Medieval codices from the University Library and Archives in Constantinople – The new library calendar is now available

On the occasion of the Hungarian–Turkish Cultural Year, the 2024 calendar of the ELTE University Library and Archives presents a selection of medieval codices, which arrived the library from Constantinople at the end of April 1877.

The pages of the calendar offer an insight into the diversity of our collections and cultural assets, selected from ten 13th–15th century codices. In late April 1877, 35 codices arrived in Budapest from Istanbul, via Vienna, in a wooden box on a train. The manuscripts, which, according to the scholarly view of the period, had been taken by the Ottoman troops from the famous library of King Matthias Corvinus to Constantinople as spoils of war at the siege of Buda, were the gifts from Sultan Abdul Hamid II to the Hungarian university students. The antecedent of the gift was a friendly gesture. In opposition to the weakening Ottoman Empire, the Austro–Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire gradually drew closer together, and when the Russians occupied new parts of the Ottoman territories, sympathy demonstrations were held in Budapest in the autumn of 1876. Students of the Royal University had a sword made and presented to the Ottoman commander-in-chief. Among the codices gifted by the sultan and held in the University Library, 14 are considered today as certain Corvinas. The fact that their original bindings were removed and replaced by green, red, and white leather coverings in Istanbul makes their identification even more difficult. They  include  classic  literature,  Christian  philosophy,  medieval  surgery,  and  even  a  „contemporary”  piece,  Dante’s Divine  Comedy. An electronic version of the calendar is available here.

The representative wall calendar was published under the management of the Prime Minister’s Office, with the support of the National Cooperation Fund, the Bethlen Gábor Fund Management Ltd. and the Foundation for the University Library.

For information about the support options of the Foundation for the University Library, please, visit our website. More details about our book adoption program can be found here.



A kiadványt támogatta a Nemzeti Együttműködési Alap, a Bethlen Gábor Alapkezelő Zrt. és az Egyetemi Könyvtárért Alapítvány


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