Dialogus inter clericum et militem super dignitate papali et regia. - Compendium de vita Antichristi. [Cologne: Printer of Augustinus 'De fide', ca. 1473].
Chancery half-sheet 4o (209 x 147 mm). Collation: [1-28] Disputatio inter clericum et militem, 2/6r Compendium de vita Anticristi). 16 leaves. 26 lines. Type: 100(107). Two 4-line initial spaces. Initials and paragraph marks alternating in red and blue, the first with infill and flourishing in blue (minor showthrough of first initial). Traces of early manuscript quiring at center of lower margin. (First leaf andrehinged, repairs in gutter margin of last leaf, marginal paper flaw to 1/7, minor marginal soiling, slight fraying to first leaf.) Old vellum (recased); folding cloth case.
Provenance: contemporary inscription on a1r: occam he[re]tic[us] -- Charles Lemuel Nichols (1851-1929): bookplate -- Mrs. Philip D. Sang: sale, Sotheby's New York, 24 September 1986, lot 144.
FIRST EDITION. This tract on the proper boundary between lay and clerical power, couched as a dialogue between a cleric and a knight, was probably composed shortly before 1302 in the context of the struggle between Pope Boniface VIII and Philip the Fair of France. The direct target of the anonymous author's veiled attack on papal power is the Flemish clergy who agitated against Philip. Sometimes erroneously attributed to William of Ockham, the pamphlet may have been the work of Pierre Dubois (ca. 1250-ca. 1320), one of the most prominent publicists in Philip's circle. The pamphlet's interest to Cologne readers of the 1470s lay in in its discussion of the legitimacy of taxation of ecclesiastical properties by local civil authorities, a question of urgent relevance to the city of Cologne in 1473, in desperate need of funds for defence against the aggressions of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. The anonymous Compendium de vita Antichristi is appended to all 13 recorded fifteenth-century editions. Of these nine were printed at Cologne, all unsigned and most undated, the last ca. 1497. A stemma of the Cologne editions has recently been established by Wolfgang Schmitz ("Die Kölner Ausgaben des Dialogus inter clericum et militem," Gutenberg Jahrbuch 1999, pp. 106-112).
This work was apparently one of the first printed books to be banned. Cologne was the site of the first successful prosecution of printers by ecclesiastical authorities for alleged misuse of the press (P. Grendler, The Roman Inquisition, Princeton 1977, p. 71). In 1479 the University of Cologne obtained from Sixtus IV the authority to censure printed books, and to apply this authority with the support of the local magistrates through prosecution of printers, booksellers and readers (for the bull "Accepimus literas," 17 March 1479, cf. Hilgers, Die Bücherverbote in Papstbriefen, Freiburg 1907). The present pamphlet seems to have been one of several tracts hostile to the papacy which were forbidden by the city council between 1479 and 1483. Following four editions printed at Cologne in 1473 and 1475 and one in 1478, there is a tell-tale gap of about eleven years before another edition appeared there, followed by three more in the early 1490s.
The Augustinus De fide press produced 11 quarto and 2 folio editions, all datable to 1473-74, of which two mention Cologne as the place of printing. The single type used by the press is a variant of a type probably cut by Johann Veldener, and used, with slight variations, by several Cologne shops, including Caxton's first shop. The press has been variously identified with Goiswin Gops (cf. BMC I, 23) and, more recently, Johann Schilling (S. Corsten, Die Anfänge des Kölner Buchdrucks, Cologne 1955, pp. 44-45), but Paul Needham has argued for retaining the eponymous appellation because of the slight but consistent variations in the type of this group of editions (Ars Impressoria... Festgabe für Severin Corsten, Munich 1986, pp. 103-131).
Goff and ISTC list only two other copies in America (Huntington Library and Pierpont Morgan Library). HC 6111*, H 1147 (the Compendium); BMC I, 233 (IA.3717); BSB-Ink. D-105; GW 8261; Goff D-147.