Exempla Christianae Fortitudinis;
e sinceris SS. martyrum actis collecta, et continuata ab alma congregatione
majori Benedictino-Salisburgensi. sodalibis in strenam data.
Salzburg, Johann Joseph Mayr, 1768.
Small 8vo (148 x 85 mm), pp. [xiv], [xxiv], 179, , , with 12 part-page engravings in the text and several head-and tail-pieces, in contemporary red gilt floral wrappers, spine faded and dusty, edges gilt.
A delightful devotional work produced for the Marian confraternity at Salzburg University, the Congregation of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Arranged to provide devotional guidance throughout the year, the first part of the work contains a hagiography of a dozen saints, arranged according to their feast days, with one chosen for each month of the year. Engraved on the recto of these leaves is a narrative portrait of the saint set within an oval cartouche surrounded by scenes from his or her life, labelled with the saint’s name and accompanied in some cases with small bits of text for extra clarification. On the verso of each of these leaves is a short biography of the featured saint.
Several editions of this work exist for different congregations and while the text is similar, the saints tend to vary. In this edition, where the roll of saints include some lesser known ones, the 12 featured saints are St. Aldegundis, SS. Germanus & Randoaldus, St. Aldemarius, St. Wicterpus, SS. Paul, St. Bardo, St. Tatwinus, St. Canoaldus, St. Edith, St. Desiderius, St. Portianus and St. Jodocus. Set out according to the calendar year rather than the liturgical year, the work is described on the title as a ‘strena’ or ‘New Year’s gift’. Similar works also appeared under different titles, such as Orationes Partheniae and Officia sodalis Mariani, but with the same basic content. Given how many are likely to have been produced, it is surprising that individual editions such as the present have survived in such small numbers.
Following the main text is a table of contents and various lists of the members of the confraternity. These begin with the most senior appointments but also include a list of all new student members who have joined in 1766 and 1767, listed according to their discipline. The final list gives the names of all those community members deceased from 1764 to 1767.
OCLC lists only the Amberg copy which is incomplete; KVK locates a single copy at Freising.