Extraordinary broadside from a time of plague

Antonius Cauanis Off. Salut. Venet. Scrib., Bando per occasion di peste. Venice, September 2, 1628. Reprinted Brescia, Septembe 7, 1628.
Letterpress broadside on laid paper surmounted by large (3 ¾”h x 6 ¼”w) woodcut.

A dramatic and unrecorded broadside printing of a decree for the preservation of public health in a time of plague.

The text is a Brescia reprinting of a decree issued in Venice on September 2, 1628, during an outbreak of plague in Germany and Switzerland, regions already ravaged by the ongoing Thirty Years War. The gist appears to be that any person, goods or livestock who had previously travelled in certain areas of those countries were banned from entering the cities of the Venetian Republic. Violators were to forfeit their lives and property.

Grim subject matter aside, the broadside is magnificent, featuring an attractive layout, strong typography, a historiated initial “G,” and above it all a magnificent large woodcut of the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venice.

The broadside is unrecorded in either OCLC or OPAC, though OCLC 872630881 records a 1629 broadside held by Yale and bearing both the woodcut and Cauanis imprint but no printer or place of printing. OPAC records another printed in Bergamo in 1635.

Not in OPAC or OCLC.


Very faint tide mark affecting much of image and a small adhesion to lower-left corner. Four holes to sheet, possibly from having been posted for display. Small blue ownership stamp (“WR”) showing through from verso at lower right.