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 freshly restored exhibition rooms of the Bibliotheca.

The Cathedral Library of Esztergom preserves forty-5 medieval manuscript textbooks, which are displayed with each other for the 1st time now, in March 2022. The exhibition honors the archbishops and canons of Esztergom as very well as the donators and former entrepreneurs of the manuscripts, by whose generosity the library turned the greatest assortment of codices among ecclesiastical libraries of Hungary. The penned culture of medieval Hungary is represented by fourteen codices copied in several Hungarian scriptoria. Two old Hungarian manuscripts – early linguistic documents – stand out from among the the Latin guides on account of their particular worth. The Nagyszombat Codex was geared up in the monastery of the Bad Clares in Óbuda. It includes meditations and guides for penance and confession. The Jordánszky Codex is the most entire medieval Bible translation into Hungarian, and is named immediately after is previous proprietor, Elek Jordánszky, a canon of Esztergom. Out of the codices preserved in the Cathedral Library of Esztergom, without the need of a question three had been utilized in Esztergom before 1543. These are the 12th-century Expositiones tremendous Cantica Canticorum, László Szalkai’s (1475-1526) schoolbook created by the upcoming archbishop in between 1489 and 1490, and the codex of vicar-common Albert Pesthy. The manuscript collection owned by the Archbishop and the Chapter of Esztergom was even further enriched through the sojourn of the Archbishopric in Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia). Liturgical guides and astronomical is effective ended up obtained, as well as a manuscript that contains 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 high-class Wladislav Gradual originates from Prague from the first ten years of the 16th century. It retains Bohemian musical materials, richly illuminated with historiated initials as perfectly as border decorations with floral motifs, animal figures, and scenes from every day existence.

Immediately after the library moved back again to Esztergom in 1853, János Scitovszky (1785-1866), archbishop of Esztergom, József Dankó and Nándor Knauz, canons of Esztergom every bequeathed 4 codices to the assortment. Between these, there was a 12th-century cathedral schoolbook containing a commentary of the Music of Tracks among other texts, and various manuscripts of Bohemian origin.

Most codices in the library originated and were used in Central Europe, in Bohemia, Vienna, and Southern Germany. Nonetheless, some of the manuscripts came from the English, Italian, and French territories. The decoration of Peter Lombard’s commentary on the Psalms is a substantial-excellent merchandise of English miniature painting. The exhibited manuscripts present a wide range of medieval ecclesiastical literature encompassing guides on liturgy, theology, church legislation, astronomy, lexicography, as well as sermon collections, prayer books, 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 Town Library). The e book was edited by Edit Madas and created by Kinga Körmendy, Judit Lauf, Edit Madas, and Gábor Sarbak. Kinga Körmendy’s thorough introduction offers the historical past of the collections and the specific descriptions are accompanied by several indices, appendices, a bibliography, and shade plates. The reserve is the most modern volume of the Fragmenta et codices in bibliothecis Hungariae collection. The e book can be ordered here: [email protected]. A German-language edition of the catalog is forthcoming.

(Text and pictures by the Cathedral Library of Esztergom) 


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