1856 SchildwachbĂĽchlein. Rare and interesting. Important Bohemian history. Superstition.


Rare and interesting. 1866 discussion of the work, translated from German –

"Anyone who grew up in a village in northern Bohemia surely remembers a small, inconspicuous booklet, which was kept in almost every house as an infallible safeguard against sorcery, fire danger, and other misfortunes.”

“It is called only the Schildwachbüchlein. The booklet contains 24 prayers, each preceded by the portrait of a saint in old, traditional woodcut. Each of these prayers is destined for one of the 24 hours of the day, and addressed to a particular saint, who was believed to be watching and praying at the camp of the dying at that hour, so as to ease the horrors of death to survive and enter into eternal bliss. That (Schildwach) was the name of the spiritual sentry and the little book had its name.”

“In addition to these 24 prayers, however, the booklet also contains other blessings, called the spiritual shield, which are directed against all sorts of dangers of life. Praying these prayers with devotion or even believing oneself, one is safe from thunderstorms, ghosts and wizards, from plague and evil diseases, one can not perish on the same day they are spoken to. In the House In which these prayers are, the lightning does not strike,... and the woman therein will easily give birth.”

“At last there is also an instruction about the power of the sacred weapon and the benedictine pennies, which are supposed to protect the latter against human and animal magic in particular. The booklet never fails to attribute prayers to a great old sage. But the style of these prayers, as well as the fact that St. Ignatius of Loyola was among the 24 sentinels clearly demonstrated that the book is a work of the Jesuits and in the 17th century.”

“In this respect, the booklet for the history of cultural history in Bohemia is not without its interest; It shows the means used by the Jesuits when, after the Thirty Years' War, they took advantage of the task of bringing Bohemia back to the Catholic Church. Instead of counteracting the superstition of the people, if they did not share it, they used it to increase their prestige." - Mitteilungen, Band 4-6, p. 126, 1866

Scarcity -

Only two libraries worldwide register possessing a copy (of any printing date). Nine copies registered at the Czech National Library per the EuropeanLibrary website. One copy at the University Library of Giessen per OCLC (Worldcat). The HathiTrust search engine does not register a copy. At the time of this listing, I find no other copy available for sale (of any vintage) searching Vialibri.

Physical Attributes -

Measures 12 x 6 x 4.5 cm. Leather with some blind tooling. Pages - 426 pages of text, 3 leaf index (no endpapers).

Condition -

See pictures. Binding splayed. Three very small worm hole entrances on spine, and one chip. Several shaken signatures. Several bookseller notes on rear pastedown (inside edge of rear board). I see one spot of foxing in the text (there may be another hiding, but mostly foxing free). There is one intermittent drop of moisture mark at top-edge, it does not approach the text and is minor (drop of something fell on top edge of book). Mostly a clean book, and interesting in structure.

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