Various places: Various printers, ca. 1500-, 1502.
See individual entries below.
Bound in contemporary blind-tooled calf over wooden boards (catch-plate of the single clasp present but catch missing, hinges cracked, two cords of upper board repaired.) With an original vellum label on the upper board. Flyleaves and pastedowns from a thirteenth century manuscript waste (probably German) of an unidentified biblical commentary. The contents are in excellent condition with a few contemporary annotations in green ink (four leaves with a few ink spots in the inner margin, some shine-through from rubrication in the third work.
Provenance: 1. Title of first work with ownership entry "Convent. Szakolcensis", i.e., the Franciscan monastery of Our Lady of Sorrows at Skalica in western Slovakia (Skalitz, Hungarian: Szakolca), founded 1467, library dispersed several times: plundered by the Moravian army in 1605, partially destroyed by fire (the rest of the books dispersed) in 1729, and dispersed again after 1784. 2. Early manuscript exlibris on same leaf. On the pastedown, the ownership entry "Lucae Luboweczky a Słupcza"(“Lukáš Luboviecky from Słupcza”). Łukasz Lubowiecki (also Lubowietsky) from Słupcza, Poland served as rector at the parish school in Skalica at the beginning of the 17th century. In 1618 he became a burgher and from 1629 was also a church steward (there is a later reference in pen to this owner on the pastedown). ?19th c. number in purple on first title and pastedown.
I. The Confraternity of the Seven Sorrows of Mary
Francisci de Insulis, Michael [Michel François de Lille] (1435 ?-1502)
Quodlibetica decisio perpulchra et devota septem doloribus.
Schrattenthal: [No printer. Martin Eytzinger, publisher], 20 March, 1501
Quarto: 21.5 x 15 cm. 54 leaves. Collation: A6 [A1 unsigned, A2 and A3 signed A1, A2], A-F8
THE ONLY KNOWN BOOK PRINTED AT SCHRATTENTHAL. With a large title page woodcut and an additional full-page woodcut in the text (see below). Rubricated. A few contemporary marginal notes. Two copies located in North America (Harvard, Morgan).
The town of Schrattenthal in Lower Austria was part of the extensive property of the Eytzinger family (also Eyczinger), who resided there. "The publisher Martin Eytzinger set up a foundation for the Brotherhood of the Seven Sorrows of Mary in Schrattenthal. On March 20, 1501 Eytzinger had an unknown printer produce, on the premises of the local monastery, this devotional book serving to promote the veneration of The Virgin Mary. The text [written by Philip the Fair’s confessor Michel François de Lille] had appeared previously in an Antwerp edition [of 1496 or 7]." (Reske 829).
The title woodcut, the border of which is partly highlighted in red, shows the Virgin of the Seven Sorrows, the Mater Dolorosa. In the text there is a full-page woodcut scene with St. Bernard, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Augustine set within an ornate border. In the lower register of the border are the Eytzinger coat of arms. The arms and the heart carried by Saint Augustine are partially colored in red.
Beneath the colophon there is a contemporary inscription – a mealtime rhyme- in green ink: "An dem tisch und pey dem essen / Schol man der schmercz(e)n i(u)ncfraw ma(r)ia / nit vergessen ..." [An dem Tisch und bei dem Essen, soll man der Schmerzen [der] Jungfrau Maria nicht vergessen...” (At the table and while eating, one should not forget the sorrows of the Virgin Mary…)]. There is a similar inscription on leaf F3: “An dem tisch und pey dem essen / Schol man der marter (sic!) chri(ist)i nit vergessen." [An dem Tisch und bei dem Essen, soll man der Marter Christi nicht vergessen. (At the table and while eating, one should not forget the torment of Christ.)]
Confraternity of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin:
“The cult of the Seven Sorrows marks the culmination of a development reaching back to the beginnings of Christianity, a development that saw the figure of the suffering Virgin evolve from a vehicle for devotion to Christ's Passion, to an independent object of veneration…
“Some time in the early 1490s, Jan van Coudenberghe, secretary to Philip the Fair, founded a Confraternity of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin in three Netherlandish churches. In short order, veneration of the Seven Sorrows spread throughout the Low Countries and beyond, rapidly becoming the standard formula for devotion to the Mater dolorosa. From its inception, visual images accompanied the new cult, ranging from Byzantinizing icons and monumental altarpieces, to small woodcuts and engravings. By the latter half of the sixteenth century, Joannes Molanus, professor of theology at Louvain, could argue for tolerance of devotion to Mary's Seven Sorrows despite the apocryphal origin of the theme, because of its deep-rooted popularity…
“Representations of the Seven Sorrows take several forms. The simplest express Mary's multiple sorrows through seven swords piercing her breast, or radiating around her. The sword-a symbol employed by artists from the mid-thirteenth century onwards- derives from the high priest Simeon's prophecy to Mary during Christ's Presentation in the temple: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also" (Luke 2:34-35). Referred to as the sword of sorrow (gladius doloris), Simeon's sword (gladius Simeonis), or the sword of compassion (gladius compassionis), this motif was interpreted by medieval commentators variously as a symbol of Mary's pain at the Passion, as the counterpart of the lance used to pierce Christ's side, and as the embodiment of Christ's pain shared by his mother. All views have in common the understanding of the sword as an expression of compassion, conveying the belief that Mary suffered her son's tortures with Him…
“The sorrows usually adhere to the sequence compiled by van Coudenberghe, and include events from Christ's infancy and Passion -the Presentation in the temple (or, more specifically, Simeon's prophecy), the Flight into Egypt, the loss of the 12-year-old Christ in the temple in Jerusalem, the Crucifixion, the Deposition (frequently altered to a Lamentation by the Cross), and the Entombment. The sorrows consist of familiar episodes from the life of Christ, transformed into a Mariological devotion by a shift of focus; the emphasis lies not in the narrative of Christ's life, but rather in the Virgin's grieving reaction to her son's tragedies.”(Schuler, p. 5-6)
The Author and his text:
Michel François de Lille was affiliated with both the Brotherhood of the Rosary and the Brotherhood of the Seven Sorrows. De Lille was a self-professed disciple of the Breton Dominican Alanus de Rupe (ca. 1428-1475), the founder of the first confraternity of the rosary. He was also companion of Jacob Sprenger (c. 1436-1495), who founded a new brotherhood of the Rosary at the Cologne Dominican Monastery of the Holy Cross (1475). Subsequently, de Lille became a promoter of the Brotherhood of the Seven Sorrows.
Many aspects of Sprenger’s brotherhood , which required only that a member pray the rosary (using a form of prayer that included the “sorrowful rosary”), were incorporated by van Coudenberghe in his brotherhood of the Seven Sorrows. “The early proponents of the cult of the Seven Sorrows studied very closely this recently established and highly successful institution, using it as the model for their own organization.”(Schuler, p. 18)
Given the similarities between the two forms of brotherhood and de Lille’s promotion of the new devotion, it is no surprise that in 1494, Philip the Fair, whom de Lille served as confessor, requested that de Lille compose this apologia for van Coudenberghe’s Confraternity of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, “necessitated by contemporary doubts about the validity of the new devotion”(Schuler). The first edition was printed at Antwerp ca. 1496-8. (This Schrattenthal printing is the second edition.) The book includes a discussion of the turbulent political events in The Netherlands that influenced van Coudenberghe. Of special interest is the full text of the Mass with the rubric of the Sorrows or Compassion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which follows the text of the main work and was omitted from subsequent editions.(See Thelen and McDonald, p. 264-265)
The presence of woodcuts of the Mater Dolorosa in the book (the title woodcut is a reverse copy of that which appeared on the title page of the Antwerp edition), reflects the confraternities’ emphasis on icons. The title woodcut is perhaps the first to employ the iconography of the seven swords to specifically represent the Virgin of the Seven Sorrows. “By depicting the Virgin in tears and by adding a bundle of seven swords pointing to her heart, the mood of the image was intensified and gave additional weight to the grief of the Virgin.”(Eichberger, p. 122)
Based on “portraits” of the Virgin believed to have been painted by St. Luke himself, these images exerted “a cultic appeal that is confirmed by contemporary accounts of their use. The sites of Seven Sorrows confraternities, and the venerated images placed there, soon attracted pilgrims seeking the Virgin's aid.”(Schuler, p. 20). It is in de Lille’s apologia that we first read of miraculous intercessions performed by the Virgin of the Seven Sorrows, taken from testimonial letters addressed to de Lille.
“[De Lille’s apologia is a] theological defence of the Seven Sorrows in which he counters objections to both the number of sorrows and the lack of scriptural support for the devotion. In disputatio style, he first presents four arguments against the proposition that the Virgin experienced any sorrow at all and then four more arguments that the sorrows were sevenfold, considering that the sorrows were both greater and lesser in number. He argues that though the Virgin's heart was not pierced by a material sword, she did suffer true anguish in her soul and that though the number of sorrows is not expressly indicated in Scripture, it is still possible to conclude that they were seven in number.”(Thelen and McDonald, p. 393)
VD 16 F 2206; Adams F 925; H. Maschek, "Der Schrattentaler Druck vom Jahre 1501", Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen, 52 (1935), p. 388-392; Langer, E. Bib. der österreichischen Drucke des XV. und XVI. Jahrhunderts, 1. Bd., 1. Heft, p. 130-131
II. Privileges and Prerogatives of the Virgin Mary
Privilegia et praerogativae Sanctissimae Virginis Mariae
[Vienna: Johann Winterburg], ca. 1500
Quarto:  lvs.
SECOND EDITION (First printed at Rome ca. 1484-1488). Three copies in North America (Newberry, Michigan, Yale.) The first ed. is held at the Library of Congress.
Privileges and prerogatives of the Virgin Mary gathered out of the writings of the Church Fathers. The excerpts concern Mary’s immaculate conception, divine maternity, meritorious suffering at the cross, her assumption, etc. The work dovetails with the preceding work and has obvious affinities with the Life of Saint Anne in this same volume (see IV below.)
ISTC ip00975000; Hain-C. 13368; GW M35471; BMC III, 813; Goff P-975
III. Miracles Wrought by The Virgin Mary
Fraternitas rosaceae coronae ad honorem beatissimae virginis Mariae.
[Cologne: Johann Landen], ca. 1500
Quarto:  lvs. Collation: A-C6
FIRST EDITION. With a title page woodcut of the Madonna and Child and four small woodcut scenes on the final leaf: St. Jerome, the Nativity, the Deposition, and a Dominican kneeling before an altar with an icon of Christ and the instruments of the Passion.
First edition of this work printed at Cologne for that city’s Confraternity of the Rosary. The publication includes the history of the founding of Alanus’ and Sprenger’s confraternities (see I. above), the confirmation of the Cologne brotherhood by Alexander VII, and the indulgences bestowed upon it by Sixtus IV. The text also recounts the numerous miracles wrought through the intercession of Mary. The Virgin revived a dead child at Haarlem in 1478, resuscitated a virgin who had been submerged under water for seven hours, healed an insane priest who had stabbed himself in the chest, and saved a woman who had slit her own throat. In other instances, reciting the Rosary wrought miraculous results. Demons were exorcized; a woman who never managed to carry a baby to term was blessed with the birth of a healthy child.
“The new idea of spreading the praying of the rosary through the creation of a universal prayer brotherhood goes back to the aforementioned Dominican, Alanus de Rupe (c. 1428-1475). Following a vision, he introduced the daily recitation of the Marian Psalter in a Brotherhood of Mary in Douai, probably already in 1464. In May 1470, this
confraternity was confirmed by the general vicar of the Congregatio Hollandica, a reform community within the Dominican order, and it was declared that those who prayed would be blessed by all the spiritual deeds of the Congregation. The legend stating that in 1214 Mary herself gave St. Dominic the rosary and its form of prayer dates back to Alanus…
De Rupe’s model inspired Jacob Sprenger (c. 1436-1495), who founded a new brotherhood of the Rosary at the Cologne Dominican Monastery of the Holy Cross (1475). It was with this foundation “that the Rosary achieved its great breakthrough”(Bartilla, p. 34)
“The ‘rosary confraternity as a popular form of prayer brotherhood’ (Kliem) evidently satisfied a great need for a form of personal devotion, suitable for the laity and independent from any of the financial or material concerns that arose in conventional brotherhoods, or through Mass dedications and the granting of indulgences. A substantial reason for the success of rosary devotion was also the versatility of the forms of prayer, which met all purposes and wishes. One could pray the rosary not only in the simplest, most repetitive form, but also in the more challenging form of the Marian Psalter with three sets of fifty mysteries, as well as numerous other variations. The prayer could be completed communally as a group in a chapel, as well as in solitary contemplation at home. One could regard the prayer as a meditation on the story of salvation, but it also had the character of a ‘measurable’, quantifiable achievement of piety accompanied by an attested indulgence. The prayer imparted personal salvation, but at the same time one became a part of the Christian community through the prayer brotherhood.”(Bartilla, p. 36)
Sprenger’s brotherhood served as a model for van Coudenberghe’s Brotherhood of the Seven Sorrows. “Deliberately wishing to include the lower classes, van Coudenberghe followed Sprenger's lead in stipulating that no dues be required to join the Confraternity of the Seven Sorrows, and in creating a reasonably uncomplicated form of worship that could be carried out in private, by-passing the clergy. Active membership in the Confraternity of the Rosary involved reciting three rosaries a week, while belonging to the Confraternity of the Seven Sorrows was even simpler. One had only to recite one Ave Maria and one Pater Noster in honor of, and while meditating on, each of the sorrows twice weekly. The choice and organization of prayers and meditations were clearly based on a rosary further evidence of van Coudenberghe's reliance on the earlier model.”(Schuler, p. 18)
ISTC if00306000; Hain-C. 7356; GW 10313; Goff F-306; Schreiber 4048; Schramm VIII, 872-876.
IV. The Legend of Saint Anne
Legenda s(an)ctissime matron(a)e ann(a)e genitricis v(ir)gi(ni)s mari(a)e materis: (et) hiesu cristi avi(a)e.
Leipzig: Melchior Lotter, 1502
Quarto:  lvs. (the last leaf a blank). Collation: A-B6, C4, D6
FIFTH EDITION (1st 1496). Rubricated.
A rare edition of the Legend of Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, written by an unidentified Franciscan Observant, first printed at Louvain in 1496, edited by Petrus Dorlant, vicar of the Carthusians of Zelem near Diest, and Dominicus van Gelre, O.P. Lotter’s text follows that of the Louvain edition.
The Legend is preceded by an anonymous poem and a prayer, both addressing St. Anne. The Life of the saint occupies the first seven chapters. Then follow descriptions of her miracles, including several that strongly suggest a Dutch author (See Ampe, “Petrus Dorlandus O. Carth. en Dominicus van Gelre O.P”, p. 33-34)
While never mentioned in the Gospels, as the mother of Mary, St. Anne was a figure of popular veneration throughout the Middle Ages; in the fifteenth-century, she became associated with the emerging confraternities. In 1476, Sprenger (who purchased a relic of the saint for the Cologne church of Saint Peter) merged his confraternity with a confraternity of Saint Anne. Beginning in the 1480s, lives of St. Anne began to proliferate in The Netherlands and Germany.
“This [Life] is but one proof of the strong veneration of Saint Anne a strong veneration of Saint Anne in northwest Europe around 1500. Churches, chapels and altars were dedicated to her, brotherhoods, chambers of rhetoric and guilds took her as their patroness, more and more women bore her name, places of pilgrimage proclaimed her miracles and cities vied with one another to acquire costly relics. In the visual arts representations of the Saint Anne Trinity, the three generations, in which Anne was depicted together with Mary and Jesus, were especially popular…
“Her facts of life were derived from the numerous vitae, which began to circulate at the end of the fifteenth century, especially in the Low Countries and Germany. These Lives begin with the story of her parents and of her sister Hysmeria or Esmeria, of Anne's wondrous birth, and continue with the already longer known history of her marriage to Joachim and the birth of Mary. Then follows the legend of Anne's three marriages. After Joachim's death she is said to have married twice more, first to Cleophas, according to some the brother of Joseph, and after his death to Salome. Two daughters were born of these two later marriages, Mary Cleophas and Mary Salome. They became the mothers of important apostles. Finally the story of Mary's marriage to Joseph and the birth of Christ is told. The Lives conclude with miracle stories and prayers. The legends derived from the Bible and the Apocrypha naturally had a pre-eminent function in the propagation of Christian doctrine. They visualized the Incarnation of Christ, but at the same time they referred to recognizable situations in the realm of marriage, household, and family life in earthly reality.”(Brandenbarg, "Saint Anne: A Holy Grandmother and Her Children." In Mulder-Bakker, Sanctity and Motherhood. P. 31)
VD 16, L 971.
References: Schuler, The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin: popular culture and cultic imagery in pre-Reformation Europe, in Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art , 1992, Vol. 21, No. 1/2 (1992), pp. 5-28. Thelen and McDonald, Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, in Early Music History, Vol. 35 (2016), pp. 261-307; Eichberger, Visualizing the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin: Early Woodcuts and Engravings in the Context of Netherlandish Confraternities: Drama, Ceremony, and Art Patronage (16th-17th Centuries); Bartilla, Brotherhood of the Rosary from its Origins to Dürer’s Time.