Bessarion: De ea parte Evangelii

Cardenal Bessarion (1403‒1472), of Greek descent, was one of the most relevant figures of the 15th century, an erudite scholar of Ancient Greek philosophy, theologian of the Eastern and Western Churches, and tireless advocate of Church unification. He wrote mainly in Greek, therefore his works were usually translated into Latin by the Italian humanists of his circle. The academic circle formed around him in Rome had great importance as it served as model for other loose and non-institutionalized ’academies’ like the group that held learned conversations at the library of Johannes Vitez’s palace in Varad.
The manuscript has several remarkable aspects. Underneath King Matthias’s coat of arms, we find the very author’s, consequently the book had been his own copy which makes the texts most authentic. Two out of the three texts of the volume would later be printed in Strasbourg in 1513, and as the closing note of that edition says their basis was this Corvina. As a result of most recent research, we have knowledge of the possessor after Bessarion and before Matthias: under the damaged painting of the raven in the outer border decoration of the page, the coat of arms of Gyorgy Hando grand provost of Pecs and archbishop of Kalocsa (†1480) can be discerned. Handó could receive the manuscript from Bessarion during one of his diplomatic missions in Rome, probably in 1469. (The date of the donation basically coincided with the production of the codex, which makes it probable that Bessarion had it made for Handó in the first place.) (Ferenc Földesi. The entry written for the guide to the exhibition was made on the basis of Dániel Pócs’ description below: The CORVINA LIBRARY and the Buda Workshop. Exhibition Catalog. (Publication in progress.) Budapest: NSZL, 2019, Cat. H6)

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. 196


Shelfmark: Cod. Lat. 438.
Country: Hungary
City: Budapest
Keeper location: National Széchényi Library
Author: Bessarion
Content: 1. De ea parte evangelii …; 2. Epistola ad Graecos; 3. De sacramento eucharistiae
Writing medium: parchment
Number of sheets: 57 fol.
Sheet size: 285 × 200 mm
Place of writing: Rome
Date of writing: after 1464
Scriptor: Signed: Leonhardus Iob (one of Bessarion's scriptors), f. 17r
Place of illumination: Rome
Date of illumination: after 1464
Crest: King Matthias' Hungarian and Bohemian royal coat-of-arms, "first" heraldic painter, Buda, late 1480s
Possessor, provenience: "Bessarion (see the coat-of-arms under King Matthias' coat-of-arms on f. 1r); György Handó (see the crest under the raven crest in the middle of the right border on l. f. 1r); King Matthias Hunyadi; Johannes Fabri, Bishop of Vienna (comp. bookplates); St. Nicolas College of the University of Vienna (1540); University of Vienna; Imperial Court Library, Vienna (1756); Benedictine Monastery in Göttweig (see stamps on f. 1r and f. 55v); NSZL purchased it from a Budapest-based antiquarian in 1936. "
Binding: original gilded leather corvina binding; gauffered, gilded edge (probably in the late 1480s)
Language of corvina: Latin
Condition: Not restored
Hungarian translation(s) of work(s) included in the corvina: None