Cassianus: De institutis coenobiorum

The works of Cassianus (cca. 360 ‒ 435), including the one in this codex and Conversations of the Desert Fathers played an invaluable role in laying the foundations of monastic life in Europe. They are the first and most authentic descriptions of the world of hermits and monks in the East. The author traveled to the Holy Land in his youth, and after a brief period in a monastery of Betlehem, went to Egypt, the desert of Skete (today Wadi El Natrun) to learn about the life and teachings of the Desert Fathers – hermits and Cenobites (monks living in community). Cassianus returned to Europe at the turn of the century and later founded two monasteries near Marseilles.
This manuscript, the Cassianus Corvina, was the basis for the researchers to call ’Cassianus master’ the unidentified illuminator who worked on this volume and several other Corvinas. As the decoration of the codex was completed after King Matthias’s death, it contains also elements that allude to Vladislaus II.
The miniature of the title-page depicts typical scenes of monastic life. In the bottom right, the abbot of the community (cenobium) teaches the monks; in the upper right, a monk returns from the city with his donkey (the monks sold in the market their own products like ropes and baskets); in the bottom left, two anchorites (hermits) hold a conversation; and on the upper right, a man appears in secular clothing, as the townspeople often turned to the fathers for spiritual advice. (Ferenc Földesi)

Source: The Corvina Library and the Buda Worskhop: [National Széchényi Library, November 6, 2018 –February 9, 2019] A Guide to the Exhibition; introduction and summary tables: Edina Zsupán; object descriptions: Edina Zsupán, Ferenc Földesi; English translation: Ágnes Latorre, Budapest: NSZL, 2018, p. 106


Shelfmark: Cod. Lat. 2129.
Country: France
City: Paris
Keeper location: Bibliothèque Nationale
Digitized corvina: at the keeper location