Comment by Geldner :

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FUST'S OATH (Lines 56-65)

Unlike Gutenberg, who obviously further postponed accounting for the money, although he had offered and was required to do so, and who did not appear to witness Fust's oath in person, Fust was prepared to swear it on the appointed date. He had organized for a total of seven men to be summoned as witnesses: the five citizens of Mainz Peter Granss, Johann Kist, Johann Kumoff, Johann Yseneck and Jakob Fust, his brother, as well as the two clerics Peter Girnssheim (Peter Schöffer of Gernsheim) and Johannes Bonne. The five citizens of Mainz had probably been acting as witnesses in business relations between Fust and Gutenberg for years: on conclusion of the preliminary loan contract, on payment of the individual installments. They may even have loaned the money to Fust, and they were certainly also heard as witnesses before the court. These five and the two clerics were to act as the seven guarantors for Fust's oath. Fust swore: to have borrowed 1550 guilders, which were handed over to Johannes Gutenberg for use on their joint undertaking; that he had paid yearly sums of interest and compound interest, some of which was still outstanding; for each 100 guilders loaned, he charged six guilders per annum [interest]. For any part of the loan which Gutenberg had received but which his (pending) accounts showed not to have been used on their joint project, he demanded the payment of interest according to the terms of the court's verdict on the first article of his claim. In general, J. Fust has received little "good press" from Gutenberg scholars. He has often been insulted, called a "fraud", "a man incapable of any noble sentiment". In spite of this, we can assume that on November 6, 1455, in the refectory of the Franciscan monastery in Mainz, one hand on the holy relics, the other in the hand of the notary U. Helmasperger, he did not commit perjury. Although in his oath he speaks of just 1550 guilders, while in the complaint he stated that Gutenberg's capital debt amounted to 1600 guilders, this contradiction would be explained if the difference of 50 guilders was taken from his own assets. There is another potential explanation, as Gutenberg claimed in his answer before the court that Fust paid the first 800 guilders neither completely nor all at once. As a continuation of his tactic of presenting the entire capital sum as an interest-bearing loan, he at first made no distinction between loan and capital contribution, later conceding that, in accordance with the court's verdict, he would only demand interest on that part of the overall sum which Gutenberg had not used to their common undertaking. The relative clause "which were then handed over to Johann Gutenberg and which were to be spent on our common undertaking" should be interpreted accordingly: the 1550 guilders, some of which became the assets of J. Gutenberg, some of which was used on our joint project.