Sixtus IV (b. 1414, Pont. Max. 1471–1484).
Bulla aurea: Sacri praedicatorum et minorum .
Manuscript on vellum.
[Toul: written and notarized by Johannes Desiderius, after 23 March 1489]. (BRMS 113)
Bridwell Library continues to build a diverse and instructive collection of manuscripts, many of which demonstrate that handwritten books and documents remained essential facets of religious and intellectual life during the centuries that followed the introduction of printing in Europe.
In the Bulla aurea (“Golden Bull”) of 1479, Pope Sixtus IV granted indulgences to all who made donations to the Franciscan Order and to the Poor Clares, all visitors to Franciscan churches, and all who contributed money or work to the maintenance of Franciscan monasteries. The papal bull also granted special privileges to Franciscans who were appointed as inquisitors. Copied in 1489 by Johannes Desiderius, a notary public of Toul in northeastern France, the exhibited manuscript records the text of the original Bulla aurea, which was supplied in 1479 by Pietro de Vincenza, Bishop of Cesena. This text was supplemented with statements of confirmation from 1489 by the sitting pope, Innocent VIII. Although by 1489 the papacy had been making use of the printing press for more than three decades, the Bulla aurea was disseminated exclusively by means of manuscript copies such as this one.