By Jessica Spring
Tacoma, Washington: Springtide Press, 2002. Edition of 15.
15.125 x 20" single sheet broadside. Printed letterpress using Bank Gothic typeface on paper handmade from pulp from the remains of all of the other broadsides in this series.
Jessica Spring: "Mithradates the Great was the sixth, and last, Pontic ruler by that name. Mithradates means 'gift of the god Mithra,' (Persian for Apollo.) When Mithradates succeeded his father, Mithradates Eurgetes, in 120 BC, he was then only a boy, and for a few years his mother ruled in his place. About 115 BC, she was deposed and thrown into prison by her son, who then ruled alone. Mithradates used prisoners to test various antidotes for poisons in order to invent a universal antidote which could neutralize any poison. Only a king could afford to take a daily does of MITHRIDATIUM with 36 ingredients that included the most rare and expensive spices.
"Bank Gothic was designed by Morris Fuller Benton for ATF in 1930. Intended as a contemporary variation of Copperplate - also a lining gothic - it was also popular with job printers for stationery and forms. The name probably comes from its appropriateness for printing required by the banking industry.
"Benton was the son of Linn Boyd Benton, inventor in 1884 of the punchcutting machine which mechanized the cutting of fonts from patterns in multiple sizes. Father and son spent most of their working lives at ATF making crucial contributions to the development of typefounding in the United States. Morris produced revivals of classic faces and designed many new fonts that have survived in digital form today."
The recipe for a poison antidote such as Mithradates might have consumed is printed (in Bank Gothic) along with the instructions: "These to be ground and mixed into honey; a quantity equal to a walnut to be taken daily, in wine, against poison."