Lot 25
  • 25

Methodius, Saint

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
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  • Revelationes divinae a sanctis angelis factae; Wolfgangus Aytinger. Tractatus super Methodium [edited by Sebastian Brant]. Basel: Michael Furter, 5 January 1498
  • Paper
4to (196 x 133mm.), 68 leaves, a-g8 h-i6, 36 lines, printed marginalia, woodcut illustrations, 3- to 8-line woodcut initials, some initial spaces, nineteenth-century calf with gilt fillets, spine gilt in compartments, marbled edges, b5 torn and repaired without loss, printed marginalia shaved on a few leaves, occasional light staining, rebacked retaining original spine


Goff M524; HC 11121; BMC iii 785; Bod-inc M-209; BSB-Ink M352; Schreiber 4648; GW M23059; cf. Fairfax Murray, German 289 (1504 edition)

Catalogue Note

Though attributed to St Methodius (martyred in 312) and translated by Aytinger, a monk from Augsburg, it is now thought to have been composed in Syriac in the seventh century but only known in its Latin or Greek versions until the twentieth century. It relates the effect of the Arab conquests of the near east on the Christian communities there, seeing them as a punishment from God for the lapsed ways of the Christians, but prophesying the rise of a messiah in the form of a Roman emperor to crush the Turks and the Saracens. This is one of several apocalyptic texts circulating at the time, and was probably the most widespread.

This is the first illustrated edition of this text, which must have been successful as Furter regularly reprinted it using the same blocks. The woodcuts are not of equal artistic merit, and a few may have been made for other publications, such as Brant's Ship of Fools. There is an early depiction of a Caesarian section (the birth of the Antichrist) and the prophesied conquest of Constantinople in 1509 by the last Roman Emperor.