ETTERLIN, Petermann (1430/40-1509). Kronica von der loblichen Eydtgnoschaft. Basel: Michael Furter, 24 December 1507.
2° (259 x 190mm). Collation: a8 A-X6. 132 (of 134, without blank A1 and X6) leaves. Xylographic title with woodcut border pieces and 29 woodcut scenes from 13 blocks, at least 4 of which are by the Master D.S.: 2 full-page woodcuts, 19 half-page and 8 smaller cuts, printer's device flanked by two border pieces below colophon, woodcut initials from several sets, including Maiblumen, some initial spaces with guide-letter. (Occasional small stains, one marginal paper flaw.) 18th-century calf, blindtooled panel on sides with narrow gilt roll at outer edge, spine gilt in compartments, lettered in the second, marbled edges. Provenance: a few early marginal annotations.
FIRST EDITION of the first printed history of the Confederation of Switzerland. Etterlin compiled his history from earlier chronicles such as those by J. von Königshofen and Hartmann Schedel but recounted more recent events, such as the Burgundian war, from personal experience. The war fostered a nationalism among the disparate states, raised the profile of its military, and formed alliances in the Savoy, which resulted in further admissions into the League in the early 19th century. Peace was made in 1499, after which date the Confederation functioned as a state allied, rather than subservient, to the Empire, and in 1501 Basel and Schaffhausen joined the league. Etterlin's Kronica thus both reflected and fostered the new-found Swiss nationalism and interest in their common history.
Six woodcuts have been given to the Master D.S., including the view of Lucerne and the scene of William Tell shooting the apple from the head of his son. Both of these woodcuts are the earliest depictions of their subjects. The first four woodcuts illustrate the life of St. Meinrad, on the site of whose hermitage the monastery of Einsiedeln was founded, and were cut for Furter's edition of the Passio S. Meynradi (1496). Not in Adams, Davies, Fairfax Murray, German, etc. Cf. Bock, Holzschnitte des Meisters DS, 1924, B 14-17; VD-16 E-4110.