Medieval Hungary: Medieval Manuscripts in Esztergom

From the 11th to the 31st of March, an exhibition offers 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 see in the recently restored exhibition rooms of the Bibliotheca.

The Cathedral Library of Esztergom preserves forty-5 medieval manuscript guides, which are exhibited alongside one another for the first time now, in March 2022. The exhibition honors the archbishops and canons of Esztergom as very well as the donators and preceding entrepreneurs of the manuscripts, by whose generosity the library grew to become the greatest assortment of codices among ecclesiastical libraries of Hungary. The written tradition of medieval Hungary is represented by fourteen codices copied in a variety of Hungarian scriptoria. Two old Hungarian manuscripts – early linguistic documents – stand out from amid the Latin textbooks on account of their unique value. The Nagyszombat Codex was geared up in the monastery of the Inadequate Clares in Óbuda. It incorporates meditations and guides for penance and confession. The Jordánszky Codex is the most entire medieval Bible translation into Hungarian, and is named just after is previous operator, Elek Jordánszky, a canon of Esztergom. Out of the codices preserved in the Cathedral Library of Esztergom, without a question 3 ended up utilized in Esztergom in advance of 1543. These are the 12th-century Expositiones super Cantica Canticorum, László Szalkai’s (1475-1526) schoolbook penned by the potential archbishop in between 1489 and 1490, and the codex of vicar-basic Albert Pesthy. The manuscript selection owned by the Archbishop and the Chapter of Esztergom was more enriched in the course of the sojourn of the Archbishopric in Nagyszombat (Trnava, Slovakia). Liturgical books and astronomical is effective ended up acquired, as well as a manuscript that contains letters by Saint Gregory the Excellent, 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 deluxe Wladislav Gradual originates from Prague from the initial decade of the 16th century. It retains Bohemian musical materials, richly illuminated with historiated initials as nicely as border decorations with floral motifs, animal figures, and scenes from day-to-day lifetime.

Just 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 single bequeathed 4 codices to the selection. Amid these, there was a 12th-century cathedral schoolbook containing a commentary of the Music of Music amid other texts, and quite a few manuscripts of Bohemian origin.

Most codices in the library originated and have been employed in Central Europe, in Bohemia, Vienna, and Southern Germany. Nevertheless, some of the manuscripts arrived from the English, Italian, and French territories. The decoration of Peter Lombard’s commentary on the Psalms is a large-high-quality merchandise of English miniature painting. The exhibited manuscripts present a huge selection of medieval ecclesiastical literature encompassing books on liturgy, theology, church legislation, astronomy, lexicography, as perfectly as sermon collections, prayer textbooks, and schoolbooks. 

The exhibition coincides with the publication of a catalog describing with wonderful erudition the medieval manuscripts preserved in the Esztergom reserve 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 prepared by Kinga Körmendy, Judit Lauf, Edit Madas, and Gábor Sarbak. Kinga Körmendy’s thorough introduction provides the history of the collections and the specific descriptions are accompanied by many indices, appendices, a bibliography, and colour plates. The book is the most new volume of the Fragmenta et codices in bibliothecis Hungariae collection. The ebook can be ordered here: [email protected]. A German-language edition of the catalog is forthcoming.

(Textual content and pics by the Cathedral Library of Esztergom)