National Digital Library Polona presents the most interesting manuscripts from the collection of the national Library.
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Jan Długosz: Catalogus archiepiscoporum Gnesnensium ; Vitae episcoporum Cracoviensium. Latin. 1531-1535. Parchment. Ilum. 32 x 24 cm. K. 145 (289 s.). 19th century leather binding. Rps BN BOZ 5
The manuscript contains of two parts: Catalogue of Gniezno's archbishops and Lives of Cracow's bishops. Work on the codex, commissioned by Piotr Tomicki (1464-1535) bishop of Krakow and Vice-Chancellor of Poland, was started in 1531. The decorations were not completed because of the bishop’s death. The Catalogue’s illuminations, done by Stanisław Samostrzelnik's painting studio in Krakow, are the result of the superb craftsmanship of the workshop. The manuscript is richly and skilfully ornamented with 46 full-page miniatures.
Rękopis zawiera dwa dzieła Jana Długosza: Katalog arcybiskupów gnieźnieńskich i Żywoty biskupów krakowskich.
The manuscript belonged to to the Zamość Academy Library. It was transferred to the National Library together with the deposits of the Zamoyski Library.
Cosmographia Claudii Ptolomaei Alexandrini. Latin. 1467. Parchment. Ilum. 42 x 57 i mniej. T. II K. 1-2, 3-4 ochronne pap., tablic XXX. Rps. BN BOZ 2 /I
Geographiké hyphégesis, the great work of the Alexandrian astronomer and geographer Claudius Ptolemy (ca.100- ca. 168) was written in about 160 and translated into Latin in 1406. It is also known under a later name: Cosmographia. Presented volume contains 30 maps, 27 of which are old, drawn on the basis of information in Ptolemy’s text. Three are new (Spain, Italy and Northern Europe), worked out in accordance with the state of knowledge in the middle of the 15th century. For several centuries the layout of the maps served as a model for geographical atlases.
The manuscript belonged to Crown Chancellor Jan Zamoyski in the 16th century, and then to the Zamość Academy Library. It was transferred to the National Library together with the deposits of the Zamoyski Library.
Jan Kochanowski: Dryas Zamchana. Latin. 1578. 32 x 20,5 cm. K. 2. Rps BN BOZ 206
Autograph of two panegyric court idylls written by Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584) on the occasion of King Stefan Batory’s stay at Zamech, where he participated in a hunt organised by Chancellor Jan Zamoyski on May 8, 1578. The staging of the two idylls lent lustre to the court ceremonies in honour of the monarch.
It was transferred to the National Library together with the deposits of the Zamoyski Library.
Kazania świętokrzyskie. Polish. 14th century. Parchment. 26 x 22 cm. K. 4. 20th century binding,
wooden casket with glass. Rps BN 8001
The oldest (fragmentary) record of Polish prose and the oldest record in the Polish language in the collections of the National Library. The following texts have survived from a 14th century collection of sermons: a text about St. Catherine and fragments of five other texts, namely, for Michaelmas, St. Nicholas’ day, Christmas, the Epiphany and Candlemas. They are written in a rich language full of synonyms.
The sermons, later named Kazania świętokrzyskie, were found by Professor Aleksander Brückner in St. Petersburg in 1890, in the cover of a codex containing St. Jerome’s Praxapostulos. A medieval bookbinder had cut the old parchment pages with the sermons into strips and used them to strengthen the individual quires of Praxapostolus, which probably originated in the monastery of canons regular at Miechów in the first half of the 15th century. After 1459, this codex was kept at Leżajsk and then in the Holy Cross monastery in Łysa Góra, after the dissolution of which it found its way to in the library of Warsaw University. In 1833 it was carried off to St. Petersburg together with the Library’s collections and placed in the Imperial Public Library. In 1925 The Sermons returned to Poland as a separate item within the terms of the Treaty of Riga. After their transfer to the National Library, they were bound and placed in a special casket. In 1939 the manuscript was evacuated to Canada and returned to Poland twenty years later.
Cyprian Kamil Norwid: Poezje II. Vade-mecum. Polish, Italian. 1865. 23,5 x 18,5 cm i mniej. k. 71 (60 + 11 k. dod.). Opr. sk. XX w. Rps BN II 6313
Manuscript of a volume of exquisite poems by Cyprian Kamil Norwid (1821-1883), which, however, was not published during the poet’s lifetime.
In 1898 the manuscript of Vade-mecum was discovered by the poet Zenon Przesmycki-Miriam, Norwid’s discoverer later edited and popularised his work. Miriam died during the Warsaw Uprising, but his archives, together with Norwid’s legacy, were saved within the framework of operation Pruszków and after the War found their way to the National Library, which now has the greatest part of Norwid’s legacy.
Psalterium. Latin, French. 13th century. Parchment. Ilum. 15,5 x 10,5 cm. K. 170 + VI. 19th century velvet binding. Rps BN I 8003
Psałterz wilanowski, called also Psałterz Potockich is a 13th century hand-written psalter. Thanks to its excellent painting technique, perfect drawings and conscientious execution of full-page miniatures, is regarded as one of the best works of Paris studios in the early Gothic period. It is ornamented with 4 fullpage
miniatures, six figurative initials (which, in keeping with the principle adopted for this kind of psalter, mark the beginning of psalms), small calligraphic initials and colourful interlines.
The Psalter, probably purchased in Paris at the beginning of the 19th century for Stanisław Kostka Potocki’s Wilanów Library, was transferred in 1932 to the National Library together with the Wilanów collections. In 1939 it was evacuated to Canada, whence it returned twenty years later.
Psałterz floriański. Latin, Polish, German. 14th/15th centuries. Parchment. Ilum. 32 x 22,5 cm. K. III + 298. Binding from 1564, wooden boards and leather. Rps BN III 8002
A manuscript of priceless value for the history of Polish culture and the Polish language. It is the first surviving translation of the psalms into Polish and the oldest relic of the Polish language that has survived in
full. Each verse is repeated three times: the Latin text is followed by its Polish and then German equivalent. The verses opening each language version are marked by colour initials (the Polish verses by blue ones). The first, earlier and richer part of the codex includes presentations of fantastic animals and figures referring to astrological and religious symbols.
The Psalter was probably prepared for Queen Jadwiga d’Anjou, but because of her premature death in 1399, work on illuminations was interrupted. It was resumed after a short break. From 1637 the codex was kept in the library of the abbey of canons regular in Sankt-Florian in Austria, where it was discovered by the local librarian, Father Josef Chmel, in 1827. In 1931 The Psalter was purchased by the Polish government and handed
over to the National Library. Evacuated to Canada in September 1939, it returned to the National Library twenty years later.
Number of publications in collection:375