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J. G. Eccardus Corpus Historicum Medii Aevi II 1825-1844 Johannis Trithemii Nepiachus, id est, Libellus de Studiis et Scriptis propriis a pueritia repetitis.
Here begins Nepiachus by Johannes Trithemius, containing a record of the life he lived.
Nobody who knows me, I imagine, will condemn me as vain or consider me conceited if I write down the things which have happened to me in the flesh insofar as I can remember them. For by writing I have recalled not my praises, for I have none, but my fortunes, and not without reason it would seem to me. For the memory of many of the things my spirit has undergone can inspire the soul to contempt for the world and the desire for its dissolution from the suffering of this prison to sighs for the future. What indeed is the variety of fortune which has operated on me from infancy to the present day if not something which reveals me to be variable and mutable? Though I was made a pilgrim in my body I am as if captive in a narrow prison. My various changes have shown me that I shall find no lasting home in this mortal flesh and shall certainly not have the house of a citizen. I am a stranger on the earth like all my fathers and my time in life is short and like the days of a day labourer who in the heat of the day hastens towards evening. The necessity of dying sent my father ahead of me in an instant. I was born mortal whether I die young or old.
So I have written down the short, crooked years of my dwelling here and what I did in them, and may my benefit be the cause of it, even if whoever reads this will find the text to match the title. For they are childish things even if they took more effort than benefit Nepiachus means childish since from my childhood on I have written childish things. Now it is often good to remember fortune, whether she dealt out good things or bad. For I have not covered the whole range of my fortune and deeds, but the part which I am advised is sufficient out of the rest. Also I have not decided to depict life but out of the memory of frequent mutation to provoke a mind otherwise too tepid to recognise itself and the horror of the prison. Nor shall I have said, servile to any about causation, when my own intention suffices to me. And I have not written this Nepiachus for any other man but for myself alone, and it is such that it ought not to be published by my will while I yet live. If it shall afterwards be done I do not care, the cause moving me will cease with time. I publish with this Nepiachus a justification of my studies and writings which I have published with a rough intelligence and one not sufficiently aroused in itself at various times.
Pinax or a short index of my works as I remember composing them in order
I Joannes Trithemius originate from the Moselle country, from the town of Tritenheim, three miles distant from the city of Trier down the left bank of the river Moselle, called by the ancients Tripatria because of its triple jurisdiction. My father was Joannes Paganotorus and my mother was Elisabeth de Longovico. When I was twenty years old in the year 1482 I joined the order of our holy father St Benedict and on the feast of his birth I took the robe of holy conversion in the monastery of St Martin the bishop known in the vulgar tongue as Sponheim in the diocese of Mainz twelve miles from Trier and six from Mainz, under the reverend Father Joannes a Colnhausen, the twenty fourth abbot in the line from the founding of the monastery and the first in the Bursfeld observance. And the following year on the feast of the most pure Conception of blessed Mary ever virgin I made profession under the rule of our holy father St Benedict to satisfy and perform I trust the vows which my lips pronounced out of free will. And from the very time when I first joined the order nothing has been sweeter to me than concentrating on the study of the scriptures and I would spend time on them to good effect and excercise my mind in contemplation of the supreme good and of the things it is good to know without interruption with all my powers. So I reserved all the hours which I could wrest from sleep, rest and contact with my brethren for reading and studying scripture with the greatest fervour to the extent that I counted a day wasted if I did not learn something useful from reading holy books.
The following year on 29 July my abbot, who was very pleased with my studies, was transferred to Selgestat against our wishes and I, though still much too young and inexperienced, was appointed in his place by a vote of my brethren and I governed the monastery of Sponheim for 23 years, two months and 20 days in great poverty, in many labours, in tribulations and almost continual griefs. When I was appointed abbot I not only did not slacken or break off my fervour for study but rather increased it all the more fervently for being the freer and no one begrudged my sedulity for studying, since indeed a greater necessity now seemed to spur me on to the study of scripture by reason of the rank I had attained in which it was now necessary not just to learn but to teach, for fear that my own ignorance would show me up in front of my brethren, some of whom were old men, some truly learned and not a few seemed to be only superficially educated. For fear of being struck horribly dumb in front of them against the rule of pastoral care or to speak bashfully through ignorance I used all the time which I had left over from dealing with daily business to the study and reading of the scriptures and spent many a night studying without sleep in a huge fervour for studying and by day preferred the practice of reading to the necessary food and corporal sleep.
So after a while it came about that I learned to do without all the pleasures of this world and the solaces of men being satisfied purely with studying the scriptures and the holy and useful meditations which it gives rise to. Nothing has ever been sweeter, pleasanter or smoother to me than the study of the holy scriptures by which the mind, delighted with love and habituation, learns to discern itself at least in part. As somebody once said, nothing is better for a man than to read godly books and fix his mind on the place where his life goes. St Jerome too says finely and truly , "Love the knowledge of the scriptures and you will not love the vices of the flesh". I have always had a great love of the scriptures and pursued the study of them to the envy of certain rapophages in the neighbourhood, and was ready with all my heart to leave the abbothood at any time rather than the study of letters. Nonetheless there were various good scholarly and godfearing men who carefully persuaded me not to fear the envy of my rivals. Among these stand out Joannes my predecessor, later abbot of Selgestatten, and Conrad the abbot of Johannisberg, a holy and well educated man. Helped by these and certain others I overcame the envy of dogs with a deaf ear and boosted by the support of so many people I won through, so that a vision of tables seen many years before came true.
The great collection of books on all subjects which I assembled at Sponheim
At the beginning I was greatly handicapped by a lack of books which meant that I was held back from my goal somewhat at times. Admittedly there had in times past been many studious and learned men among the monks at Sponheim who wrote a great deal and assembled no small quantity of books as I gathered from their memoirs. However with time the zeal for holy religion cooled and the monks gradually began to scorn the study of sacred readings and as a result they did not take care of their books but neglected them, split them up and sold them. By the time the place was reformed in the year 1459 scarcely ten volumes remained other than the Bible, and all of little use. To these my predecessor added 30 printed volumes, and they were common ones used for composing sermons to the people and similar things. There was a second reason why he did not buy more: he was hampered by excessive poverty at the beginning of the reforms and the scarcity of books when the printer's art was new raised their price.
When I became his successor for 23 years God increased my resources somewhat and the increasing number of printers lowered the price of books so I gradually built up a great quantity of volumes on every subject and art, not only printed ones but also copied by scribes. I put in such effort that I acquired many very rare and very old volumes for my monastery written on both paper and parchment. Over 20 years I visited many monasteries of our order on many occasions in many provinces and inspected all their libraries, and wherever I spotted a copy of something which I did not have I would ask for another one for a n agreed price or buying another printed volume which the owners of the find specified in exchange. By this means I acquired by many precious volumes of desirable reading written both on parchment and on paper not only from our order but from various others in exchange.Very often it turned out that in various monasteries there were handwritten volumes on astronomy, music, philosophy, poetry, oratory, history, medicine and arts which the good fathers who owned them did not understand or feared that their presence would violate their holy observance and would ask me to take them all away and replace them with ones they wanted more in return. This I was happy to do the instant I was asked. And so over those twenty three years with much effort, at great expense and with the greatest dedication I built up the Sponheim Library to around two thousand volumes handwritten or printed on every subject and science which is practiced among Christians. In the whole of Germany I have never seen or heard of another in which such a quantity of books, and not popular or common but rare, unknown, secret and remarkable ones such as can scarcely be found elsewhere.
I had many volumes in the Greek language both handwritten and printed brought to me from Italy, since for many years now I have found reading them no less enjoyable than necessary. But the number of Greek volumes does not exceed 100 by my reckoning. I also bought a bible and certain other volumes in the Hebrew language for I study them from time to time. The money I spent on books for the library (leaving out those I had copied by the brethren and not a few others) came to more than 1500 florins. This might well seem no mean sum to rich people and to me in my poverty it was a maximum and hardly affordable. I have never been able to satisfy my love and study of the holy scriptures because of the scant resources of my monastery and the great number of books of every sort which are now pouring forth daily in all forms with the spread of the art of printing throughout the earth. I confess I am a glutton for study and that books are my passion which I could never give up or in any way grow tired of following my appetite for them. What ever in the world is knowable I have always wanted to know and I have always considered it the height of rapture to own and read all the books I see or hear of being published, even juvenile or inelegant ones. But it has not been in my power to satify my desire as I should have wished, not least because our short life and limited abilities cannot master the mysteries, so many, so varied and so deep, of the various sciences, and moneys are always lacking to buy the necessities of life let alone the pleasure of books. I have always done as much as I can about both, however, and if I have been excessive may the almighty creator forgive me, for he made man righteous from the beginning but he tangled himself in infinite questions.
An apology for myself against those who considered that I practised magic arts
I am not unaware that there are those who unjustly slandered me, God knows, for supposedly polluting my spirit with black arts and necromantical vanities, not to say evildoing. For many a great rumour about me has reached many people, on I know not how many occasions, that I know and do marvellous things by some unknown arts or the aid of some spirits, that I raise the dead, recover things stolen, predict the future, and display marvels: but all this is invention with no truth in it, and it is not in my intention or power to perform or display such fatuities. But as I have found it necessary to counter these lies I shall here give a brief defence of myself for posterity, not wanting anything other than the truth to be thought about me. I am a faithful Christian, raised in the Catholic faith, agreeing with the holy Roman church on all matters of faith; I am a priest and a monk, a minister of Jesus Christ, and I have never had anything to do with black arts, nor any companionship or dealings with demons. I worship one God in trinity of persons, him I fear, him I adore, and after this life I desire hope and expect to come to partake in his glory. If I know or have done things which those who do not understand them wonder at, they are not the work of demons but of nature, hard work, and philosophical speculation. He who does what no one can is wondered at by all: but learn the reason and do not wonder more than is right.
At the time when Maximilian King of the Romans called that great and lengthy council of his princes in Worms, there came to me in Sponheim a man from France, attracted by my fame, so he said: Libanius Gallus, a man renowned for his knowledge of all doctrine and revered no less for his Christian faith and holiness of life than his erudition. For some time he was acquainted with Pelagius the monk and hermit of the island of Majorca and inherited all his books when he died. He learned many secrets from him in philosophy, in Christian faith, of the nature of good and evil spirits and of the mysteries of nature, and many other things which are not taught everywhere as common knowledge in the schools of men of this age. This Libanius, I say, certainly a most learned man in every way, seeing the leanings of my spirit and untiring love of study said to me rejoicing, "I have sought a Trithemius and found one who Minerva has seen fit to grace with her nickname, and made him worthy of it, and ought not to be kept from the things which we learned to understand with thirty years hard work with the great Pelagius and then Count Pico della Mirandola and many others. And so he began at once to dispute about the majesty of nature, of wisdom and the hidden things of philosophy, and read many things and interpreted many things which I had not known until then.
When I had understood the principles to some extent I realised the difference between natural magic, which teaches the doing of amazing things, as Pico says, by the use of natural properties by using them in combination for their natural effects, which the church has never condemned, and the magic which undoubtedly uses the cooperation of evil spirits, whether necromancy with the corpses of the dead, or pyromancy, or the exorcistical invocation of demons, or love charms or whatever word you may use for them, and that pernicious and pestiferous magic in all its kinds, which are the necromancy, pyromancy, acromancy, hydromancy, gemancy, chiromancy, auruspicy, augury, auspicy, pedomancy, orincomancy, sortilege, ill doing, of which there are many kinds. All these arts of demons have been condemned by the holy Catholic church and their use is forbidden, banned and prohibited to all Christians, except that geomancy and chiromancy, in part but not in sum, are held by many to be tolerated, and their temperate practice may sometimes be displayed, rather for exercise and entertainment than for truth. Since trickery is of many kinds it cannot be dealt with in a single judgment. For there is trickery performed by diabolical arts and the cooperation of evil spirits. There is the trickery of evil and perverse cruelty, which is done by words, charms, incantations or things in a bad and superstitious fashion. There is the trickery of deception, which those vagabonds known as jugglers use, and the is not of one kind but various and manifold. There is lastly natural trickery, which alone refers to natural magic when wonderful effects are produced by those who know it by the secret application of natural forces, and which those who do not know it marvel at. There exist many books by various people on all the kinds of condemned magic I have mentioned, whose possession, when it is necessary to read them to rebuke evil arts, is not forbidden to good and learned men of chaste mind, but is not permitted to unlearned and carnal men, for to read them without doubt does harm.
As for natural magic, which, as Pico della Mirandola writes, has never been condemned nor can be condemned by the church, many learned men of the church have approved it and followed it. One of them was our own Albertus Magnus, a very famous and learned man in his day, pursued natural magic, that is the wisdom of nature, to the extent that his amazing knowledge of hidden natural properties brought him into popular suspicion until this present day, and he was a truly righteous man, pious and holy, who always used to attack, denoune and detest any magic condemned by the church as a plague on the soul. In any case, this word magic is Persian, and means wisdom in Latin, and equally Magi are wise men, like those three who according to the gospel came from the east to adore the son of God in the flesh in his swaddling clothes. In their company I do not blush to call myself a magophile for I am a lover of divine, human and natural wisdom. That is the magic which I follow, and the other, superstitious, diabolical and condemned by the law of the holy church, which is permitted to none of the faithful, I reject, abhor, despise totally and condemn with its authors. Whoever thinks otherwise of me and considers me superstitious or given to evil arts does me injury before God, angels and men, utters an insut and tells a lie. I still have my conscience to console me and it knows that it is clean of contagion from these crimes.
When and from what cause or intention I first turned to writing
I have always been devoted to the study of the scriptures as I said above, and gradually bought as many as I could of the necessary books and read them thoroughly day and night whenever I had the time and leisure. It was in 1484 on the feast of St Matthew Apostle and Evangelist at the age of 23 that I took my first rough and unsteady steps as a writer, not expecting to benefit anybody from my jottings but purely for my own benefit. I edited the sayings of the holy Fathers on the material I encountered into one body as well as I could, like an unskilled mason not very tidily piling up beautiful stones for a building, so I would always have something handy to suggest to my brethren as a word of encouragement on any virtue or vice. Thus at first I collected short sayings of the Fathers on their own in order of the material like the stones of some future building, but since this sequence looked shapeless, like a wall without mortar, built up unevenly, I began to add a cement of my own words in between like a new mason laying out a wall with an even surface. As time went on I improved at writing and begain to compose first prayers and then treatises for my devotions without constant excerpts from the Doctors of the church, though I could find nothing to say which had they had not long ago said better. But this apprentice work did me good not by not just following the counsels but practice and familiarity with them in my own small way. I did not aim for eloquence or strive for glittering oratory, since I had decided to write for simple cloistered monks and not the learned, and I mainly chose to build up souls rather than fondle the hearing of my audience. I burnt the first short works I wrote as rough and ill-formed miscarriages, but then I learned to produce rather more polished work. Among them were some which concern the status and progress of monks. The remainder, which I thought worth preserving, I list below, though not all of them strike me as sufficiently polished. But when I have time free to do so, I shall prepare them for publication.
A list of works and compositions which I wrote as abbot of SponheimI now append a short list of the compositions which I produced in the twenty three years in all when I was abbot of the monastery of St Martin in Sponheim, though as I have said, not all have reached a state in which they ought to be published. They may yet be improved if the almighty grants me long life and gives me the leisure and opportunity I hope for. These then are my works in order.
Firstly, a summa of the sayings of the holy Fathers on the vices and virtues, which I wrote in two books beginning: Great is the strength of the soul. Not yet published.
On the temptations of monks or cloistered people, two books which I wrote at the request of Joannes Damius Curtensius Agrippinas, then my servant, beginning: The human race. This work has not yet been published.
On the Rule of our holy father St Benedict, two books as yet unpublised, and two other books which remain to be written, beginning: Come sons, hear me.
An Exhortation to Monks, two books not yet issued, beginning: It is right for the troops of Christ.
On the misery of this life, one book which I wrote at the request of a certain friend, in which I strive to interest the reader in contempt of the world. This book has been printed and it begins: Since life is nothing.
Against the vice of private property among monks, one book which has been printed and begins: To eternal life we all.
I wrote a Chronicle of the Monastery of Sponheim, of which I then had charge, a long work which took many late nights and much effort, for I sweated over it on and off for twelve years. I carefully recorded the succession and deeds of all the abbots from the foundation up to me, interspersing many digressions on events in Germany, amounting to a history up to 1502.
On the manner and form of visiting monks, one book which has been printed and begins: You shall visit your brethren.
On the manner and form of holding a provincial chapter, one book which was printed by command of our presidents, and begins: In celebrating chapters.
The Statutes of the same chapter, abbreviated by me and published in one volume which has been printed and begins: Whereas he who wants single things.
The annual Statutes of the chapter similarly edited by me in one volume at the command of the Fathers at St Martin's in Cologne and in Sponheim, not yet published, by order of the Presidents of the same chapter. The work begins: Reverend in Christ.
On the manner of holding that annual chapter, one book written by me at the request of Dom Joannes, abbot of Bursfeld, beginning: Reverend father in Christ D.J.
At the request of Dom Blasius abbot of Hirsgau I began to write a chronicle of his monastery, a long work requiring much effort. I finished the majority of it in 40 quires, but since my friend Blasius is dead and our current Pharaoh knows not Joseph, I do not know whether I shall finish the work.
On the ruin of our order, one penthicus, that is lament, which I wrote by request of the above abbot Blasius of Hirsgau and which is read by order of the Fathers at table at the provincial chapter, and it has been printed and begins: When our order.
In praise of writers, one book which was printed at the request of Dom Gerlacius abbot of Deutz, who wanted to encourage his brethren to write as in the days of old. This work begins: To the venerable father Dom G.
On the origin, development and praise of the order of Carmelite friars, two books which were printed at the request of Joannes Lapicida the prior and Jacobus Cuhe the lector of that order in Kreutznach. This work begins: By the prayers and requests of the venerable.
In praise of holy mother Ann, the grandmother of our lord Jesus Christ, one book, which was printed at the request of Rumoldus prior of the Carmelites at Frankfurt on Main. This work has been widely read and begins: The necessity of desire compels.
On the institution of the priestly life to Nicolaus priest of Merincum, one book which has been printed and has been very popular. This work begins: You ask me, brother Nicolaus.
A long and difficult work which I wrote for Joannes Dalbergius bishop of Worms, which I called on Ecclesiastical Writers, in which I listed all the famous men who wrote anything of use to Christians that I could find, in strict order of the dates when they lived, giving the names, country, order, grade, subject and books of each one. This book was printed and widely read, and begins: At the request of many.
A book which I wrote at the request of Jacobus Wimpfeling of Slesestadt on those writers who lived in Germany, containing many who are not in the larger catalogue of writers, and I called this book Catalogue of the Luminaries of Germany, or of the famous men of Germany. This work too has gone through many printings and begins: Since there are not a few.
On the computation of Easter, one book which I wrote at the request of brother Albertus Latro Guardianus of the Friars Minor, which has not been published and which begins: Joannes Trithemius abbot.
On the famous men of my own order of St Benedict, four books, the first dealing with the beginning and progress of the order and its praises in general, the second containing its canonised saints in order, the third containing the popes, cardinals, archbishops and bishops drawn from the order, and the fourth containing famous men of the order who adorned the church and our order with their books and compositions. I have only shared this book with a few friends so far and it has not been printed. It begins: I frequently consider.
By command of the presidents of my chapter I wrote three books on the threefold region of cloistered people. It deals with beginning, progressing and perfected monks, and was printed at the expense of the chapter itself, and begins: When the state of our monastic life.
In obedience to the same command I wrote on the spiritual exercise of monks, and this book was appended to the previous one, and it begins: The book on the triple region.
At the request of Dom Joannes abbot of Bursfeld I abbreviated the above exercise of monks and this book was printed with the other two, and it begins: Even if the rule of the spirit.
At the request of a certain prince (a) I began to write that long and difficult book the Steganography, which should have run to eight books, but I only finished two and started a third, (b) being uncertain whether I ought to produce the rest. They need the greatest of toil, sweat, late nights and effort, and because of the hitherto unheard of wonders which are taught in them (though they are all purely natural and do not involve any kind of superstition) I fear that those who do not understand such mysteries will draw them into suspicion that it is some evil art. I am hesitant to complete them: it may be for the best for these wonders I invented to die and be buried with me, for fear that once I am dead I will be unfairly accused of temerity or superstition by those who do not understand. The book begins: The ancient sages whom the Greeks called philosophers.
I wrote a wonderful and difficult work which I decided to call γλωττευφορίαν, that is fertility of the tongue, for by it a man completely ignorant of the Latin language who only knows how to form the letters can learn in one hour with God and a good conscience one occult method of writing in gramatical and elegant Latin anything he likes on any subject at all. I have shared this book with nobody excepting M. Rex (d) Euriponus and Adelphus (e). It begins: To the clement prince D.
On the institution of virginity, one book which I wrote at the request of certain nuns, which begins: Holy virginity, which is dedicated to the son of the virgin, has as many dangers to fear as this present life rolls by with seconds.
On the continence of widows and another on the institution of conjugal life, whose openings I cannot now recall.
At the request of prince Philipp Count Palatine of the Rhine and duke of Bavaria I wrote a short chronicle containing the succession of the dukes of Bavaria from Charlemagne to those alive today, whose opening I cannot remember.
At the command of the most reverend lord archbishop of Mainz I wrote on the crosses which have appeared on men's linen garments at various places in our time, and what they mean for the future. This work begins: Crosses have frequently appear on men's garments.
A course on the seven canonical hours of the holy grandmother of Christ, Anne, which I wrote for my own devotion, similar to the courses of the inviolate Mary ever virgin with hymns, antiphons, responsories and collects, beginning: God come to our aid.
A rosary of St Anne with a salutation, beginning: Hail mother of God.
I have written many other supplications or prayers, and rosaries of various saints for the devotions of those who come across them.
On the misery of religous superiors, one lengthy book to Macharius abbot of Limpurg which I have not yet published, beginning: On the misery of prelates.
I wrote many prayers for the provincial chapters of the order and its annals, as I have said: similarly in other places for which I cannot now give a total.
One of these was one which I chose to call On the Twelve destroyers of holy religion, given in Rainartzborn, since it is well written.
I also wrote certain other small works in praise of certain saints which I think have not yet been sufficiently improved and I decided it was superfluous to edit them until such time as it pleases God to have them published.
I have written many letters over these 23 years: I collected those that seem to me most valuable in one volume which begins: You asked for copies of my letters.
Two sequences of St Anne of which one is sung on her festival in many voices to the same melody as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin: the other does not relate to a feast but to the commemoration of the scribes of the chancery of Trier. I wrote it to the melody of the blessed Virgin composed by Franco Scholasticus: Hail most glorious. The first one begins: May all who worship the Lord rejoice in this day: today the heavens for holy Anne. The second begins: With devout songs we praise the holy grandmother of Jesus king of the heavens, all praise.
A sequence of St Hildegard the virgin which begins: Praise to you Lord, king of eternal glory, Jesus the crown of virgins. A similar sequence of St Rubert Duke of Bingen together with an entire mass at the request of Lady Guda Spechtin, abbess of his monastery near Bingen.
I have also written many secret collects for the saints at the request of their ministers to be finished to aid their devotion.
This is the list of the works which I can remember writing over the period of 23 years when I was abbot of Sponheim, some of them completed and some not because of my many ongoing projects when I was busy with community matters and with visiting monasteries of our order as I did many a time in various provinces. For that reason I could not completely satisfy my aims or the requests of my friends.
On my other works written later in the abbey of St James near Würzburg.
In 1506 at the age of 45 I was led by many considerations to conclude that my old abbey of Sponheim was full of unfruitful labours. The opportunity presented itself, in my opinion by divine providence, to be appointed to the abbey of St James in the suburbs of Würzburg where I am now in charge. If it seems poorer than the old one I do not make much of that, as it is by the same token quieter and more convenient for my temperament, for I prefere to be poor and subject to Christ and to lurk in a corner for the love of the holy scriptures than to possess many riches with a bad unquietness of mind. If ever I am permitted the leisure ahead of time to write anything, as I hope, I shall consequently take pains to list it in order.
The first thing I wrote at the abbey of St James the Great: in praise of St Joseph the foster father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, one book, fairly well written and divided into 20 chapters. This book begins: I have often decided with great pleasure. I dedicated it to Christophorus Fredericus de Reddwitz Canon of Bamberg Cathedral.
To this book I added one rosary of the same foster father of Christ the most holy.
Three supplicatory prayers on the same which I wrote to rouse my devotion.
An office of the mass according to the usage of our order to which I added a sequence with a melody to be sung by boys, beginning: Let us sing the glorious praises.
A treatise against simony and the peculation of certain nuns which I wrote in response to a question from Dominus Burckardus de Horneck, doctor of medicine, beginning: A certain convent.
In the first year of my abbacy at St James I wrote two books of personal letters, the first containing 78 letters from the last year of my abbacy at Sponheim which begins: Brother you are right to advise me. The second contains 60 letters from the first year of my abbacy at St James and begins: Full of brotherhood.
In the same year, 1507, I wrote a difficult work divided into six books for Joachim Marchio of Brandenburg Elector, which I called Polygraphia, and it begins: We read that many of the wise kings and princes of old.
Trithemius added no more.
(a) Philipp Elector Palatine: so an annotation in another hand. (b) Written in the margin by another hand: I believe this is in the library of the Charterhouse outside Strasbourg. (c) On this see Trithem. Ep. 23 Book 1 where he calls it a part of his Steganography.
(d) To king Maximilian I believe. Written in the margin in another hand: It may be in the imperial library. (c) This seems to mean his brother Jacobus Trithemius.