1205. [Germany - Cologne]
Large broadsheet: 2 ff., 89 ll. (2 holes in the second f. with losses of letters, some tears, one touching the text without loss, some soiling and spotting, lower margin sl. waterstained, some contemp. ms. annot.).
Only copy recorded of this incunable. An early example of the use of printed ephemera for political propaganda.
Letter from Maximilian, King of the Romans, handsigned from Grave on 26 January 1498 (= 1499, n.s.), in which he promoted his policies and explained at length his action to defend the heritage of his son Philip the Fair. He also asked the Estates General of the Low Countries not to ratify the Treaty of Paris of 1498, which was to confirm the Treaty of Senlis (1493), and to help him continue the war against France, Gelderland and the Turks. The representatives of the Provinces would not follow Maximilian, asking the Archduke not to violate the Treaty of Paris, on the pretext that the country is not ready for war. Our copy was sent by the King to his chamberlain the Lord of Caestre, Jacob of Thiennes (d. 1534) (ms. annot. on verso).
The printing was formerly attributed to Jacobus van Breda in Deventer (Campbell) and now to the anonymous Cologne workshop "Retro Minores", named after the address sometimes mentioned in colophons. This workshop was active between 1497 and 1504. Several books of Martin von Werden were printed with the same material used by the "Retro Minores". For this reason, this printing house was assigned to Werden, but the identification of the two workshops is still questionable.
The text of our copy was published in 1876 in the "Messager des sciences historiques" by the Count of Limburg-Stirum, who found it in the archives of the de Thiennes family. Gachard published the French version (from a manuscript held by the Royal Library of Belgium) and considered it to be a most instructive document of Maximilian's policy (BCRH). The two texts are identical, with the exception of the last paragraph of ours, intended for the members of the Estates General.
Ref. ISTC im00383218. - Camp(I) 1225a. - ILC B83a. - GW M22033. - BB IV:311:M16. - Messager des sciences historiques, 1876, pp. 1-21. - BCRH, 1852 (3), pp. 281-291. - Not in Polain, CIBN, BMC, BSB-Ink, etc.
Prov. Family de Thiennes. - [Count of Limburg-Stirum].
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