Johannes Trithemius

Johannes Trithemius (1462–1516).
Liber de triplici regione claustralium et spirituali exercitio monachorum.
[Mainz]: Peter Friedberg, [6 August 1498].

[Bound with:] De statu et ruina, [Mainz]: Peter Friedberg, [after 21 April 1493].
[Bound with:] De cura pastorali, [Mainz]: Peter Friedberg, [after 1 May 1496].
[Bound with:] Oratio de duodecim excidiis, [Mainz]: Peter Friedberg, [after 28 August 1496]. (07064)

A “Sammelband” (the German term for a collected volume) was a common phenomenon of early book ownership in which multiple works of similar size were bound together, regardless of whether or not the texts were related. Later owners too often have taken apart Sammelbände and rebound their parts separately, destroying valuable evidence of early publishing practices, book ownership, and librarian-ship. Each of the three intact fifteenth-century Sammelbände featured in this exhibition contains multiple publications that were united in meaningful ways. One preserves four works by the same author; the second contains three popular Latin dictionaries; and the third combines six religious tracts on related themes.

This Sammelband of four fifteenth-century publications is preserved in its original monastic binding. The selection of books bound together here is entirely logical: four tracts by a single author published and sold in the same format by the same printer within a span of five years. The author of these works, Johannes Trithemus, was Abbot of the Benedictines of Sponheim, an important monastic reformer, and a leading figure in fifteenth-century book culture. Trithemus compiled important bibliographies of Christian authors, composed a treatise in praise of scribes, and had nineteen editions of his own works published by Peter Friedberg in Mainz. The exhibited opening, from De triplici regione claustralium (“on the three regions of the cloister,” a required text for Benedictine novices), offers pious meditations for monks to recall during the Mass ceremony.

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Johannes Trithemius