Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490) developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library was dispersed and much of the collection was destroyed, with the surviving volumes scattered all over Europe. This codex, one of eight manuscripts originally in the Corvinus Library and now preserved in the Bavarian State Library, contains several speeches and letters by Aeschines and Demosthenes, among which is Demosthenes' most brilliant speech, “On the Crown,” in the translation by the humanist Leonardo Bruni from Arezzo (1370?–1444), who also contributed a preface addressed to Niccolò Medici. The book, which bears the Corvinus coat of arms, may originally have been owned by Vitéz. Following the death of Corvinus, it was acquired by Johann Jakob Fugger, with whose library it came to the Munich court library of the dukes of Bavaria in 1571. The Bibliotheca Corviniana Collection was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2005.
Title in Original Language
Type of Item
I + 110 + I leaves, vellum : illustrations ; 26.8 x 18.4 centimeters
- Contains 104v-106v, the Epistola 12 (ad Athenienses) of Aeschines
- BSB shelfmark: Clm 310
Last updated: April 21, 2014