One of the most famous works of literature written in Latin in Hungary is the the mirror for princes attributed to Saint Stephen, founder of the Hungarian state, which, therefore, enjoys high respect in the Catholic Church. However, as all the manuscripts in which the text survives go back to the 15th and 16th century, there has arisen the suspicion of forgery. This supposition is not adequate, because legends of Saint Stephen of the 11th–12th centuries give an exact description of the work. Saint Stephen presented his admonitions to his son at a moment when, after the death of Henry (Heinrich) II, Stephen’s son Emeric, as the closest relative, was being considered a suitable candidate for emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Later the text of the
, as a rule, came to be handed down with that of Stephen’s “Laws”, which generally meant that there emerged two versions of the text, both being of approximately the same value. The correct original text can probably be reconstructed through their collation.
The present study examines the role classical Latin authors played in the beginnings of Latin literacy in medieval Hungary - from the point of view of the history of libraries. It focuses on four sources: a letter of Bishop Fulbert of Chartres to Bishop Bonipert of Pécs, the Institutio of King Saint Stephen of Hungary, the Deliberatio of Bishop Saint Gerard of Csanád, and the book list of the Benedictine abbey of Pannonhalma.
Once in his
compiled ca. 1015, Thietmar von Mersenburg names Saint Stephen of Hungary (d. 1038) Vajk. In scholarly literature, the view prevails that king Stephen received this pagan, Turkish by origin, name in his childhood. Contrary to this opinion, it is evident that the name is a literary creation of Thietmar: this bishop often calls foreigners in Slavic
, most probably his native Sorbian. For example, he uses the name Beleknegini for the mother of Stephen, Sarolt, and the name Prokuj, for Stephen’s uncle, Gyula. All these Slavic names applied by Thietmar are