Woodcut illustration from catechism

Making Good Protestants: The Importance of Catechisms

By Drew Thomas | In 1528 the Protestant reformer Philipp Melanchthon, Martin Luther’s right hand man, returned from a series of parish visitations convinced that both the clergy and the laity were spiritually illiterate. In response, Luther developed a series of sermons on the fundamentals of Christian belief. These sermons became the basis for his […]

Grafting Knives from the St Andrews copy

Piracy and Plants

By Nora Epstein | The English have long been known for their love of gardening, a pastime popular since at least the sixteenth century: if not longer, to judge from the number of surviving botany books. Leonard Mascall’s A Booke of the Arte and Manner how to Plant and Graffe all Sorts of Trees…(USTC 513190) […]

Hanging of John Ogilvie, National Portrait Gallery, London

Hanged & Drawn: How the story of a Scottish martyr spread across Germany

By Nina Lamal | Working on books printed in the German lands in the first half of the seventeenth century, I came across a few publications describing the martyr death of the Scottish Jesuit John Ogilvie, the first Jesuit to be executed in Scotland. These publications are not recorded in VD17, the German national bibliography […]

Woodcut featuring two drunk men

Early Modern Student Debauchery

By Drew Thomas | The life of a 21st-century student might seem vastly different from their mediaeval and early modern counterparts, but in many ways, student life remains the same. While the modern student relies on laptops, chai lattes, and dating apps, they have many things in common with students of ages past: especially went […]

Canticle, title page, Marsh's Library

Sickness, Religion and Kingdom: a Canticle composed for the King of Navarre

By Marc Jaffré | Disease, sickness and death were major preoccupations of early modern people, but because the destinies of whole kingdoms depended on the health of monarchs, their diseases became the subjects of correspondence, ambassadorial dispatches, and a flurry of pamphlets. One such pamphlet, Cantique simplement composé et de la maladie, & de la convalescence […]