In the 15th and 16th centuries, humanist scholars traced back the contemporary names of peoples and settlements to similar sounding ancient personal and geographical names. This is how they tried to establish a connection between antiquity and their own times. The same method was used by the Viennese Humanist Johannes Cuspinianus in his work Diarium, which is a report on the events of the 1515 Viennese Congress. Based on folk etymology, Cuspinianus traced back the Latin names of four Hungarian towns (Suppronium, Posonium, Iaurinum, Strigonium) to ancient roots. The analysis of the text suggests that in the case of three towns out of the four, the author made use of Antonio Bonfini’s RerumUngaricum decades as a source. As for the remaining town, he followed in the footsteps of earlier humanists and developed his own etymology. The Bonfini-based discussion of the etymologies of the three names can also be found in Austria, another work written by Cuspinianus around 1528. This seems to refute the idea commonly adapted in the literature that Bonfini’s work was completely ignored by scientific circles between the mid-1510s and the 1540s. In light of the above, it may be well worth researching the works of contemporaneous humanists for further traces of the Decades.
Authors:Farkas Farkas Gábor, Mária M. Horváth, Kinga Körmendy and Zsolt Szebelédi
Lieutenant-colonel Ignác Andrássy kept several hundred books in his country house in Kajászószentpéter in the first half of the 19th century. His widow Mária Végh donated the collection to the library of the National Museum a few decades after his death in 1875. The majority of the books were Latin and German 17-18th century works on law and history and collections of religious homilies in addition to some antiques. The collection included some valuable items such as a copy of János Thuróczy’s chronicle (Brünn, 1488) or the Biblia pauperum. Archival sources outline that in 1814 the attention of Jakab Ferdinánd Miller director of library was drawn to an extraordinary block book. Miller mobilized all his contacts to acquire the book, soliciting help from the sub-prefect of Veszprém county and even the Palatine Joseph, too. It is not known what happened to the Biblia pauperum; probably it perished or is still latent. Later research hypothesized that it was identical with the copy in Esztergom, but we do not this assumption because the provenance of that copy could be convincingly determined: the ex libris in the book reveals that the owner was Tommaso Obizzi del Catajo, an 18th century bibliophile and antiquities collector.