Adrian Papahagi (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj)

Qui scripsit scribat. Book Scribes in/from the Dioceses of Oradea and Transylvania in the Later Middle Ages.

The easternmost dioceses of medieval Hungary, Oradea and Transylvania (now in Romania), were generally on the receiving end of medieval book culture: most extant books of local provenance are foreign imports. However, several Transylvanian scribes are attested by colophons in books made for local use, and some were active in other parts of Europe. Also, a series of foreign scribes worked in the two ecclesiastical provinces under scrutiny.

The analysis will concern in the first place the type of script used by these scribes, and the possible peculiarities of their hands. Can one identify local features and foreign influences in their Gothic textualis or cursiva? How standardised is the script they use, and how versatile are they when they work abroad? Do they betray local habits, as seems to be the case of Bartholomew from Cluj, active in Rimini, who switches from the Southern textualis of the main text to a Central European bastarda in the colophon (Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, MS Lat. Z. 197, Regula S. Benedicti, Formula confessionis S. Romualdi, Homilia, s. XV). Conversely, Paulus de Iwanich from the diocese of Zagreb, copying the Epistles of John Vitéz, bishop of Oradea in 1451, is striving with questionable success to immitate the increasingly fashionable humanistic script (Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Cod. 431).

Since the catalogue of the Bouveret Benedictins, and especially since the minute study of Lucien Reynhout, we have also become aware of the chronological and geographical relevance of colophon formulas. Do the formulas used by Transylvanian scribes betray geographical fashions or foreign influences (e.g. Valentinus Mathias from Sibiu, Laus tibi Christe, quia liber explicit iste; finis adest operis mercedem posco laboris etc. Laus filio virginis Marie, Valentini Mathie de Cibinio, Sibiu, Brukenthal Library, MS 678, Decretales, s. XV2). It is also particularly interesting to see the scribe Theodericus from Sibiu adding to his colophon two lines in the consonantic cryptography of Carolingian origin frequently used to copy Old and Middle High German glosses (Sibiu, Brukenthal Library, MS 665, Missale, 1394). It is also relevant to note how Transylvanian scribes identify themselves when working abroad. Apparently, they refer to Transylvania rather than Hungary when they indicate their origin (e.g. Petrus de Transiluana (!), active in Italy – Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, lat. 4260, Johannes Andreae, Additiones speculi, s. XV).

The present paper thus explores a little-known geographical area, starting from the scriptorial features and formulaic practices of identified book scribes.

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