Friday, 6 November 2020

helmaspergerische notariatsinstrument

Decided in the plaintiff’s favour on this day in 1455 in the refectory (the dining room or fratery, a frat house and documented by the above notary public’s seal) of the Barefooted Friars of Mainz, financier and angel-investor Johann Fust (*1400 – †1466) won his legal suit filed against Johannes Gutenberg allowing him to seize the first printing of the Forty-Two Line Bible as compensation for the credit extended Gutenberg that the inventor had yet to repay, despite protestation and promises to remit the loan with interest.

After this unamicable split (the underlying motivation is unclear with some characterising Fust as a genuine patron and others as an opportunist out to steal Gutenberg’s insight all along) with assistant and technician Petrus Schรถffer joining Fust to move merchandise and organise the next undertaking, the latter went to Paris to sell his books as manuscripts to members of the royal court—whom were pleased to acquire such handsome, high-quality volumes. Possibly conflating Fust with the near contemporary itinerant alchemist and astrologer Johann Georg Faust (subject and inspiration of Christopher Marlowe’s and Goethe’s tragedies), we get the source of the story that the printers were thought to be in league with the devil and that only witchcraft could have produced so many editions so quickly and uniformly and to escape punishment, Fust had to admit that they were printed and disclose the technology. While the advance may have been disruptive for the Paris book market, the Church welcomed such innovations for spreading the gospel, though literacy and the medium could be harnessed by all and sundry