Polybius: Historiarum libri I-V.
The Greek historian (201‒164 BC) who lived in Rome, wrote the history of Rome in forty volumes of which only five have been entirely preserved. These are all from the Corvina Library which had a Greek version, too: it is preserved in a collection of texts now kept in Munich of which the editor Vincentius Obsopoeus stated in 1531 that originates from Buda. The copy on display is the Latin translation of Niccolo Perotti (1454). According to the entry on the rear flyleaf, it was in the possession of a Turk named Ibrahim Maczar in 966 after Muhammad’s Hijrah, that is in 1588 according to the European calendar. The next time it appeared was three centuries later.
In October and November of 1869, Austrian emperor and Hungarian king Franz Joseph went on a grand journey to the East. The first main station was Istanbul where Sultan Abdul Aziz received him with all due splendor, including parades of honor, banquets, a concert and a gift of ten Arabic horses. The monarch continued his journey through the Holy Land to the opening ceremony of the Suez Channel, and finally returned to Europe on sea. The issue of 12 December 1869 of Vasarnapi Ujsag reports his arrival as follows:
“Upon His Majesty’s arrival at Trieste, a wooden case was handed over to him as gift of the Turkish Sultan, with Corvinas in it. His Majesty received the gentle courtesy with joyful pleasure and immediately called Count Andrassy to whom he entrusted the leather-bound books decorated with the Corvin raven to donate them to the National Museum as historical relics in the name of His Majesty.” The Polybius Corvina was among the manuscripts returned at that time to the National Library (also Georgius Trapezuntius: Rhetorics, Saint Augustine: City of God, Comedies by T. Maccius Plautus). (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. 154
DATA SHEETShelfmark: Cod. Lat. 234.
Keeper location: National Széchényi Library
Content: Historiarum libri I‒V.
Translator: Niccolo Perotti
Writing medium: parchment
Number of sheets: 198 fol.
Sheet size: 320 × 231 mm
Place of writing: Florence
Place of illumination: Florence
Crest: King Matthias' Hungarian and Bohemian royal coat-of-arms; "second" heraldic painter, Buda, late 1480s
Possessor, provenience: In 1558/59 the Empreror donated it to Ibrahim Maczar (comp. f. ..); Ottoman sultans; Abdülaziz, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire gave it as a present to Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria in 1869.
Binding: original (purple) velvet corvina binding; painted-gilded edge, made in Buda (probably in the late 1480s)
Language of corvina: Latin
Condition: Restored: NSZL Zsuzsanna Lente, 1989
Hungarian translation(s) of work(s) included in the corvina: Polübiosz történeti könyvei / [ford. Muraközy Gyula et al.] ; az utószót Tegyey Imre írta] ; [a kommentárokat és a mutatókat Forisek Péter áll. össze]; Máriabesnyő-Gödöllő : Attraktor, 2002