Poem Concerning the Departure of the Magi
This 15th-century manuscript, in Renaissance script, contains a poetic composition (De profectione Magorum adorare Christum et de innocentibus interfectis ab Herode) by a "Gabriel Volaterranus." The author was in all likelihood Gabriello Zacchi da Volterra, the archpriest (acting dean, vicar to the bishop) of the cathedral, who was from a culturally sophisticated background and died in 1467 at the age of 33. The author dedicates the work to Tommaso del Testa Piccolomini, the secret assistant of Pope Pius II (folio 132r), to whom Pius had granted the privilege of kinship ...
Contributed by
Municipal Library Intronati
Jewish Antiquities
Jean Fouquet (141?-80?) was the greatest French painter of the 15th century. His genius is reflected in his illustrations of Jewish Antiquities, which Fouquet created for Jacques d’Armagnac, the Duke of Nemours. Fouquet traveled to Italy as a young man, where he learned to paint with great precision of detail and to use aerial perspective, but he continued to draw upon his native Touraine for many aspects of his art, especially forms and color. In these illustrations, his depiction of the siege of Jericho evokes a city on ...
Contributed by
National Library of France
Speeches
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490) developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library was ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
The History of Bologna in Four Books. Poems to Galeatius Marescottus
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
Eight Books Concerning Medicine
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490) developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
The Rubrics of the First Book of Lactantius Firmianus's On the Divine Institutes Against the Pagans Begin …
This very rare work by Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius is one of the first books printed in Italy and the first dated Italian imprint. It was produced by the German typographers Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, who established a printing press in 1465 at the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco, near Rome. According to the colophon, the book was completed “In the year of Our Lord 1465, in the second year of the papacy of Paul II, the thirteenth indiction and the last day but two of the month of October ...
Contributed by
University Library of Naples
Metropolitan Civil Examination Records from the 7th Year of the Tianshun Reign (1463)
This work is a collection of civil examination records dated the seventh year (1463) of the Tianshun reign (1457–64). The civil examination system in China began in the first half of the seventh century and continued with various modifications until its abolition in 1905 in the late Qing dynasty. Its purpose was to train and select qualified officials to form an efficient bureaucracy to administer the vast nation under the emperor. The system was designed to reward merit in any male candidate, rather than social or political connections or ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Book of Herbs
Johannes Hartlieb’s Kräuterbuch (Book of herbs) of 1462 is basically an extract from Konrad von Megenberg’s Buch der Natur (Book of nature) written a century earlier, which was the first natural history in the German language. Hartlieb’s subject is plants, mostly herbs, and their medical uses. What makes the Kräuterbuch special is the side-by-side presentation of text and images. The high cost of such a richly decorated book makes it unlikely that it was actually used by doctors or pharmacists of the time. The botanical imprecision of ...
Contributed by
Berlin State Library - Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
Regimen of Health
Heinrich von Laufenberg (circa 1390–1460) was a cleric from the southwest German town of Freiburg, a prolific writer of prose and verse in both German and Latin, who is best known for his religious lyrics. His Regimen Sanitatis (Regimen of health) of 1429 is a medical-astronomical compendium of guidance to healthful living that stretches to more than 6,000 lines of metrical German. The work presents the reader with practical rules for healthy living concerning such matters as a balanced diet, phlebotomy (bloodletting, then a common treatment to prevent ...
Contributed by
Berlin State Library - Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
On the Life of Plotinus. The Six Enneads
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
German Old Testament
This two-volume manuscript of a Southern German translation of the Old Testament was written by the professional scribe Georg Rorer from Ratisbon (Regensburg) around 1463, perhaps for the monastery of Rottenbuch in Bavaria. The first volume contains all the books of the Old Testament from the Book of Genesis (with the first part of the Book of Genesis up to 24:19 missing) to the Second Book of Kings, as well as the psalter. The first chapters of the Gospel of Matthew (1:1–5:44) were accidentally bound into ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
The Twelve Ladies of Rhetoric
The manuscript entitled Les douze dames de rhétorique (The twelve ladies of rhetoric) contains the literary correspondence between Jean Robertet, secretary of the Bourbon duke Jean II; George Chastelain, historiographer of Philippe le Bon of Burgundy; and Jean de Montferrant, adviser and chamberlain at the Burgundian court. Written around 1464–65, the 19 letters in French and Latin are concerned with poetry. The letters are accompanied by a series of descriptions in verse of the twelve companions of Lady Rhetoric. Only five copies of the text, crafted immediately after the ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
Combat Manual of 1467
This 1467 manuscript Fechtbuch (Combat manual) provides instructions for various methods of fighting, without armor and wearing different kinds of armor, and on foot and on horseback. A series of annotated illustrations is devoted to combat with swords, daggers, pikes, and other weapons. Even the rules for a trial by combat between a man and a woman are included. The author, Hans Talhoffer (circa 1420–circa 1490), was regarded in his time as an unbeatable swordsman and one of the finest teachers of the so-called German school of fencing. Because ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
Paupers' Bible
This Biblia pauperum (Paupers' Bible) consists of a series of woodcuts depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, which are combined with short explanatory texts printed with metal type. Central scenes from the life of Christ are juxtaposed with two corresponding scenes from the Old Testament accompanied by four prophets, thus dramatizing fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New. With its memorable images, the work might have served as an aid for the instruction of laymen or members of the lower clergy financially unable to purchase a complete ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library