Incunabular broadside in the vernacular, on a Papal crusade against the Ottomans

Innocent VIII, Pope. [Articuli abbreviati indulgentiarum Iubilaei et Cruciatae, 11 Dec. 1488]. Diß syndt die artickel deß ablaß am aller kurtzten begriffen yn gantzer krafft und macht.

[Mainz, Peter Schöffer, ca. 1489].

Folio (248 x 360 mm). 1 p. 62 lines of Gothic type in one column.


Rare complete example of this later production by the printing pioneer Peter Schöffer of Mainz (ca. 1425-1503), who had been in business (in partnership or on his own) since 1457 and had served an apprenticeship under Gutenberg himself, assisting in the printing of the B-42 Bible.

Schöffer uses here a set of type first recorded in his German "Hortus sanitatis" of 1485 (cf. Rosenthal). The text comprises a set of abbreviated articles in German regarding a Papal crusade bull against the Ottoman Empire and is dated 11 December 1488. Pope Innocent's call for a crusade early in his papacy came to nothing - though he would later hold Cem Sultan, brother of Ottoman Sultan Beyazed II (1447-1512), as his prisoner. By contrast, Schöffer was at the height of his craftsmanship. His own business had outlived Gutenberg's press, and he had perfected his art with some of his greatest works, including the 1457 Mainz Psalter, the 1462 Biblia pulcra, and the 1484 Herbarius latinus. He was among the first booksellers ever, a proponent of the use of multiple colours in type, and had set several industry standards still in use today, including the presence of a date and printer information on the title-page.

Even in a relatively simple broadside such as this, one can see the early days of printing experimentation as well as standardization: the use of indented paragraphs, the double-dash used to signify word division at the end of a line, and the beautiful typesetting for which Schöffer was so renowned. Uncommon on the market as well as in international collections: all eight holdings recorded in ISTC are in German institutions.


Staining (possibly due to previous use in a later binding) and some minor worming, with a few tidy repairs, but well preserved.


Copinger 708. GW 2703. ISTC ii00100300. Rosenthal cat. 92, no. 59. Martin Breslauer cat. 81, no. 17.