June 13, 2024


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Medieval Hungary: Medieval Manuscripts in Esztergom

Medieval Hungary: Medieval Manuscripts in Esztergom

From the 11th to the 31st of March, an exhibition presents the medieval manuscripts of the Cathedral Libray of Esztergom. Titled “For They Look at for Your Souls…” – Codices in the Cathedral Library of Esztergom, the exhibition is on view in the newly restored exhibition rooms of the Bibliotheca.

The Cathedral Library of Esztergom preserves forty-5 medieval manuscript textbooks, which are exhibited with each other for the 1st time now, in March 2022. The exhibition honors the archbishops and canons of Esztergom as well as the donators and former owners of the manuscripts, by whose generosity the library grew to become the major collection of codices between ecclesiastical libraries of Hungary. The written tradition of medieval Hungary is represented by fourteen codices copied in various Hungarian scriptoria. Two outdated Hungarian manuscripts – early linguistic information – stand out from amongst the Latin books on account of their unique price. The Nagyszombat Codex was well prepared in the monastery of the Inadequate Clares in Óbuda. It is made up of meditations and guides for penance and confession. The Jordánszky Codex is the most entire medieval Bible translation into Hungarian, and is named right after is previous operator, Elek Jordánszky, a canon of Esztergom. Out of the codices preserved in the Cathedral Library of Esztergom, without having a doubt a few ended up applied in Esztergom before 1543. These are the 12th-century Expositiones tremendous Cantica Canticorum, László Szalkai’s (1475-1526) schoolbook composed by the foreseeable future archbishop between 1489 and 1490, and the codex of vicar-common Albert Pesthy. The manuscript selection owned by the Archbishop and the Chapter of Esztergom was further enriched for the duration of the sojourn of the Archbishopric in Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia). Liturgical guides and astronomical operates ended up obtained, as perfectly as a manuscript made up of letters by Saint Gregory the Good, copied in the Benedictine Abbey of Moissac in the 11th century. In 1555, Nicholaus Olah )1493-1568), archbishop of Esztergom, donated the two-volume Bakócs Gradual to the church of Esztergom The lavish Wladislav Gradual originates from Prague from the first decade of the 16th century. It holds Bohemian musical materials, richly illuminated with historiated initials as well as border decorations with floral motifs, animal figures, and scenes from daily daily life.

After the library moved again to Esztergom in 1853, János Scitovszky (1785-1866), archbishop of Esztergom, József Dankó and Nándor Knauz, canons of Esztergom every bequeathed four codices to the assortment. Among the these, there was a 12th-century cathedral schoolbook that contains a commentary of the Song of Songs amongst other texts, and several manuscripts of Bohemian origin.

Most codices in the library originated and ended up utilised in Central Europe, in Bohemia, Vienna, and Southern Germany. Yet, some of the manuscripts arrived from the English, Italian, and French territories. The decoration of Peter Lombard’s commentary on the Psalms is a high-good quality products of English miniature portray. The exhibited manuscripts current a large selection of medieval ecclesiastical literature encompassing textbooks on liturgy, theology, church law, astronomy, lexicography, as properly as sermon collections, prayer guides, and schoolbooks. 

The exhibition coincides with the publication of a catalog describing with fantastic erudition the medieval manuscripts preserved in the Esztergom e book collections (The Codices of the Cathedral Library of Esztergom, the Archiepiscopal Simor Library, and the Esztergom City Library). The e-book was edited by Edit Madas and published by Kinga Körmendy, Judit Lauf, Edit Madas, and Gábor Sarbak. Kinga Körmendy’s thorough introduction presents the background of the collections and the detailed descriptions are accompanied by a variety of indices, appendices, a bibliography, and shade plates. The guide is the most modern quantity of the Fragmenta et codices in bibliothecis Hungariae collection. The e book can be ordered right here: [email protected]. A German-language version of the catalog is forthcoming.

(Text and pics by the Cathedral Library of Esztergom)