The Franco-Flemish historiograph Guillaume Caoursin (c. 1430-1501) wrote a report of the siege of Rhodes, Obsidionis Rhodiae urbis descriptio (Description of the siege of Rhodes) in 1480, which quickly became a 'bestseller', was translated in many languages, and was repeatedly printed.
According to Caoursin's account, the Hospitaller knights – in order to frighten the Turkish besiegers – raised a flag showing Christ, the Virgin Mary, and their patron saint, John the Baptist, whereupon, allegedly, a golden cross appeared in the sky.
The enduring, severe conflict between the Occident and the Ottoman Empire flared up around 1498/99, which might be one of the main reasons for the new release of the treatise at hand.
The booklet is handsomely illustrated with twelve woodcuts from fourteen different blocks. Kistler utilized the typical Strasbourg woodcut style with narrow hatchings, and with often stout, strong, and purposeful looking figures in dense compositions. Although the designer of the cuts is not identified, a possible candidate would be Bartholomäus Kistler, the publisher himself, who is confirmed as painter, illuminator, and scribe. However, whether he produced the woodcuts for his own editions cannot be verified.
As no other copy has been on the market for the past forty years, the present edition is extremely rare.