of the
colophon to the “Cronycles of the londe of England,” printed at Antwerp
in 1493, which records the death of the famous printer Gerard Leeu.

    Here ben endyd the Cronycles of the Reame of Englond, with
    their apperteignaunces. Enprentyd In the Duchye of Braband in
    the towne of Andewarpe In the yere of our Lord M.cccc.xciij. By
    maistir Gerard de leew a man of grete wysedom in all maner of
    kunnyng: whych nowe is come from lyfe unto the deth, which is
    grete harme for many of poure man. On whos sowle God almyghty
    for hys hygh grace haue mercy. Amen.

A man whose death is great harm for many a poor man must needs have been
a good master, and a king need want no finer epitaph, though the phrase
is full of the one thought which makes the prospect of death terrible.[5]
One rather wonders what the workmen of Plato de Benedictis had to say
about _him_ when he died; for, if the colophon to his edition of “Bononia
illustrata” (Bologna, 1494) was worded with his consent, he had a nasty
readiness to take all the credit to himself and leave all the blame for
his workmen.

    [Illustration: Bononia illustrata. Bologna: Plato de
    Benedictis, 1494.]

    Ad lectorem.

    Bononiae: anno salutis .M.cccc.lxxxx.iiii. Ex officina Platonis
    de Benedictis huiusce artis exactoris probatissimi Libellus
    quam pulcherrimis caractheribus impressus. In quo Origo,
    situsque Bononiae. Hinc uiri illustres: qui ingenio claruerint
    tam domestici quam externi. Templa quoque ac corpora sanctorum
    ibidem consepulta. Postmodum oppida, uicus, factiones: quae
    quondam hic uiguere. Gestaque Bononiensium sub breuitate
    contenta: una cum illustri Bentiuolorum genologia [_sic_]
    connumerantur. Si quid tamen in eo mendae et erroris insertum
    fuerit: non impressoris negligentia sed potius famulorum
    incuria pretermissum putes. Nam ille ingenio litteraturaque
    non mediocri dotatus: et tali exercitio inter caeteros
    excultissimus est.

    To the Reader. At Bologna: in the year of salvation 1494, from
    the workshop of Plato de Benedictis, a most skilled master of
    this art, a book printed with very beautiful types, in which
    the origin and position of Bologna, its illustrious men, both
    native and foreign, who have become famous for their ability,
    its temples also and the bodies of the saints there buried,
    moreover the towns, villages, and parties which formerly
    flourished here, and the exploits of the Bolognese, briefly set
    forth, together with the illustrious descent of the Bentivogli,
    are all enumerated. Should anything faulty or erroneous have
    been inserted in it, you must think it was overlooked, not by
    any neglect of the printer, but rather by the carelessness of
    his workmen. For he himself is endowed with exceptional ability
    and literary gifts, and in such practices is preëminent among
    the rest.

Better than this is the frank plea that misprints in a learned book
are very hard to avoid, put forward by Anima Mia at the end of a book
by Raphael Regius containing discussions on a letter of Pliny’s and on
passages in Persius and Quintilian:

    Si quid forte litterarum immutatione: transpositione:
    inuersione omissione offenderis studiose lector: id non ulli
    negligentiae sed correctionis difficultati ascribas: quoniam
    nihil verborum praetermissum esse depraehendis: rogat Gulielmus
    Tridinensis cognomento Anima Mia: cuius opera hoc opusculum
    Venetiis fuit descriptum. Principe Augustino Barbadico decimo
    Calendas Iunias. M.cccc.lxxxx.

    Studious reader, if by chance you find a stumbling-block in
    any alteration, transposal, inversion, or omission of letters,
    ascribe it not to any carelessness, but to the difficulty of
    correction, since you find that none of the words have been
    omitted. This is the prayer of Guglielmo of Tridino, called
    Anima Mia, by whose exertion this little work has been set
    forth at Venice, when Agostino Barbadico was doge, on May 23,

From the colophon of the Lecture of Antonius de Alexandro “super secundo
codicis Iustiniani,” printed at Naples by Sixtus Riessinger in 1473-74,
we learn, though only by mysterious hints, that at least some printers
had other enemies besides war and pestilence to contend against. This
colophon appears to have been written by the literary partner in the
firm, Francesco Tuppo, since no one but himself would have used the
Chinese humility of the phrase “inter trecentos studentes minimus.” From
the books which he took up, Tuppo must have been a man of some culture;
but his Latin, if we may judge by this colophon, was not his strong point.

    Finis huius utilissime lecture ordinarie codicis Iustiniani
    Almani In florenti studio Neapolitano impresse per
    expertissimum ac clarum Sixtum Riessinger Almanum, qui inter
    sua aduersa floret uiret atque claret Nec perfidos maliuolos ac
    uersutos existimat maiora perficiet [_sic_] ad gloriam eterni
    Dei et felicitatem Ferdinandi Regis patrie. Et licet non miniis
    apparet ornata Attamen claret decisionibus et singularibus
    iurium ciuilis et poli ut lector studendo doctissimus perfici
    poterit mendisque caret. Nam summis uigiliis et laboribus
    fideliter correcta est per Franciscum Tuppi Partenopensem
    tanti clarissimi utriusque iuris interpretis Antonii de
    Alexandro legum perule [_sic_][6] inter trecentos studentes
    minimus [_sic_]. Qui una cum fido sodali Sixto hanc preclaram
    et lucidam lecturam de propriis sumptibus sumpserunt [_sic_]
    Finieruntque xxi. die mensis Februarii Anni .M.cccc.lxxiiii.
    Feliciter. Amen.

    The end of this very useful ordinary exposition of the Codex
    of Justinian the German, printed in the flourishing University
    of Naples by the most expert and renowned Sixtus Riessinger,
    a German, who, amid his obstacles, flourishes, thrives, and
    wins renown, nor thinks that traitors, malignants, and shifty
    rogues will accomplish more for the glory of Eternal God and
    the welfare of the country of King Ferdinand. And although it
    appears unadorned by red printing, yet it is clearly set forth
    with decisions and single points of the civil and heavenly
    laws, so that a reader by studying it may be able to become
    very learned. Moreover, it is free from errors, for it has
    been faithfully corrected with the utmost watchfulness and
    toil by Francesco Tuppo of Naples, the least among the three
    hundred students of that so renowned interpreter of both codes,
    Antonius de Alexandro. He and his trusty partner, Sixtus, at
    their own cost have taken up this noble and lucid exposition
    and have brought it successfully to an end on the twenty-first
    day of February, 1474.

One would like to hear something more about the traitors, malignants, and
shifty rogues (perfidos, maliuolos ac versutos) against whom the colophon
declaims; but I have failed to discover any other references to them. The
phrase “cum fido sodali,” used of Tuppo’s relations to Riessinger, raises
the question as to whether any real partnership existed between them. In
the colophons to three other books their names appear conjointly; three
more of later date (1480-89), of which Riessinger appears to have been
the actual printer, are stated to have been printed by Tuppo. The point
is of some little interest as possibly throwing some light on the vext
question of who were the “fidelissimi Germani” who printed Tuppo’s Aesop
in 1485, and also in the same year the account of the process of King
Ferdinand against his rebellious nobles. As to this Mr. Proctor wavered
between the claims of Johann Tresser and Martin of Amsterdam on the one
hand, and “Matthias of Olmutz and his German workmen” on the other. (See
his Index, p. 450, and “CCC Notable Books,” pp. 107 _sq._) But Riessinger
also was a German, and from his relations both to Tuppo and to the king
(of whom he calls himself, in the “Super feudis” of Andreas de Ysernia
in 1477, the “devotus atque fidelis servus”) seems to have some claim
to consideration. The phrase “fidelissimi Germani” is in itself a very
curious one, as it leaves us wondering whether they were “fidelissimi”
in the abstract, or to one another, or to the king. If to one another,
we may find a parallel in the frequency with which John of Cologne and
Manthen of Gerretzem proclaim their loyalty to each other. Thus in their
first dated book, the Sallust of 23d March, 1474, we find them writing:

    Haec Crispi Sallustii opera quam optime emendata Venetiis fuere
    impressa, ductu et impensa Iohannis Colonie Agripinensis,
    necnon Iohannis Manthen de Gherretsem, qui una fideliter
    uiuunt. Anno a natali Christi M.cccc.lxxiiii. die xxiii Martii.

    These works of Crispus Sallustius, most excellently corrected,
    were printed at Venice under the guidance and at the expense of
    Johann of Köln and also of Johann Manthen of Gherretsem, who
    loyally live together. In the year from the birth of Christ
    1474, on the twenty-third day of March.

As another example we may take their Bartolus of 1476, where a phrase of
the same kind is followed by another of some interest:

    Finis partis prime Bartholi super ff. nouum que peroptime
    emendata Venetiis impressionem habuit impensis Iohannis de
    Colonia sociique eius Iohannis manthen de Gerretzem: qui
    vna fideliter degentes ipsius laboratores conduxerunt. Anno

    The end of the first part of Bartolus on the New Digest, which
    has been very excellently corrected and printed at Venice
    at the expense of John of Cologne and of his partner Johann
    Manthen of Gerretzheim, who, loyally living together, have
    hired the workmen engaged on it. In the year 1476.

While many publishers pure and simple took to themselves the credit of
being their own printers, these careful statements on the part of the
loyal partners, that their function has been that of superintendence
and finance (ductu et impensa), and as to the hiring of the workmen
(laboratores conduxerunt), are rather notable. When John of Cologne
joined with Jenson and others as publishers in employing Johann Herbort
of Seligenstadt to print for them, he still carried with him one of his
old phrases—witness this typical colophon from the “Super Decretis” of
Guido de Baysio, 1481:

    [Illustration: Guido de Baysio. Super Decretis. Venice: John of
    Cologne and Nicolas Jenson, 1481.]

    Exactum insigne hoc atque preclarum opus ductu auspitiis
    optimorum Iohannis de Colonia, Nicolai ienson sociorumue. Qui
    non tantum summam curam adhibuere ut sint hec et sua queque
    sine uicio et menda, verumetiam ut bene sint elaborata atque
    iucundissimo litterarum caractere confecta, ut unicuique
    prodesse possint et oblectare, more poetico, et prodesse uolunt
    et delectare poete. Huiusce autem operis artifex extitit
    summus in hac arte magister Ioannes de Selgenstat alemanus,
    qui sua solertia ac uigiliis diuoque imprimendi caractere
    facile supereminet omnes. Olympiadibus dominicis Anno uero
    millesimo.cccc.lxxxi. tertias nonas Apriles.

    This noble and distinguished work was finished under the
    guidance and auspices of the most excellent John of Cologne,
    Nicolas Jenson, and their partners, who have applied the
    greatest care not only that this and all their works might be
    free from fault and stain, but also that they might be well
    finished and set up in a most pleasant style of letter, for
    general profit and delight, according to the fashion of the
    poets, who desire both to profit and please. And of this work
    the craftsman is the distinguished master in this art, John of
    Seligenstadt, a German, who in his skill and watchfulness and
    in the divine character of his printing easily surpasses all.
    In the Olympiads of the Lord and the year 1481, on April 3d.

Herbort was fond both of the phrase about the Olympiads (which might be
more idiomatically translated by “in the Christian era”) and also of
his eulogy on himself, and several others of his colophons run on the
same lines. The pride which many of the early printers took in their
work was indeed immense. Of some of its manifestations we have already
had more than enough; but we may stop to note two colophons which show
that they sometimes expected their customers to recognize the origin of
a book by its types, though they can certainly never have anticipated
the scientific investigations of Mr. Proctor in this field. The first
of these is from Hain *10614, a Mandeville, of which I have never seen a

    Explicit Itinerarius a terra Anglie in partes Ierosolimitanas
    et in ulteriores transmarinas, editus primo in lingua gallicana
    a domino Iohanne de Mandeuille milite, suo auctore, Anno
    incarnacionis domini Mccclv. in ciuitate Leodiensi et paulo
    post in eadem ciuitate translatus in dictam formam latinam.
    Quod opus ubi inceptum simul et completum sit ipsa elementa,
    seu singularum seorsum caracteres litterarum quibus impressum,
    vides venetica, monstrant manifeste.

    Here ends the Itinerary from the land of England to the parts
    of Jerusalem and to those further off beyond the sea, published
    first in French by Sir John de Mandeville, Knight, its author,
    in the year of the incarnation of the Lord 1355, in the city
    of Liège, and shortly after in the same city translated into
    the said Latin form. And as to where this work has been both
    begun and completed, its very elements, the characters of the
    single letters with which it has been printed,—Venetian, as you
    see,—plainly tell its tale.

A good many literary mistakes, and the investigations needed to correct
them, would have been spared if this quite accurate statement of the
supremacy of the French Mandeville as compared with the Latin (and also
the English) had been generally accepted. What we are here concerned with
is the attention called to the fact that it is printed in the Venetian
letter. Of course, even before the invention of printing a school of
handwriting would have grown up at Venice sufficiently distinct for
experts to distinguish it; but this expectation that any buyer of the
book would recognize at once where it was printed is interesting, and
would be made much more so if a copy of the edition could be found and
the press identified. In our next colophon the printer expects his
capital letters to serve his readers instead of his name. This is from
the first Augsburg edition of the “Catholicon” of Joannes Balbus, about
the Mainz edition of which we have already had to speak. The Augsburg
colophon runs:

    Grammatice partes et vocum proprietates
    Verius inuenies hoc codice: si quoque queres
    Nomen qui libro scripturam impressit in illo,
    Tunc cito comperies per litterulas capitales:
    Hinc poteris certe cognomen noscere aperte.
    Ex Reutling Zainer hic dicitur esse magister,
    Recte presentis artis doctissimus ipsus.
    Vt pateat nomen libri qui dicitur esse,
    Sumptus de varijs autoribus atque poetis
    Katholicon, fertur quem collegisse Iohannes,
    Cui nomen patrium dat ianua, iuncta sit ensis.
    Hoc compleuit opus lux vltima mensis aprilis,
    Dum currunt anni nati factoris in orbem,
    Mille quadringenti, quis sexaginta nouemque
    Adijce. Vindelica finitur in vrbe serena,
    Quam schowenberg tenuit qui libro preludia dedit
    Titulo cardineus praeses vbique coruscus.
    Terminat sed diuus presul ex Werdemberg altus.
    Cum paulo secundo papa, imperante fridrico.
                  Deo Gratias.

    The parts of grammar and the proper meanings of vocables you
    will truly find in this codex. If you also ask his name who
    printed the text in the book, you will quickly discover it by
    the capital letters. Hence you will be able for certain to know
    openly his surname. He is called Zainer of Reutling, in truth a
    most learned master of the present art. To reveal the name of
    the book, as it is taken from various authors and poets it is
    called Catholicon, and it is said to have been compiled by the
    John whose place-name is given by _Janua_ with _Ensis_ joined
    to it. The last day of April completed the work, while fourteen
    hundred, to which you must add sixty-nine, years are running
    since the Creator was born into the world. It is finished in
    the town of the Wendels (Augusta Vindelicorum=Augsburg), where
    resided he who gave the book its prologue, Schowenberg, called
    Cardineus, a distinguished moderator; and it is finished by a
    divine president who comes from Werdenberg, Paul II being pope
    and Frederick emperor. Thanks be to God.

Not every one could be expected, even at a time when interest in the new
art must have been very keen, to identify the printer of a book from the
type or initials used in it; and, as has already been noted, the whole
reason for the existence of printers’ colophons was to identify the
master-craftsman with any book of which he was proud, and so to advertise
his firm. To make this advertisement more conspicuous many printers add
their device at the end of the colophon, and five or six of them call
special attention to this in their colophons, Peter Schoeffer leading the
way in this, as already noted. _Suis consignando scutis_ and _cujus arma
signantur_ are the phrases Schoeffer used (see Hain, 7885, 7999, 8006),
and Wenssler of Basel, who was often on the lookout to follow Schoeffer’s
leads, followed him also in this. The elaborate praise of his own work,
which we find in his 1477 edition of the Sixth Book of the Decretals by
Boniface VIII, is of a piece with this desire to hall-mark it as his own
by affixing his device:

    [Illustration: Boniface VIII. Decretals. Basel: M. Wenssler,

    Pressos sepe vides lector studiose libellos
    Quos etiam gaudes connumerare tuis.
    Si fuerint nitidi, tersi, si dogmata digna
    Contineant et sit litera vera bona.
    Dispeream nisi inuenias hec omnia in istis
    Quos pressit Wenszlers ingeniosa manus.
    Nam quecunque fuit hoc toto codice pressa
    Litera solicito lecta labore fuit.

    Insigne et celebratissimum opus Bonifacii octaui quod sextum
    decretalium appellant In preclarissima vrbe Basiliensi ingenio
    et arte Michaelis Wenszlers Impressum, glorioso fauente deo
    suis consignando scutis, feliciter est finitum Anno domini
    septuagesimo septimo post millesimum et quadringentesimum
    quarto ydus Decembris.

    Student, you oft must see a printed book
    And think how well upon your shelves ’twould look:
    The print of shining black, the page pulled clean,
    A worthy text, and misprints nowhere seen!
    Where Wenssler’s skilful hand the work has printed
    I’ll die for it if of these charms you’re stinted;
    For throughout all this book no single letter
    Has ’scaped his reader’s care to make it better.

    The notable and most celebrated work of Boniface VIII, which
    is called the Sixth of the Decretals, printed in the renowned
    city of Basel by the skill and art of Michael Wenssler, by the
    favor of the glorious God, marked with the printer’s shields,
    has come happily to an end, in the year of the Lord 1477, on
    December 12.

[Illustration: Fasciculus Temporum. Louvain: Veldener, 1476.]

[Illustration: Ioh. Faber. Breuiarium super codice. Louvain: John of
Westphalia, c. 1475.]

So, in 1475, Sensenschmidt and Frisner at Nuremberg issued their
Latin Bible “suis signis annotatis”; and at Cologne, in 1476, Conrad
Winters ends an edition of the “Fasciculus Temporum”: “Impressum per me
Conradum de Hoemberch meoque signeto signatum” (printed by me, Conrad
de Hoemberch, and signed with my signet); and in the same year we find
Veldener at Louvain using nearly the same phrase (proprio signeto
signata) in his edition of the “Fasciculus Temporum.”[7] As an amusing
variation on this we have the custom adopted by John and Conrad of
Westphalia, in some of the books they printed at Louvain, of placing
their own portraits after their colophons and referring to them as their
“solitum signum.” Thus in an edition of Laet’s “Pronosticationes euentuum
futurorum anni lxxvi” John of Westphalia writes in this very interesting

    Hec ego Ioannes de Paderborne in Westfalia, florentissima
    in uniuersitate Louaniensi residens, ut in manus uenerunt
    imprimere curaui: nonnullorum egregiorum uirorum desideriis
    obsecutus, qui prenominatum pronosticantem futura uere, inculto
    quamuis stilo, compluribus annis prenunciasse ferunt. Non
    reuera quo utilitatem magnam ipse consequerer (utilius enim
    opus eam ob rem suspendi) sed quo simul plurimorum comodis ac
    uoluptati pariter inseruiens, stilum meum nouum, quo posthac
    maiori et minori in uolumine uti propono, signi mei testimonio
    curiosis ac bonarum rerum studiosis palam facerem.

    These things have I, John of Paderborn in Westphalia, residing
    in the most flourishing University of Louvain, caused to be
    printed as they came to hand, following the desires of some
    noble gentlemen who say that the aforesaid prognosticator
    has in many years truly foretold future things, though in an
    uncultivated style. Of a truth my object was not to obtain
    any great advantage for myself (for I held over, on account
    of this, a more profitable work), but that, while at the same
    time serving alike the convenience and pleasure of many, I
    might make publicly known to the curious and connoisseurs my
    new style which hereafter, both in greater and smaller size, I
    propose to use as a witness of my sign.

Laet’s Prognostications were the Moore’s Almanacs of the fifteenth
century, and by putting his new device (which he used again about the
same time in the “Breviarium super codice” of Iohannes Faber) on such a
publication John of Westphalia secured a wide advertisement.

The arts of advertisement must assuredly have been needed by the early
printers when they came as strangers and aliens to a new town and began
issuing books at their own risk. Even with the help of Latin as a
universal language, and with the guidance of native patrons and scholars,
pushing their wares must have been a difficult matter. Sweynheym and
Pannartz at Rome tried to make their names known, and to express at the
same time their obligations to their patron, by a set of verses which
recur frequently in their books:

    [Illustration: S. Cyprian. Epistulae. Rome: Sweynheym and
    Pannartz, 1471 (and in many other of their books).]

    Aspicis illustris lector quicunque libellos
    Si cupis artificum nomina nosse lege.
    Aspera ridebis cognomina Teutona: forsan
    Mitiget ars musis inscia uerba uirum.
    Conradus Suueynheym Arnoldus pannartzque magistri
    Rome impresserunt talia multa simul.
    Petrus cum fratre Francisco Maximus ambo
    Huic operi aptatam contribuere domum.


    Illustrious reader, whoever you are, who see these books, if
    you would know the names of their craftsmen, read on. You will
    smile at the rough Teutonic surnames: perhaps this art the
    Muses knew not will soften them. Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold
    Pannartz have printed many such books together at Rome. Pietro
    da Massimi and his brother Francis have lent a house fitted[8]
    for the work.


Ulrich Han, another German printer at Rome, advertised himself in many
of his books in another set of verses, perhaps the only instance of a
colophon deliberately intended to raise a laugh, which recall the part
played by the Sacred Geese in defending the Capitol against the Gauls
(Galli), Gallus being also the Latinized form of Han’s name (Cock).

    [Illustration: Cicero. Orationes Philippicae. Rome: Ulrich Han
    [1470] (and in several other of Han’s books).]

    Anser Tarpeii custos Iouis: unde quod alis
      Constreperes: Gallus decidit: ultor adest.
    Udalricus Gallus, ne quem poscantur in usum
      Edocuit pennis nil opus esse tuis.
    Imprimit ille die quantum non scribitur anno
      Ingenio: haud noceas: omnia vincit homo.

    Bird of Tarpeian Jove, though died the Gaul
    ’Gainst whom thou flap’dst thy wings, see vengeance fall.
    Another Gallus comes and thy pen-feather
    Goes out of fashion, beaten altogether.
    For what a quill can write the whole year through,
    This in a day, and more, his press will do.
    So, Goose, give over: there’s no other plan;
    Own yourself beaten by all-conquering man.

In addition to their colophons, the printers, at least in Germany, used
many modern forms of advertisement. When he returned to Augsburg from
Venice, Ratdolt issued a splendid type-sheet with specimens of all his
different founts. Schoeffer, the Brothers of the Common Life, Koberger,
and other firms printed lists of their new books as broadsides, and
gave their travellers similar sheets in which purchasers were promised
“bonum venditorem” (a kindly seller), and a space was left for the name
of the inn at which he displayed his wares, to be filled in by hand. We
have all heard of Caxton’s advertisement of his Sarum Directory (most
indigestible of “Pies”) and its final prayer, “Please don’t tear down
the bill.” In 1474 Johann Müller of Königsberg (Iohannes Regiomontanus),
the mathematician-printer, issued what I take to be the first fully
developed publisher’s announcement, with a list of books “now ready”
(haec duo explicita sunt), “shortly” (haec duo opera iam prope absoluta
sunt), and those he hoped to undertake. Its last sentence is not strictly
a colophon, but I am sure that I shall be forgiven for quoting it.
“Postremo omnium,” it runs, “artem illam mirificam litterarum formatricem
monimentis stabilibus mandare decretum est (deus bone faueas) qua re
explicita si mox obdormierit opifex mors acerba non erit, quom tantum
munus posteris in haereditate reliquerit, quo ipsi se ab inopia librorum
perpetuo poterunt vindicare.”—“Lastly it has been determined to commit
to abiding monuments that wondrous art of putting letters together (God
of thy goodness be favorable!), and when this is done if the craftsman
presently fall asleep death will not be bitter, in the assurance that
he has left as a legacy to posterity this great gift by which they will
forever be able to free themselves from lack of books.” Shortly after
writing these words Müller was called to Rome by Sixtus IV to give his
help in reforming the calendar, but his foreboding was not unfulfilled,
for death came to him in 1476, only two years after this announcement was





The heading adopted for this chapter is not intended to imply that the
colophons here grouped together are separated by any hard line from those
already considered, only that they deal with the publishers’ side of
book-making, the praises by which the printers and publishers recommended
their wares, the financial help by which the issue of expensive and
slow-selling books was made possible, the growth of competition, and the
endeavors to secure artificially protected markets.

If colophons could be implicitly believed, the early printers would have
to be reckoned as the most devout and altruistic of men. As a matter of
fact, books of devotion and popular theology were probably the safest and
most profitable which they could take up. Yet we need not doubt that the
thought that they were engaged on a pious work, and so “accumulating
merit,” gave them genuine satisfaction, and that colophons like this of
Arnold therhoernen’s were prompted by real religious feeling:

    Ad laudem et gloriam individue trinitatis ac gloriose virginis
    marie et ad utilitatem ecclesie impressi ac consummati sunt
    sermones magistri alberti ordinis predicatorum in colonia per
    me Arnoldum therhurnen sub annis domini M.cccc. Lxxiiii ipso
    die gloriosi ac sancti profesti nativitatis domini nostri Iesu

    To the praise and glory of the undivided Trinity and of the
    glorious Virgin Mary, and to the profit of the church, the
    sermons of Master Albert of the order of Preachers were printed
    and finished in Cologne by me, Arnold therhoernen, in the year
    of our Lord 1474, on the very day of the glorious and holy
    vigil of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Examples of colophons in this vein could be multiplied almost
indefinitely. That appended by the Brothers of the Common Life, at their
convent of Hortus Viridis (Green Garden) at Rostock, to an edition of
the “Sermones de Tempore” of Johannes Herolt is much more distinctive.
Herolt’s name is duly recorded in editions printed at Reutlingen and
Nuremberg, but his work was usually quoted as the “Sermones Discipuli,”
and the good brothers begin by commenting on his modesty.

    Humilibus placent humilia. Huius gratia rei Doctor hic
    precellens supresso proprio nomini uocabulo Sermones hos
    prehabitos Discipuli prenotatosque alias maluit nuncupari.
    Quique tamen, ut luce clarius patet, de sub manibus euasit
    Doctor magistri. Huic applaudere, hunc efferre laudibus, hunc
    predicatum iri, miretur nemo, cum certissime constat inter
    modernos sermonistas eum in uulgi scientia tenere principatum.
    Huius igitur zeli cupientes fore consortes nos fratres
    presbiteri et clerici Viridis Horti in Rostock ad sanctum
    Michaelem, non uerbo sed scripto predicantes, virum hunc
    preclarum apud paucos in conclauis iactitantem foras eduximus
    Arte impressoria, artium omnium ecclesie sancte commodo
    magistra, in notitiam plurimorum ad laudem cunctipotentis Dei.
    Anno incarnationis Dominice M.cccc.Lxxvi. tercio Kalendas

    Humble courses please the humble. For which cause this eminent
    Doctor preferred to suppress his own name and have these
    Sermons, already delivered and set down elsewhere, announced
    as the Sermons of a Disciple. And yet he, as is clearer than
    day, has passed as a Doctor from the rule of his master. Let no
    one wonder that he should be applauded, that men should extol
    him with their praises, that he should be preached, since it
    is most assuredly true that among modern sermon-writers he,
    in knowledge of the people, holds the first place. Desiring,
    therefore, to be partners of this zeal, we, the brothers,
    priests, and clergy of Green Garden in Rostock attached to S.
    Michael, preaching not orally but from manuscript, have thought
    that this admirable book, which was lurking in the hands of a
    few in their cells, should be published abroad by the printing
    art, chief of all arts for the advantage of holy church, that
    it may become known to many, to the praise of Almighty God. In
    the year of the Lord’s incarnation 1476, on October 30th.

Of the dated editions of the Sermons this of Rostock is the earliest,
so that the claim of the brothers to have rescued it from neglect was
apparently justified. Their praise of printing as “chief of all arts for
the advantage of holy church” is very notable, though quite in accordance
with German feeling. In the sixteenth century the doctors of the Sorbonne
were much more doubtful on the subject. The brothers printed a few
secular works at Rostock, _e.g._ the Metamorphoses of Ovid and Guido
delle Colonne’s History of the Destruction of Troy. But the bulk of their
work was theological or devotional, and their desire to improve their
own sermons seems touchingly genuine and by no means commercial.

In the same year as the Rostock brothers printed the “Sermones
Discipuli,” Leonardus Achates of Basel issued at Vicenza a Latin Bible
to which was appended a lengthy colophon in praise of the study of the
Scriptures, almost the only eulogy of the kind with which I have met.

    [Illustration: Latin Bible. Vicenza: Leonardus Achates, 1476.]

    Lector quisquis es, si christiane sentis, te non pigeat hoc
    opus sanctissimum, que biblia inscribitur, magna cum animi
    voluptate degustare, degustandumque aliis persuadere: nuper
    impressum a Leonardo Basileensi magna cum diligentia. In
    eo enim fidei nostre fundamentum situm est: et christiane
    religionis decus ac radix. Ex eo tibi cognitionem rerum omnium
    in quibus salus nostra consistit legendo comparabis: quod eo
    libentius facere debes quo in tam felici seculo codex hic
    preciosissimus in lucem emendatissimus uenit, pontificatus
    uidelicet sanctissimi domini nostri pape domini Xisti [Sixti]
    quarti anno quinto, et imperii christianissimi Frederici
    tertii anno uigesimo sexto, et Andree Vendramini ducis inclyti
    uenetorum anno primo. MCCCCLXXVI sexto ydus maias.

    Reader, whoever you are, if you have Christian feelings let it
    not annoy you to acquaint yourself with great pleasure of mind
    with this most sacred work which is entitled the Bible, and
    to persuade others to acquaint themselves with it, as it has
    lately been printed by Leonard of Basel with great diligence.
    For in it is seated the foundation of our faith, and the glory
    and root of the Christian religion. From reading it you will
    provide yourself with knowledge of all the things in which our
    salvation consists, and you should do this the more willingly
    because this most precious manuscript has been published in
    a most correct form at so happy an epoch, in the fifth year
    namely of the pontificate of our most holy lord Pope Sixtus IV,
    the twenty-sixth of the imperial rule of the most Christian
    Frederick III, and the first of the noble doge of Venice Andrea
    Vendramini. May 10, 1476.

As a rule, the books chosen for praise were of less self-evident merit,
notably grammatical works by which a royal road was promised to the
mysteries of Latin. Thus an unidentified Strassburg printer (possibly
Husner, but known only as the “Printer of the 1493 Casus breues
Decretalium”) recommended his “Exercitium Puerorum Grammaticale” not only
to boys, but to friars, nuns, merchants, and every one else who needed
Latin, in these glowing terms:

    Finit tractatus secundus exercitii puerorum grammaticalis, in
    quo de regimine et constructione omnium dictionum secundum
    ordinem octo partium orationis processum est per regulas et
    questiunculas adeo lucidas faciles atque breues, doctissimorum
    virorum exemplis creberrimis roboratas, ut quisque sine
    preceptore eas discere, scire et intelligere possit. In quo si
    qui grammatici studiosi, cuiuscunque status fuerint, pueri,
    fratres, sorores, mercatores, ceterique seculares aut religiosi
    legerint, studuerint atque se oblectauerint, Finem grammatice
    ausim dicere breuissime sine magno labore consequentur.
    Impressum Argentine et finitus Anno &c M.cccc.xciiij.

    Here ends the second treatise of the boys’ grammatical
    exercise, in which a course is given on the government and
    construction of all phrases according to the order of the
    eight parts of speech, by rules and little questions so clear,
    easy, and short, and confirmed by very numerous examples from
    the works of most learned men, that any one without a teacher
    can learn, know, and understand them. If any grammatical
    students, of whatever rank they be, whether boys, friars, nuns,
    merchants, or any one else, secular or religious, have read,
    studied, and delighted themselves in this, I make bold to say
    that very shortly and without much labor they will quickly
    reach the end of grammar. Printed at Strassburg and finished in
    the year, &c., 1494.

So, again, Arnold Pannartz, one of the prototypographers at Rome, vaunted
the “De Elegantia Linguae Latinae” of Laurentius Valla as affording
diligent students (they are warned that they must bring care and zeal to
the task) a chance of making rapid progress.

    [Illustration: Laurentius Valla. Elegantiae. Rome: Arnold
    Pannartz, 1475.]

    Laurentii Vallae uiri eruditissimi et oratoris clarissimi de
    Elegantia linguae latinae Liber Sextus et ultimus diligenti
    emendatione finitus ab incarnatione domini anno M.CCCC.LXXV.
    die uero secunda mensis Iulii: sedente Sixto IIII Pon.
    Max. Anno eius quarto. Hos uero libros impressit Clarus ac
    diligentissimus artifex Arnoldus Pannartz, Natione Germanus,
    in domo nobilis uiri Petri de maximis, ciuis Romani. Tu qui
    Latine loqui cupis hos tibi eme libros, in quibus legendis si
    curam studiumque adhibueris, breui te haud parum profecisse

    The sixth and last book of Laurentius Valla, a man of the
    greatest learning and a most distinguished orator, on the
    Elegance of the Latin Tongue, after diligent correction, has
    been completed in the year from the Lord’s incarnation 1475,
    on July 2d, in the fourth year of the papacy of Sixtus IV. Now
    these books were printed by a distinguished and most diligent
    craftsman, Arnold Pannartz, a German, in the house of the
    noble Pietro dei Massimi, a Roman citizen. You who desire to
    speak Latin buy yourself these books, for in reading them, if
    you bring care and zeal to the task, in a short time you will
    understand that you have made no small progress.

Perhaps the eulogies of their own wares by publishers reaches its climax
in the praises by Paulus Johannis de Puzbach of his edition of the
“Expositio Problematum Aristotelis,” of which it is said that it will be
useful to every creature in the universal world, though with the wise
proviso that the said creature must use great diligence in its study
(cuius utilitas erit omni creature in universo orbe que apponet huic
operi studium summa cum diligentia).

Publishers who offered their readers a chance of buying books like
these naturally posed as public benefactors, and in the colophon to
a collection of the works of various illustrious men (Diui Athanasii
contra Arium, etc.) printed at Paris in 1500 the reader is informed
categorically that he owes four several debts of gratitude which
apparently no such trifling consideration as the price demanded for the
book could affect.

    Finis. Habes, lector candidissime, sex opuscula, etc. Reliquum
    est igitur vt iis qui hec peperere grati animi significationem
    feceritis. Atque adeo in primis prestantissimo viro domino
    Simoni Radin, qui hec situ victa in lucem edenda curauit.
    Deinde F. Cypriano Beneti: qui castigatrices manus apposuit.
    Tum iohanni paruo bibliopolarum optimo qui suo ere imprimenda
    tradidit. Nec minus M. Andree Bocard calcographo solertissimo
    qui tam terse atque ad amussim castigata compressit: Ad quartum
    Calendas Iulias. Anno Millesimoquingentesimo. Deo sit laus et

    Here you have, most honest reader, six works, etc. It remains,
    therefore, for you to make grateful acknowledgment to those
    who have produced them: in the first place to that eminent
    man Master Simon Radin, who saw to their being brought to
    light from the obscurity in which they were buried; next
    to F. Cyprian Beneti for his editorial care; then to Jean
    Petit, best of booksellers, who caused them to be printed
    at his expense; nor less than these to Andrieu Bocard, the
    skilful chalcographer, who printed them so elegantly and with
    scrupulous correctness, June 28, 1500. Praise and glory to God.

In this book, printed at the very end of the century in Paris, where the
book trade had for centuries been highly organized, it is natural to find
printer and publisher clearly separated, both being tradesmen working for
gain. The lines for such a distinction already existed in the days of
manuscripts, the scribes and the stationers belonging to quite separate
classes, though they might assume each other’s functions. In the earliest
days of printing the craftsmen were, as a rule, their own publishers; but
the system of patronage and the desire of well-to-do persons in various
ranks of society to get special books printed led to divers bargains and
agreements. We find the Earl of Arundel encouraging Caxton to proceed
with his translation of the “Golden Legend,” not only by the promise of a
buck in summer and a doe in winter by way of yearly fee, but by agreeing
to take “a reasonable quantity” of copies when the work was finished.
The “Mirrour of the World” was paid for by Hugh Brice, afterward Lord
Mayor of London. Whether William Pratt, who on his death-bed bade Caxton
publish the “Book of Good Manners,” or William Daubeney, Treasurer of the
King’s Jewels, who urged him to issue the “Charles the Great,” offered
any money help, we are not told. Caxton was probably a man of some wealth
when he began printing, and could doubtless afford to take his own risks;
but other printers were less fortunate, and references in colophons to
patrons, and to men of various ranks who gave commissions for books, are
sufficiently numerous. Thus at Pescia we find two brothers, Sebastian and
Raphael dei Orlandi, who subsidized works printed at two, if not three or
even four, different presses. Most of the books they helped to finance
were legal treatises, as for instance the Commentaries of Accoltus on
Acquiring Possession, printed by Franciscus and Laurentius de Cennis,

    Finiunt Commentaria singularia et admiranda super titulo de
    acquirenda possessione, quem titulum mirabiliter prefatus
    dominus Franciscus novissime commentatus est in studio Pisano,
    Anno Redentionis domini nostri Iesu cristi, M.cccc Lxxx. ultima
    Iulii. Impressa vero Piscie et ex proprio auctoris exemplari
    sumpta Anno M.cccc Lxxxvi. die Iovis. IIII. ianuarii. Impensis
    nobilium iuvenum Bastiani et Raphaelis fratres [_sic_] filiorum
    Ser Iacobi Gerardi de Orlandis de Piscia. Opera venerabilis
    religiosi Presbiteri Laurentii et Francisci Fratrum et filiorum
    Cennis Florentinorum ad gloriam omnipotentis Dei.

    Here end the singular and wonderful Commentaries on the title
    Of Acquiring Possession, which title the aforesaid Master
    Franciscus lately lectured on marvellously in the University of
    Pisa, in the year of the Redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ
    1480, on the last day of July. Printed at Pescia and taken
    from the author’s own copy, Thursday, January 4, 1486, at the
    charges of the noble youths the brothers Bastian and Raphael,
    sons of Ser Jacopo Gerardo dei Orlandi of Pescia, with the help
    of the venerable religious priest Lorenzo de Cennis and Francis
    his brother, Florentines, to the glory of Almighty God.

Another law-book was printed for them by the same firm also in 1486, and
three others in that year and in 1489 by firms not yet identified. But
their interests though mainly were not entirely legal, and in 1488, from
the press of Sigismund Rodt, there appeared an edition of Vegetius, in
the colophon to which their views on the physical degeneration question
of the day were very vigorously set forth.

    Non sunt passi diutius situ et squalore delitescere illustrem
    Vegetium De militari disciplina loquentem, uirum omni laude
    dignissimum, ingenui adolescentes Sebastianus et Raphael de
    Orlandis. Quem ob eam maxime causam imprimi curauerunt ut
    et antique uirtutis exemplo Italici iuuenes, longa desidia
    ignauiaque torpentes, tandem expergiscerentur: cum preter
    singularem de arte doctrinam ita in omni genere uirtutum
    consummatum iudicamus: ut non solum illius artis meditatione
    tyro optimus miles fiat, sed omnis etas solertior, omnis
    spiritus uigilantior omne denique humanum ingenium prestantius
    efficiatur. Piscie, iiii Nonas Aprilis. M. cccc.lxxxviii.
    Sigismondo Rodt de Bitsche operis architecto.

    The noble youths Sebastian and Raphael dei Orlandi have not
    suffered the illustrious Vegetius (a man most worthy of every
    praise), in his speech On Military Discipline, any longer to
    lurk in neglect and squalor. And especially for this cause they
    have concerned themselves that he should be printed, that the
    youths of Italy, drowsy with long sloth and cowardice, moved by
    the example of ancient virtue, might at length awake, since,
    besides his remarkable teaching on his art, we hold him so
    perfect in virtues of every kind, that not only by meditating
    on his art may a tyro become an excellent soldier, but that
    every age may be made more expert, every spirit more watchful,
    finally every human character more excellent. At Pescia, April
    2d, 1488, Sigismund Rodt being the architect of the work.

Between 1471 and 1474 Ulrich Han printed a dozen or more books at Rome
with Simon Chardella, a merchant of Lucca, whose help, if we may trust
the colophon to the Commentary of Antonio de Butrio on the Decretals, was
given from the purest philanthropy.

    Finis est huius secundi libri eximii ac celeberrimi utriusque
    iuris doctoris domini Anthonii de Butrio super primo
    decretalium in duobus voluminibus: quem quidem et nonnullos
    diuersorum electorumque librorum a domino Vdalrico Gallo almano
    feliciter impressos a prudenti equidem uiro Simone Nicholai
    chardella de lucha merchatore fide dignissimo: sua facultate
    cura diligentia amplexos: quia pauperum census diuitumque
    auariciam miseratus, ab egregiis uero uiris emendatos, in lucem
    reddidit anno salutis M.cccc.lxxiii. die xv nouembris III anno
    pontificatus Sixti IV.

    Here ends this second book of the distinguished and most
    renowned doctor of both laws, Master Antonio de Butrio, on the
    first of the Decretals, in two volumes. And this and some of
    the divers selected books successfully printed by Master Ulrich
    Han, a German, have been financed and diligently supervised,
    in his compassion for the means of the poor and the avarice of
    the rich, by the prudent Simone di Niccolo Chardella of Lucca,
    a merchant of the highest credit; corrected by noble scholars
    and published in the year of salvation 1473, on November 15th,
    in the third year of the pontificate of Sixtus IV.

Single books, of course, were financed by people of many classes and
ranks, from kings, princesses, and archbishops down to the Spanish
bell-ringer who paid for a Lerida Breviary, as its colophon very
explicitly sets forth.

    Breuiarii opus secundum Illerdensis ecclesie consuetudinem
    ex noua regula editum clareque emendatum per dominum
    Laurentium Fornes, virum doctum, eiusdem ecclesie presbiterum
    succentoremque, prehabita tamen ab egregio Decano ceterisque
    Canonicis eiusdem ecclesie licentia, Anthonius Palares
    campanarum eiusdem ecclesie pulsator propriis expensis fieri
    fecit. Impressitque venerabilis magister Henricus Botel de
    Saxonia alamanus, vir eruditus, qui huic clarissimo operi in
    urbe Illerde xvi Augusti anno incarnationis dominice millesimo
    quadringentesimo lxxixº finem fecit. Amen.

    A Breviary according to the use of the church of Lerida, edited
    in accordance with the new rule and clearly corrected by Master
    Lourenço Fornes, a man of learning, priest and sub-cantor of
    the said church, with allowance previously obtained from the
    illustrious Dean and the rest of the Canons, published at his
    own cost by Antonio Palares the bell-ringer. Printed by the
    venerable master Heinrich Botel, a German of Saxony, an erudite
    man, who brought this glorious work to an end in the town of
    Lerida on August 16th, in the year of the Lord’s incarnation
    1479. Amen.

We might have imagined that, a bell-ringer being sometimes equivalent
to a sacristan, and the sacristan being often responsible for the
choir-books, the commission to print this Breviary was given by Palares
only in the name of the chapter. We are, however, so distinctly informed
that he caused the book to be printed “propriis expensis” (at his own
cost), that no such explanation is tenable, and we must imagine either
that the bell-ringer was actuated by very creditable motives, or else
that he saw his way to dispose of the books. On either view of the case,
this bell-ringer’s edition may, perhaps, rank for strangeness with that
of the poems of Gasparo Visconti, printed to the number of a thousand
copies by Franciscus Corniger, a Milanese poet, to whom he presumably
stood in the relation of a patron.

    [Illustration: Gasparo Visconti. Rithmi. Milan: Ant. Zarotus,

    Ne elegantissimi operis lepos mellifluus temporis edacis
    iniuria tibi, lector optime, aliquando periret, aut
    illustrissimi auctoris inclyta memoria aeuo obliteraretur,
    ne etiam posteritas, hac delectatione defraudata, cupidineis
    lusibus careret, Franciscus Tantius Corniger, poeta
    Mediolanensis, hos rithmos Gasparis Vicecomitis lingua
    uernacula compositos, quanquam inuito domino, in mille exempla
    imprimi iussit, Mediolani anno a salutifero Virginis partu
    M.cccc.lxxxxiii. Quarto Calendas Martias. Finis.

    Lest to your loss, excellent reader, the honeyed grace of a
    most elegant book should some day perish by the wrongs of
    devouring time, or the noble memory of the most illustrious
    author be blotted out by age, lest also posterity, defrauded
    of their pleasure, should lack amorous toys, Franciscus
    Tantius Corniger, a Milanese poet, ordered these Rhythms
    of Gasparo Visconti, written in the vernacular tongue, to
    be printed, against their master’s will, in an edition of
    a thousand copies, at Milan, in the year from the Virgin’s
    salvation-bringing delivery 1493, on February 26th. Finis.

No doubt Gasparo Visconti duly repaid the admiration thus shown for his
poems; but though the admiring friend or patron was not without his uses
in the fifteenth century, and even now is occasionally indispensable,
when all is said and done the success of a book depends on the reception
it meets from an unbiased public, and it is to the public, therefore,
that its appeal must finally be made. Colophons recognize this in
different ways—sometimes, as we have seen, by praising the book,
sometimes by drawing attention to its cheapness, very often by the care
with which they give the exact address of the publisher at whose shop
it can be bought. Vérard’s colophons are particularly notable in this
respect. What could be more precise than the oft-repeated directions
which we may quote from his edition of “Le Journal Spirituel” because of
the careful arrangement of its lines?

    [Illustration: Journal Spirituel. Paris: Vérard, 1505.]

             Cy finist le Journal spirituel Imprime a paris
                  pour honnorable homme Anthoine Verard
                 bourgoys marchant et libraire demorant
                      a paris deuant la Rue neufue
                       notre dame a lymage sainct
                           Jehan leuangeliste
                       ou au palais deuant la cha-
                  pelle ou lon chante la messe de mes-
                 seigneurs les presidentz. Lan mil cinq
               cens et cinq le seziesme iour de decembre.

            Here ends the Spiritual Journal printed at Paris
                   for an estimable man Antoine Vérard
              burgess, shopkeeper, and bookseller dwelling
                     at Paris before the New Street
                    of Our Lady at the image of Saint
                           John the Evangelist
                    or at the palace before the cha-
               pel where is chanted the Mass of the Lords
                Presidents. In the year one thousand five
            hundred and five, the sixteenth day of December.

Occasionally a verse colophon would be employed to tempt a purchaser to
come to the publisher’s shop, as in the case of the French translation of
the “Ship of Fools” by Jodocus Badius from the German of Sebastian Brant,
printed by Geoffroy de Marnef in 1497. This ends:

    Hommes mortels qui desirez sauoir
    Comment on peut en ce monde bien vivre
    Et mal laisser: approchez, venez veoir
    Et visiter ce present joyeux livre.
    A tous estats bonne doctrine il livre
    Notant les maux et vices des mondains.
    Venez y tous et ne faictes dedains
    Du dit livre nomme Des Fols la Nef
    Si vous voulez vous en trouuerez maints
    Au Pellican cheux Geoffroy de Marnef.

    Mortal men who fain would know
    How well to live in this world below,
    And evil quit: come hither, see,
    And with this book acquainted be.
    To each estate good rede it gives,
    Notes all the evils in men’s lives.
    Come hither, all, and think no shame
    Of this said book, which has to name
        The Ship of Fools.
    You’ll find good store if in you’ll drop
    At honest Geoffroy Marnef’s shop,
        Where the Pelican rules.

As to advertisements of cheapness, in addition to instances already
incidentally noted we may take as our example another colophon partly
in verse—that to the edition of the “Liber cibalis et medicinalis
pandectarum” of Matthaeus Silvaticus printed at Naples by Arnold of
Brussels in 1474.

    Explicit liber Pandectarum quem Angelus Cato Supinas de
    Beneuento philosophus et medicus magna cum diligentia et
    emendate imprimendum curauit, et in clarissima et nobilissima
    atque praestantissima dulcissimaque ciuitate Neapoli, regum,
    ducum, procerumque matre, prima Aprilis M.cccc.Lxxiiii. Idcirco
    excelso deo gratias agamus.

    Noscere qui causas et certa uocabula rerum
      Et medicas artes per breue queris iter,
    Me lege: nec multo mercaberis: Angelus en me
      Sic et diuitibus pauperibusque parat.
    Cui tantum me nunc fas est debere, Salernum,
      Urbs debet quantum, patria terra, mihi.

    Here ends the book of the Pandects which Angelus Cato Supinas
    of Benevento, a philosopher and physician, has procured to
    be printed, with great diligence and correctly, in the most
    illustrious, most noble, most excellent, and most delightful
    city of Naples, mother of kings, dukes, and nobles, April 1,
    1474. For which cause let us give thanks to God on high.

    Who’d quickly learn each ill to diagnose,
    The terms of art and all a doctor knows,
    Let him read me, nor will the cost be great,
    My Angel editor asks no monstrous rate.
    To whom, Salernum, I as great thanks owe
    As thou upon thy offspring canst bestow.

No doubt in this instance the book was much obliged to its editor for
his care in revising it, and the great medical school of Salerno might
justly be expected to be grateful for the publication of an important
medical work: the trouble of the situation was that there were so many of
these not wholly disinterested benefactors in the field at the same time.
Editions, it is true, were mostly small, owing to the slowness of the
presswork; and, no doubt, each several printer reckoned that he had all
literary Europe for his market. But when Rome was vying with Venice, and
the rest of Italy with both, and almost every important press was turning
out classical editions, the market quickly became overstocked, and great
printers like Wendelin of Speier at Venice and Sweynheym and Pannartz at
Rome found that they had burnt their fingers. Hence a commercial motive
reinforced that natural self-esteem which still causes every editor to
assume that his method of crossing a _t_ or dotting an _i_ gives his
edition a manifest superiority over every other. In the next chapter we
shall see how editors persistently depreciated their predecessors; but
we may note here how, even when he had Chardella to help his finances,
Ulrich Han could not help girding at rival firms. Thus in his edition of
the Decretals of Gregory IX he bids his readers buy his own text with a
light heart and reckon its rivals at a straw’s value.

    Finiunt decretales correctissime: impresse alma urbe Roma
    totius mundi regina per egregios uiros magistrum Udalricum
    Gallum Alamanum et Symonem Nicolai de Luca: cum glosis
    ordinariis Bernardi Parmensis et additionibus suis: que paucis
    in libris habentur: summa diligentia et impresse ac correcte.
    Quas, emptor, securo animo eme. Talia siquidem in hoc uolumine
    reperies ut merito alias impressiones faciliter floccipendes.
    Anno domini M.cccc.Lxxiiii. die xx mensis Septembris,
    Pontificatus uero Sixti diuina prouidentia Pape quarti anno

    Here end the Decretals, most correctly printed in the bounteous
    city of Rome, queen of the whole world, by those excellent
    men Master Ulrich Han, a German, and Simon di Niccolo of
    Lucca: with the ordinary glosses of Bernard of Parma and
    his additions, which are found in few copies; both printed
    and corrected with the greatest diligence. Purchase these,
    book-buyer, with a light heart, for you will find such
    excellence in this volume that you will be right in easily
    reckoning other editions as worth no more than a straw. In the
    year of our Lord 1474, September 20, in the fourth year of the
    Pontificate of Sixtus IV, by divine providence Pope.

If Han relied on the superiority of his work to defeat his rivals, other
publishers preferred to have the advantage of coming earlier to market,
and we find Stephanus Corallus, at Parma, actually apologizing with a
very vivid metaphor for misprints in his edition of the “Achilleis”
of Statius on the ground that he had rushed it through the press to
forestall rivals. Of course, the rivals were envious and malevolent,—that
might be taken for granted,—but the assumption that a purchaser was to
acquiesce in bad work in order that Corallus might hurry his book out
quickly only for his own profit was merely impudent.

    [Illustration: Statius. Achilleis. Parma: Steph. Corallus,

    Si quas, optime lector, hoc in opere lituras inueneris nasum
    ponito; nam Stephanus Corallus Lugdunensis inuidorum quorundam
    maliuolentia lacessitus, qui idem imprimere tentarunt, citius
    quam asparagi coquantur id absoluit, ac summo studio emendatum
    literarum studiosis legendum tradidit Parme M.cccc.lxxiii. x
    Cal. April.

    Should you find any blots in this work, excellent reader, lay
    scorn aside; for Stephanus Corallus of Lyons, provoked by
    the ill will of certain envious folk who tried to print the
    same book, finished it more quickly than asparagus is cooked,
    corrected it with the utmost zeal, and published it, for
    students of literature to read, at Parma, March 23, 1473.

When publishers were as ready as this to forestall each other, a cry
for some kind of regulation of the industry was sure to be raised, and
at Venice, the greatest book-mart in the world, regulation came in
the form of the privilege and spread thence to various countries of
Europe. I do not at all agree with the opinion which Mr. Gordon Duff
has expressed so strongly, that the power of freely importing books
given by Richard III was by any means an unmixed blessing, or that its
revocation by Henry VIII fifty years later had disastrous effects on
English printing. Printing started late in England and was handicapped by
the impoverishment wrought by the Wars of the Roses. The facility with
which all learned books were supplied from abroad quickened the growth
of English learning, but restricted the English printers to printing
and reprinting a few vernacular books of some literary pretensions and
an endless stream of works of popular devotion and catch-penny trifles.
Neither Oxford nor Cambridge could support a permanent printer, and
English scholars were obliged to have their books printed abroad.
Nevertheless, free trade, however hardly it might press on a backward
industry, was infinitely better than the privilege system, which was
altogether haphazard and liable to gross abuse. For the story of its
introduction and development at Venice, the reader must be referred to
Mr. Horatio Brown’s “The Venetian Printing Press” (Nimmo, 1891), a book
which leaves a good deal to be desired on its purely typographical side,
but which is quite admirable as regards the regulation of the industry.
Our concern here is only with the privileges in so far as they make
their appearance in colophons. The earliest colophon in which I have
found allusion to them is six years later than the first grant which Mr.
Brown records, that to Marc’ Antonio Sabellico in September, 1486, for
his “Decades rerum Venetarum,” printed by Andrea de Torresani in 1487
(Hain *14053). By 1492 the system must have been in full swing, as is
shown by this colophon to the “Liber Regalis” of Albohazen Haly, printed
by Bernardinus Ricius:

    Impressum Venetiis die 25 Septembris, 1492, opera Bernardini
    Ricii de Nouaria, impensa vero excellentissimi artium et
    medicine doctoris domini magistri Ioannis dominici de Nigro,
    qui obtinuit ex speciali gratia ab illustrissimo ducali
    dominio Venetorum Quod nemini, quicumque fuerit, liceat tam
    Venetiis quam in universa ditione Veneto dominio subiecta,
    imprimere seu imprimi facere hunc librum, aut alibi impressum
    in predicta ditione vendere, per X annos, sub pena immediate et
    irremissibilis omnium librorum, et librarum quinquaginta pro
    quolibet volumine. Que quidem pena applicetur recuperationi
    Montis Noui.

    Printed at Venice on September 25, 1492, by the pains of
    Bernardinus Ricius of Novara, at the expense of the most
    excellent doctor of arts and medicine, Master Giovanni
    Dominico di Nigro, who obtained, by special grace, from the
    most illustrious dogal government of the Venetians that no
    one soever should be allowed, either at Venice or in the
    entire dominion subject to the Venetian government, himself to
    print this book or cause it to be printed, or to sell in the
    aforesaid dominion a copy printed elsewhere, for ten years,
    under the penalty of the immediate and irremissible forfeiture
    of all the books, and a fine of fifty lire for any volume, the
    penalty to be applied to the restoration of the Monte Novo.

The three points as to the duration of the privilege, the amount of the
fine, and the charity to which it was to be applied are here stated
quite plainly, but many publishers preferred to leave the amount of the
penalty mysterious by substituting a reference to the grace itself, as
for instance is the case in the edition of Hugo de S. Caro’s “Postilla
super Psalterium,” printed by the brothers Gregorii in 1496.

    Et sic est finis huius utilis et suauis postille super totum
    psalterium. Impressa autem fuit Venetiis per Iohannem et
    Gregorium de Gregoriis fratres, impensis Stefani et Bernardini
    de Nallis fratrum, suasu reuerendissimi patris et predicatoris
    egregii fratris Dominici Ponzoni. Habita tamen gratia ab
    excelso Venetorum dominio ne quis per decennium primum
    imprimere possit aut imprimi facere seu alibi impressam vendere
    per totum dominium &c. sub penis &c. prout in ipsa gratia
    plenius continetur. Completa uero fuit die 12 Nouembris, 1496.

    Thus ends this useful and delightful lecture on the whole
    Psalter. And it was printed at Venice by the brothers Giovanni
    and Gregorio dei Gregorii, at the expense of the brothers
    Stefano and Bernardino dei Nalli, on the persuasion of the
    most reverend father and preacher, the noble brother Dominico
    Ponzoni. Grace was granted by the exalted government of the
    Venetians that no one for the first ten years should print it,
    or cause it to be printed, or sell a copy printed elsewhere,
    throughout the whole dominion, &c., under penalty, &c., as is
    more fully contained in the grace itself. And it was finished
    on November 12, 1496.

The Gregorii followed the same course, in their 1498 edition of S.
Jerome’s Commentary on the Bible, a work (rather condescendingly praised
by the printers) which it is amazing to find on the privileged list at

    Habes itaque, studiosissime lector, Ioannis et Graegorii de
    Gregoriis fretus officio, ea nouiter impraessa commentaria:
    Vnde totius ueteris et noui testamenti ueritatem rectumque
    sensum quam facillime appraehendere possis: quae si tuae
    omnino bibliotecae ascripseris magnam consequeris uoluptatem,
    maioresque in dies fructus suscipies. Venetiis per praefatos
    fratres Ioannem et Gregorium de Gregoriis, Anno domini 1498,
    die 25 Augusti. Cum priuilegio quod nullus citra decem annos ea
    imprimere ualeat nec alibi impressa in terras excellentissimo
    uenetorum dominio subditas uenalia afferre possit sub poenis in
    ipso contentis.

    Thus you have, most studious reader, thanks to the good offices
    of Giovanni and Gregorio dei Gregorii, these commentaries
    newly printed, whence you can very easily apprehend the truth
    and right meaning of all the Old and New Testament, and by
    adding these to your library you will obtain a great pleasure
    and receive daily greater profit. At Venice by the aforesaid
    brothers Giovanni and Gregorio dei Gregorii. With a privilege
    that no one within ten years may print them or bring for sale
    copies printed elsewhere into territories subject to the most
    excellent government of the Venetians, under the penalties
    therein contained.

The instances we have quoted so far are of references in colophons to
privileges granted to the printer-publishers. They were granted also
(as in the case of Sabellico) to authors, and from his translation of
Seneca’s plays we learn that Evangelio Fossa obtained from the Senate
protection for all his writings.

    Finisse la nona Tragedia di Senecha ditta Agamemnone in uulgare
    composta per el uenerabile Frate Euangelista Fossa da Cremona.
    Impressa in Venesia per Maestro piero bergamascho a le spese de
    zuan antonio de Monsera. Nel anno M.cccc.lxxxxvii. adi xxviii
    zenaro. El Venerabile Frate Euangelista Fossa compositore de la
    presente opera a Impetrado gratia che nesuno possa imprimere
    ne far imprimere opera chel compona hic per anni x. poi che la
    hara data fora, sotto pena da ducati x. per ogni uolume come
    apare nella gratia. Amen.

    Here ends the ninth Tragedy of Seneca, called Agamemnon,
    composed in the vulgar tongue by the venerable Brother
    Evangelista Fossa of Cremona. Printed in Venice by Master Piero
    Bergamascho at the expense of Juan Antonio of Monsera. In the
    year 1497 on the twenty-eighth day of January. The venerable
    Brother Evangelista Fossa, the composer of the present work,
    has obtained a grace that no one may print or cause to be
    printed a work of his composition for ten years after his
    publication of it, under penalty of ten ducats for every
    volume, as appears in the grace. Amen.

Privileges were obtainable not only by publishers in Venice itself, but
also by those in the towns under Venetian rule, and the two following
examples are taken respectively from a Quadragesimale printed by Angelus
Britannicus at Brescia in 1497, and a Martianus Capella printed by
Henricus de Sancto Urso at Vicenza in 1499.

    Explicit quadragesimale quod dicitur lima vitiorum. Diuino huic
    operi Angelus Britannicus ciuis Brixianus optimo fauente deo:
    eiusque genetrice Maria: finem optatum imposuit: cuius fidem
    solertiamque principes veneti charipendentes: ne quis alius
    opus ipsum infra sex annos imprimat: aut impressum vendat in
    ditione sua: preter ipsius angeli nutum: Senatusconsulto pena
    promulgata cauerunt: anno domini M.cccc.lxxxxvii. die xviii

    Here ends the Quadragesimal which is called the File of Vices.
    To this divine work by the favor of God the Most High, and
    of his Mother Mary, the desired end has been put by Angelo
    Britannico, a citizen of Brescia, whose loyalty and skill the
    Venetian princes held so dear that by a decree of the Senate
    and by the promulgation of a penalty they gave warning that
    no one else should print this work within six years, or sell
    it, if printed elsewhere, in their dominion, against the will
    of the said Angelo. In the year of the Lord 1497, on the
    eighteenth day of April.

    Martiani Capellae Liber finit: Impressus Vicentiae Anno Salutis
    M.cccc.xcix. xvii Kalendas Ianuarias per Henricum de Sancto
    Vrso. Cum gratia et priuilegio decem annorum: ne imprimatur
    neque cum commentariis: neque sine: & cetera: quae in ipso
    priuilegio continentur. Laus deo & beatae Virgini.

    Here ends the book of Martianus Capella, printed at Vicenza in
    the year of salvation 1499, on December 16th, by Henricus de
    Sancto Urso. With a grace and privilege for ten years, that it
    be not printed either with commentaries or without, and the
    other particulars which are contained in the privilege itself.
    Praise be to God and the Blessed Virgin.

As publishers went on applying for these privileges, it is to be
presumed that they found them profitable; but they were certainly
sometimes contravened, and the fines do not appear to have been enforced.
Nevertheless they soon spread beyond the Venetian dominions. Thus in
1496, for instance, we find Scinzenzeler obtaining one at Milan, and
warning other booksellers, with effusive friendliness, not to incur these
dreadful penalties by ignorant piracy.

    Famosissimi iureconsulti Francisci Curtii ex proprio
    exemplari exceptum Consiliorum volumen primum per Iohannem
    Vinzalium Turrianum summa cum diligentia reuisum, ac
    Ulderici Scinzenzeler artificio operoso impressum Mediolani
    M.cccc.lxxxxvi die xx Decembris.

    Ne in penam non paruam imprudenter incurras, O bibliopola
    au[i]dissime, scias obtentum esse ab Illustrissimo et
    Sapientissimo Mediolani principe rescriptum ne Curtiana
    Consilia ad decimum usque annum, aut imprimi possint, aut
    alibi impressa importari venalia in eius districtum sub poena
    indignationis Caesaree et eris in eo contenta. Itaque ne
    ignarus erres te admonitum esse voluit Iohannes Vinzalius.

    [Illustration: Franciscus Curtius. Consilia. Milan: U.
    Scinzenzeler, 1496.]

    The first volume of the Opinions of the most famous jurist
    Franciscus Curtius, taken from his own copy, revised with the
    greatest diligence by Giovanni Vinzalio Turriano, and by the
    busy skill of Ulrich Scinzenzeler printed at Milan on December
    20, 1496. To save you from rashly incurring no small penalty,
    most greedy bookseller, you are to know that a decree has
    been obtained from the most illustrious and most wise prince
    of Milan, that until the tenth year from now no copies of the
    Opinions of Curtius may be printed, or if printed elsewhere
    may be imported for sale into his district, under the penalty
    of his royal indignation and a fine, as there expressed.
    Therefore, lest you should err in ignorance, Giovanni Vinzalio
    wished you to be informed.

Without attempting to follow the subject of Privileges all over Europe,
it may be worth while to note a few other instances of them in different
countries. Thus they begin to make their appearance in Vérard’s colophons
at Paris in 1508, the earliest I can find set forth in Mr. Macfarlane’s
Bibliography being that in the “Epistres Saint Pol” of 17th January of
that year, called 1507 because of the Paris custom of reckoning from
Easter. This reads:

    Ce present liure a este acheue dimprimer par ledit Verard le
    xviiᵉ iour de ianuier mil cinq cens et sept. Et a le roy nostre
    sire donne audit Verard lectres de priuilege et terme de trois
    ans pour vendre et distribuer ledit pour soy rembourser des
    fraiz et mises par luy faictes. Et deffend le roy nostredit
    seigneur a tous inprimeurs libraires et autres du royaulme de
    france de non imprimer ledit liure de trois ans sur paine de
    confiscation desditz liures.

    This present book has been finished printing by the said Vérard
    the 17th day of January, 1507. And the king our master has
    given to the said Vérard letters of privilege and a term of
    three years to sell and distribute the said book to recoup
    himself for the costs and charges he has been at. And the king
    our said lord forbids all printers, booksellers, and others of
    the kingdom of France to print the said book under pain of the
    confiscation of the copies.

From this date onwards an allusion to a privilege is found in most
of Vérard’s books, but it will be noted that its term is the very
moderate one of three years. In England, in the earliest instance I have
noted,—Pynson’s edition of the Oration of Richard Pace in 1518,—it is
shorter still. The colophon here reads:

    Impressa Londini anno verbi incarnati M.D.xviii. idibus
    Nouembris per Richardum Pynson regium impressorem, cum
    priuilegio a rege indulto, ne quis hanc orationem intra
    biennium in regno Angliae imprimat aut alibi impressam et
    importatam in eodem regno Angliae vendat.

    Printed at London in the year of the Incarnate Word 1518, on
    November 13th, by Richard Pynson, the royal printer, with a
    privilege granted by the king that no one is to print this
    speech within two years in the kingdom of England, or to sell
    it, if printed elsewhere and imported, in the same kingdom of

Herbert notes of this book, “this is the first dated book, wholly in the
Roman or white letter, that I have seen of his [Pynson’s] printing, or
indeed printed in England.” The foreign custom of privileges seems to
have made its appearance with the foreign type.

In Spain the duration of the earliest privilege I have found (in an
edition of the “Capitulos de governadores” printed in June, 1500, with
the types of Pegnitzer and Herbst of Seville) is the same as in those
granted to Vérard in France, and the benevolent Spanish government
accompanies it by a stipulation as to the price to be charged to

    Por quanto maestre Garcia de la Torre librero vezino de Toledo
    & Alonso Lorenço librero vezino de Seuilla se obligaron de dar
    los dichos capitulos a precio de xvi [_sic_] mrs: manda su
    alteza & los del su muy alto consejo que ninguno no sea osado
    de los empremir ni vender en todos sus reynos & señorios desde
    el dia dela fecha destos capitulos fasta tres años primeros
    siguientes sin licencia d’los dichos maestre Garcia de la Torre
    & Alonso Lorenço libreros: so pena que el que los emprimiere
    [o] vendiere sin su licencia pague diez mill marauedis para la
    camara de sus altezas.

    Forasmuch as Master Garcia de la Torre, bookseller, of Toledo,
    and Alonso Lorenço, bookseller, of Seville, bind themselves to
    offer the said Ordinances at the price of sixteen maravedis,
    His Highness, with those of his illustrious Council, commands
    that no one presume to print nor to sell copies in all his
    kingdoms and dominions from the day of the ratification of the
    said Ordinances for the first three years following, without
    the license of the said Master Garcia de la Torre and Alonso
    Lorenço, booksellers, under penalty that the unlicensed printer
    or vendor shall pay ten thousand maravedis for the Chamber of
    their Highnesses.

In Germany, on the other hand, the longer period favored in Italy seems
to have been adopted. Here the earliest privileges I have come across are
those granted to the Sodalitas Celtica of Nuremberg—_i.e._, to Conrad
Celtes and his partners or friends—for printing books in which he was
interested. In the first of these privileges—that for the Comedies of
the nun Hroswitha—the period for which it held good is not specified;[9]
but in that granted to Celtes in the following year for his own “Quatuor
Libri Amorum” it is distinctly stated, “ut nullus haec in decem annis in
Imperii urbibus imprimat”; _i.e._, that under the terms of the privilege
no one might print the book in any town of the Empire for ten years.

The instances of privileges here quoted may not be the very earliest in
their several countries, but they at least show how quickly the demand
for this form of protection spread from one country of Europe to another.
It seems to me a little remarkable that while publishers were at the
pains to obtain such legal monopolies (which presumably cost money),
and advertised all the other attractions of their books so freely, they
should have said so little about the illustrations which often form so
pleasant a feature in the editions of this period. In the colophon, as on
the title-page, of the “Meditationes” of Cardinal Turrecremata printed by
Ulrich Han at Rome we are informed where the woodcuts were copied from:

    Contemplaciones deuotissime per reuerendissimum dominum dominum
    Iohannem de Turrecremata cardinalem quondam Sancti Sixti edite,
    atque in parietibus circuitus Marie Minerue nedum litterarum
    caracteribus verum eciam ymaginum figuris ornatissime descripte
    atque depicte, feliciter finiunt Anno salutis M.cccc.lxxii.
    die uero uigesima quarta mensis decembris sedente Sixto quarta
    [_sic_] pontifice magno, etc.

    The most devout contemplations published by the most reverend
    lord, Lord Johannes de Turrecremata, formerly cardinal of S.
    Sixtus, and in the walls of the cloisters of S. Maria Minerva
    not only in words and letters but also in pictorial figures
    set forth and painted, come to a happy end, in the year of
    Salvation 1472, on December 24th, in the pontificate of Sixtus

So again the colophon[10] of the Verona Valturius notes not only that
John of Verona was the first printer in his native town, but also that
the book appeared with most elegant types “et figuratis signis,” by which
we must understand the pictorial representations of the numerous military
engines he describes. In some of the French Horae the illustrations
are just alluded to in the titles or colophons, and in Meidenbach’s
“Ortus Sanitatis” there is a fairly long reference, in the Address to
the Reader, to the “effigies et figuras” with which the book is so
successfully adorned. But the only colophon which really does justice
to the illustrations of a fifteenth-century book is that to Hartmann
Schedel’s “Liber Chronicarum,” or “Nuremberg Chronicle.”

    [A]Dest nunc studiose lector finis libri Cronicarum per viam
    epithomatis et breuiarii compilati, opus quidem preclarum
    et a doctissimo quoque comparandum. Continet enim gesta
    quecunque digniora sunt notatu ab initio mundi ad hanc usque
    temporis nostri calamitatem. Castigatumque a uiris doctissimis
    ut magis elaboratum in lucem prodiret. Ad intuitum autem
    et preces prouidorum ciuium Sebaldi Schreyer et Sebastiani
    Kamermaister hunc librum dominus Anthonius Koberger Nuremberge
    impressit. Adhibitis tamen uiris mathematicis pingendique arte
    peritissimis, Michaele Wolgemut et Wilhelmo Pleydenwurff,
    quorum solerti acuratissimaque animaduersione tum ciuitatum
    tum illustrium uirorum figure inserte sunt. Consummatum autem
    duodecima mensis Iulii. Anno salutis nostre 1493.

    You have here, studious reader, the end of the book of
    Chronicles, compiled by way of an epitome and abridgment, a
    notable work indeed, and one to be bought by every learned man.
    For it records all the matters specially worthy of note from
    the beginning of the world to these last distressful times of
    our own. And it has been corrected by very learned men, that
    it may make a more finished appearance. Now at the respect
    and prayers of those prudent citizens, Sebald Schreyer and
    Sebastian Kamermaister, this book has been printed by Master
    Anton Koberger at Nuremberg, with the assistance, nevertheless,
    of mathematical men, well skilled in the art of painting,
    Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, by whose skilful and
    most accurate annotation the pictures both of cities and of
    illustrious men have been inserted. It has been brought to an
    end on July 12th. In the year of our salvation 1493.

Out of all the hundreds of fifteenth-century books with interesting
pictures, this is the only one I can call to mind which gives explicit
information as to its illustrations. Perhaps the publishers thought
that the woodcuts were themselves more conspicuous in the books than
the colophons. But it is certainly strange that when authors, editors,
press-correctors, printers, patrons, and booksellers all get their due,
the illustrators, save in this one instance, should have been kept in
anonymous obscurity.





Booksellers are a much more learned body than they used to be, but
few readers of second-hand catalogues can have failed to meet with
ascriptions of dates for the printing of books long anterior to the
invention of the art, on the ground of colophons which they know at once
to have been written by the authors. Where only a few years separate
the dates of composition and publication the mistake is easily made
and not always easily detected. The retention of the author’s original
colophon is, however, common enough for cataloguers to be prepared for
it; and there are plenty of cases in which a book possesses two quite
distinct colophons, the first by the author, the second by the printer or
publisher. Thus, to take a simple example from a famous book, we find at
the end of the text of the “Hypnerotomachia” the author’s colophon:

    Taruisii cum decorissimis Poliae amore lorulis distineretur
    misellus Poliphilus. M.cccc.lxvii. Kalendis Maii.

    At Treviso, while the wretched Polifilo was confined by love of
    Polia with glittering nets. May 1, 1467.

That of the printer is thirty-two years later:

    Venetiis mense Decembri M I D in aedibus Aldi Manutii,

    At Venice, in the month of December, 1499, in the house of Aldo
    Manuzio, with very great accuracy.

A more interesting instance of a double colophon occurs in an equally
famous book, the “Morte d’Arthur” of Sir Thomas Malory. In this Malory

    Here is the end of the booke of Kyng Arthur and of his noble
    Knyghtes of the Round Table, that when they were hole togyders
    there was euer an C and xl, and here is the ende of the deth
    of Arthur. I praye you all Ientyl men and Ientyl wymmen that
    redeth this book of Arthur and his knyghtes from the begynnyng
    to the endyng, praye for me whyle I am on lyue that God sende
    me good delyuerance, and whan I am deed I praye you all praye
    for my soule. For this book was ended the ix yere of the reygne
    of Kyng Edward the fourth, by Syr Thomas Maleore Knyght. As
    Ihesu helpe hym for hys grete myght, as he is the seruaunt of
    Ihesu bothe day and nyght.

This colophon was written between Malory’s outlawry in 1468 and his death
on March 14, 1471, and its request for the reader’s prayers for his
“delyuerance” and for the repose of his soul after death is made all the
more pathetic when we remember the author’s declaration that by sickness
“al welthe is birafte” from a prisoner (Book ix, ch. 37). Caxton’s
preface as editor, printer, and publisher, on the other hand, is purely
businesslike, and gives us no more information about the author.

    ¶ Thus endyth thys noble and joyous book entytled Le Morte
    D’Arthur. Notwythstondyng it treateth of the byrth, lyf and
    actes of the sayd Kyng Arthur, of his noble knyghtes of the
    Rounde Table, theyr meruayllous enquestes and aduentures,
    thacheuyng of the Sangreal, & in thende the dolorous deth &
    departyng out of thys world of them al. Whiche book was reduced
    into englysshe by Syr Thomas Malory Knyght as afore is sayd,
    and by me deuyded in to xxi bookes, chapytred and enprynted,
    and fynysshed in thabbey westmestre the last day of Iuyl the
    yere of our Lord Mcccclxxxv.

    ¶ Caxton me fieri fecit.

Despite outlawry, sickness, and probably imprisonment, Malory finished
his book. In the troublous days of the fifteenth century war and
disease must often have proved sad interruptions to authors, and in his
“Repetitio de verborum significatione” (Hain 11679) Georgius Natta is
evidently as proud of having triumphed over these hindrances as of his
official position. Thus he writes:

    Reliquum est Deo summo gratias agere quo auctor huic operi,
    iam bis armis et pestilentia Pisis intermisso, Georgius Natta,
    iuris utriusque doctor, ciuis Astensis ac illustrissimi et
    excellentissimi Marchionis Montisferrati consiliarius, multis
    additis et priori ordine in aliquibus mutato, extremam manum
    imposuit anno dominice natiuitatis Millesimo.cccc.lxxxii,
    quo tempore pro memorabili Guilielmo Montisferrati Marchione
    ac ducali capitaneo generali Mediolani oratorem agebat apud
    illustrissimum Io. Galeam Mariam Sfortiam uicecomitem Ducem
    sextum, Ludouico patruo mira integritate gubernante, quippe
    qui Mediolanensium res iam tunc adeo gnauiter ampliabat et
    oranti Italie pacem adeo largiter elargiebatur ut nec superior
    etas optabiliorem habuerit nec nostra uiderit prestantiorem.
    Profecto mira res quod diuinus ille preses Marti pariter et
    Minerue satisfaceret.

    Impressum Papie per Christoforum de Canibus Anno a natiuitate
    domini. M.cccc.lxxxxii. die xv septembris.

    [Illustration: Georgius Natta. Repetitiones. Pavia: C. de
    Canibus, 1492.]

    It remains to give thanks to the Most High God, by whose grace
    the author, Georgius Natta, doctor of both laws, a citizen of
    Asti and councillor of the most illustrious and most excellent
    Marquis of Monferrat, to this work, which had been twice
    interrupted by war and plague at Pisa, with many additions and
    some changes in the former arrangement, put the finishing touch
    in the year of the Lord’s nativity 1482, at which time, on
    behalf of the memorable Guglielmo, Marquis of Monferrat, and
    ducal captain-general, he was acting as ambassador at Milan, at
    the court of the most illustrious Viscount Giovanni Galea Maria
    Sforza, sixth duke, whose uncle Lodovico was governing with
    wondrous uprightness, inasmuch as he was already so skilfully
    enlarging the fortunes of the Milanese, and so liberally
    imparting peace to Italy which craved it, that neither did any
    earlier age present a more enviable person nor did our own
    behold one of greater excellence. Wonderful indeed was it that
    that heroic ruler gave their due alike to Mars and to Minerva.

    Printed at Pavia by Cristoforo degli Cani in the year from the
    Lord’s nativity 1492, on the fifteenth day of September.

Less contented with his lot, Henricus Bruno, in his lectures “Super
Institutionibus” published at Louvain, after writing the formal colophon
takes up his pen anew to give eloquent expression to the woes of the
professional man who devotes his leisure not to rest but to literature.

    Ad laudem et honorem summi ac omnipotentis deique marie matris
    sue intacte Explicit Henricus de piro super Institutionibus Per
    Egidium van der Heerstraten in alma Louaniensi uniuersitate
    Impressus duodecima die Nouembris. Nouissime domini et fratres
    dilectissimi reminiscite queso ac tacite in animis vestris
    cogitate quantis laboribus quantisque capitis vexationibus
    Ego Henricus Brunonis alias de Piro de Colonia inter legum
    dectores [_sic_] minimus hoc opusculum ex scriptis aliorum pro
    vestris beniuolenciis atque augmentatione huius nouelli studii
    Louaniensis expleuerim Qui singulis diebus post lectionem
    fftorum mihi a publico deputatam in continenti hoc opus quasi
    intollerabili onere assumpsi. Quare fratres humanissimi si
    quicquid erroris vel dignum correctionis inueneritis oro, rogo
    atque obtestor vestros immortales animos vt illud benigne non
    mordaciter, caritatis zelo non liuoris aculeo, corrigendum ac
    emendandum curetis. Ad laudem summi dei qui viuit et regnat in
    secula benedictus. Amen.

    [Illustration: Henricus Bruno. Super Institutionibus. Louvain:
    Aeg. van der Heerstraten [1488?].]

    To the praise and honor of the Most High and Almighty God
    and of Mary his Virgin Mother there comes to an end Henricus
    de Piro on the Institutions, printed by Egidius van der
    Heerstraten in the bounteous University of Louvain, on the
    twelfth day of November. Lastly, masters and most beloved
    brothers, remember, I pray you, and silently in your minds
    consider with how great toils and how great harassments of the
    head I, Henricus, the son of Bruno, otherwise Henricus de Piro
    of Cologne, the least among the doctors and readers of the law,
    have completed this little work out of the writings of other
    men for your profiting and for the advancement of this new
    university of Louvain. Now I, day by day, after lecturing on
    the Pandects according to the terms of my public appointment,
    forthwith took up this work, though intolerably burdensome.
    Wherefore, my most courteous brethren, if you find any trace
    of error or anything worthy of correction, I request, pray,
    and entreat you, by your immortal souls, that you see to its
    correction and amendment in a kindly rather than a biting
    spirit, with the zeal of love rather than the spur of envy. To
    the praise of the Most High God, who lives and reigns, blessed
    to all ages. Amen.

Even as late as 1580 an author, a musician this time, used the colophon
to pour out the griefs of which nowadays we disburden ourselves in
prefaces. It is thus that, in his “Cantiones seu Harmoniae sacrae quas
vulgo Moteta vocant,” Johann von Cleve took advantage of the tradition of
the colophon to bespeak the sympathy of students and amateurs of music
for his troubles in bringing out his book:

    Sub calce operis, Musicae studiosos & amatores admonere, operae
    pretium visum est hoc Motetorum opus, primo Philippo Vlhardo,
    ciui et Typographo Augustano, ad imprimendum esse delegatum,
    qui ob aduersam corporis valetudinem (vt fieri solet) aequo
    morosior, saepe nostram intentionem non est assecutus, meque
    opus ipsum, praetermissis quibusdam mutetis (quae tamen breui,
    vita comite & Deo fauente, in lucem prodibunt) abbreuiare
    coegit, praesertim cum idem Typographus, opere nondum finito,
    diem suum clauserit extremum: ac deinceps idem opus Andreae
    Reinheckel, ad finem deducendum, sit commissum. Quare si quid,
    quod curiosum turbare posset occurrerit, Musici (oro) animam
    ferunt aequiore. Valete. Anno Domini M.D.lxxx. Mense Ianuario.

    As I come to the end of my task it seems worth while to
    inform students and amateurs of music that this collection
    of Motets was in the first place entrusted to Philip Ulhard,
    citizen and printer of Augsburg, to be printed, and that he
    (as often happens), being made unreasonably capricious by
    bodily ill-health, often did not carry out our intention, and
    compelled me, by leaving out some motets (which, however,
    if life bears me company and God helps, will shortly be
    published), to abridge the work, and more especially as the
    same printer, when the work was not yet finished, came to an
    end of his days, and thereupon the said work was entrusted to
    Andreas Reinheckel to be completed, if anything, therefore,
    is found which might disturb a connoisseur, I pray musicians
    to bear it with equanimity. Farewell. In the year of the Lord
    1580, in the month of January.

An earlier author, Bonetus de Latis, when he came to the end of his
“Annulus astronomicus siue de utilitate astrologiae” (Rome, Andreas
Freitag, c. 1496; Hain 9926), dedicated to the Pope, had no complaints
to make of his printer or of working after office hours, but used the
colophon to ask for lenient criticism of any flaws in his Jewish Latin.

    Hec sunt, Beatissime Pater, Anuli astronomici puncta peregregia
    una mecum ad S. tue pedes humillime oblata que positis
    superciliis hilari uultu, ut spes fovet, recipias. Nec mirum
    si grammatice methas qui hebreus sum latinitatis expers
    nonnunquam excesserim. Nolens utile per inutile viciari malui
    S. T. rosulas uili quam urticas loliumue in preciosa offerre
    sportula: ut que ad S. T. totiusque reipublice commodum
    omniumque rerum Opificis laudem utilia comperta sunt ob
    connexiones verborum enormes non obmitterentur, summa verum
    auctoritate tua interposita a cunctis patule agnoscerentur.

    Parce precor rudibus que sunt errata latine:
      Lex hebraea mihi est: lingua latina minus.

    These notable points of the Astronomical Ring are most humbly
    offered, most blessed Father, together with myself, at the feet
    of your Holiness. May you lay aside all disdain and receive
    them, as hope encourages, with a joyful countenance. Nor is it
    any wonder if a Hebrew such as I am, with no scholarship in
    Latin, should sometimes have overstepped the bounds of grammar.
    In my unwillingness that the useful should be made of no
    effect by the useless, I preferred to offer to your Holiness
    rosebuds in a cheap basket rather than nettles or tares in a
    precious one, so that such useful discoveries as have been made
    for the advantage of your Holiness and of the whole state,
    and to the praise of the Artificer of all things, should not
    be passed over on account of unusual collocations of words,
    but by the interposition of your authority should be plainly
    recognized by all.

    Be lenient, you who find some Latin flaw:
    Not Latin I profess, but Hebrew law.

Jacobus Bergomensis, when he finishes his “Supplementum Chronicarum,” can
boast proudly of promises performed, and gives not only the dates of its
completion and printing, but his own age.

    Hic igitur terminum ponam Supplementi historiarum: quam [_sic_]
    me promisi cum omni veritate traditurum. Nisus autem sum sine
    errore successiones regum principum et actus eorum: ac virorum
    in disciplinis excellentium et origines religionum: sicut ex
    libris hystoricorum descriptio continet. Hoc enim in exordio
    huius operis me facere compromisi. Perfectum autem per me opus
    fuit anno salutis nostre 1483. 3º Kalendas Iulii in ciuitate
    Bergomi: mihi vero a natiuitate quadragesimo nono. Impressum
    autem hoc opus in inclita Venetiarum ciuitate: per Bernardinum
    de Benaliis bergomensem eodem anno. die 23º Augusti.

    Here, then, I will make an end of the Supplement of Histories,
    which I promised that I would relate with all truth. Now I have
    tried to set down without mistake the successions of kings and
    princes, and the activities of them and of the men who excelled
    in studies, and the origins of religions as they are embraced
    in the description taken from the books of the historians. For
    in the introduction of this work I pledged myself to do this.
    The work has been finished by me in the year of our salvation
    1483, on June 29th, in the city of Bergamo, and as regards
    myself in the forty-ninth year from my birth. Now this book was
    printed in the renowned city of Venice by Bernardino dei Benali
    of Bergamo on August 23d of the same year.

When the “Supplementum Chronicarum” was reprinted in 1485-86, Bergomensis
duly altered his statement as to his age to fifty-one and fifty-two. In
the 1490 edition the author’s colophon still reads:

    Perfectum autem est et denuo castigatum atque auctum per
    me opus fuit Idibus Octobris: anno a Natali Christiano
    M.cccc.lxxxvi, in ciuitate nostra Bergomi: mihi vero a
    natiuitate quinquagesimo secundo.

That of the printer, on the other hand, is duly brought up to date:

    Impressum autem Venetiis per Bernardum Rizum de Nouaria anno
    a Natiuitate domini M.cccc.lxxxx. die decimo quinto Madii,
    regnante inclito duce Augustino Barbadico.

It is thus evident that with this and later editions Bergomensis, though
he lived to be eighty-six, did not concern himself.

An author’s colophon must often have been omitted by the scribe or
printer who was copying his book precisely because a double colophon
seemed confusing, and the scribe or printer wished to have his own
say. Nicolaus de Auximo in his Supplement to the Summa of Pisanella
ingeniously forestalled any such tampering by linking his remarks to his
exposition of the word “Zelus,” the last which he had to explain. After
quoting from the Psalms the text “Zelus domus tue comedit me,” “The zeal
of thy house has eaten me up,” he proceeds:

    et hic zelus me fratrem Nicolaum de Ausmo, ordinis minorum
    indignum pro aliquali simpliciorum subsidio ad huius
    supplementi compilationem quod struente domino nostro Iesu
    Cristo, excepta tabula capitulorum et abbreuiaturarum et
    rubricarum expletum est apud nostrum locum prope Mediolanum
    sancte Marie de Angelis nuncupatum, et uulgariter Sancti
    Angeli, M.cccc.xliiii, nouembris xxviii, die Sabbati ante
    aduentum, hora quasi sexta. Et omnia quae in eo ac ceteris
    opusculis per me compilatis compilandisue incaute seu minus
    perite posita continentur peritiorum et praesertim sacrosancte
    ecclesie submitto correctioni, et cetera.

    And this zeal hath urged me, Nicholas of Osimo, an unworthy
    brother of the order of Friars Minor, to the compilation, for
    some aid of more simple men, of this Supplement, which by the
    power of our Lord Jesus Christ, save for the table of chapters
    and abbreviations and rubrics, has been completed at our abode
    near Milan, called Saint Mary of the Angels, and vulgarly Sant
    Angelo, in 1444, on November 28, the Saturday before Advent,
    at about the sixth hour. And both in it and in the other works
    which either have been or are to be compiled by me, all things
    which are found stated incautiously or unskilfully I submit to
    the correction of the better skilled and especially of the Holy
    Church, etc.

The submission of a book, more particularly a theological one, to the
correction of the learned and the church was of course “common form”
while the Roman dominion was undisputed, and many colophons containing
such phrases could be collected. We must pass on now, however, from
authors to editors, taking William Caxton, by the way, as an editor and
translator who put so much of himself into his work that he deserves
honorary rank among authors. That he was his own printer and publisher
as well has certainly rather hindered the appreciation of his literary
merits, but gives to his colophons, prologues, and epilogues a special
flavor of their own. As to which of these opportunities of talking to his
readers he should use, Caxton seems to have cared little; but even if we
confine ourselves fairly strictly to colophons properly so called, there
is no difficulty in finding interesting examples, as, for instance, this
from his “Godefroy of Boloyne”:

    Thus endeth this book Intitled the laste siege and conqueste
    of Iherusalem with many other historyes therin comprysed,
    Fyrst of Eracles and of the meseases of the cristen men in the
    holy lande, And of their releef & conquest of Iherusalem, and
    how Godeffroy of Boloyne was fyrst kyng of the latyns in that
    royamme, & of his deth, translated & reduced out of frensshe in
    to Englysshe by me symple persone Wylliam Caxton to thende that
    euery cristen man may be the better encoraged tenterprise warre
    for the defense of Christendom, and to recouer the sayd Cyte of
    Iherusalem in whiche oure blessyd sauyour Ihesu Criste suffred
    deth for al mankynde, and roose fro deth to lyf, And fro the
    same holy londe ascended in to heuen. And also that Cristen
    peple one vnyed in a veray peas myght empryse to goo theder in
    pylgremage with strong honde for to expelle the sarasyns and
    turkes out of the same, that our lord myght be ther seruyd &
    worshipped of his chosen cristen peple in that holy & blessed
    londe in which he was Incarnate and blissyd it with the
    presence of his blessyd body whyles he was here in erthe emonge
    vs, by whiche conquest we myght deserue after this present
    short and transitorye lyf the celestial lyf to dwelle in heuen
    eternally in ioye without ende Amen. Which book I presente
    vnto the mooste Cristen kynge, kynge Edward the fourth, humbly
    besechyng his hyenes to take no displesyr at me so presumyng.
    Whiche book I began in Marche the xii daye and fynysshyd the
    vii day of Juyn, the yere of our lord M.cccc.lxxxi, & the xxi
    yere of the regne of our sayd souerayn lord kyng Edward the
    fourth, & in this maner sette in forme and enprynted the xx day
    of nouembre the yere a forsayd in thabbay of Westmester, by the
    said Wylliam Caxton.

Here, it will have been noticed, Caxton runs epilogue, colophon, and
dedication all into one after his own happy and unpretentious fashion.
Our next example is from a book which had indeed a royal patron in
France, but in England was brought out at the request of an unnamed
London merchant, though its name, “The Royal Book,” has probably had
something to do with its high pecuniary value among Caxton’s productions.
This colophon runs:

    This book was compyled and made atte requeste of Kyng Phelyp of
    Fraunce, in the yere of thyncarnacyon of our lord M.cc.lxxix,
    and translated or reduced out of frensshe in to englysshe by
    me Wyllyam Caxton, atte requeste of a worshipful marchaunt
    and mercer of London, whyche instauntly requyred me to reduce
    it for the wele of alle them that shal rede or here it, as
    for a specyal book to knowe al vyces and braunches of them,
    and also al vertues by whiche wel vnderstonden and seen may
    dyrecte a persone to euerlastyng blysse, whyche book is callyd
    in frensshe le liure Royal, that is to say the ryal book, or
    a book for a kyng. For the holy scrypture calleth euery man
    a kyng whiche wysely and parfytly can gouerne and dyrecte
    hymselfe after vertu, and this book sheweth and enseygneth it
    so subtylly, so shortly, so perceuyngly and so parfyghtly that
    for the short comprehencion of the noble clergye and of the
    right grete substaunce which is comprysed therin It may and
    ought to be called wel by ryghte and quycke reason aboue al
    other bookes in frensshe or in englysshe, the book ryal or the
    book for a kyng, and also bycause that it was made and ordeyned
    atte request of that ryght noble kyng Phelyp le bele kynge of
    Fraunce ought it to be called Ryall, as tofore is sayd, whiche
    translacyon or reducyng oute of frensshe in to englysshe was
    achyeued, fynysshed and accomplysshed the xiii day of Septembre
    in the yere of thyncarnacyon of our lord M.cccc.lxxxiiii And in
    the second yere of the Regne of Kyng Rychard the thyrd.

Our third Caxton colophon belongs to another book which had no royal or
princely patron, only Master William Daubeney, keeper of the jewels.
There are certainly, however, no lack of kings in the colophon to
“Charles the Great”; for Caxton, who had good reason to be attached to
the House of York, alludes very ceremoniously to “his late master Edward
IV,” while chronology compels him to name also both Richard III and Henry
VII, though in neither case does he bestow any complimentary epithets.

    And by cause I Wylliam Caxton was desyred & requyred by a good
    and synguler frende of myn, Maister Wylliam Daubeney, one of
    the tresorers of the Iewellys of the noble & moost crysten kyng
    our naturel and souerayn lord late of noble memorye kyng Edward
    the fourth, on whos soule Ihesu haue mercy, to reduce al these
    sayd hystoryes in to our englysshe tongue, I haue put me in
    deuoyr to translate thys sayd book as ye here tofore may se, al
    a long and playn, prayeng alle them that shall rede see or here
    it to pardon me of thys symple & rude translacyon and reducyng,
    bysechyng theym that shal fynde faute to correcte it, & in so
    doyng they shal deserue thankynges and I shal praye god for
    them, who brynge them and me after this short and transytorye
    lyf to euerlastyng blysse Amen. The whyche werke was fynysshed
    in the reducyng of hit in to englysshe the xviii day of Iuyn
    the second yere of kyng Rychard the thyrd, And the yere of our
    lord M.cccc.lxxxv. And enprynted the fyrst day of decembre
    the same yere of our lord & the fyrst yere of kyng Harry the

    Explicit per William Caxton.

The double dating which the worthy translator and printer gives so calmly
has here a special interest as (unless indeed he began setting up the
translation before it was finished) it shows that he was able to print a
book of considerable size between June 18th and December 1st, and also
because between these two dates Bosworth Field was lost and won, and the
English throne had passed to a new king, on whom Caxton was perhaps
at first inclined to look with rather critical eyes. If this was so,
however, Henry VII found a sure way to conciliate him, for in the “Fayts
of Arms” of Christine de Pisan we find that the translation and printing
of the book were undertaken at the king’s request, and there is now no
lack of honorific epithets attached to the mention of him.

    Thus endeth this boke whiche Cristyne of Pyse made and drewe
    out of the boke named Vegecius de Re Militari and out of th’
    Arbre of Bataylles wyth many other thynges sett in to the
    same requisite to werre and batailles. Whiche boke beyng in
    Frenshe was delyuered to me William Caxton by the most crysten
    kynge and redoubted prynce my natural and souerayn lord kyng
    Henry the VII, kyng of Englond and of Fraunce in his palais
    of Westmestre the xxiii day of Ianyuere the iiii yere of his
    regne and desired and wylled me to translate this said boke and
    reduce it in to our English and natural tonge, and to put it
    in enprynte to thende that euery gentylman born to armes and
    all manere men of werre, captayns, souldiours, vytayllers and
    all other, shold haue knowlege how they ought to behaue theym
    in the fayttes of warre and of bataylles, and so delyuered me
    the said book thenne, my lord th’ Erle of Oxenford awayting on
    his said grace, Whyche volume conteynyng four bokes I receyued
    of his said grace and according to his desire, whiche to me I
    repute a comandement, and verili glad to obeye, and after the
    lityl connyng that God hath lente me I haue endeuoyrd me to the
    vtterest of my power to fulfylle and accomplisshe his desire
    and comaundement, as wel to reduce it in to englyshe as to put
    it in enprinte, to thende that it may come to the sight and
    knowlege of euery gentylman and man of warre. And for certayn
    in myn oppinyon it is as necessary a boke and as requisite as
    ony may be for euery estate hye and lowe that entende to the
    fayttes of werre, whether it be in bataylles, sieges, rescowse,
    and all other fayttes, subtyltees and remedyes for meschieues.
    Whiche translacyon was finysshed the viii day of Iuyll the
    sayd yere and enprynted the xiiii day of Iuyll next folowyng
    and ful fynyshyd. Thenne syth I haue obeyed his most dredeful
    comaundement I humbly byseche his most exellent and bounteuous
    hyenes to pardone me of this symple and rude translacion, where
    in be no curyous ne gaye termes of rethoryk, but I hope to
    almighti God that it shal be entendyble and vnderstanden to
    euery man and also that it shal not moche varye in sentence
    fro the copye receyued of my said souerayn lord. And where as
    I haue erryd or made defaulte I beseche them that fynde suche
    to correcte it and so dooyng I shal praye for them, and yf
    ther be ony thyng therin to his pleasir I am glad and thinke
    my labour wel enployed for to haue the name to be one of the
    litel seruantes to the hiest and most cristen kyng and prince
    of the world, whom I byseche almyghty God to preserue kepe and
    contynue in his noble and most redoubted enterpryses, as wel in
    Bretayn, Flaundres and other placis, that he may haue victorie,
    honour and renommee to his perpetual glorye. For I haue not
    herd ne redde that ony prynce hath subdued his subgettis with
    lasse hurte &c and also holpen his neighbours and frendis out
    of this londe, In whyche hye enterprises I byseche almyghty God
    that he may remayne alleway vyctoryous And dayly encreace fro
    vertu to vertue, and fro better to better to his laude & honour
    in this present lyf, that after thys short and transitorye lyf
    he may atteyne to euerlastyng lyf in heuen, whiche God graunte
    to hym and to alle his lyege peple Amen.

Passing now from authors and semi-authors (if we may invent such a class
to do honor to Caxton) to editors of a more ordinary stamp, we shall
find that they, or the printers who hired them, in their anxiety to
magnify their achievements, have frequent recourse to the opportunities
offered by colophons. For unflinching and pretentious self-advertisement
the palm, as far as my experience reaches, must be given to Bartolommeo
Cepolla, who collected and edited the “consilia,” or counsel’s opinions,
of Paulus de Castro, a celebrated jurist:

    Si quis rerum omnium naturas inspexerit: vnamquamque non minus
    suo ordine quam partibus constare facile intelliget. Nec qui
    pro construendis edibus structori materiam parat sed qui pro
    consummati operis expeditione dispositam artificiose connectit
    domum edificare perhibetur: eique iure optimo architecti dum
    taxat nomen indidimus. Nemo namque sane mentis plineturgos
    aut cementarios edificatores merito nuncupabit, hi licet
    coctilia ac reliquia pro ceteris conglutinandis particulis
    administrent: hominem neque progenuisse naturam iudicaremus si
    hominis crura vertebris vero ac inguinibus caput et humeros
    addidisset, quando quidem et si nullius portiuncule integritate
    caruisset solius tamen situs incongruitate monstruosa res non
    rationis particeps animal diceretur. Cum itaque clarissimi ac
    excellentissimi iureconsulti Pauli Castrensis dilapsa undique
    neque in unum corpus redacta consilia cernerentur non ea fuisse
    edita seu composita dici posse videbant[ur], ac deperiisse
    potius tantum opus tamque elegantissimum quam in lucem
    peruenisse merito arbitraretur, communi studentium utilitati
    parens, quibus maxima pro eorum beniuolentia summisque in
    eum benemeritis seipsum debere fatetur, insignis eques et
    comes ac iuris ciuilis et pontificii interpres famosissimus
    Bartholomeus Cepolla Veronensis, aduocatus consistorialis,
    in florentissimo gymnasio Patauino ordinariam iuris ciuilis
    de mane publice legens, singula queque ab eo clarissimo uiro
    hinc inde consulta colligere elaborauit: fieri etiam unum
    reintegratum volumen (quod merito Repertorium Pauli Castrensis
    appellamus) ad faciliorem doctrinam capescendam curauit ac
    omnibus eius professionis imposterum accomodatum patere
    studuit. Idque impressoria arte Nurnberge de mense Octobris
    M.cccc.lxxxv Indictione tercia: per Anthonium Koburger actum
    est et diligentia completum.

    Any one who has examined the natures of things in general
    will easily understand that each of them is the result quite
    as much of its arrangement as of its parts. Nor is he who
    makes ready the material for the mason to construct a dwelling
    considered to be the builder of the house, but rather he who
    skilfully combines the material available for the furtherance
    of the complete work, and by the best right it is only to this
    man that we have given the name of architect. For no one in
    his right mind will entitle tilers and bricklayers builders,
    although they furnish the bricks and what else is wanted
    for cementing together the other parts, nor should we judge
    nature to have given birth to a man if a man’s legs had been
    added to his vertebræ and a head and shoulders to his middle,
    since although every portion were there in its entirety, yet
    merely from the incongruity of their position the result
    would be called a monstrosity, not an animal partaking of
    reason. So when of the most famous and excellent counsellor
    Paulus Castrensis the Opinions were perceived to have been
    scattered abroad and not brought together into one body, it
    seemed impossible to speak of them as having been edited or
    compiled, and it might justly be thought that this great and
    most elegant work had rather utterly perished than been brought
    to the light of day. Obeying therefore the convenience of
    students, to whom he acknowledges himself indebted for their
    great good will and many services to him, a noble knight and
    count and very renowned exponent alike of civil and papal
    law, Bartholomeus Cepolla of Verona, an advocate of the
    consistorial court, who lectures publicly of a morning in the
    most flourishing University of Padua on the ordinary course of
    civil law, has taken the pains to gather from all sides all the
    individual opinions given by that most distinguished man, and
    has arranged, in order that his teaching may more easily be
    understood, for the publication of a single renovated volume,
    which we rightly call the Repertory of Paulus Castrensis, and
    has made it his care that this should be available in future
    for all of his profession, and this by the printer’s art has
    been finished and diligently completed at Nuremberg in October,
    1485, the third indiction, by Anton Koburger.

A more normal example of the custom of blaming previous printers and
editors—and it must be owned that the accusations hurled at them are,
as a rule, much better justified than the vituperator’s assertions of
his own superiority—may be taken from another law-book, a lecture or
commentary by Petrus de Ancharano, printed and, as he asserts, edited by
Benedictus Hectoris at Bologna.

    [Illustration: Petrus de Ancharano. Repetitio. Bologna: Jo.
    Jac. de Benedictis for Benedictus Hectoris, 1493.]

    Opus pene diuinum celeberrimi vtriusque censure interpretis d.
    Petri de Ancharano in materia statutorum super caput canonum
    statuta de constitutionibus, quod prius Rome tum Bononie
    Impressum fuerat, adeo corruptum atque inemendatum fuerat
    vitio scriptorum et impressorum incuria vt vix tanti viri opus
    obtenebratum foret: nunc vero per Benedictum Hectoris librarium
    prius magna arte castigatum, demum originali proprio reperto
    enucleatius emendatum, editum est, quo si vera fateri licet
    et multa frustra addita detraxit et maiora detracta addidit
    impressitque fideliter in eadem ciuitate Bononie. Anno Domini
    M.cccc.lxxxxiij. tertio nonas Augusti.

    The little less than divine work of the most famous interpreter
    of both codes, Dom. Petrus de Ancharano, in the matter of the
    statutes, on the chapter “Canonum statuta de constitutionibus,”
    which first at Rome, afterwards at Bologna, had been printed,
    by the fault of copyists and the carelessness of the printers,
    so corruptly and with so little correction that the work of so
    great a man was hardly shadowed out, now, on the other hand, by
    Benedictus Hectoris, stationer, has first with great skill been
    corrected and then by the discovery of the author’s original
    more purely emended, and so published, whereby, if truth may
    be told, he has both removed many vain additions and has added
    more things that had been removed, and has faithfully printed
    it in the same city of Bologna in the year of the Lord 1493, on
    August 3d.

Legal works are usually crabbed reading in themselves, and in the
fifteenth century were made infinitely more so by the multiplicity of
contractions used in printing them. It might seem natural, therefore,
that there should be a special difficulty in obtaining correctness
in these texts. But, as a matter of fact, to whatever department of
knowledge we turn, we shall still find the fifteenth-century editor
exclaiming against the wickedness of his predecessors. Thus, if we go
to divinity, we may find as loud complaints as any law lecturer could
formulate in the colophon to the Hagenau edition of Gabriel Biel’s sermon
on the Lord’s Passion.

    Dominice passionis trium partium notabilium sermo preclarus
    domini Gabrielis Biel supranotati. Qui olim negligenter: ex
    mendoso exemplari: et sub falso titulo impressus, postea
    emendatus ex originali et per prefatum Florentium diel
    diligenter revisus: in laudem altissimi innovatus clariusque
    interstinctus atque emendatus: non modo in sententiarum
    quarundam defectibus: verum etiam in orthographia. Et in
    imperiali opido hagenau impressus.

    The excellent sermon of the above-mentioned Dom Gabriel Biel
    on the three noteworthy parts of the Lord’s Passion, which
    formerly was carelessly printed from a faulty copy and under
    a wrong title, afterwards corrected from the original and
    diligently revised by the aforesaid Florentinus Diel, unto
    the glory of the Most High has been renovated, more clearly
    divided, and emended, not only in the defects of certain
    sentences but also in the spelling, and printed in the imperial
    town of Hagenau.

To print a book (i) carelessly, (ii) from a faulty copy, and (iii) under
a wrong title was really reprehensible, yet after all this detraction
there is something quite pleasing in coming across a colophon like that
to S. Augustine’s Exposition on the Psalms, in which Johann von Amerbach
of Basel, instead of vilifying his predecessors, is content to appeal to
the judgment of experts in matters of editing and textual criticism.

    Post exactam diligentemque emendationem. Auctore deo:
    perfectum est insigne atque preclarum hoc opus explanationis
    psalmorum: Diui ac magni doctoris Augustini. Opus reuera maiori
    commendatione se dignum exhibens legentibus, quam quibusvis
    verbis explicari possit: vt ex prefatione et prologo ipsius
    evidenter colligi potest. Quanto vero studio et accuratione
    castigatum: emendatum: et ordinatum sit: hi iudicent qui illud
    aliis similibus sibi: siue manuscriptis: siue ere impressis
    litteris contulerint. Consummatum Basilee per magistrum Ioannem
    de Amerbach Anno Domini M.cccc.lxxxix.

    After exact and diligent revision, by the help of God, this
    renowned and excellent work has been completed, the Explanation
    of the Psalms of the divine and great doctor Augustine, a
    work in very truth approving itself to its readers as worthy
    of greater praise than can be unfolded in any words, as can
    plainly be gathered from its preface and prologue. But with how
    much study and accuracy it has been corrected, emended, and set
    in order, let those judge who have compared it with other texts
    like itself, whether in manuscript or in brass-printed letters.
    Finished at Basel by Master Johann von Amerbach A.D. 1489.

Perhaps even more cheering than this pleasant and reasonable
self-confidence is the mild shadow of an oath, a simple “Hercule,” with
which Heinrich Quentell asseverates that his edition of the De Veritate
of S. Thomas Aquinas truly rejoices in the true title of truth! We may
note also the little arrangement by which the printer contrived to bring
his work to an end on the very day of the saint’s festival.

    Diui Thome aquinatis doctoris angelici illuminatissimi summa
    de veritate, per theozophie professorem eximium, Magistrum
    Theodericum de Susteren, insignis conuentus Coloniensis ordinis
    fratrum Predicatorum regentem profundissimum, denuo peruigili
    studio in luculentam erecta consonantiam, adeo hercule vt
    vere vero veritatis titulo gaudeat. Impressa Agrippine
    opera atque impensis prouidi viri Henrici Quentell, ciuis
    eiusdem. Anno salutis humane nonagesimonono supra millesimum
    quadringentesimum Ipso die celebritatis autoris cursu felici ad
    finem vsque perducta.

    The Summa de Veritate (Epitome of Truth) of St. Thomas Aquinas,
    the angelic and most illuminate doctor, by the distinguished
    professor of divine learning Theoderic of Susteren, a regent
    deeply versed of the famous Cologne Convent of the order of
    Preaching Friars, newly by assiduous study restored to a
    fruitful harmony, so by Hercules that it truly rejoices in the
    true title of Truth, and printed at Cologne by the efforts and
    at the expense of the prudent Heinrich Quentell, citizen of the
    same, in the year of man’s salvation 1499, has been brought
    with favorable course even unto completion on the very festival
    of its author.

In all these books editors could have had no difficulties to deal with
save those which arise when texts are copied and recopied with the
inevitable introduction of small errors at every stage, and perhaps
some even more dangerous attempts to correct those already made. But
in one class of printing, that of liturgical books, in which absolute
accuracy of text and punctuation was of supreme importance, the need
for careful supervision was really very great,—so much so, indeed, that
the great bulk of liturgical printing was entrusted to firms who made a
specialty of it. It is not surprising, therefore, to find some special
insistence on the editorial virtues of a missal-printer; and the colophon
to the Salzburg Missal printed by Georg Stuchs at Nuremberg in 1498 is
interesting for its detailed account of the system of punctuation.

    Missale et de tempore et de sanctis non modo secundum notulam
    metropolitane ecclesie Salisburgensis ordinatum, verum
    etiam haud exigua opera adhibita, tum in quottis foliorum
    locandis, tum in remissionis discreto numero tam circa
    quamlibet lectionem vel prophetalem vel apostolicam quam
    circa quodlibet euangelium alio in loco plenarie locatum,
    situando reuisum. Deinde autem per cola et comata distinctum.
    Simplici puncto in collectis secretis complendis lectionibus
    epistolis et euangeliis locato colum indicante, gemino
    uero puncto coma significante: sed in introitu graduali
    alleluia sequentiis offertoris et communione puncto simplici
    locato mediam distinctionem que comatis appellatione venit
    presentante, gemino autem puncto subdistinctionem que colum
    nuncupatur signante. Demum uero in officina Georii [_sic_]
    Stöchs ex Sulczpach, ciuis Nurnbergensis, expensa Ioannis
    Ryman impressum. Idibus Augusti anni ab incarnatione Messye
    nonagesimi octaui supra millesimum quadragintesimum: finit.

    A missal both for the seasons and saints’ days, not only
    arranged according to the order of the metropolitan church of
    Salzburg, but also revised with no small pains, both in setting
    down the numbers of the leaves and in assigning a distinctly
    numbered reference for every lesson, whether taken from the
    books of the Prophets or of the Apostles, and also for every
    gospel placed elsewhere in its full form: Distinguished,
    moreover, by colons and commas: in the Collects, Secrets,
    Post Communions, Lessons, Epistles and Gospels, the placing
    of a single point denoting a colon, a double point signifying
    a comma; but in the Introit, Gradual, Alleluia, Sequences,
    Offertory and Communion the placing of a single point
    indicating the middle distinction which goes by the name of a
    comma, the double point the subdistinction which is called a
    colon. Now at last printed in the workshop of Georg Stuchs of
    Sulzbach, citizen of Nuremberg, at the expense of Johann Ryman,
    and completed on the 13th August of the year from the Messiah’s
    incarnation 1498.

In a Roman missal printed by G. Arrivabenus & P. de Paganinis at Venice
in 1484 the colophon alludes to the common practice of correcting the
text of a printed missal by hand, sometimes to bring it up to date, but
also for the elimination of the printer’s errors. In this case the
printers make bold to say that their text is so correct that any one who
tampers with it rashly is as likely to turn right into wrong as wrong
into right.

    [Illustration: Roman Missal. Venice: G. Arriuabenus and P. de
    Paganinis, 1484.]

    Explicit missale secundum morem romane ecclesie, summa cum
    diligentia et fideli studio purgatum ab his erroribus quibus
    uel ignorantia uel incuria librariorum adductis communis
    abusus inualuit. Quocirca quicunque legerit obsecratum uelim
    ne adhibeat manum precipitem ad corrigendam uel potius
    corrumpendam libri rectitudinem magno partam labore, sed
    multiplicato sincero examine postmodum exequatur quicquid recta
    ratio et spiritus veritatis ingesserit. Ad laudem omnipotentis
    dei et sanctissime uirginis matris eius, totiusque curie
    celestis. Impressum Venetiis arte et impensis Georgii de
    Riuabenis Mantuani et Paganini de Paganinis Brixiani sociorum:
    sub Inclyto duce Ioanne Mocenico, quinto kalendas octobris.
    M.cccclxxxiiii. Amen.

    Here ends the Missal according to the custom of the Roman
    Church, with the utmost diligence and faithful study purged
    from the errors with which, introduced by the ignorance
    and carelessness of copyists, the common perversion became
    established. Wherefore I would pray whoever reads it not to
    lay hasty hands to the correction, or rather corruption, of
    the accuracy of the book, which was obtained only by great
    labor; but let him examine it again and again with a single
    heart and thereafter carry out whatever right reason and the
    spirit of truth suggest. To the praise of Almighty God and
    of the most holy Virgin his Mother, and of all the court of
    heaven. Printed at Venice by the skill and at the charges of
    Georgio di Arrivabene of Mantua and Paganino dei Paganini of
    Brescia, partners, under the renowned doge Giovanni Mocenigo,
    27 September, 1484. Amen.

Somewhat in the same spirit as the boast of the Venetian missal-printers,
we find Koberger declaring—let us hope, after consulting ecclesiastical
authorities—that his edition of the Revelations of S. Bridget is so
complete that if any one produces additional revelations they may be
dismissed as spurious.

    Finit diuinum volumen omnium celestium Reuelationum preelecte
    sponse christi sancte Birgitte de regno Suetie. A religiosis
    patribus originalis monasterii sanctarum Marie et Brigitte in
    Watzstenis, prematuro studio et exquisita diligentia, in hos
    suprascriptos numerum et ordinem accuratius comportatum. Et
    si forte alique alie reuelationes, sicut repertum est, beate
    Brigitte per errorem aut temerarie a quoque quomodolibet
    ascribantur, preter has que in hoc presenti volumine aut in
    vita seu legenda sancte Birgitte maiori continentur, tanquam
    false et erronee decernentur.

    Insuper iam alterato per Anthonium Koberger ciuem
    Nurembergensem impresse finiunt. Anno domini M.ccccc. xxi.
    mensis Septembris. Laus omnipotenti deo. Amen.

    Here ends the divine volume of all the heavenly Revelations of
    the preëlect spouse of Christ, Saint Bridget of the kingdom
    of Sweden. The religious fathers of the original monastery of
    Saints Mary and Bridget in Wadstena, by most mature study and
    extraordinary diligence, have reduced them more accurately
    to the above number and arrangement. And if haply, as has
    been found the case, other revelations are through error or
    carelessness by any one or in any manner ascribed to the
    blessed Bridget besides those contained in this present volume
    or in the larger Life or Legend of Saint Bridget, they shall be
    treated as false and erroneous.

    Printed now for the second time by Anton Koberger, citizen of
    Nuremberg, and brought to an end on September 21st, A.D. 1500.
    Praise be to Almighty God. Amen.

Of the views of the editors of classical texts we have already had some
specimens in some of the early Venetian colophons. That of Filippo da
Lavagna to his edition of the Epistolae Familiares of Cicero (Milan,
1472) is, however, of considerable interest, and tells us, moreover, the
number of copies printed, besides conveying a stray hint to the students
of the day that the production of further editions of the same excellence
would depend on the liberality of their support.

    [Illustration: Cicero. Epistolae Familiares. Milan: Lavagna,

    Epistolarum Familiarium M. Tull. Cic. multa uolumina in
    diuersis Italiae locis hac noua impressorum arte transcripta
    sunt, que si ut plurima numero ita etiam studio satis correcta
    essent nouo hoc labore non fuisset opus. Sed tanto errorum
    numero confunduntur ut non modo littere pro litteris et pro
    uerbis uerba perturbatissime inuoluta, uerum etiam epistole
    in epistolas, libri in libros, sic inueniantur confusi, ne
    tam doctorum diligentia ad communem utilitatem confecta quam
    auarissimorum hominum cupiditate lucri gratia festinando
    conuoluta contorta contaminataque manifeste uideantur. Que
    cum audirem ex uiris cum doctissimis tum etiam prudentissimis
    ego Philippus Lauagna, ciuis Mediolanensis, ut pro uirili
    mea aliqua ex parte meis ciuibus prodessem, nactus exemplar
    correctissimum, studio diligentissimo hominum doctrina
    prestantium, trecenta uolumina exscribenda curaui, opera
    adhibita ut singule pagine antea quam imprimerentur ab aliquo
    doctorum perlecte essent et castigate: quem ego laborem nisi
    profudisse uidebor pleraque in futurum accuratissime ut
    transcribantur laborabo non minori publice quam mee utilitatis
    ratione seruata.

    Barbara cum Marci uerbis admixta legebas:
    Hunc lege quod verum est hoc Ciceronis opus.

    Virgo decus coeli Christi sanctissime mater
    Laus tibi cum nato sit sine fine tuo.

            M.cccc.lxxii. viii kal. Apriles.

    Of the Familiar Letters of M. Tullius Cicero many volumes have
    been copied in different places of Italy by this new art of the
    printers, and if these, as they are many in number, were also
    zealously and sufficiently corrected, there had been no need
    for this new work. But they are confused by so many errors that
    not only are letters and words substituted for one another in
    a most disorderly tangle, but also whole epistles and books
    are found so confused with others that the result plainly
    appears not so much a compilation by the diligence of learned
    men for the common profit, as some tangled and contorted mass
    of corruptions produced by the greed of the avaricious by
    hurrying for the sake of gain. This when, by the report of most
    learned and also prudent men, I, Philip Lavagna, a citizen
    of Milan, understood, in the hope of doing a man’s part in
    benefiting in some respect my fellow-citizens, I obtained
    by the most diligent zeal a very correct copy with the help
    of distinguished scholars, and made it my business to have
    300 volumes written out, attention being paid that each page,
    before it was printed off, should be read over and corrected by
    one of the doctors. And unless I shall find that I have wasted
    this labor, I will make it my business that many other texts
    for the future shall be most accurately copied, the interests
    of the public being as carefully preserved as my own.

    With Tully’s words once phrases rude were twined:
    Here uncorrupted Cicero you shall find.

    Glory of heaven, Christ’s mother, holiest maid,
    Ever to thee, with him, all praise be paid.

            25 March, 1472.

Even better than this, however, is the colophon to the Brescia Lucretius,
in which we see the editor dismayed at first by the obvious defects of
his copy, but resolving at length to print it on the ground that his
inability to find any other was the best proof of its rarity.

    Titi Lucretii Cari finis. Lucretii unicum meas in manus cum
    pervenisset exemplar de eo imprimendo hesitaui: quod erat
    difficile unico de exemplo quae librarii essent praeterita
    negligentia illa corrigere. Verum ubi alterum perquisitum
    exemplar adinuenire non potui, hac ipsa motus difficultate
    unico etiam de exemplari volui librum quam maxime rarum
    communem multis facere studiosis: siquidem facilius erit
    pauca loca uel aliunde altero exemplari extricato uel suo
    studio castigare et diligentia: quam integro carere uolumine.
    Presertim cum a fabulis quae uacuas (ut inquit poeta) delectant
    mentes remotus Lucretius noster de rerum natura questiones
    tractet acutissimas tanto ingenii acumine tantoque lepore
    uerborum ut omnes qui illum secuti poete sunt: eum ita suis in
    descriptionibus imitentur, et Virgilius presertim, poetarum
    princeps, ut ipsis cum uerbis tria interdum et amplius metra
    suscipiant. Thoma Ferando auctore.

    The end of Titus Lucretius Carus. When a single copy of
    Lucretius came into my hands I hesitated as to printing it,
    because it was difficult from a single copy to correct the
    slips due to the carelessness of the copyist. But when by
    diligent search I could find no second copy, moved by this
    very difficulty I was minded even from a single copy to make
    a book of the greatest rarity common to many scholars, since
    it will be easier to correct a few places, either by a second
    copy unearthed from another quarter or by one’s own study and
    diligence, than to lack a whole volume. Especially since, far
    removed from the fables which (as the poet says) delight empty
    minds, our Lucretius handles the keenest questions concerning
    the nature of things with so much intellectual acumen and
    verbal elegance that all the poets who have followed him
    imitate him so in their descriptions, more especially Virgil,
    the prince of poets, that with his very words they sometimes
    make three lines and more. Thomas Ferrandus.

The name of Lucretius seldom appears in any of the medieval catalogues,
and the number of manuscripts of his “De Rerum Natura” now extant is
so small that his first printer’s plea may well be received. Even in
comparatively modern books, indeed, a satisfactory text was not always
to be obtained for the asking. Chaucer has had no more devout lover
than William Caxton, and yet when Caxton printed the “Canterbury Tales”
he only succeeded in obtaining a manuscript of the worst class to work
from, and when a friend offered him a better text for his second edition
the improvement was very slight. In the same way we find the anonymous
Florentine editor of two tracts of Domenico Cavalca (we cannot be wrong
in assuming that the same editor worked on both) apologizing for the
bad text from which he printed the first few pages of the “Frutti della
Lingua,” and telling how in the case of the “Specchio di Croce” he had
to collate a number of copies in order to replace them by a good printed

    (i) Frutti della Lingua.

    Impresso in Firenze con somma diligentia emendato e correcto,
    excepto alcuni fogli del principio di decto tractato: e
    tale defecto non da nostra inaduertentia, ma da una copia
    o uero exemplo tutto corropto e falsificato, impresso per
    lo adrieto in firenze per un altro non diligente impressore
    procedette. Onde noi cio conoscendo, inuestigando altra copia
    emendatissima, secondo quella, quanto ledebole forze del nostro
    ingegno ci hanno porto, habbiamo imposto emendato fine al
    presente tractato.

    Printed in Florence, emended and corrected with the greatest
    diligence, except for some leaves of the beginning of the
    said tract, and such defect not through our inadvertence, but
    from a copy or example wholly corrupt and falsified, printed
    heretofore in Florence by another printer by no means diligent.
    Whence we, on learning this, sought out another copy of the
    greatest correctness, according to which, to the best of the
    poor powers of our mind, we have put a revised ending to the
    present tract.

    (ii) Specchio di Croce.

    Impresso in Firenze con somma diligentia correcti: nella quale
    correptione non poco habbiamo insudato & affatichatoci: concio
    sia che di moltissime copie, o vero exempli di questa utile
    operetta, parte scripti in penna e parte impressi, nessuno
    nhabbiamo trouato correcto, ma tutti aequalmente incorrecti.
    Onde noi (benche insufficienti) con quel poco sapere che la
    natura ci ha porto, habbiamo transcorrendo di molti corropti
    facto uno quasi correpto: Si che preghiamo li lectori di
    questa operetta da noi impressa se in epsa alcuna scorreptione
    troueranno, non ci debbino biasimare, se di quella non pocha
    faticha che spesa ci habbiamo laudare non ci vorranno: Solo in
    dio regna perfectione.

    Printed in Florence, corrected with the utmost diligence: in
    the which correction we have sweated and wearied ourselves
    more than a little; whereas of very many copies or examples of
    the said useful booklet, some written with pen, some printed,
    we have found not one correct, but all equally incorrect.
    Whence we (though ill equipped), with such little skill as
    nature has given us, have by much revision made out of many
    corrupt copies one which may be taken as correct. So that we
    pray the readers of this booklet printed by us, if they shall
    find any incorrectness in it, not to reproach us therefor, if
    they will not praise us for the great trouble which we have
    expended. Perfection reigns only in God.

No doubt the early printers and the editors whom they employed made the
most of all these difficulties; yet they must have been real enough, so
that, despite the affected language in which it is phrased, the colophon
of Nicolas Kessler of Basel to his edition of the “Homeliarius Doctorum”
may well command our sympathy.

    [Illustration: Homiliae. Basel: N. Kessler, 1498.]

    Preclarum Omeliarum opus plurimorum sanctorum aliorumue
    famosissimorum doctorum super euangeliis de tempore et sanctis,
    quibusdam eorundem adiunctis sermonibus, Tam verborum ornatu
    limatum, tamque sententiarum grauitate vbertateque sparsim
    plantatum, in mercuriali Nicolai Kessler officina Basilee
    impressum (Imperante illustrissimo Maximiliano rege Romanorum
    inuictissimo). Non igitur in factorem liuoris tractus aculeo
    theonino dente correctionis insanias, Sed potius beneficii
    non ingratus ad exhibita donaria discretionis oculos
    adhibeas columbinos. Anno incarnationis dominice millesimo
    quadringentesimo nonagesimo octauo decimo Nonas Augusti. Finit

    An excellent book of Homilies of many saints and other most
    famous teachers on the Gospels of the Seasons and the Saints,
    with certain of their sermons added, polished with verbal
    ornament and with weighty and fruitful sayings scattered all
    over it: printed in the mercurial workshop of Nicolas Kessler
    at Basel (the most illustrious Maximilian the Unconquered, King
    of the Romans, being Emperor). Do not therefore, impelled by
    the sting of malice, rage against the compiler with the small
    satirist’s fang of correction; but rather, not ungrateful for a
    benefit, turn to the offerings before you the dovelike eyes of
    discretion. In the year of the Lord’s incarnation 1498, on the
    tenth of the Nones of August, happily finished.

It is to be feared that the pay of a fifteenth-century “corrector,” when
he was paid at all, was far from princely. It is pleasant, therefore, to
find that at least one printer, the veteran Ulrich Zell, was so genuinely
grateful to a friendly priest who had helped him in seeing Harderwyck’s
“Commentaries on Logic” through the press as to make most handsome
acknowledgment in his colophon and in verses added to it.

    Commentarii in quatuor libros noue logice processum burse
    Laurentiane famosissimi Agrippinensis Colonie gymnasii
    continentes per honorabilem virum artium magistrum necnon
    sacre theologie licentiatum Gerardum Herdarwiccensem
    actu in eodem regentem, ex diuersis et potissimum Magni
    Alberti comentarius collecti, et per Udalricum Zell prope
    Lyskirchen impressoria artis in sancta Coloniensi ciuitate
    protomagistrum fabre characterizati. Anno virginalis partu
    Millesimo quadragintesimo super nonagesimum quarto in profesto
    Conuersionis euangelice tube Pauli Apostoli ad finem optatum
    sunt perducti, de quo sit deo uni et trino laus honor et gloria
    per infinita seculorum secula. Amen. Ex quo in hoc tomorum
    stromateo opere non paruo adiumento mihi fuit honorabilis
    dominus diue memorie Iacobus Amsfordensis, artium liberalium
    et sacrarum litterarum professor dum vitam in humanis ageret
    profundissimus, Ecclesie sancti Iohannis Baptiste pastor,
    mihi ut frater amicissimus, decreui in calce horum titulum
    sepulcralem, trito sermone epitaphium appellatum, quem
    prestantissimus et generosus dominus Rodolphus Langius, vir
    omnium litterarum laude cumulatissimus, ecclesie Monasteriensis
    Canonicus, in eundem defunctum, precibus amicorum impulsus,
    exornauit subjungere, ut dum hunc quos ab errore salutari
    exhortatione reuocauerit legerint apud altissimum pro anima
    eius vitificum sacrificium offerant.

    The notes on the four books of the new logic containing the
    process of the Laurentian bursary of the most famous school of
    Cologne, by an honorable man, master of arts and licentiate
    of sacred theology, Gerard of Harderwyck, president at that
    function, brought together from divers notes and specially
    from those of Albertus Magnus, and by Ulrich Zell, near
    the Lyskirche, chief practiser of the printer’s art in the
    holy city of Cologne, skilfully set in type, in the year of
    the Virgin Birth 1494, on the eve of the Conversion of the
    Gospel-trumpet, the Apostle Paul, have been brought to their
    wished-for end, for which to God the One and Three let there
    be praise, honor, and glory through infinite ages of ages.
    Amen. And because in this laying down of volumes I received no
    small help from an honorable master of sacred memory, Jakob of
    Amsfort, while he lived among men a most profound professor
    of liberal arts and sacred literature, minister of the church
    of Saint John Baptist, and to me as a most friendly brother,
    I determined to subjoin at the end of all this a sepulchral
    inscription, commonly called an epitaph, which the most
    excellent and well-born Dom. Rudolph Lange, a man of great
    distinction in every kind of literature, canon of the monastic
    church, urged by the prayers of friends, furnished in honor of
    the dead, that while those whom by his wholesome exhortation he
    recalled from error read this, they may offer before the Most
    High the life-giving sacrifice for his soul.

And the Epitaph duly follows, though it need not be quoted here.





In our opening chapter it was suggested that if all early books were
provided with colophons the work of bibliographers would be much
simplified. Some qualifying epithet ought, however, to have been
inserted; for there are some colophons which, instead of simplifying the
task of assigning to every book its place, printer, and date, greatly
aggravate the bibliographer’s troubles. Of deliberately untruthful
colophons I can, indeed, only think of a single fifteenth-century
example—that in the “Incunabulum of Brescia hitherto ascribed to
Florence,” which the late Mr. R. C. Christie tracked down so neatly in
the fourth volume of the Bibliographical Society’s Transactions. This
occurs in a copy of some of the works of Politian, and reads:

    Impressum Florentiae: et accuratissime castigatum opera et
    impensa Leonardi de Arigis de Gesoriaco Die decimo Augusti

    Printed at Florence and most accurately corrected by the work
    and at the cost of Leonardo dei Arigi of Gesoriaco, on the
    tenth day of August, 1499.

As a matter of fact, the book, as Mr. Christie showed (and Mr. Proctor
accepted his conclusions), was printed with the types of Bernardinus
Misinta of Brescia, and the colophon which looks so simple and
straightforward deceived bibliographers for some four centuries. Even the
increased study of types would by itself hardly have sufficed to detect
the fraud, but the fact that it was alluded to, though without mention
of the name of the book, in the petition of Aldus to the Venetian Senate
(17th October, 1502) put Mr. Christie on the track, and he ran it down
with his accustomed neatness and precision. The fraud, of course, was
the direct outcome of the first imperfect attempts to give the producers
of books a reasonable copyright in them by means of privileges. As
Brescia was subject to the Venetian Senate, Misinta, had he put his
name in the colophon, could have been punished, and he therefore used a
false imprint in order to divert suspicion. When restrictions, right and
wrong, multiplied during the sixteenth century, false imprints became
increasingly common, and they form a subject by themselves with which
we must not here meddle farther. While Misinta’s “Politian” stands by
itself, as far as I know, in deliberately trying to mislead purchasers as
to its place of imprint, there are quite a considerable number of early
books which reprint the colophons of previous editions, and thus tempt
the unwary to mistake them for the originals which they copied. Since the
decision in the case of Parry _v._ Moring and another, English publishers
and those they employ are likely to be much more careful; but in the
years immediately preceding it the carelessness with which one “editor”
used the text of his predecessor to print from was often extraordinary,
one reprint even including a number of duly initialled and copyright
notes from another which had appeared only a year or two earlier. If
this could be done in our own day, despite the existence of reviewers
and the law courts, we may easily imagine that the smaller printers and
publishers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, who could not afford
to keep their own scholarly “corrector,” simply handed over existing
texts to their workmen and printed them as they stood. In most cases, of
course, they had the sense to stop when they came to the colophon; but
they did not always do so, and, more especially, when the colophon was
in verse an unlearned compositor might easily imagine that it formed an
essential part of the book. Thus twelve Latin couplets from the Milan
edition of the “Confessionale,” of Bartholomaeus de Chaimis, though they
end with the clear statement that Christopher Valdarfer of Ratisbon came
to the help of the Milanese and printed this book (October, 1474), were
reprinted as they stood in several anonymous Strasburg editions, while
Creusner at Nuremberg and Schoeffer at Mainz compromised by leaving out
the last six lines, which contain Valdarfer’s name.

Occasionally this careless reprinting leads to a book possessing a double
colophon, as in the 1478 Naples edition of the “De Officiis” and other
works of Cicero, which uses for his “Letters to Atticus” Jenson’s text of
1470. The colophon begins exactly (save for differences in contractions,
punctuation, etc.) as in the Jenson edition already quoted (Chapter III):

    M. T. C. epistolae ad Atticum Brutum et Q. Fratrem cum ipsius
    Attici uita foeliciter expliciunt. M.cccc.lxx

    Attice, nunc totus Veneta diffunderis urbe,
      Cum quondam fuerit copia rara tui.
    Gallicus hoc Ienson Nicolaus muneris orbi
      Attulit ingenio Daedalicaque manu.
    Christophorus Mauro plenus bonitate fideque
      Dux erat. Auctorem, lector, opusque tenes.

and then proceeds:

    Principis Latine eloquentie M. T. C. liber quinque operum
    intitulatus finit foeliciter. Impressus Neapoli sub pacifico
    Ferdinando Sicilie rege anno salutis M.cccc.lxxviii. sedente
    Xisto quarto Pontifice maximo.

    The book of the five works of the prince of Latin eloquence,
    Marcus Tullius Cicero, comes happily to an end. Printed at
    Naples under Ferdinand the Peaceful, King of Sicily, in the
    year of salvation 1478, Sixtus IV being Pope.

Such an instance as this shows clearly enough that colophons could be
copied verbatim without any intention to make the purchaser believe that
he was purchasing the original edition, though it must be owned that many
printers took no pains to inform him that he was _not_ purchasing it.
It is thus a matter of opinion as to whether they deserve the severest
condemnation, or whether this should not rather be reserved for the
pirates—for such they really were—who seized another printer’s book,
colophon and all, merely substituting their own name for his, and thus
claiming in some cases all the credit for the preparation of an original

A striking instance of piracy of this kind, with a curious after-story
to it, is that of Conrad of Westphalia’s appropriation of Veldener’s
edition of Maneken’s “Epistolarum Formulae,” and of the colophon attached
to it. Though a wordy and dull composition, this colophon is certainly
distinctive enough:

    Si te forsan, amice dilecte, nouisse iuuabit quis huius
    voluminis Impressorie artis productor fuerit atque magister,
    Accipito huic artifici nomen esse magistro Iohanni Veldener,
    cui quam certa manu insculpendi, celandi, intorculandi,
    caracterandi [_sic_] assit industria: adde et figurandi
    et effigiandi et si quid in arte secreti est quod tectius
    oculitur: quamque etiam fidorum comitum perspicax diligentia,
    ut omnium litterarum imagines splendeant ad gratiam ac etiam
    cohesione congrua gratiaque congerie mendis castigatis
    compendeant, tanta quidem concinnitate quod partes inter se et
    suo congruant universo, ut quoque delectu materie splendoreque
    forme lucida queque promineant, quo pictionis et connexionis
    pulchre politure clarique nitoris ecrescat multa uenustas, sunt
    oculi iudices. Idnam satis facies huius libelli demonstrat,
    quem multiplicatum magni numeri globo sub placidis atramenti
    lituris spreto calamo inchoauit, anni septuagesimi sexti
    aprilis primus perfecitque dies ultimus! Quem artis memorate
    magistrum si tibi hoc predicto aprili mense cure fuisset
    querere, facile poteras eundem Louanii impressioni uacantem
    in monte Calci inuenire. Hoc ideo dixisse uelim ne eius rei
    inscius permanseris, si forsitan ambegeris. Ubi ars illi sua
    census erit Ouidius inquit. Ubi et etiam uiuit sua sic sorte
    et arte contentus, tam felicibus astris, tantaque fortune
    clementia, ut non inducar credere quod eidem adhuc adesse
    possit abeundi, ne cogitandi quidem, animi impulsio: id etiam
    adiecerim quo tam quid poteris quam quid potuisses agnoscas.

    Dear friend, if perchance you would fain know who was the
    producer and master of this volume of the printing art, learn
    that the craftsman’s name is Master Jan Veldener. Your eyes
    will tell you what industry he possesses, how sure his hand
    in cutting, engraving, pressing and stamping, add also in
    designing and fashioning and whatever secret in the art is more
    closely hid; how keen-eyed, again, is the diligence of his
    trusty comrades, so that the shapes of all the letters are
    pleasantly clear and harmonious, hanging together, with all
    faults corrected, in a delightful mass, and with such skilful
    arrangement that the parts are in agreement both with each
    other and with their whole, so that both by choice of material
    and splendor of form everything is strikingly distinct, while
    by his method of inking and joining the letters there is a
    great increase in the charm of beautiful polish and shining
    clearness. All this the appearance of the book sufficiently
    shows, and the multiplying of this in a mass of great number
    by the gentle spreading of ink, leaving the pen despised, the
    first day of April, 1476, began, and the last completed. Should
    you have been anxious to find this master of the commemorated
    art in this aforesaid month of April, you could easily have
    found him at Louvain, with leisure for printing, on Flint-hill.
    This I am anxious to say lest, if haply you are in doubt, you
    should remain ignorant of the fact. “Where he works there will
    be his wealth,” says Ovid. There also he lives so content with
    his lot and craft, under such happy auspices, and with so much
    favor of fortune, that I cannot be induced to believe that any
    impulse to depart, or even to think about it, can have come
    to him. I would also add that by which you may recognize what
    you will be able to do as well as what you could have done.

As Veldener’s device is here added, the meaning of the last cryptic
sentence appears to be either that authors with books to print who had
not found his shop in April might find it by its sign in May, or that
readers would be able to recognize the printer’s handiwork in the future
books they would have a chance of purchasing, as well as in those already
sold out. What Conrad of Westphalia made of it is doubtful, since,
without affixing his own mark, he cribbed this sentence with all the rest
of the colophon, only substituting his own name and address (“in platea
Sancti Quintini”—“in St. Quentin’s Street”) for Veldener’s, altering the
date of the inception of the book from April to December, and saying
nothing as to when it was completed. A more disgraceful trick for one
printer to play another living in the same town can hardly be imagined,
and Holtrop may be right in considering it a deliberate attempt to annoy
Veldener and the cause of his leaving Louvain the next year. Strange to
say, however, the history of the colophon does not stop here. M. Claudin
has shown, in the first volume of his “Histoire de l’imprimerie en
France,” that a copy of Maneken’s “Formulae” exists printed in the types
of Guillaume Balsarin of Lyons, but with the name of the Paris printer
Caesaris substituted for that of Veldener in the colophon. It is clear,
therefore, that in an edition now lost to us Caesaris must have played
Veldener the same trick as Conrad of Westphalia had already played him,
and that this Paris edition must have been reprinted by Balsarin at Lyons
without troubling to alter the colophon. Truly there are pitfalls for the
unwary in dealing with early books!

Perhaps one reason why colophons were sometimes reprinted as they stood
was that a printer without a scholarly “corrector” to aid him had a
wholesome dread of plunging into the middle of a Latin sentence. Those
who rushed in hastily sometimes left very obvious footprints in the wrong
places. Thus Ulrich Han, in printing from one of Schoeffer’s editions
of the “Liber sextus decretalium,” changed his well-known “Alma in
urbe Maguntina inclyte nacionis germanice quam dei clemencia tam alti
ingenii lumine donoque gratuito ceteris terrarum nacionibus preferre
illustrareque dignatus est” (see Chapter II), into “Alma in urbe Roma
Totius mundi regina et dignissima Imperatrix [_sic_] que sicut pre
ceteris urbibus dignitate preest ita ingeniosis uiris est referta.”

To call Rome “the Queen and most worthy Empress of all the world, which,
as it takes precedence of all other cities in dignity, so is it filled
with men of wit,” was quite a pleasing variation on Schoeffer’s tune.
Unluckily Han did not note that his Queen and Empress ought to be in
the ablative, and thus printed “Imperatrix” instead of “Imperatrice.”
So again, when we look at the colophon to the third and fourth parts of
the “Speculum” of Durandus printed at Venice in 1488, we find reason for

    Explicit tertia et quarta pars Speculi Guilhelmi Duranti
    cum additionibus Ioannis Andree et Baldi suis in locis
    ubique positis. Impressa Venetiis per Magistrum Paganinum de
    Paganinis Brixiensis, ac Georgium de Arriuabene de Caneto qui
    salua omnium pace est inter ceteros amandus ac uenerandus
    propter ipsius in hac arte curam in corrigendis operibus ac
    in imprimendo charactere. Anno domini M.cccc.lxxxviii. vi die

    Here ends the third and fourth part of the Speculum of
    Gulielmus Durandus, with the additions of Joannes Andreae and
    Baldus inserted everywhere in their proper places. Printed
    at Venice by Master Paganinus de Paganinis of Brescia, and
    Georgius de Arrivabene de Caneto, who, with due respect to
    every one, is, among all others, to be loved and revered for
    his care in this art both in correcting works and in printing
    them in type. In the year of our Lord 1488, on September 6th.

The slip of “Brixiensis” for “Brixiensem” is not reproducible in English,
but the reader who notes how the two partners are treated as singular
instead of plural will easily see that this colophon could not have
been written for them. It appears, indeed, to have been borrowed from
Bernardinus de Tridino.

Sometimes the inaccuracies introduced are not of a merely verbal kind.
Thus at the end of an edition of the “Fasciculus Temporum” printed by
Heinrich Wirzburg at the Cluniac monastery at Rougemont in 1481 we have
the following colophon:

    Chronica que dicitur fasciculus temporum edita in alma
    Universitate Colonie Agrippinae super Renum, a quodam deuoto
    Cartusiensi finit feliciter. Sepius quidem iam impressa sed
    negligentia Correctorum in diuersis locis a uero originali
    minus iuste emendata. Nunc uero non sine magno labore ad
    pristinum statum reducta cum quibusdam additionibus per humilem
    uirum fratrem Heinricum Wirczburg de Vach, monachum in prioratu
    Rubei Montis, ordinis cluniacensis, sub Lodouico Gruerie comite
    magnifico anno domini M.cccc.lxxxi. Et anno precedenti fuerunt
    aquarum inundationes maxime, ventusque [_sic_] horribiles multa
    edificia subuertentes.

    The Chronicle which is called Fasciculus Temporum, set forth
    in the bountiful University of Cologne on the Rhine by a
    certain devout Carthusian, ends happily. Often enough has it
    been printed already, but by the carelessness of correctors
    in various places it has not been amended as justly as it
    ought from the true original. Now, however, not without great
    labor, it has been restored to its pristine state, with certain
    additions, by a humble brother, Heinrich Wirzburg of Vach, a
    monk in the priory of Rougemont, of the Cluniac order, under
    Count Lodovico Gruerie the Magnificent, in the year of the Lord
    1481. And in the preceding year there were the greatest floods
    and horrible winds, overthrowing many buildings.

Save that he substituted the address, “by the humble Bernhard Richel,
citizen of Basel, in the year of the Lord 1482, on February 20,” this
colophon was taken over in its entirety the following year by Richel. To
us, until we compare it with the Rougemont version, there may seem no
reason for suspicion. But if any one in those days remembered that the
year of the great floods was 1480, and not 1481, his doubts may easily
have been awakened. A Genevese printer was much more wise, for, while he
doubtless kept the Rougemont colophon in his mind, he adapted its local
coloring very skilfully, informing us that the book was:

    Imprime a Genesue lan mille cccc.xcv auquel an fist si tres
    grand vent le ix iour de ianuier qu’il fit remonter le Rosne
    dedans le lac bien ung quart de lieue au-dedans de Geneue.

    Printed at Geneva the year 1495, in which year there was so
    great wind on January 9th that it made the Rhone mount back
    into the lake a full quarter of a league above Geneva.

Even when a colophon was in verse it was not safe from emendation,
for when Giovanni da Reno of Vicenza in 1478 reprinted the Valdarfer
Boccaccio we find him substituting for the line and a half, “Christofal
Valdarfer Indi minprese Che naque in Ratispona,” the variant, “Giovanne
da Reno quindi minprese Cum mirabile stampa.”

For other instances of more than one printer following the same leader we
may note how Koberger in 1496, and Pierre Levet in 1497, both adopt the
colophon[11] of the 1485 Cologne edition of the “Destructorium Vitiorum,”
with its curious phrase “ad laudem summe Monadis”; how Han in his
editions of the Clementine Constitutions in 1473 and 1476, and Wenssler
in those of 1476 and 1478, copy the colophon of Schoeffer’s editions,
substituting the praises of Rome and Basel for those of Mainz; and how in
editions of the Gregorian Decretals Paganinus de Paganinis in 1489, and
Johann Hamann de Landoia in 1491, adopted the favorite tag of Jenson and
John of Cologne:

    Qui non tantum summam curam adhibuere ut sint hec et sua queque
    sine uicio et menda, uerum etiam ut bene sint elaborata atque
    iucundissimo litterarum caractere confecta: ut unicuique et
    prodesse et oblectare possint.

    Who not only have taken the greatest pains that these and all
    their works may be free from fault and blot, but also that they
    may be well finished off and composed with the most pleasing
    type, so that they may at once profit and delight every one.

Not to be able to boast with originality is sad indeed, but to the
students of early types and of the manners of the men who used them these
traces of borrowing may at any point of an investigation prove useful.
A printer who borrowed the wording of a colophon probably borrowed
something else as well. In most cases this was the text, with which
students of early printing seldom concern themselves as much as they
should, but sometimes also typographical peculiarities which may be worth
some attention.





Dates form such an important feature in colophons that this essay cannot
be brought to a close without some attempt to explain the difficulties
which arise in connection with them. As regards the method of expressing
the year there is very little to say. Theodoric Rood (see page 61)
preferred to speak of 1485 as the 297th Olympiad from the birth of
Christ, being under the impression that Olympiads consisted of five
years instead of four. Other printers showed great ingenuity in finding
elaborate synonyms for what we are now content to express in the two
words “Anno Domini,” and among other phrases employed “Olympiades
Dominicae” (see page 79), but without any attempt to introduce the
intervals between the Olympic Games into the Christian reckoning.

As an additional method of dating we occasionally find a reference to
the year of the indiction, a method of dating by cycles of fifteen years,
instituted by the Emperor Constantine in 312. To find the indictional
year, 312 must be subtracted from the year of the Lord (the same
results will be obtained by adding 3), and then after dividing by 15,
the remainder will give the number of the year in the indiction. Thus
(1488-312)/15 or (1488+3)/15 in each case leaves a remainder of six, and
A.D. 1488 was thus the sixth indiction.

According to different methods of reckoning, indictions began in
September or October, at Christmas or on January 1st. In colophons,
I believe, they are always used in conjunction with years of the
Lord reckoned from January 1st, and they have only the effect of a
chronological flourish.

A much more important supplementary method of dating is that by the
names of ruling popes, emperors, sovereigns, or princes, or still better
by their regnal years. I have long cherished an ambition to compile
a kind of “Bibliographer’s Vade-mecum,” one section of which would
be devoted to exhaustive lists of the smaller as well as the greater
sovereigns of Europe during the period when their names in old books are
of chronological value. Here, however, it must suffice to offer lists of
popes, kings of England and France, and doges of Venice, for the periods
which concern us, and to use these as illustrations of the way in which
such information can be brought to bear on the dating of early books.


    Pius II.             19 Aug.  1458  -  15 Aug.  1464.
    Paul II.             31 Aug.  1464  -  28 July  1471.
    Sixtus IV.            9 Aug.  1471  -  13 Aug.  1484.
    Innocent VIII.       29 Aug.  1484  -  25 July  1492.
    Alexander VI.        11 Aug.  1492  -  18 Aug.  1503.
    Pius III.            22 Sept. 1503  -  18 Oct.  1503.
    Julius II.            1 Nov.  1503  -  21 Feb.  1513.
    Leo X.               11 March 1513  -   1 Dec.  1521.
    Adrian VI.            2 Jan.  1522  -  24 Sept. 1523.
    Clement VII.         19 Nov.  1523  -  26 Sept. 1534.


    Edward IV.            4 March 1461  -   9 April 1483.
    Edward V.             9 April 1483  -  22 June  1483.
    Richard III.         26 June  1483  -  22 Aug.  1485.
    Henry VII.           22 Aug.  1485  -  21 April 1509.
    Henry VIII.          22 April 1509  -  28 Jan.  1547.
    Edward VI.           28 Jan.  1547  -   6 July  1553.
    Mary,                 6 July  1553  -  24 July  1554.
    Philip and Mary,[12] 25 July  1554  -  17 Nov.  1558.
    Elizabeth,           17 Nov.  1558  -  24 March 1603.


    Louis XI.            22 July  1461  -  30 Aug.  1483.
    Charles VIII.        30 Aug.  1483  -   7 April 1498.
    Louis XII.            7 April 1498  -   1 Jan.  1515.
    François I.           1 Jan.  1515  -  31 March 1547.
    Henri II.            31 March 1547  -  10 July  1559.
    François II.         10 July  1559  -   5 Dec.  1560.
    Charles IX.           5 Dec.  1560  -  30 May   1574.
    Henri III.           30 May   1574  -   2 Aug.  1589.
    Henri IV.             2 Aug.  1589  -  14 May   1610.


    Cristoforo Moro,     12 May   1462  -   9 Nov.  1471.
    Nicolò Tron,         23 Nov.  1471  -  28 July  1473.
    Nicolò Marcello,     13 Aug.  1473  -   1 Dec.  1474.
    Pietro Mocenigo,     14 Dec.  1474  -  23 Feb.  1476.
    Andrea Vendramino,    6 March 1476  -   6 May   1478.
    Giovanni Mocenigo,   18 May   1478  -   4 Nov.  1485.
    Marco Barbarigo,     19 Nov.  1485  -  14 Aug.  1486.
    Agostino Barbarigo,  30 Aug.  1486  -  24 Sept. 1501.
    Leonardo Loredano,    2 Oct.  1501  -  26 June  1521.
    Antonio Grimani,      6 July  1521  -   7 May   1523.
    Andrea Gritti,       20 May   1523  -  28 Dec.  1538.

As our first example of how these tables may be used we will take a
colophon where no year of the Lord is given, and sovereigns are mentioned
without their regnal years. We shall find that even the mere names may
help us to a close approximate date. Our instance shall be Wendelin
of Speier’s edition of the “Supplementum” of Nicolaus de Auximo, the
colophon to which ends:

    Vendelinus opus pressit Spireus utrunque:
    Labe repurgatum (crede) uolumen emis.
    Impressum est Sixto sacrorum antistite quarto,
    Et Veneto Troni principis imperio.

Sixtus IV became pope early in August, 1471, Nicolò Tron was elected doge
on November 23d of the same year, and died in July, 1473. We can thus
date the book as “about 1472” with absolute confidence.

Writers of poetical colophons are naturally more inclined to use regnal
dates than the year of the Lord, which it is seldom easy to get into a
verse. In the “Moral Prouerbes of Cristyne” Caxton gives us the month,
the day, and the regnal year, together making a precise date. This
colophon runs:

    Of these sayynges Cristyne was the aucturesse,
    Whiche in makyn[g] hadde suche intelligence,
    That thereof she was mireur and maistresse;
    Hire werkes testifie thexperience;
    In Frenssh languaige was writen this sentence,
    And thus englished doth hit reherse
    Antoin Wideuylle, therle Ryuers.

    Go thou litil quayer and recommaund me
    Unto the good grace of my special lorde
    Therle Ryueris, for I haue emprinted the
    At his commandement, following eury worde
    His copye, as his secretarie can recorde,
    At Westmestre, of Feuerer the xx daye
    And of Kyng Edward the xvij yere veraye.

    Emprinted by Caxton
    In Feuerer the colde season.

The seventeenth year of Edward IV ran from 4th March, 1477, to 3d March,
1478, so that the “Moral Proverbs” were finished on February 20th of the
latter year.

When a change of sovereigns occurred in the year in which a book was
printed, the mere name of the earlier or the later of the two shows in
which part of the year the colophon was written, and regnal dates supply
the same information for years in which no change of sovereigns took
place. Thus the colophon to Wynkyn de Worde’s edition of the “Vitas
Patrum” ends: “Enprynted in the sayd towne of Westmynstre by me Wynken de
Worde, the yere of our lorde M.cccc.lxxxxv. and the tenthe yere of our
souerayne lorde Kyng Henry the seuenth.” As Henry VII’s reign began 22d
August, 1485, its tenth year would cover the twelvemonth, August, 1494,
to August, 1495, and we are thus told not only that the book was issued
in 1495, but that it was printed before August 21st of that year.

A subsidiary date, of course, as a rule loses its usefulness when the
printer explicitly mentions also the month and day on which the book was
completed. It may, however, have a special value as furnishing a means of
fixing the day from which the printer reckoned his year. In the fifteenth
century the year could be reckoned as beginning on Christmas day, on
January 1st, on March 1st, on March 25th, or at Easter. In arranging
the books issued from any press in chronological order, it is of vital
importance to know which reckoning the printer followed, and we may now
give some examples to show how regnal years can be used to settle this.

    Finiunt Petri de Abano remedia uenenorum. Rome in domo nobilis
    uiri Iohannis Philippi de Lignamine Messanensis, S. D. N.
    familiaris, hic tractatus impressus est. Anno domini Mcccclxxv.
    die xxvii Mensis Ianuarii, Pontificatu Syxti IIII, Anno eius

    End the remedies of Petrus de Abano against poisons. At Rome in
    the house of the noble gentleman Ioannes Philippus de Lignamine
    of Messina, servant of our holy Lord, this tract was printed.
    In the year of the Lord 1475, on the 27th day of the month
    January, in the pontificate of Sixtus IV, in his fourth year.

The fourth year of Sixtus IV began on 9th August, 1474, and ended
8th August, 1475; therefore January, 1475, in his fourth year must
be January, 1475, according to our modern reckoning, not January,
1476, as it would be had the year been calculated from March 25th or
Easter day—two similar examples will be found in Hain’s “Repertorium
Bibliographicum” under the numbers 255* and 2050*.

On the other hand, Caxton’s colophon to the “Mirrour of the World” ends:

    whiche book I began first to translate the second day of
    Ianyuer the yer of our lord M.cccc.lxxx. And fynysshed the viij
    day of Marche the same yere, and the xxj yere of the Regne
    of the most Crysten kyng, Kynge Edward the fourth. Vnder the
    shadowe of whos noble proteccion I have emprysed and fynysshed
    this sayd lytyl werke and boke. Besechynge Almyghty god to be
    his protectour and defender agayn alle his enemyes and gyue
    hym grace to subdue them, And inespeciall them that haue late
    enterpraysed agayn ryght & reson to make warre wythin his
    Royamme. And also to preserue and mayntene hym in longe lyf and
    prosperous helthe. And after this short and transytorye lyf he
    brynge hym and vs in to his celestyal blysse in heuene. Amen.
    Caxton me fieri fecit.

As the twenty-first year of Edward IV ran from 4th March, 1481, to 3d
March, 1482, Caxton’s 8th March, 1480, must clearly be 1480, old style,
or 1481 of our reckoning, and Caxton is thus shown to have begun his year
on March 25th.

So again the long colophon or epilogue to the “Cordyale” tells us that
the book “was deliuered to me William Caxton by my saide noble lorde
Ryuiers on the day of purificacion of our blissid lady, fallyng the
tewsday the secund day of the moneth of feuerer. In the yere of our lord
M. cccc. lxxviij for to be enprinted.… Whiche werke present I begann the
morn after the saide Purification of our blissid Lady, whiche was the
daye of Seint Blase Bisshop and Martir, And finisshed on the euen of
thannunciacion of our said blissid Lady, fallyng on the Wednesday the
xxiiij. daye of Marche in the xix yere of Kyng Edwarde the fourthe.”

Earlier bibliographers got very confused over this book and made absurd
mistakes as to the time which Caxton took to print it. But Mr. Blades
had no difficulty in showing that the different dates follow closely on
each other. Caxton received the book on February 2d, began printing it on
February 3d, and finished it on March 24th, all in the same year 1479. We
have a double method of proving this, by the two week-days mentioned and
by the regnal year, which covered the period March 4, 1479, to March 3,
1480. The only March 24th in this twelvemonth was that in 1479, and in
1479 March 24th, as Caxton says, fell on a Wednesday. In 1479, moreover,
February 2d fell on a Tuesday, in 1478 on a Sunday. It is thus clear that
the Tuesday, February 2, 1478, of the colophon must be an old-style date,
answering to 1479 of our reckoning.

The occasional mention of the day both of the week and the month in
German colophons offers us, in the absence of regnal years, almost the
only proof we can obtain that German printers began their year either
at Christmas or on January 1st,—I am not prepared to say which. Thus
the colophon of an edition of the “De remediis utriusque fortunae” of
Adrianus Carthusiensis reads:

    Explicit liber de remediis fortuitorum casuum nouiter
    compilatus et impressus Colonie per Arnoldum therhoernen,
    finitus Anno domini Mºccccºlxxiº die veneris octaua mensis
    Februarii. Deo Gracias.

    Ends the book of the remedies of casual haps, lately compiled
    and printed at Cologne by Arnold therhoernen. Finished in the
    year of the Lord 1471, on Friday, February 8th. Thanks be to

In 1471 February 8th fell on a Friday, in 1472 on a Saturday. Therefore
it is clear that in therhoernen’s reckoning January and February were
the first months of the year, as they are with us.

Before inquiring as to what printers reckoned the year as beginning at
Easter, we must give the following table:

    EASTER DAY, 1470-1521

    1470 April 22
    1471 April 14
    1472 March 29
    1473 April 18
    1474 April 10
    1475 March 26
    1476 April 14
    1477 April 6
    1478 March 22
    1479 April 11
    1480 April 2
    1481 April 22
    1482 April 7
    1483 March 30
    1484 April 18
    1485 April 3
    1486 March 26
    1487 April 15
    1488 April 6
    1489 April 19
    1490 April 11
    1491 April 3
    1492 April 22
    1493 April 7
    1494 March 30
    1495 April 19
    1496 April 3
    1497 March 26
    1498 April 15
    1499 March 31
    1500 April 19
    1501 April 11
    1502 March 27
    1503 April 16
    1504 April 7
    1505 March 23
    1506 April 12
    1507 April 4
    1508 April 23
    1509 April 8
    1510 March 31
    1511 April 20
    1512 April 11
    1513 March 27
    1514 April 16
    1515 April 8
    1516 March 23
    1517 April 12
    1518 April 4
    1519 April 24
    1520 April 8
    1521 March 31

That Pierre Gerard and Jean Dupré at Abbeville reckoned the year
from Easter to Easter, we get a broad hint in the colophon to their
magnificent edition of Augustine’s “De Ciuitate Dei” in French. This is
in two volumes, the colophon to the first of which is dated “le xxiiii
jour de Nouembre l’an mil quatre cens quatre vingt et six,” while the
second runs:

    Cy fine le second volume contenant les xii derreniers liures de
    monseigneur saint augustin de la cité de dieu. Imprime en la
    ville dabbeuille, par Iehan du pre et pierre gerard marchans
    libraires: Et icelluy acheue le xii iour dauril lan mil quatre
    cens quatre vingtz et six auant pasques.

    Here ends the second volume containing the last twelve books of
    my lord Saint Augustin of the City of God. Printed in the town
    of Abbeville by Jean Dupré and Pierre Gerard, booksellers: and
    it was finished the twelfth day of April, the year 1486, before

That the second volume of so large a work must have been printed after
the first is so nearly certain that this alone might have caused us to
look out for a means of making April 12, 1486, later than November 24th
of the same year. The words “auant pasques” put the matter beyond doubt,
for Easter in 1486 of our reckoning fell on March 26th, but in 1487 on
April 15th. Clearly, therefore, the book was finished on Holy Thursday,
1487, and Easter was the date from which Dupré and Gerard reckoned their

We can obtain an equally neat proof of the French year beginning at
Easter from a copy of Pierre Gringore’s “Chasteau de Labour,” in which,
underneath the name of Philippe Pigouchet, appears the colophon:

    Le chasteau de labour auec aucunes balades et addicions
    nouuellement composees a este acheue le dernier iour de Mars
    Lan Mil Cinq cens. Pour Simon Vostre libraire demourant a
    Paris en la rue neuue nostre dame a lenseigne sainct iehan

This edition consists of sixty leaves and does actually contain a long
interpolation not found in the first edition of 22d October, 1499, or the
second, which is dated 31st December, 1499, or in yet another edition
dated 31st May, 1500, all three of which have only fifty leaves instead
of sixty. Thus it would appear at first sight that Pigouchet and Vostre
printed Gringore’s additions in March, 1500, and omitted them again two
months afterwards in May. Inasmuch, however, as the French year 1500
ran from Easter Sunday, 19th April, 1500, to Easter Sunday, 11th April,
1501, it is obvious that the only 31st March in it fell in 1501 according
to our reckoning, and that the edition of 31st March, 1500, was really
produced in March, 1501, and is ten months later than that of May, 1500.
We thus get an orderly sequence of three unaugmented editions of fifty
leaves, followed by an augmented one of sixty, and all difficulties

In Italy the year appears generally to have begun on January 1st, but
in Florence on Lady day, March 25th. At Venice the legal year is known
to have begun on March 1st, and most writers on Aldus have asserted
positively that this was the date to which he conformed. That other
Venetian printers observed January 1st as the first day of the year can
be proved from the mention of Pietro Mocenigo as doge in the colophon to
an edition of the “Istoria Fiorentina” of Leonardo Aretino. This ends:

    Impresso a Vinegia perlo diligente huomo Maestro Iacomo de
    Rossi di natione Gallo: Nellanno del Mcccclxxvj. a di xii de
    Febraio: Regnante lo inclyto Principe Messer Piero Mozenico.

As our table of Venetian doges shows, Mocenigo died on February 23, 1476,
eleven days after this colophon was printed; and it is thus clear that
February, 1476, meant the same to “Maestro Iacomo de Rossi” as it does to

That the antiquarian Aldus troubled his head about the beginning of the
Venetian legal year seems a strange inconsistency. But the late Mr. R.
C. Christie, who proved conclusively, in an article in “Bibliographica,”
that in his later books Aldus began his year on January 1st, was yet
obliged to admit that the Lascaris, which is dated “M.cccc.lxxxxiiii
ultimo Februarii,” was probably finished only a few days before the
Supplement, which bears date March 8, 1495, and that the Theodore Gaza
of January, and the Theocritus of February, 1495, both really belong to
1496. I would suggest that in adopting March 1st as his New Year’s day
in these three volumes, Aldus pleased himself with the idea that he was
reckoning not “more Veneto” but “more antiquo Romano,” since (as the
names of our last four months still testify) the Roman year originally
began in March, and it was only the fact that after B.C. 153 the consuls
entered office in January that caused our present reckoning to come
into use, the sacerdotal year continuing to begin on March 1st. If
Aldus, after adopting the Venetian legal year because it agreed with the
earliest Roman reckoning, was convinced that he was being a little more
Roman than the Romans themselves, it is easy to understand his change of

It would appear, then, that the only books for which we must reckon the
year as beginning later than January 1st are a few early books of Aldus
(March 1st), all English books of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,
and books printed at Florence (March 25th) and in France (Easter). I
strongly suspect, moreover, that in Florentine and French editions of
learned works written in Latin there would be a tendency toward January
1st, but I cannot offer any proof of this at present, though it is a
question which I hope some day to work out.

As the examples quoted in our text will have abundantly shown, the days
of the month are expressed either according to our present use or by the
Roman notation, reckoning from the Calends, Nones, and Ides. The Calends
were always the first day of the month, the Nones fell on the 5th, and
the Ides on the 13th, except in March, May, July, and October, when they
were each two days later. Days were counted backwards from the Nones,
Ides, and Calends, both the day from which and the day to which the
reckoning was made being included in the calculation. Thus March 2d was
called the sixth day before the Nones (ante diem sextum Nonas Martis),
and March 25th the seventh before the Calends of April (ante diem
septimum Kalendas Aprilis, or a. d. vii. Kal. Apr.). July and August are
sometimes called by their old names Quintilis and Sextilis.

In Germany, more especially at Strassburg, and in Strassburg more
especially by an unidentified craftsman known as the “Printer of the
1483 Jordanus de Quedlinburg,” we often find books dated on such and
such a day of the week before or after a festival of the church or a
particular Sunday, the Sunday being indicated by quoting the first word
of the introit used at high mass. Thus in 1485 the anonymous printer of
the Jordanus finished a “De Proprietatibus Rerum” on S. Valentine’s day
(in die Valentini, February 14th), the “Historia Scholastica of Petrus
Comestor” after the feast of S. Matthias (post festum Matthie, February
24th), the “Postilla” of Guillermus on Thursday (March 9th) before
the feast of S. Gregory (quarta feria ante festum Gregorii), a “Casus
breues decretalium” on the day of SS. Vitus and Modestus (in die Viti et
Modesti, June 15th), and Cardinal Turrecremata’s “Gloss on the Psalter”
on S. Michael’s eve (in profesto Michaelis, September 28th). To another
edition of the “Postilla” of Guillermus he adds the imprint:

    Impressa Argentine Anno Domini M.cccc.xciij. Finita altera die
    post Reminiscere.

“Reminiscere” is the beginning of the introit for the second Sunday in
Lent, and as Easter in 1493 (see our table) fell on April 7th, this was
March 3d, and the “Postilla” were finished on Monday, March 4th.

The colophon to a Strassburg edition of the sermons known by the title
“Dormi secure” tells us that it was issued “secunda feria post Laetare”
in the same year 1493. “Laetare” being the first word of the introit
for the fourth Sunday in Lent, it thus appeared on Monday, March 18th,
exactly a fortnight after the “Postilla” of Guillermus. So again we find
Hans Schauer of Augsburg dating an edition of a “Beichtbuchlein,” or
manual of confession, “am Samstag vor Invocavit in dem XCij. iar,”—on
Saturday before Invocavit, 1492,—which gives the date (Invocavit marking
the first Sunday in Lent and Easter in 1492 falling on April 22d),
Saturday, March 10th. It is generally only the introits of the first four
Sundays in Lent (Invocavit, Reminiscere, Oculi, and Laetare) and that of
the first Sunday after Easter (Quasimodo) that are used in colophons in
this way.

We may bring this chapter to an end by noting one or two fruitful causes
of error in dating books which arise from misunderstanding the reference
or meaning of the dates in their colophons. In Chapter VI it has already
been noted that where an author or editor has given the date on which he
finished writing, such a date has often been confused with the date of
imprint. More dangerous but much rarer than such a pitfall as this is the
case of the reprinted colophon (see Chapter VII), which can be detected
only by experts in typography. The majority of mistakes, however, arise
from very simple misreadings. In many fifteenth-century fonts of type
the symbols x and v are very imperfectly distinguished, so that the
five has often been mistaken for a ten. Modern eyes, again, being used
to the symbols iv, ix, xl, are very apt to read the fifteenth-century
iiii as iii, the viiii as viii, and the xxxx as xxx. On the other hand,
as they neared the end of the century the printers not only expressed
ninety-nine by ic, but also used the forms vc, iiiic, iiic, iic, to
express the years ’95 to ’98; and, as has been done here for the sake
of brevity, occasionally omitted the precedent Mcccc., as in the “in
dem XCij. iar” of the colophon of the “Beichtbuchlein,” quoted a page
or two back. They also, it may be noted, frequently expressed eighty by
the reasonable symbol for fourscore, or quatre vingt—namely, iiiixx.
These latter methods of writing dates, however, though they may puzzle
for a moment, can hardly mislead; but in the case of books issued in
the years 1470, 1480, 1490, and 1500 (more especially the last) there
is one error so easily made that it has left its mark on every old
catalogue of incunabula. Thus when Hermann Lichtenstein dated an edition
of the “Opuscula” of S. Thomas Aquinas “anno salutis M.cccc.xc. vii
Idus septembris” he encouraged any ignorant or careless cataloguer to
misread the date as 1497 on the “Ides of September,” instead of 1490 on
the seventh day before the “Ides of September.” The mistake may be made
just as easily when words are used instead of numerals, for “anno nostre
salutis millesimo quadringentesimo octogesimo quinto kalendas Iunij” is
very easily read as 1485. It is, of course, equally easy to make the
opposite mistake and transfer to the record of the month a number which
relates to the year. As a rule, the printers, by interposing “die” or
“vero” or both, or by a change of type, put their meaning beyond dispute;
but sometimes they got confused themselves, and by leaving out either
the last numeral of the year, or that of the day of the month, produced
a puzzle which can be solved only by independent knowledge of the years
during which a printer worked.


[1] We follow Mr. Clark’s rendering, but think that, in spite of
Priscian, the writer must have intended by “_nullum se putat habere
laborem_,” “thinks all that mighty easy.”

[2] Adinuentionibus. The preposition was probably here intended to be
pressed, giving the meaning of “additional inventions” or improvements.
But as it may have been suggested by the “adinuentione” of the Psalter of
1457, I keep the same translation.

[3] I make this emendation with much misgiving, as the medieval use of
“quisque” was very elastic, and the text may be right.

[4] As regards the misprint MCCCCLXI for MCCCCLXXI, the ease with which
a compositor could omit a second X is evident of itself; but it may be
worth while, as proof of the frequency with which this particular error
actually occurred, to quote here four several colophons from a single
year, 1478, in all of which it occurs. These are:

(i) At Barcelona, in an edition of the “Pro condendis orationibus iuxta
grammaticas leges” of Bartollommeo Mates:

    COLOPHON: Libellus pro efficiendis orationibus, ut grammaticae
    artis leges expostulant, a docto uiro Bertolomeo Mates conditus
    et per P. Iohannem Matoses Christi ministerum presbiterumque
    castigatus et emendatus sub impensis Guillermi Ros et mira arte
    impressa per Iohannem Gherlinc alamanum finitur barcynone nonis
    octobriis anni a natiuitate Cristi MCCCCLXVIII.

    A booklet for making speeches as the rules of the art of
    grammar demand, composed by a learned man, Bartolommeo Mates,
    and corrected and amended by Father Juan Matoses, a minister
    and priest of Christ, at the expense of Guillermo Ros, and
    printed with wonderful art by Johann Gherlinc, a German, is
    ended at Barcelona on October 7th, in the year from Christ’s
    birth MCCCCLXVIII.

(ii) At Oxford, in the edition of the Exposition on the Creed written by
Rufinus of Aquileia and attributed to S. Jerome:

    COLOPHON: Explicit exposicio sancti Ieronimi in simbolo
    apostolorum ad papam laurencium Impressa Oxonie et finita Anno
    domini M.CCCC.LXVIII, xvii die decembris.

    Here ends the Exposition of St. Jerome on the Apostles’ Creed
    addressed to Pope Laurence. Printed at Oxford and finished A.D.
    M.CCCC.LXVIII, on the 17th day of December.

(iii) At Venice, in an edition of the “De componendis versibus hexametro
et pentametro” of Mataratius printed by Erhard Ratdolt.

    COLOPHON: Erhardus Ratdolt Augustensis probatissimus librarię
    artis exactor summa confecit diligentia. Anno Christi
    M.CCCC.LXVIII. vii calen. Decembris. Venetiis.

    Erhard Ratdolt of Augsburg, a most upright practitioner of the
    bookish art, finished this with the utmost diligence. In the
    year of Christ M.CCCC.LXVIII. On November 25th. At Venice.

(iv) At Cologne, in an edition of the letters of Pope Pius II printed by
Johann Koelhoff, the omission in this case being a double one.

    COLOPHON: Pii secundi pontificis maximi cui ante summum
    episcopatum primum quidem imperiali secretario, mox episcopo,
    deinde etiam cardinali senensi Enee Siluio nomen erat Familiares
    epistole date ad amicos in quadruplici vite eius statu finiunt.
    Per me Iohannem Koelhoff de Lubeck Colonie incolam Anno
    incarnationis M.CCCC.LVIII.

    Of Pope Pius II, who, before he attained the supreme bishopric,
    as imperial secretary, afterward as bishop, then as cardinal,
    was called Enea Silvio, the Familiar Letters, written to his
    friends in his fourfold condition of life, come to an end. By
    me, Johann Koelhoff of Lubeck, an inhabitant of Cologne, in the
    year of the Incarnation M.CCCC.LVIII.

The antiquaries of Oxford and Barcelona at various times have made what
fight they could for the correctness of the dates as printed, but the
contest has long since been decided against them, while the careers
of Ratdolt and Koelhoff are so well known that in their cases the
incorrectness of the dates has always been a matter of certainty.

[5] A colophon to Wynkyn de Worde’s edition of the Lives of the Fathers
(Vitas Patrum) deserves mention here as presenting us with a picture
of Caxton, like the Venerable Bede, engaged in his favorite task of
translation up to the very close of his life. It runs: “Thus endyth the
moost vertuose hystorye of the deuoute and right renowned lyues of holy
faders lyuuynge in deserte, worthy of remembraunce to all wel dysposed
persones, whiche hath be translated out of Frenche into Englisshe by
William Caxton of Westmynstre, late deed, and fynysshed at the laste daye
of his lyff. Enprynted in the sayd towne of Westmynstre by me Wynken
de Worde the yere of our lorde MCCCCLXXXXV and the tenth yere of our
souerayne lorde Kyng Henry the Seuenth.”

[6] Hain put a _sic_ against these words, and I am unable to translate
them, unless they be a misprint for “legum periti”—skilled in the law.

[7] Impressa est hec presens cronica que fasciculus temporum dicitur in
florentissima vniuersitate louaniensi ac sicut propriis cuiusdam deuoti
carthusiensis, viri historiarum studiosissimi, manibus, a mundi inicio
vsque ad sixti huius nomine pape quarti tempora contexta erat, per me
iohannem veldener summa diligentia maiorique impensa, nonnullis additis
ymaginibus ad finem vsque deducta, et proprio signeto signata, Sub anno
a natiuitate domini .M.cccc.lxxvi. quarto kalendas ianuarias secundum
stilum romane curie, de quo sit deus benedictus. Amen.

The present chronicle, which is called the “Fasciculus Temporum,” printed
in the most flourishing university of Louvain and in like manner as it
was compiled by the very hands of a devout Carthusian, a most zealous
student of history, by me, Jan Veldener, with the utmost diligence and
at unusual expense, with additional illustrations, brought to an end and
signed with my own device, in the year from the Lord’s nativity 1476, on
the fourth day before the Kalends of January (December 29), by the style
of the Roman court. For which God be blessed. Amen.

[8] _Aptatam_, a better reading than the _optatam_ of the earliest
version. So, in l. 2, the original reading, _nosce_, has been corrected
to _nosse_.

[9] Finis operum Hrosvithae clarissimae virginis et monialis Germaniae
gente Saxonica ortae. Impressum Norunbergae sub priuilegio sodali[ta]tis
Celticae a senatu Rhomani Imperii impetratae. Anno Quingentesimo primo
supra millesimum.

Here end the works of Hroswitha, the most illustrious virgin and nun of
Germany, sprung from the Saxon race, under a privilege of Celtes and his
company, obtained from the Senate of the Roman Empire in the year 1501.

[10] Iohannes ex uerona oriundus: Nicolai cyrugie medici filius: Artis
impressorie magister: hunc de re militari librum elegantissimum: litteris
& figuratis signis sua in patria primus impressit. An. M.cccc.lxxii.

[11] Insignis notabilisque compilatio haud modicum cuique statui
conferens omne genus vitiorum suis cum speciebus clarissime euidenterque
eradicans. ob id non immerito destructorium vitiorum nuncupata. a
cuiusdam fabri lignarii filio. maximam ad ecclesie vtilitatem Anno
M.cccc.xxix. collecta de nouo Colonie exactissime correcta. ac summo
studio impressa. ad laudem summe Monadis. xvii Kalendas Septembris. Anno
domini Millesimo quadringentesimo octuagesimo-quinto finita.

[12] The regnal years of Mary before her marriage are usually added to
those of Philip and Mary as joint sovereigns. Thus dates from 25 July,
1554-5 July, 1555, inclusive, are quoted as 1st and 2d Philip and Mary,
_i.e._, the first year of their joint rule and the second of Mary’s
reign. Dates from 6 July (the anniversary of her accession) to 24 July,
1555, are 1st and 3d Philip and Mary, _i.e._, the first year of their
joint rule and the third of Mary’s reign.






  Accoltus, F. Commentaria de acquirenda possessione. 1486.
    _Pescia, L. & F. de Cennis_,                                        99

  Adrianus Carthusiensis. De remediis utriusque fortunae. 1471.
    _Cologne, A. therhoernen_,                                         177

  Albertus, Magister. Sermones. 1474. _Cologne, A. therhoernen_,        92

  Albohazen Haly. Liber Regalis. 1492. _Venice, B. Ricius_,            111

  Alexander Gallus. Doctrinale. 1493. _Acqui, s. n. t._,                65

  Antonius de Alexandro. Super secundo codicis Iustiniani. 1474.
    _Naples, S. Riessinger_,                                            75

  Athanasius contra Arium &c. 1500. _Paris, A. Bocard_,                 98

  Atila persecutore de la christiana fede. 1491. _Venice, s. n. t._,    70

  Augustine. De Ciuitate Dei. 1473. _Mainz, P. Schoeffer_,              23

  —— 1470. _Venice, J. & W. of Speier_,                                 36

  —— 1486/87. _Abbeville, Dupré & Gerard_,                             179

  Augustine. Explanatio Psalmorum. 1489. _Basel, Jo. de Amerbach_,     143

  Augustine. Manuale. 1471. _Treviso, G. de Lisa_,                      59

  Avicenna. De medicina. 1473. _Milan, F. da Lavagna_,                  60

  Balbus, Jo. Catholicon. 1460. _Mainz, s. n. t._,                      13

  —— 1469. _Augsburg, G. Zainer_,                                       81

  Bartolus de Saxoferrato. Lectura super prima parte Digesti Veteris.
    1478. _Venice, John of Cologne & J. Manthen_,                       55

  Bartolus de Saxoferrato. Lectura super secunda parte Digesti
    Veteris. 1473. _Venice, W. of Speier_,                              39

  Biblia Latina. 1462. _Mainz, Fust & Schoeffer_,                       10

  —— 1476. _Vicenza, L. Achates_,                                       94

  Biel, Gabriel. Sermo Dominicae Passionis. _s. a. Hagenau,
    s. n. t._,                                                         143

  Boccaccio, Giovanni. Genealogiae Deorum. 1481. _Reggio, L. &
    B. Bruschus_,                                                       71

  Bonetus de Latis. Annulus Astronomicus. c. 1496. _Rome, A.
    Freitag_,                                                          130

  Boniface VIII. Liber Sextus Decretalium. 1465. _Mainz, Fust
    & Schoeffer_,                                                       17

  —— 1473. _Mainz, P. Schoeffer_,                                       23

  —— 1472. _Rome, U. Han_,                                             165

  —— 1477. _Basel, M. Wenssler_,                                        82

  Bononia Illustrata. 1494. _Bologna, P. de Benedictis_,                74

  Brant, Seb. La Nef des Fols. 1497 [misprinted in text 1457].
    _Paris, G. Marnef_,                                                106

  Breviarium Illerdense. 1479. _Lerida, H. Botel_,                     102

  Bridget, S. Revelationes. 1500. _Nuremberg, A. Koberger_,            149

  Bruno, Hen. Super Institutionibus. c. 1488. _Louvain, Aeg. van
    der Heerstraten_,                                                  128

  Butrio, Antonio de. Comment. super primo decretalium. 1473.
    _Rome, U. Han_,                                                    101

  Capella, Martianus. Opera. 1499. _Vicenza, H. de Sancto Urso_,       115

  Capitulos de governadores. 1500. _Seville, Pegnitzer & Herbst_,      118

  Castro, Paulus de. Consilia. 1485. _Nuremberg, A. Koberger_,         139

  Cavalca, Domenico. Frutti della Lingua. _s. a. Florence, s. n. t._,  154

  Cavalca, Domenico. Specchio di Croce. _s. a. Florence, s. n. t._,    154

  Caxton, William. Cronycles of England. 1493. _Antwerp, G. Leeu_,      72

  Charles the Great. 1485. _Westminster, W. Caxton_,                   136

  Christine de Pisan. Fayts of Arms. 1489. _Westminster, W. Caxton_,   137

  Christine de Pisan. Moral Proverbes. 1478. _Westminster, W. Caxton_, 174

  Cicero. De Officiis. 1478. _Naples, s. n. t._,                       162

  Cicero. De Oratore. 1470. _Venice, C. Valdarfer_,                     49

  Cicero. Epistolae ad Atticum. 1470. _Venice, N. Jenson_,              43

  Cicero. Epistolae ad Familiares. 1469. _Venice, John of Speier_,      32

  —— Second edition,                                                    33

  —— 1471. _Venice, N. Jenson_,                                         48

  —— 1472. _Milan, F. da Lavagna_,                                     149

  Cicero. Officia et Paradoxa. 1465. _Mainz, Fust & Schoeffer_,         18

  Cicero. Orationes. 1471. _Venice, C. Valdarfer_,                      50

  —— 1472. _Venice, Adam of Ammergau_,                                  52

  Cicero. Orationes Philippicae. c. 1470. _Rome, U. Han_,               88

  Cicero. Rhetorica. 1470. _Venice, N. Jenson_,                         42

  Cleve, Johann von. Moteta. 1580. _Augsburg, P. Ulhard & A.
    Reinheckel_,                                                       129

  Colonna, F. de. Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. 1499. _Venice, Aldus_,    124

  Cordyale. 1479. _Westminster, W. Caxton_,                            176

  Curtius, Franciscus. Consilia. 1496. _Milan, U. Scinzenzeler_,       115

  Cyprian. Epistulae. 1471. _Rome, Sweynheym & Pannartz_,               87

  Dante. Divina Commedia. 1476. _Venice, W. of Speier_,                 40

  Decor Puellarum. _See_ Honore de le Donzelle.

  Destructorium Vitiorum. 1485. _Cologne, s. n. t._,                   168

  —— 1496. _Nuremberg, A. Koberger_,                                    ib.

  —— 1497. _Paris, P. Levet_,                                           ib.

  Durandus, Gul. Speculum. 1488. _Venice, Paganinis & Arrivabene_,     166

  Exercitium puerorum grammaticale. 1494. _Strassburg, s. n. t._,       95

  Faber, Joannes. Breviarium super codice. c. 1475. _Louvain, John
    of Westphalia_,                                                     84

  Fasciculus Temporum. 1476. _Louvain, J. Veldener_,                    84

  —— 1481. _Rougemont, H. Wirzburg_,                                   167

  —— 1482. _Basel, B. Richel_,                                          ib.

  —— 1495. _Geneva, s. n. t._,                                         168

  Gambilionibus, Angelus de. Lectura super Institutionum libros
    quatuor. 1473. _Pavia, Jo. de Sidriano_,                            58

  Gambilionibus, Angelus de. Tractatus Maleficiorum. 1472. _Mantua,
    Petrus Adam_,                                                       60

  Godefroy of Boloyne. 1481. _Westminster, W. Caxton_,                 134

  Gregory IX. Decretales. 1474. _Rome, U. Han_,                        108

  —— 1489. _Venice, P. de Paganinis_,                                  169

  —— 1491. _Venice, Jo. Hamann_,                                        ib.

  Gringore, P. Le Chasteau de Labour. 1500/01. _Paris, Pigouchet
    for Vostre_,                                                       179

  Guido de Baysio. Super Decretis. 1481. _Venice, John of
    Cologne & Jenson_,                                                  78

  Guillermus. Postilla. 1493. _Strassburg, s. n. t._,                  183

  Harderwyck, Gerard. Commentarii in quatuor libros noue logice.
    1494. _Cologne, U. Zell_,                                          156

  Herolt, Joannes. Sermones Discipuli de Tempore. 1476. _Rostock,
    Brothers of the Common Life_,                                       93

  Homeliarius Doctorum. 1499. _Basel, N. Kessler_,                     155

  Homer. Opera. 1488. _Florence, B. Libri_,                              5

  Honore de le Donzelle. ‘1461.’ _Venice, N. Jenson_,                   45

  Hroswitha. Opera. 1501. _Nuremberg, Sodalitas Celtica_,              119

  Hugo de S. Caro. Postilla super Psalterium. 1496. _Venice,
    Gregorii_,                                                         112

  Jacobus Bergomensis. Supplementum Chronicarum. 1483. _Venice,
    B. Benalius_,                                                      131

  —— 1490. _Venice, B. Rizus_,                                         132

  Jerome. Commentaria in Bibliam. 1498. _Venice, Gregorii_,            112

  Jerome. Epistulae. 1470. _Mainz, P. Schoeffer_,                       19

  Jerome. Expositio in symbolum Apostolorum. _See_ Rufinus.

  Journal Spirituel. 1505. _Paris, A. Vérard_,                         105

  Justinian. Codex. 1475. _Mainz, P. Schoeffer_,                        24

  Justinian. Institutiones. 1476. _Mainz, P. Schoeffer_,                26

  Laet, Joannes. Pronosticationes. 1476. _Louvain, John of
    Westphalia_,                                                        86

  Leonardo, Aretino. De Bello Italico. 1471. _Venice, N. Jenson_,       48

  Leonardo, Aretino. Istoria Fiorentina. 1476. _Venice, Ja. de Rossi_, 180

  Lima Vitiorum. _See_ Quadragesimale.

  Lucretius. De Rerum Natura. c. 1473. _Brescia, T. Ferrandus_,        153

  Luctus Christianorum. _See_ Pianto de Christiani.

  Malory, Sir Thomas. Morte d’Arthur. 1485. _Westminster, W. Caxton_,  125

  Mandeville, Sir John. Itinerarius. _s. a. Caracteribus Veneticis_,    80

  Maneken, Carolus. Epistolarum Formulae. 1476. _Louvain, J.
    Veldener_,                                                         164

  Mataratius, Franciscus. De componendis versibus. ‘1468.’
    _Venice, E. Ratdolt_,                                         46 _note_

  Mates, Bartolommeo. Libellus pro efficiendis orationibus.
    ‘1468.’ _Barcelona, Jo. Gherlinc_,                            46 _note_

  Matthaeus Silvaticus. Liber cibalis. 1474. _Naples, Arnold of
    Brussels_,                                                         106

  Miraculi de la Vergene Maria. ‘1469.’ _Milan, Lavagna_,               60

  Mirror of the World. 1480. _Westminster, W. Caxton_,                 176

  Missale Vratislauiense. 1483. _Mainz, P. Schoeffer_,                   8

  Missale Misnense. 1485. _Freiberg, C. Kachelofen_,                    66

  Missale Romanum. 1484. _Venice, Paganinis & Arrivabene_,             147

  Missale Salisburgense. 1498. _Nuremberg, G. Stuchs_,                 145

  Natta, Georgius. Repetitio de verborum significatione. 1482.
    _Pavia, C. de Canibus_,                                            125

  Nicolaus de Auximo. Supplementum Summae Pisanellae (author’s
    colophon),                                                         133

  —— (Printer’s) c. 1472. _Venice, W. of Speier_,                      173

  Nuremberg Chronicle. _See_ Schedel.

  Pace, Richard. Oratio. 1518. _London, R. Pynson_,                    118

  Parole devote de l’anima inamorata. 1471. _Venice, N. Jenson_,        44

  Paul, S. Epistres S. Pol. 1507. _Paris, A. Vérard_,                  117

  Petrarch. Sonetti. 1470. _Venice, W. of Speier_,                      38

  Petrarch. Trionfi. 1477. _Lucca, Bar. de Cividale_,                   59

  Petrus de Abano. Expositio Problematum Aristotelis. 1475.
    _Mantua, Paul of Butzbach_,                                         97

  Petrus de Abano. Remedia Venenorum. 1475. _Rome, J. P. de
    Lignamine_,                                                        175

  Petrus de Ancharano. Repetitio. 1493. _Bologna, Ben. Hectoris_,      141

  Phalaris. Epistolae. 1485. _Oxford, Rood & Hunte_,                    61

  Pianto de Christiani. 1471. _Venice, N. Jenson_,                      43

  Pius II, Pope. Epistolae. ‘1458.’ _Cologne, J. Koelhoff_,             47

  Pliny. Historia Naturalis. 1469. _Venice, John of Speier_,            35

  Plutarch. Apophthegmata. 1471. _Venice, John of Speier_,              38

  Politian. Opera. 1499. ‘Florence.’ [Brescia, B. Misinta.] 160

  Psalterium. 1457. _Mainz, Fust & Schoeffer_,                          12

  Psalterium. 1459. _Mainz, Fust & Schoeffer_,                          13

  Quadragesimale quod dicitur Lima Vitiorum. 1497. _Brescia,
    Ang. Britannicus_,                                                 114

  Quintilian. Instituta. 1471. _Venice, N. Jenson_,                     48

  Regius, Raphael. Epistulae Plinii. 1490. _Venice, Anima Mia_,         74

  Robertus de Licio. Quadragesimale. 1472. _Venice, B. de Cremona_,     52

  Rolewinck, Werner. _See_ Fasciculus Temporum.

  Royal Book. 1484. _Westminster, W. Caxton_,                          135

  Rufinus of Aquileia. Expositio in symbolum Apostolorum. ‘1468.’
    Oxford. [T. Rood.]                                            46 _note_

  Sallust. Opera. 1470. _Venice, W. of Speier_,                         37

  —— [Second edition.] 1471,                                            39

  —— 1470. _Paris, Gering, &c._,                                        69

  —— 1474. _Venice, John of Cologne & J. Manthen_,                      77

  Schedel, Hartmann. Liber Chronicarum. 1493. _Nuremberg, A.
    Koberger_,                                                         121

  Seneca. Tragediae. 1497. _Venice, P. Bergamascho_,                   113

  Statius. Achilleis. 1473. _Parma, S. Corallus_,                      109

  Suetonius. Vitae Caesarum. 1471. _Venice, N. Jenson_,                 47

  Thomas Aquinas. De Veritate. 1499. _Cologne, H. Quenteil_,           145

  Thomas Aquinas. Quodlibet. 1475. _Ulm, J. Zainer_,                    58

  Tituli Decisionum. 1477. _Mainz, P. Schoeffer_,                       23

  Tritheim, Joh. Compendium de Origine regum et gentis Francorum.
    1515. _Mainz, J. Schoeffer_,                                        26

  Triumpho de Virtude. 1471. _Venice, N. Jenson_,                       44

  Turrecremata, Cardinal. Meditationes. 1472. _Rome, U. Han_,          120

  Valla, Laur. De Elegantia Linguae Latinae. 1475. _Rome, A.
    Pannartz_,                                                          96

  Valturius. De Re Militari. 1472. _Verona, J. de Verona_,             120

  Vegetius. De Militari Disciplina. 1488. _Pescia, Sig. Rodt_,         100

  Virgil. Opera. 1472. _Padua, L. Achates_,                             54

  —— 1471/72. _Florence, Cennini_,                                      63

  Visconti, Gasparo. Rithmi. 1493. _Milan, A. Zarotus_,                103

  Vitas Patrum. 1495. _Westminster, W. de Worde_,                  72, 174

  Vocabularius ex quo. 1467. _Eltville, Bechtermünze & Spiess_,         15



  Achates, Leonardus, colophon quoted, 54.

  Acqui, colophon of unknown printer at, 65.

  Adam of Ammergau, colophon borrowed from Valdarfer, 52.

  Adinventio, possible meanings of the word, 12, 29 note.

  Advertisements used by 15th-century printers, 89.

  Aldus Manutius, date from which he reckoned his years, 181;
    colophon of his edition of the ‘Hypnerotomachia,’ 124.

  Armorial devices used by printers, 20, 22.

  Arnold of Brussels, colophon quoted, 106.

  Arriuabenus and Paganinis, colophons quoted, 147, 166.

  Arundel, Earl of, his financial help to Caxton’s ‘Golden Legend,’ 99.

  Asparagus,—a book printed quicker than asparagus can be cooked, 109.

  Authors, privileges for exclusive printing granted to, 113;
    authors’ and editors’ colophons, 123-158.

  Balsarin, G., copies the Caesaris copy of a Veldener colophon, 165.

  Barcelona, book printed at, dated ‘1468,’ 46 note.

  Bartholomaeus de Chaimis, German copies of Valdarfer’s Milan edition
    of his ‘Confessionale,’ 161.

  Bartolommeo of Cremona, colophon quoted, 52.

  Bell-ringer, Lerida Breviary financed by a, 102.

  Benedictus Hectoris, an example of an editor’s contempt for his
    predecessors, 142.

  Bergamascho, Piero, colophon quoted, 113.

  Bible, praises of the, in colophons, 94, 112;
    rarity of colophons in the early printed editions, 10 sqq.

  Bistricci, Vespasiano da, his contempt for printed books, xix.

  Boastfulness in colophons, 58.

  Bottonus. See Bruschus.

  Brescia, privileges granted at Venice affected printing at, 114.

  Brice, Hugh, finances Caxton’s ‘Mirror of the World,’ 99.

  Brothers of the Common Life, at Rostock, colophon quoted, 92.

  Brown, Horatio, his ‘The Venetian Printing Press’ quoted, 34, 62, 110.

  Bruno, Henricus, complaint of overwork, 127.

  Bruschus, Bartholomaeus, on his brother’s death, 71.

  Caesaris, P., his copy of a Veldener colophon copied by Balsarin, 165.

  Calends, method of reckoning days of the month by, 182.

  Capitales litterae, capitalia, initial letters, not simply majuscules,
    12, 81 (N. B. The explanation in the text at p. 81 is wrong, the
    reference being to the initial letters of the first seven lines of
    the colophon, which make the name Günther).

  Capitalia. See Capitales litterae.

  Caracterizare, meaning of the word, 12 sq.

  Carbo, Lodovicus, his verse colophons, 31, 50 sq.

  Casal Maggiore, Hebrew book finished at, 69.

  Caxton, William, specimens of his colophons, 133-138, 174, 176;
    his patrons and helpers, 99, 135;
    his advertisement of the Sarum Directorium or ‘Pie,’ 89;
    his difficulties with the text of Chaucer, 153;
    De Worde’s reference to his last hours, 72.

  Cennini, Ber. and Dom., colophons to their Virgil quoted, 63 sq.

  Cepolla, Bartolommeo, his self-advertisement, 139.

  Chalcographi, meaning of the word, 53.

  Chardella, Simon, finances Ulrich Han, 101.

  Chaucer, Geoffrey, Caxton’s difficulties with his text, 153.

  Cheapness, vaunts of, in colophons, 106.

  Christie, R. C., his detection of the 1499 Brescia Politian, purporting
    to be printed at Florence, 159 sq.

  Cividale, Bartolommeo de, colophon quoted, 59.

  Classical texts, the Italian market in 1472 overstocked with, 108 sq.;
    their editors’ colophons, 149-153.

  Cleve, Johann von, musician, his troubles with his printers, 129.

  Cluniac monastery at Rougemont. See Rougemont.

  Codex, meaning of the word, 12.

  Cologne, book dated ‘1458’ printed at, 47 note.

  Colophon, the city, xi.

  Colophons, original meaning and derivation of the word colophon, ix;
    history of its use in England, x;
    its connection with the city of Colophon, xi;
    colophons not found in all early printed books, 4, 9 sqq., 15;
    their information often defective, 4;
    more often found in Latin than in vernacular books, 6 sq., 44, 47;
    their use a sign of the printer’s pride in his work, 6, 9, 22, 82, 85;
    difficulty of exactly translating words used in, 12 sq., 24, 53;
    phrases taken over from one colophon to another, 15 sq.;
    possible significance of this, 17 sq., 52;
    attachment of printers’ devices to, 20, 23, 82;
    their evidence as to the invention of printing, 25 sqq.;
    their information as to the size of early Venice editions, 32, 34, 37;
    use of verse in, 31, 52, 54;
    misprinted dates in, 43 sqq., 60;
    frequent expression of religious feeling in, 57 sq., 92 sq.;
    boastfulness in, 58;
    often used to claim credit for introducing printing into a particular
      town, 58-60;
    allusion in an Oxford colophon to Venice printers, 62;
    Florentine allusion to spaces left for Greek words, 64;
    their allusions to the plague, 65 sqq.;
    tell us of books begun in one place and ended at another, 67 sqq.;
    their allusions to war, 69 sq.;
    to deaths of printers, 36, 71 sq.;
    to relations between masters and workmen, 72 sq., 78;
    their apologies for misprints, 72-74;
    allusions in a Naples colophon to the printers’ enemies, 75;
    boasts of loyalty, 76 sq.;
    references in colophons to types, 80;
    an Augsburg colophon with an acrostic of the printer’s name (see under
      Capitales litterae), 81;
    references to their printers’ marks, 82-86;
    express their printers’ desire to make their names known, 87 sq.;
    their professions of unselfish zeal, 91 sqq.;
    praise of the books to which they are appended, 94 sqq.;
    their demand for gratitude, 92;
    allusions to the help given by patrons, 99 sqq.;
    or by a philanthropic partner, 101, 108;
    the publisher in one case a bell-ringer, 102;
    in another a poet, 103;
    colophons often precise in their note of their publishers’ address,
    their vaunts of cheapness, 106;
    or of a correctness beyond price, 108;
    allusions to quick printing, 109;
    their references to privileges for exclusive printing, 110-120;
    their scanty allusions to pictures in books, 121 sq.;
    examples of these in combination with printers’ or publishers’
      colophons, 124 sqq.;
    colophons an outlet for the author’s thankfulness, 125;
    or his complaints—a grumble at overwork, 127;
    complaints of printers, 129;
    apologies for bad Latin, 130;
    details as to author’s age, 131;
    an author’s precaution to prevent his colophon being omitted, 132;
    colophons of William Caxton, 133-138;
    colophons used to advertise the author, 139 sq.;
    or to allow editors to depreciate their predecessors, 140 sqq.;
    colophons of liturgical printers and editors, 145-148;
    of editors of classical texts, 149-153;
    allusions to textual difficulties also in modern works, 154;
    editorial pleas for indulgence, 156;
    editorial gratitude to helpers, 157;
    grammatical errors introduced by thieves, 165;
    DATES IN COLOPHONS, 170-184;
    common errors in reading them, 183 sq.

  Conrad of Westphalia, steals a colophon of Veldener’s, 162.

  Copyright, possibly more respected in German cities than elsewhere,
      17 sq.;
    at first dependent on courtesy or rules of trade-guilds, 22;
    secured by ‘privileges,’ 110-120.

  Corallus, Stephanus, colophon quoted, 109.

  Cornazanus, Antonius, his verse colophons, 31.

  Corniger, Franciscus, prints his patron’s poems, 103.

  Creusner, Fridericus, copies a Valdarfer colophon, 161.

  Damilas, Demetrio, corrector of the Florentine Homer, 5 sq.

  Dates in colophons, 170-184.

  Daubeney, W., urges Caxton to print ‘Charles the Great,’ 99, 136.

  Deaths of printers, allusions to, in colophons, 36, 71.

  Demetrio of Milan. See Damilas.

  Devices, attached to colophons, 82;
    examples of portraits used as, 84 sq.

  Diel, Florentinus, his charges against previous editors, 143.

  Doges, names of, in colophons, 41;
    list of, 173.

  Dupré and Gerard, colophon quoted, 179.

  Easter day, 1470-1521, list of dates on which it fell, 178;
    French year began with, 179.

  Editions, number of copies in those first printed at Venice, 32, 34, 37;
    at Milan, 151 sq.

  Editors’ and authors’ colophons, 123-158.

  Eggestein, Heinrich, his books before 1471 not dated, 11.

  Elementa, Elementatum, meaning of the words, 24-80.

  England, year used to begin on March 25th in, 176;
    regnal years of kings (1461-1603), 172.

  Errors of dating in colophons and in reading them, 183 sq.

  Floods, allusion to, in a colophon, 167.

  Florence, colophons of books printed at, 5, 63, 154, 160;
    Florentine year began on Lady day, 181.

  Foresti, Jacobus. See Jacobus Bergomensis.

  Fossa, Evangelio, privilege granted to, for all his writings, 113.

  France, regnal years of kings (1461-1610), 172.

  Franciscus, Magister, his verses in Mainz editions of Justinian, 26.

  Free trade, effect of, on English printing, 110.

  Freiberg, first book printed at, 67.

  Fust, Johann, colophons from books printed by, 10 sqq.;
    failure of his health, 18.

  Geese of the Capitol, Ulrich Han’s allusion to, 88.

  ‘Germani fidelissimi,’ who they were, 77.

  Germany, day on which the year began in, 177;
    method of indicating days of the month and week by saints’ days,
      introits, etc., used in, 182 sq.;
    privileges for exclusive printing granted in, 119.

  Grammars vaunted as royal roads to learning, 95 sqq.

  Grammatical slips in borrowed colophons, 165 sq.

  Greek, allusion in a Florentine colophon to the practice of leaving
      blank spaces for Greek quotations, 64;
    a Greek colophon, 5.

  Gregorii, J. and G., colophons quoted, 112 sqq.

  Gutenberg, Johann, never put his name to any printed book, 11;
    his tradition of secrecy imitated, _ib._;
    sale of his types, 17.

  Hamann, Johann, adopts part of a colophon, 169.

  Han, Ulrich, colophons quoted, 88, 101, 108, 120;
    financed by Simon Chardella, 101;
    copies Schoeffer’s colophons and makes blunders in them, 165-168.

  Henry VII, Caxton’s relations with, 137.

  Herbort, Johann, colophons quoted, 78 sq.

  Hoemberch, Conrad de. See Winters.

  Horae, references in, to their pictures, 120.

  Hortus Sanitatis, reference in the colophon of Meidenbach’s edition to
    its pictures, 121.

  Ides, method of dating by, 182.

  Indictions, method of reckoning by, used in colophons, 170.

  Introit at high mass, first word used to denote the Sunday to which it
    belonged, 183.

  Invocavit Sunday, 184.

  Jacobus Bergomensis, his age when he finished different editions of the
    Supplementum Chronicarum, 131 sq.

  Jakob of Amsfort, Ulrich Zell’s acknowledgment of his help, 157.

  Januensis (of Genoa), 81.

  Jenson, Nicolas, colophons quoted, 41-49;
    partnership with John of Cologne, 78;
    one of his colophons reprinted at Naples, 162.

  John of Cologne, finances Wendelin of Speier, 36;
    colophons quoted, 55, 77 sq., 169.

  John of Speier, colophons in his books, 32 sq.

  John of Verona, colophons quoted, 120.

  John of Westphalia, his portrait device mentioned in his colophons, 84,

  Justinian, verses of Magister Franciscus in Mainz editions of the
    Institutes and Decretals, 26.

  Kachelofen, Conrad, colophon to Meissen Missal, 67.

  Kessler, N., colophon quoted, 155.

  Koberger, Anton, colophons quoted, 121, 148;
    borrows a Cologne colophon, 168.

  Koelhoff, Johann, book dated ‘1458’ printed by, 47 note.

  Lady day, March 25, in England and Florence year used to begin on, 176,

  Laetare Sunday, 183.

  Latis, Bonetus de, asks indulgence for his bad Latin, 131.

  Lavagna, F. da, colophons quoted, 60, 149.

  Leeu, Gerard, allusion to his death, 72.

  Levet, Pierre, uses a Cologne colophon, 168.

  Libri, Bartolommeo di, Proctor’s discovery of his importance as a
    Florentine printer, 4-6.

  Lisa, Gerard de, colophon quoted, 59.

  Liturgical books, colophons in, 145-148.

  Livy, verses in Wendelin of Speier’s 1470 edition of, 37.

  Lucca, first book printed at, 59.

  Lucretius, rarity of medieval texts of, 153.

  Mainz colophons, 8-29.

  Malory, Sir Thomas, his illness and death, 124.

  Manthen, Johann, partnership with John of Cologne, 78.

  Mantua, first book printed at, 59.

  Marnef, Geoffroi, colophon quoted, 106.

  Masters and workmen, references to the relations between, 72 sq., 78.

  Matthias Moravus, was he one of the ‘Germani fidelissimi’? 77.

  Mentelin, Johann, his books before 1473 not dated, 11.

  Milan, rival claims to the first introduction of printing at, 60.

  Misinta, Bernard, his attribution of his 1499 Politian to Florence, 160.

  Misprints, apologies for, 72 sqq.;
    in dates in colophons, 43-48.

  Missal printers, their special claims to accuracy, 145 sqq.

  Müller, Johann, his advertisement of his books, 89.

  Natta, Georgius, embassy to Milan, 127.

  Nerli, Bernardo and Nerio, finance the Florentine Homer, 5 sq.

  New Year, date of, in various countries, 175 sqq.

  Nicolaus de Auximo, finishes in 1444 his Supplementum Summae Pisanellae,

  Nones, method of dating by, 182.

  Oculi Sunday, 183.

  Olympiades Dominicae, 79, 170.

  Olympiads, Theodoric Rood’s misreckoning by, 61, 170.

  Omnibonus Leonicenus, his verse colophons, 31, 42.

  Orlandi, Sebastian and Raphael dei, patrons of Pescia printers, 99.

  Ortus Sanitatis. See Hortus.

  Oxford, book dated ‘1468’ printed at, 46 note;
    the colophon of the 1485 ‘Phalaris,’ 62.

  Paderborn, John of. See John of Westphalia.

  Paganinus de Paganinis, adopts part of a John of Cologne and Jenson
    colophon, 169.

  Palares, Antonio, bell-ringer, finances a Lerida breviary, 102.

  Pannartz, Arnold, his praise of Valla’s ‘De Elegantia Linguae Latinae,’
    see also Sweynheym and Pannartz.

  Pavia, first book printed at, 58.

  Pictures in early printed books, colophons alluding to, 120-122.

  Pigouchet and Vostre, colophon quoted, 179.

  Plague, allusions to, in colophons, 65, 67.

  Pleydenwurff, W., illustrator of the ‘Nuremberg Chronicle,’ 121.

  Politian, edition of, printed at Brescia with the false imprint
    ‘Florentiae,’ 159.

  Popes, 1458-1534, list of, 171 sq.

  Portrait devices, 84 sq.

  Pratt, William, urges Caxton to print the ‘Book of Good Manners,’ 99.

  Printers’ devices, use of, in colophons, 20;
    their significance, 22.

  Printing, invention of, secrecy observed by Gutenberg and his followers
      as to, 11;
    evidence obtainable from colophons as to, 25 sq.;
    Johann Schoeffer’s account of, 27 sqq.

  Privileges for exclusive printing, early history of, 110-120.

  Proctor, Robert, his identifications of the printers of incunabula, 4
    his arrangement of the earliest Venetian books, 34.

  Punctuation, explanation of the system used in a Salzburg Missal, 145.

  Pynson, Richard, colophon quoted, 118.

  Ratdolt, Erhard, book dated ‘1468’ printed by, 46 note;
    his specimen-sheet, 89.

  Regiomontanus, Joannes. See Müller.

  Regnal years of popes and kings of England and France, 171 sqq.

  Religious feeling in colophons, 57.

  Reminiscere Sunday, 183.

  Richel, Bernard, his books before 1474 not dated, 11;
    adopts a Rougemont colophon, 167.

  Ricius, Bernardus, colophon quoted, 111.

  Riessinger, Sixtus, complains of his enemies, 75;
    relations with F. Tuppo, 76.

  Roman letter, first book wholly printed in, in England, 118.

  Rood, Theodoric, his misreckoning by Olympiads, 61, 170;
    colophon of his ‘Phalaris’ quoted, 61.

  Rougemont, Cluniac monastery at, colophon of book printed there, 167.

  Ruppel, Bertold, never dated any of his books, 11.

  Sabellico, Marc’ Antonio, privilege for exclusive printing granted to,

  Saints’ days, German books often dated by, 182.

  Schoeffer, Johann, his account of the invention of printing, 27-29.

  Schoeffer, Peter, his colophons quoted, 8, 10, 16, 18, 20 sqq.;
    his glorification of the art of printing, 11;
    his allusion to his printer’s device imitated by Wenssler, 22;
    copies one of Valdarfer’s colophons, 161;
    his own colophons copied by Han, 165, and Wenssler, 168.

  Scinzenzeler, Ulrich, colophon quoted, 115.

  Scribes, their influence on printers, xvii.

  Sensenschmidt and Frisner allude to their device in a colophon, 85.

  Sidriano, Jo. de, colophon quoted, 58.

  Sodalitas Celtica of Nuremberg, colophon quoted, 119.

  Spain, privileges for exclusive printing granted in, 118.

  Speier. See John of Speier, Wendelin of Speier.

  Stuchs, Georg, colophon quoted, 146.

  Sweynheym and Pannartz, their apology for their harsh names, 87.

  Therhoernen, Arnold, colophon quoted, 92.

  Title-pages, first appearance of, xvii.

  Tuppo, Francesco, relations with Riessinger, 76.

  V misprinted for X, 61;
    often mistaken for it, 183.

  Valdarfer, Christopher, colophons quoted, 49, 51;
    his colophon to his 1474 ‘Confessionale’ unintelligently copied in
      Germany, 161.

  Veldener, Jan, mentions his device in a colophon, 84 sq.;
    one of his colophons pirated by Conrad of Westphalia, 163 sq.;
    its subsequent history, 165.

  Venice, colophons quoted, 25-56, 77, 80, 111, 112, 124, 131, 132,
      147, 173;
    Oxford colophon’s allusion to Venice printers, 62;
    a reference to its foundation, 70;
    book privileges granted at, 111-113;
    list of doges of, 173;
    date when the year began at, 180.

  Vérard, Antoine, careful address in his colophons, 105;
    colophons quoted, 105, 117.

  Verona, colophon quoted, 120.

  Verse, use of, in colophons, 31;
    the author’s apology for his renderings, _ib._

  Vicenza, books printed at, protected by Venetian privileges, 115.

  Virgil, verses in Wendelin of Speier’s 1470 edition, 37.

  War, references to, in colophons, 69 sq.

  Wendelin of Speier, colophons quoted, 36-41.

  Wenssler, Michael, colophon quoted, 82;
    imitates Schoeffer’s use of armorial device, 22;
    copies one of Schoeffer’s colophons, 168.

  Westminster colophons. See Caxton.

  Westphalia, John of. See John.

  Winds, allusion to, in a colophon, 168.

  Winters, Conrad, mentions his device in a colophon, 85.

  Wirzburg, Heinrich, colophon quoted, 166.

  Wolgemut, M., illustrator of the ‘Nuremberg Chronicle,’ 121.

  X, examples of accidental omission of, from dates in colophons, 43,
      46 sq.;
    V printed in the place of, 61;
    often mistaken for it, 183.

  Year, date of beginning in various countries, 175 sqq.

  Zainer, Günther, verse colophon with acrostic of his Christian name, 81.

  Zainer, Johann, colophon quoted, 58.

  Zaroto, Antonio, his claim to be the first printer at Milan disputed by
    Lavagna, 60 sq.

  Zell, Ulrich, colophon quoted, 156.

  Zovenzonius, Raphael, his verse colophons, 31.



*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Essay on Colophons - With Specimens and Translations" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.