INDULGENCE – AGAINST THE MOORS

Indulgence. Contra los moros de Africa.

[Toledo?], [Juan de Varela?], [c.1509-10].

£7,250

Small folio, single sheet, 19.5 x 27.5, 52 lines, Gothic letter. Woodcut ‘IHS’ stamp and printed signature of Bishop of Mallorca at foot. Little toning, mostly marginal light stains and minor marginal repair, wax seal covered with paper slip. A good copy, one-word inscription on verso. Loose, in modern folder, crushed purple morocco gilt, with slip case.

Very rare vernacular papal indulgence, in Catalan, addressed to those who had come into illicit possession of goods which could no longer be restored to their owners. It was unused, as the spaces for the purchaser’s name were left blank. This appears to be a variant of Norton 1074, in which the words ‘tan luny’ are instead printed as ‘ta uluny’. It was probably produced by Juan de Varela, who was entrusted with the printing of indulgences at the monastery of San Pedro Mártir in Toledo (Norton 1074), which, together with that of Santa Maria de Prado in Valladolid, held the privilege for the printing of ‘bullas de Cruzada’ and other indulgences (Norton, ‘Printing in Spain’, 6, 17). It stated that those who possessed ‘goods illicitly acquired or earned’ from people unknown or no longer traceable could receive an indulgence by contributing money towards the expense for the war against ‘the moors of Africa’, at a time when Selim I was engaged in civil war against Bayazid II and his son Ahmed for control of the empire. Among the types of illicit possession listed were simony (the illicit sale and purchase of ecclesiastical benefices which could not be accumulated), payment for false testimony and alms acquired by pretending to be a beggar or poor.

Norton 1074. Not in Wilkinson or Palau.   

L3036
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