Illustration from the Siege of Rhodes

The Ottoman Ousting of the Knights of Rhodes

By Jan Hillgaertner | June marks the 400th anniversary of the earliest surviving Dutch newspaper, the Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c., published on 14th June 1618 by Caspar van Hilten in Amsterdam. To mark the occasion, our blog posts this month will focus on the history of news printing. In the collection of rare books in […]

Den Eygen sin ende, title page

The first book ever advertised in a newspaper

By Andrew Pettegree | In the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic the making of money was the highest form of science. Nowhere was this more evident than in the introduction of advertising into their newspapers. The first Dutch newspaper was published in Amsterdam in 1618, and within thirty years every other newspaper carried one or more advertisements. […]

Issue of the Courante

Uncovering Lost Newspapers in Auction Catalogues

By Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen |   June marks the 400th anniversary of the earliest surviving Dutch newspaper, the Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c., published on 14th June 1618 by Caspar van Hilten in Amsterdam. To mark the occasion, our blog posts this month will focus on the history of news printing.   […]

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 […]

Ghent, Den wech na Romen - title page

Travelling to holy places in the early modern period

By Sandra Toffolo | From the first pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the fourth century, people wrote books about these sacred journeys. Even over the course of the early modern period, when pilgrimages ceased to be a mass phenomenon, these travel accounts still continued to be written. Hundreds have been handed down to us from the […]

Practica, 1568, 6905901

Like Father, Like Son: Identifying Prognosticators

By Nina Lamal | In 1568 the Erfurt printer Georg I Baumann published Practica auff das M.D.LXIX. Jhar by Reinhold Erasmus (USTC 6905901, pictured above). Erasmus (1511-1551) was a mathematics professor at the University of Wittenberg known for his Prutenic Tables, which was a compilation of astronomical tables based on Copernicus’ work. It was first […]