Geschichte der Bildung, Beraubung und Vernichtung der alten heidelbergischen Buchersammlungen. Ein Beytrag zur Literargeschichte vornehmlich des funfzehnten und sechszehnten Jahrhunderts…Nebst einem meist beschreibenden Verzeichniss der im Jahr 1816 von dem Pabst Pius VII. der Universität Heidelberg zurückgegebenen Handschriften, und einigen Schriftproben
by WILKEN, Friedrich
Two engraved plates with nine facsimiles, printed in color. x, 552 pp. 8vo, orig. blue wrappers, uncut. Heidelberg: A. Oswald, 1817. First edition of this invaluable and tragic history of the Bibliotheca Palatina of Heidelberg, the most important library of the German Renaissance, along with accounts of other Heidelberg libraries. "Ninety-five years after the sack of Rome by Lutheran lands-knechts a Catholic army marched into the Palatinate to punish its Calvinist Elector. To Pope Gregory XV a glorious prize suddenly appeared within reach: the famous public library of Heidelberg, founded in the mid-sixteenth century by the Elector Ottheinrich, celebrated for its ancient manuscripts sequestered from the abbey of Lorsch (including another Vergil of great antiquity). The nuncio in Cologne was instructed discreetly to make known in Germany the Pope's willingness to accept an offer of the collection, and his wish was granted by Maximilian of Bavaria within five days of the town's capture. Three thousand, five hundred manuscripts and five thousand printed books from the Elector's private collection and the university as well as from the public library were removed to Rome. Thus the Palatina ceased to exist; its shelves were chopped up to make packing-cases, and Bavarian soldiers helped themselves to the books that remained behind. Two centuries later consciences were still troubled and in 1815-6 Pius VII returned all the German manuscripts, 842 in number, and forty-two in Latin to the Duchy of Baden."-Hobson, Great Libraries, p. 80. Wilken (1777-1840), prorector of Heidelberg University, negotiated with the French government the return of 38 Palatina manuscripts which had been ceded by the Vatican to the French in 1797 by the Treaty of Tolentino. Very fine copy in original state. From the Wittelsbach library of the dukes and kings of Bavaria. (Inventory #: 5672)
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