Mainz Psalter

The Mainz Psalter was printed in 1457 on vellum in the dispensary of Schoeffer Peter and John Fust; the incunabula is one of the outstanding works of early art of printing.


The Mainz Psalter, a collection of psalms in Latin for liturgical use, was published in two editions with 143 or 175 sheets. Both were on parchment and one column, ie, with a column per page printed. When printing was carried out with different type of material, a large and a small Psaltertype, leaning on a missal - Textura liturgical manuscripts, and uncials, rounded letters, in several sizes.

The peculiarity of the Mainz Psalter was the multi-colored print in black, red and blue. For this, the color elements to be printed, usually initial and ornaments were individually extracted from the text set separately inked and then reintegrated into the black colored printing block. This set was printed in one step. For the initial of Psalterdrucks that were designed in Gutenberg's printing even as in the medieval manuscripts subsequently by hand, Schoeffer invented a metal stick, which allowed him to these henceforth to print in two colors, for example, in his edition of Valerius Maximus 1471. the Psalterdruck was completed in the colophon on August 14, 1457, according to. This makes it a first dated incunabula of Scripture history.

The impressive type design led to the assumption that the development of which should have been time consuming and costly, has been initiated during the collaboration with Johannes Gutenberg. Fust and Schoeffer completed the work and printed the Psalter in its Offizin. A second Psalter, the so-called Psalter Benedictinum, published in Mainz in 1459, also printed on vellum, now in a slightly smaller gothic type. The Psalter - type stock and the special printing blocks for the decorative elements used Schoeffer continue, such as the Canon Missae, 1458, and a second edition of the Psalter Benedictinum of 1490th


There are 13 known originals different state. Intact specimens are in the University and State Library, the national, State and University Library Dresden ( Perg ), the Rylands Library Manchester, the State Library in Munich, the vagina Library Princeton (2 copies) and the National Library of Vienna ( Perg ). Damaged specimens observed: Angers (missing leaves), Berlin State Library ( Perg, 1 leaf missing), Goodhart Library Bryn Mawr, PY ( damaged), British Library, London (missing Bl ), Bibliothèque nationale Paris (missing Bl ), Royal Windsor library (missing Bl ).

Fragments are found on nearly 20 other locations. The two copies pergamentierten Dresden and Vienna are the most important, temptation was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007 documents.

A facsimile was published in 1968/69 in Dietikon / Zurich. Digitization created the ULB Darmstadt and the ANL Vienna ( digitized ).