Chancery half-sheet 4to (209 x 147 mm). Collation: [1-28] (1/1r-2/5v Disputatio inter clericum et militem, 2/6r-2/8v Compendium de vita Anticristi). 26 lines. Type: 100(107). Two 4-line initial spaces. Initials and paragraph marks alternating in red and blue, the first with infill and flourishing in blue. First leaf rehinged, repairs in gutter margin of last leaf, marginal paper flaw to 1/7, some marginal soiling. Old vellum (recased); folding cloth case. Provenance: contemporary inscription on a1r: occam he[re]tic[us]; Charles Lemuel Nichols (1851-1929), bookplate; Mrs. Philip D. Sang (sale, Sotheby's New York, 24 September 1986, lot 144).***
First Edition of this tract on the proper boundary between papal and lay power, couched as a dialogue between a cleric and a knight, probably composed shortly before 1302 in the context of the struggle between Pope Boniface VIII and Philip the Fair of France. The direct target of the anonymous author’s veiled attack on papal power is the Flemish clergy who agitated against Philip. Formerly ascribed to William of Ockham, as is evident from the early inscription on the first page, the pamphlet is considered the work of Petrus de Bosco (Pierre Dubois), one of Philip’s publicists and pamphleteers. The pamphlet's interest to Cologne readers of the 1470s lay in in its discussion of the legitimacy of taxation of ecclesiastical properties by local civil authorities, a question of urgent relevance to the city of Cologne in 1473, in desperate need of funds for defense against the aggressions of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. The anonymous Compendium de vita Antichristi is appended to all 13 recorded fifteenth-century editions. Of these nine were printed at Cologne, all unsigned and most undated. A stemma of the Cologne editions was recently established by Wolfgang Schmitz ("Die Kölner Ausgaben des Dialogus inter clericum et militem," Gutenberg Jahrbuch 1999, pp. 106-112).
This work was one of the first printed books to be banned. Cologne was the site of the first successful prosecution of printers by ecclesiastical authorities for alleged misuse of the press (cf. Grendler, The Roman Inquisition, Princeton 1977, p. 71). In 1479 the University of Cologne obtained from Sixtus IV the authority to censure printed books, and to apply this authority with the support of the local magistrates through prosecution of printers, booksellers and readers. The present pamphlet seems to have been one of several tracts hostile to the papacy which were forbidden by the city council between 1479 and 1483. Following four editions printed at Cologne in 1473 and 1475 and one in 1478, there is a telltale gap of about eleven years before the appearance of another edition there, followed by three more in the early 1490s.
The Augustinus `De fide’ press produced 11 quarto and 2 folio editions, all datable to 1473-74, of which two mention Cologne as the place of printing. The single type used by the press is a variant of a type probably cut by Johann Veldener, and used, with slight variations, by several Cologne shops, including Caxton's first shop. The press has been variously identified with Goiswin Gops (cf. BMC I, 23) and, more recently, Johann Schilling (S. Corsten, Die Anfänge des Kölner Buchdrucks, Cologne 1955, pp. 44-45), but Paul Needham has argued for retaining the eponymous appellation because of the slight but consistent variations in the type of this group of editions (Ars Impressoria... Festgabe für Severin Corsten, Munich 1986, pp. 103-131). Goff D-147 (Huntington and Morgan Library); HC 6111*, H 1147 (the Compendium); BMC I, 233 (IA.3717); BSB-Ink D-105; GW 8261. Item #3130