Chancery quarto (210 × 135 cm). Collation: : 4 leaves. 28 lines. Type 1:95G. Initial space, supplied in brown ink, later hand. Nineteenth-century half vellum, marbled boards. Marginal repairs on last leaf.
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (with duplicate exchange stamp).
Goff T-482; Haïn 15648*; BMC I 260 (IA.4447); BSB-Ink T-485. See Wolfgang Treue, Der Trienter Judenprozess (Hannover, 1996).
A rare edition of Tuberinus’s account of the supposed ritual murder of the boy Simon in Trent. One of nine recorded copies.
The case of Simon of Trent was the most notorious blood libel of the late Middle Ages, and, arising in the age of printing, was widely disseminated by typography as well as by imagery. The young boy Simon went missing in Trent on Thursday of Easter week, and on Easter Day, 26 March, his drowned body was found in a canal at the house of a Jewish resident and in fact was reported by that resident, Samuel. The men of the Jewish community were immediately arrested and accused of ritual murder. They were tortured repeatedly in a long series of examinations sanctioned by the Bishop of Trent, Johannes Hinderbach. The author of this account of Simon’s martyrdom, Giovanni Matteo Tiberino, was a medical doctor, native of Brescia, who participated in the tortures, even of the 80-year-old senior member of the community. Torture did not stop until all the men had, though with many contradictions, confessed. Eventually all the Jewish males of Trent were executed. The women and children were imprisoned for months, and Hinderbach released them only reluctantly. Preaching on the theme of Simon of Trent by the mendicant orders in other Italian towns aroused further atrocities against local Jewish populations.
This edition presents Tiberino’s earliest account, sent on 4 April (2d Nones) 1475, the first week of interrogations, to his native city of Brescia. It ends with his Latin verses on the “miracle” of Simon, which is to say that the boy was immediately proclaimed as a Christian martyr who enabled many miracles. Simon’s body, unembalmed, was displayed in Trent until the end of the summer of 1475. A Treviso edition dated 20 June 1475 presents Tiberino’s text in this form with a small variant in the heading, and may be the source copy for later printings. Other editions in this form were printed in Vicenza, Naples, Augsburg, and Nuremberg. Two other revised forms of the narrative, one with additional material, were printed in Rome and Venice in the summer of 1475.
This Cologne edition is conventionally dated between 1478 and 1481, the bracketing dates of the books printed in this single Cologne type. But because the Relatio was an occasional piece of specific news, a date of 1478 is considerably more likely than later, and it is even possible that it was printed before 1478. The widespread identification of the “Printer of Dialogus Salomonis et Marcolfi” with the Cologne printer Ludwig van Renchen, first recorded in 1483, rests on no firm basis.