Arnold Pannartz and Konrad Sweynheim
Arnold Pannartz and Konrad Sweinheim were two printers of the 15th century.
Pannartz died about 1476, Sweinheim in 1477. Pannartz was, perhaps, a native of Prague, and Sweinheim of Eltville near Mainz. Zedler believes (Gutenberg-Forschungen, 1901) that Sweinheim worked at Eltville with Gutenberg in 1461-1464. Whether Pannartz had been connected with Sweinheim in Germany is not known. It is certain that the two brought Gutenberg's invention to Italy.
The Benedictine abbey of Subiaco was the cradle of Italian printing. Probably Cardinal Giovanni of Turrecremata, who was Abbot in commendam of Subiaco, summoned the two printers there. They came in 1464. The first book that they printed at Subiaco was a Donatus; it has not, however, been preserved. The first book printed in Italy that is extant was a Cicero, De oratore (now in the Buchgewerbehaus at Leipzig), issued in September, 1465. It was followed by Lactantius, De divinis institutionibus, in October, 1465, and Augustine's De civitate Dei (1467). These four impressions from Subiaco are of particular importance, because they abandon the Blackletter of the early German books. In Italy, Roman characters were demanded. Pannartz and Sweinheim, however, did not produce a pure but only a "half Roman" type with Blackletter-like characteristics.
In 1467, the two printers left Subiaco and settled at Rome, where the brothers Pietro and Francesco Massimo placed a house at their disposal. Their proof and manuscript reader was Giovan de' Bussi, since 1469 Bishop of Aleria in Corsica.
The works they printed are given in two lists of their publications, issued in 1470 and 1472. Up to 1472, they had published twenty-eight theological and classical volumes, namely, the Bible, Lactantius, Cyprian, Augustine, Jerome, Leo the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Cicero, Apuleius, Gellius, Virgil, Livy, Strabo, Pliny, Quintilian, Suetonius, Ovid, etc., in editions varying from 275 to 300 copies each, in all 12,475 volumes. But the printers shared the fate of their master, Gutenberg; they could not sell their books, and fell into want.
In 1472, they applied to Pope Sixtus IV for Church benefices. From this we know that both were ecclesiastics: Pannartz of Cologne and Sweinheim of Mainz. The pope had a reversion drawn up for them, a proof of his great interest in printing. In 1474, Sweinheim was made a canon at St. Victor at Mainz. It is not known whether Pannartz also obtained benefice. Perhaps the pope also aided them; at any rate, they printed eighteen more works in 1472 and 1473. After this they separated. Pannartz printed by himself thirteen further volumes. Sweinheim took up engraving on metal and executed the fine maps for the Cosmography of Ptolemy, the first work of this kind, but died before he had finished his task.
- Burger, The Printers and Publishers of the XV Century (London, 1902), 523, 524, 605, 606
- Fumagalli, Dictionnaire géogr. d'Italie pour servir à l'histoire de l'imprimerie dans ce pays (Florence, 1905), 331-37, 405-09
- Löffler, Sweinheim und Pannartz in Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde, IX (Bielefeld, 1905), 311-17
- Idem, Die ersten deutschen Drucker in Italien in Historisch-politische Blätter, CXLIII (Munich, 1909), 13-27.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Löffler, Klemens (1911). "Arnold Pannartz and Konrad Sweinheim". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia 11. Robert Appleton Company.