Thursday, May 17, 2007

1475 to 1484

1475. The Recuyell (Collection) of the Historyes of Troye published at Bruges by English printer-translator-cloth dealer William Caxton, 53, is the first book to be printed in English.

1475. Concerning Honest Pleasure and Well-Being by Vatican librarian Platina is the world's first printed cookbook.

1477. Christopher Columbus visits England but is unable to obtain backing for his projected venture in quest of a new route to the Indies.

1477. Cricket is banned in England because it interferes with the compulsory practice of archery.

1478. Isabella of Castille launches an Inquisition against converted Jews who secretly practice their original faith, persecuting the so-called Marranos (the word originally meant pigs). The Inquisition will be broadened to include all "heretics," including Muslims.

1479. The Game and Playe of Chesse, first book to be printed from metal type in England, is published by William Caxton.

1480. Pestilence decimates the Mayan Empire in the Western Hemisphere.

"Reynard the Fox." Anonymous. Medieval. 1481. Fable. Cunning fox vs. physically powerful wolf. Sly wit usually wins.

1483. England's Edward IV dies, April 9, at age 40 after a tyrannical reign, in which he has multiplied his wealth by confiscating the estates of his enemies. On June 5, a quasi-legal Parliament declares Edward's marriage invalid and his sons illegitimate. His capable brother Richard, duke of Gloucester, is proclaimed king and begins a brief reign as Richard III. Richard's nephews (Edward's sons) are found smothered in the Tower of London, and it is widely believed that they were murdered on Richard's orders.

1483. The Spanish Dominican monk Tomas de Torquemada, 63, takes command of the Inquisition in all Spanish possessions at the request of Ferdinand and Isabella.

The Golden Legend. William Caxton. British. 1483. Compilation. Lives of the saints and other ecclesiastical commentaries. One of the most popular books published by Caxton.

Till Eulenspiegel. Anonymous. German. 1483/1515+. Stories. German peasant popular in legend as a player of pranks. Brutal tricks and practical jokes. Emphasizes tricks as revenge of a peasant upon townsmen who scorn him as inferior.

1484. Christopher Columbus asks Portugal's Joao II to back him in a westward voyage to the Indies, but Joao rejects the request.

1484. Pope Innocent VIII succeeds to the papacy and inveighs against witchcraft and sorcery. The bull Summis desiderantes issued December 5 initiates harsh measures against German "witches" and magicians. So-called witches are usually midwives detested by physicians for encroaching on their obstetrical practice.

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