Augsburg, Erhardt Ratdolt, 5th April 1491
FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. 17 unnumbered leaves. a-b6, c5, as usual lacking final blank. Gothic letter. Numerous white on black fine, large foliated initials. A very little spotting and browning, not really affecting text. A few small round wormholes, some repaired, touching a few letters, two restored on final leaf. A very good, clean (possibly expertly washed) copy in modern vellum.
First bilingual Latin-German edition of the Statutes for the Province of Salzburg, with new, expanded German text, the first having appeared in 1490. The Statuta were drawn up under Friedich V von Schaunberg (or von Schallenburg), Archbishop of Salzburg from 1489-1494, a position which traditionally enjoyed a great deal of autonomy from Rome, and considerable secular legislative powers. Friedrich was educated at the University of Vienna from 1459, becoming Domherr (‘canon’) in Salzburg in 1469, and proceeding steadily up the hierarchy until he was appointed Archbishop in 1489. He was renowned for being outspoken, but diplomatic.
The Statuta provide rulings on various aspects of ecclesiastical administration and law, and the duties and behaviour of clergy and laypeople. They also lay down the wider legal framework of the region’s relationship to papal authority. Among their provisions are sections specifying appropriate clerical behaviour (‘De vita et honestate clericorum’; ‘De continentia clericorum’): it is stressed in several places that clerics should be literate and guard against letting their congregations fall into ignorant ways, and that they should reside in and receive their incomes from one parish alone. Further sections provide rulings on penitence and absolution, admission to communion and the observation of the sabbath. A large number of other, wide-ranging issues are dealt with in the simple, concise style which characterises the Statuta as a whole: they include usury, the quarantine of lepers and baptism, inter alia. Sources cited include Eusebius, St. Benedict and Pope Innocent III. The work concludes with Pope Martin V’s ‘confirmatio’ with the Holy Roman Empire, in Latin and in German, a document which laid the basis for subsequent papal relations with the German lands, and, on a more regional level, for Salzburg’s own ecclesiastical autonomy and freedom to create its own local legislation.
BMC Ger. II, 385; Goff S-753; Hain IV, 15043. Rare: no copies sold at auction since 1985.