FOR CHRISTIAN SLAVES
Indulgence…redempción de captivos[Burgos?], [n.pr.], 1507
Single sheet, 28.5 x 20 cm, 54 lines, Gothic letter. Ornate typographic border, decorated initial. Slight toning, folds browned with minor repair to verso, edges untrimmed. A good copy. Woodcut stamp of Christ in majesty and printed episcopal signature at foot, name of recipient inked in two blank spaces.
Only recorded copy of this vernacular papal indulgence by Julius II seeking to raise alms for the release of Christian prisoners held by the Turks in Northern Africa, usually through the assistance of specially authorised religious orders. From the late C15 onwards slavery became a weapon of various Islamic princes to terrorize the Christian population especially of Southern Europe. It is estimated that some two million Christians were kidnapped by Muslim slave traders over a period of three centuries. The indulgence is mentioned in Palau and Norton but without specific bibliographic detail; Wilkinson reprises Norton adding that ‘no exemplars are currently known’. It was issued in the name of Fray Juan of the monastery of the Holy Trinity of Burgos to Don Juan de Pinza (?). Other indulgences for the ‘redempcion de captivos’ had been entrusted to the Order of the Holy Trinity in the late C15 (‘De la Redencion de Cautivos’, 164). The recipient could obtain partial indulgence, upon the payment of a fee, through confession and absolution from clerics and religious on specific feast days and by means of fasting and prayer for set amounts of time. Sins mentioned include offences against one’s father or mother, false oaths, usury and robbery. The bull provides three formulas for absolution: for a year, once in one’s lifetime and plenary. Norton writes that ‘Burgos is unlikely to be an imprint, and perhaps comes from a MS. note of issue’, adding that it was ‘probably printed by one of the authorised indulgence-presses, that is by Gumiel at Valladolid or Hagembachs’ successor at Toledo’. Wilkinson attributes it to the press of Andrés de Burgos.Palau 36849; Norton 1336; Wilkinson, Iberian Books, 6073 (presumably this copy).