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Exhibit of the Month - January 2023

The manuscript III H 21 is one out of thirty five so far identified volumes, which belonged to the municipal library of the Old Town of Prague in the course of the 15th century...
Exhibit of the Month - January 2023

book

January 11 - March 14, 2023 Ante-room to the General reading Room (gate A), open Monday to Saturday 9 am - 7 pm (see opening hours of the NL)
Admission 20 CZK (free for the NL readers)

A Manuscript from the Medieval Library of the Old Town of Prague
Rukopis ze středověké knihovny Starého Města pražského
Bohemia, around 1400, NL Prague III H 21, verso of the front endpaper and fol.1r

The manuscript III H 21 is one out of thirty five so far identified volumes, which belonged to the municipal library of the Old Town of Prague in the course of the 15th century. Main part of the preserved Old-Town manuscripts comes from the colleges of Prague University that were partly damaged and misappropriated in 1422 after the execution of Jan Želivský. Minor part of known codices was bequested to the Old Town Municipality by burgher Simon from the House of the White Lion (Šimon od Bílého lva) in 1433. Among them, it was also the manuscript III H 21, which has inscribed the content including donation note on the verso of the front endpaper. In the Old Town Municipal Library, the codex was provided with the title and shelf mark „3a 8° L“ on the front pastedown.

Based on the watermarks, the manucript originated around 1400. Its most extensive work is the writing by late ancient author Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus Palladius (4th century AD) De agricultura (On Agriculture). Apart from the possesions at the Old Town, Simon from the House of the White Lion also owned rural estates and he could use the knowledge of this work in their management and improvement. The use of the manuscript is documented by a Czech and Latin gloss on folio 16r „terrebintus – chebdie. Another set of texts in the manuscript refers to the Passion of Christ – it includes both the excerpts from the Gospels and the widespread apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus and other meditative texts, related to the Passion of Christ (apart from other shorter ones also a dialogue with Our Lady, the author of which was considered to be Anselm of Canterbury in the Middle Ages).