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The Croatian cyrillic prayer book of 1512

Anica Nazor ; Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 3.736 Kb

str. 17-31

preuzimanja: 1.646



The Croatian Cyrillic Prayer Book was printed in Venice, at the printer’s Giorgio Rusconi (l. 140; 15.2 × 10.2 cm). According to the content, the purpose and the form, it is a prayer book of the type liber horarum, which was in the first half of the 16th century very widely spread in Italy — in Venice in particular, and in the north-western France (in Paris in particular). In Italy, it was known by the title Officium romanum. The core of the prayer books of this type consists of Mary’s Officium (Officium beatae Ma­riae Virginis). In addition to the Officium, it includes all the main parts usually found in the Latin Officia beatae Mariae Virginis, i.e. the following: the Calendar; the Officium of the Holy Cross; the Officium of the Holy Spirit; Seven Psalms of the Penitent with Litanies of All Saints; the Officium for the Dead. Some copies also include Fifteen Prayers of Saint Bridget (of Sweden), which means that the prayer book had been composed of two »units« published as a single book (one typographic unit). They might have also been published separately (which was common practice in those times). The presence of two colophons at the end of the Officium indicates this possibility: Štanьpano u Bneciehь u Zorьzi Rusьkoni izь Milana po meštьru Franьčesьku Ratьkoviću izь Dubrovnika u 1512. ljetь na 2. agosьta mieseca (l. 127r); and Štanьpano po meštьru Franьčesьku Ratьkovu Dubrovčaninu u 1512. lietь na 10. agosta mieseca (l. 140r). The fact that out of the three preserved originals, only the Parisian one does include the Prayers of Saint Bridget, whilst neither the Oxford nor the Washington originals do, confirms the possibility that the Officium and the Prayers of Saint Bridget might have been published separately.
The print is bi-coloured: red and black. It is richly ornamented: every page (except for the title pages of the Officium and the Prayers of Saint Bridget) is framed along the margin by a bordure with figures; furthermore, there are twelve larger-size pictures (wood engravings) that, together with the frame, spread across the whole page (they are placed before the beginning of the main parts of the Officium).
Milan Rešetar, who in 1938 prepared a new edition of the text of the Prayer Book in the old Cyrillic script and with a comprehensive introduction, holds that Frančesko Ratković, as meštar /master/, had manually cut and set the letters, bordures and pictures, »published the book probably at his own expense«, and taken upon himself the distribution »in our area«. The language of the Prayer Book is the Štokavian-Jekavian variant. Rešetar further believes that the Prayer Book is Serbian, in spite of his own words stating the following: »The Serbian Prayer Book was printed in the Cyrillic script, however using neither the uncial letters nor the orthography of the Orthodox ecclesiastic books previously published in Cetinje in 1494 and 1495... it partly brings its own type of Cyrillic letters that has been arranged according to the Cyrillic italic (the western Cyrillic) script, in which in those times, in our parts, matters intended neither for the Orthodox church nor for the Orthodox religion were written; hence the italic was the Cyrillic script, which our Catholics and Muslims regularly used« (Rešetar 19381).

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Croatian Cyrillic Prayer Book

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