Liber Vetustissimus

Liber Vetustissimus

Prague (Czech Republic) — 14th to 16th century

The oldest surviving chronicle from Central Europe covers events in Prague from the 14th to the 16th centuries

  1. Parchment pages from a musical codex were used as covers for the paper manuscript

  2. Originally written in Latin, entries are increasingly recorded in German and eventually Czech

  3. The activities of the city council, the gilds, and the burghers are recorded in great detail

Liber Vetustissimus

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Liber Vetustissimus

The Liber vetustissimus statutorum et aliarum rerum memorabilium Veteris Urbis Pragensia is the oldest city chronicle from Central Europe. The first records date back to 1310 and include copies of documents and privileges of the Old Town, municipal revenues and editions, statutes of craft guilds, records of city council decisions, records on the grant of burgher law, and more. The entries cover events in Prague from the 14th to the 16th centuries and are written mostly in Latin, but there are also entries in German and Czech. This great tome is a living chronicle that was updated with contemporary events rather than being written in retrospect, which is partially reflected in the evolution of the languages used.

Liber Vetustissimus

This precious tome contains a chronicle of Prague from the 14th to the 16th centuries written on paper, the Liber vetustissimus statutorum et aliarum rerum memorabilium Veteris Urbis Pragensia. It is a massive codex measuring 37.5 x 28 cm and uses paper that likely came from Italy and may have been rebound ca. 1400 in the midst of when the 239-page living chronicle was being recorded. Parchment sheets from a 14th century songbook tied together with textile laces were used for the covers. Therefore, the exterior is decorated by four-line staves, song lyrics, and neume musical notation in red and black ink. It originally had an inscription on the spine, but it has not survived. This ad hoc binding belies the importance of this manuscript as a historical source and its significance as the oldest chronicle from Central Europe.

A Multilingual Record of Prague

The text in the book is written in Gothic semi-italics and italics, which was used in the 14th and early 15th centuries and is originally written in Latin. Although Latin continues to be used throughout the chronicle, German begins to appear in 1327 and continues to be used until 1419. Czech first begins to appear sparsely during the early 15th century, but Czech records appear regularly at the beginning of the 16th century, when Latin was replaced by Czech records of the acceptance of the bourgeoisie. The chronicle begins in 1310 and contains copies of privileges and documents of the Old Town of Prague, municipal revenues and expenditures, lists of city councils, statute of craft guilds, records of the statutes and decisions of the city council, municipal debts, records on the bourgeoisie class, requisites for municipal scales and standard measurements, and more.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Liber vetustissimus statutorum et aliarum rerum memorabilium Veteris Urbis Pragensis
Size / Format
297 pages / 37.5 × 38.0 cm
Date
14th to 16th century
Style
Content
Among other things: Economic reports of the Mint from 1310; copies of privileges and documents of the Prague Old Town; records of municipal revenues, expenditures, and debts; lists of city councilors; statutes of the guilds; records of the city council's

Available facsimile editions:
Facsimile Editions

#1 Liber vetustissimus statutorum et aliarum rerum memorabilium Veteris Urbis Pragensis

Tempus Libri – Prague
Liber vetustissimus statutorum et aliarum rerum memorabilium Veteris Urbis Pragensis
Liber vetustissimus statutorum et aliarum rerum memorabilium Veteris Urbis Pragensis Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Tempus Libri – Prague
Limited Edition: 22 copies
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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