The Fasciculus temporum was the first world chronicle in print, a synthesis of Biblical and world history from Genesis to the era of Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484). Rolewinck, a Carthusian monk, organized the text along a horizontal timeline and in a system of circles as though turning an ecclesiastical scroll on its side--a challenge for his first typesetters, but intended to be a "simple and friendly" presentation for lay readers. The book is also illustrated with small woodcuts.
"The Fasciculus temporum ...set out to give readers an overview of world history: a readable visual presentation that they could treat as both a memory system and as the spark for religious meditation." (Rosenberg, Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline, 28)
This paper focuses on two woodcut images of human oddities in Portland State University’s edition of the Fasciculus temporum (Prüss, Strassburg, 1490).
One woodcut shows children with birth anomalies affecting their eyes, arms, and legs. The second is of a cynocephalus or dog-headed man. The history and context of these types of images and their significance within the text are both considered. This paper also examines possible medical explanations for the physical anomalies shown in the woodcut images.
Early printed books were illustrated by means of woodcut block illustrations. These illustrations frequently depicted well-known biblical events or stories and cities, and the woodcuts were frequently reused, sometimes within the same edition.
The focus of this paper is two woodcut illustrations in PSU’s 1490 edition of Werner Rolewinck’s Fasciculus temporum: Noah’s Ark and the destruction of Sodom. Comparisons are made between these two illustrations and relevant woodcuts in other editions of the Fasciculus temporum, as well as those found in a 1493 edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel.
The Carthusian Order was founded in 1084 by St. Bruno of Cologne and a small number of followers, all seeking greater solitude and a more austere, contemplative monasticism. Carthusian monks lived predominantly isolated lives, only coming together co-operatively for prescribed religious purposes.
The intellectual and separate life of a Carthusian monk appealed to Werner Rolewinck (1425-1502), the author/compiler of the Fasciculus temporum, one of the two texts (together with the Malleus maleficarum) included in Portland State University Library’s late fifteenth-century codex. With its structure modeled on early chronicles and biblical conventions, its inclusion of a variety of woodcut illustrations, and its short, direct entries, the Fasciculus, true to its monastic roots, was intended to provide historical examples of good and bad conduct in a manner accessible to medieval audiences.
The basic purpose and outline of a world chronicle was to outline the history of humanity, the kingdoms, and Christendom for the reader. When the method of producing chronicles changed from manuscript to the printed page, there was a corresponding physical change in the layout and appearance of the final product. Whether through the use of cheaper material (paper), a shift in design and style, or a further customizability, these changes reflected and signified consumers’ evolving expectations of the product itself.
Incunables gradually transformed from heavily decorated, printed editions resembling earlier manuscripts to increasingly simple printings. PSU’s edition of the Fasciculus temporum allows us to shine a spotlight on a variety of changes in the production and layout of written narratives and world chronicles, from hand-written manuscripts to the age of print.
Michael Jeremy Maly
The goal of this project was the creation of a catalogue of all marginal notes and nota bene intended to draw attention to specific passages within the Fasciculus temporum.
This catalogue is meant to be used as a quick reference for readers to assist in finding specific marginalia and nota bene with greater ease. It covers folios 4-23. This compilation of notes written in the Fasciculus temporum could also be used as a research tool for further study of this edition (Prüss, Strassburg, c.1490) of the Fasciculus temporum.
This catalogue describes the notations by folio and location on the page. In order to produce a better understanding of the notes taken, the Latin has been roughly translated.