Michał Spandowski

THE ANTIDOTARIUS ANIMAE OF NICOLAUS DE SALICETO AS PUBLISHED BY KASPAR HOCHFEDER.

Nicolaus de Saliceto, born Wydenbosch or Weidenbusch, was born towards the end of the first half of the 15th century in Bern, Switzerland, where he later studied the liberal arts. He continued his education in Paris, where he obtained a PhD in medicine in 1461. He must have then returned to Switzerland, for a couple of years later, in 1470, he stayed in a Cistercian abbey in Frienisberg, a canton of Bern, where he served as a preacher for five years. In 1482, on the order of Jean de Cirey, abbot of Citeaux (d. 1503), he left for the Cistercian abbey of Baumgarten (Alsace) where he became the abbot and died in 1493. This is also where he wrote the work that brought him fame, a prayer book entitled Antidotarius animae.

The GW1 card index identifies 28 15th-century editions of this text that are known today, 7 of which were published with no printing date. The chronology of the dated editions is as follows:

The editions were released in 11 cities by 13 printers. Most of them published Antidotarius once or twice. Only two printers published this work in more editions, namely Ioannes Grüninger in Strasbourg (seven editions), and Kaspar Hochfeder in Nuremberg and Metz (five editions).

The Grüninger’s editions – apart from one that is undated – were published with a nearly annual regularity from 1489 to 1494, with the exception of 1492, as no editions are known from that year, and 1494 when it is likely that two editions came out (H22 14164 – 4 III 1494 and C3 5218 – 30 VI “1404”, which date was probably a mistake substituted for the proper one, 1494). Such frequency in the publication of the text discussed herein is a prominent sign of its popularity. 

This is also confirmed to a certain extent by the case of Hochfeder. Of the five of his known editions, only two are dated: H 14163 – 26 IX 1493 and H 14166 – 31 VIII 1494. The three others are BMC4 II 478 (IA 8230), H 14154 and IBP5 5954. The first two were listed in the monograph by Emil van der Vekene6 under numbers 29 and 58, while the third one remained unrecorded. For the purposes of the present paper, I have called them A, B and C, respectively, and will discuss them further.

Ed. A (BMC II 478) – printing date cited hitherto: BMC II 478 (IA 8230) – undated, Vekene 29 – [ca. 1495], IGI7 8521 – [1496-1497]. Working GW card index (M 39482) – [ca. 1495]. (IBP 5952 adopted Vekene’s proposition).

Ed. B (H 14154) – HND8 551 – [ca. 1500], CIH9 3002 – [ca. 1499-1500], the same as Vekene 58, SFB10 3131 – [ca. 1499/1500], IBE11 4999 – [ca. 1500], BSB-Ink12 S-23 – [ca. 1499-1500]. GW card index (M 39479) – [ca. 1499/1500] – the same in IBP.

Ed. C (IBP 5954) – dating (in accordance with the GW card index M 39480) – [ca. 1500].

While registering incunabula during the preparations for the second volume of IBP, we came across a copy of the text discussed here in the library of the Reformat Franciscan Monastery in Zakliczyn on the Dunajec (provisional shelf mark no. 1). It lacks the title leaf and the last leaves, from f. ii8 onwards. The preserved part consists of alternating fragments of editions A and B. Its details are set out below (given in the order in which particular sequences are bound):

f. a2-7 – ed. A 

f. [2-3]4 – ed. B

f. a-d8 (numb. 1-32) – ed. B

quire c8 (numb. 17-24) – ed. A

f. f1 – ii7 (numb. 41-225) – ed. B

We ought to emphasise that, regardless of the edition, this collection does not contain the complete text, as some of the fragments are duplicated while others are completely missing.

Shortly thereafter, we registered another copy of the text in question, this time in the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow (shelf mark Inc. 3606). It also turned out to be a compilation of both editions discussed (A and B); this time a fragment from the beginning to the end of quire p8 belonged to edition A (lacking f. b1), while the rest – from quire q8 to the end (together with the last quire, which is of great importance) – came from edition B.

I was concerned by the fact that the only two copies of these editions preserved in Poland were as such compilations of different prints bound together. Moreover, it turned out that another copy I discovered (Biblioteca. Universitaria Alessandrina in Rome, cf. IGI 8521) was also composed of two parts which did not form a complete work:

f. 1-9 (signature mark a8, b1 ) – ed. A

f. 11-96 (signature mark b3-m8) – ed. B (missing the final part from quire n to the end).


1 Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke. Herausgegeben von der Kommission für den Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke. Bd I-X. Leipzig – Stuttgart, 1925-2000.

2 L. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum, in quo libri omnes ab arte typographica. inventa usque ad annum MD typis expressi ordine alphabetico vel simpliciter enumerantur vel adcuratius recensentur, Vol. 1-2. Stuttgartiae – Lutetiae Parisiorum, 1826-1838.

3 W. A. Copinger, Supplement to Hain’s Repertorium bibliographicum, t. 1-2, London, 1895-1902, Repr.: Berlin, 1926

4 Catalogue of books printed in the 15th century now in the British Museum, part I-X. London, 1908-1971 (Part I-VIII lithographic reprint. London, 1963).

5 Incunabula quae in bibliothecis Poloniae asservantur, vol. 1, Moderante Alodia Kawecka-Gryczowa composuerunt Maria Bohonos et Elisa Szandorowska. Wrocław, 1970; vol. 2: Addenda. Indices. Moderante Alodia Kawecka-Gryczowa composuerunt Maria Bohonos, Michael Spandowski et Elisa Szandorowska, Wrocław, 1993.

6 E. van der Vekene, Kaspar Hochfeder. Baden-Baden, 1974.

7 Indice generale degli incunaboli delle biblioteche d’ Italia. A cura del Centro Nazionale d’ Informazioni Bibliografiche, Vol. 1-6. Roma, 1943-1981.

8 I. Hubay, Incunabula aus der staatlichen Bibliothek Neuburg/Donau. Wiesbaden, 1970.

9 G. Sajo, E. Soltész, Catalogus incunabulorum quae in bibliothecis publicis Hungariae asservantur. Budapert, 1970.

10 V. Sack, Die Inkunabeln der Universitätsbibliothek und anderer öffentlicher Sammlungen in Freiburg im Breisgau und Umgebumg. Wiesbaden, 1985.

11 Catálogo general de incunables en bibliotecas españolas. Coordinado y dirigido por Francisco García Craviotto, vol. 1-2. Madrid, 1989-1990. Adiciones y correciones. Madrid, 1991, 1994.

12 Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Inkunabelkatalog, Bd 1-6. Wiesbaden, 1988-2005.