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550th Anniversary of Establishing the Academia Istropolitana Issue number
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Credit for the existence of the Academia Istropolitana in Bratislava belongs especially to the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus who together with the Archbishop of Esztergom Johann Vitéz and Pécs Bishop Janus Pannonius, in 1465 asked the Pope for approval for its foundation. Vitéz became the chancellor, but it was in fact the vice-chancellor who moulded the life of the institution – Georg Peltel von Schönberg, the provost of St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava. Its academic profile was, to a great extent, influenced by the Viennese Dominicans; the university in Vienna also served as a model and was the permanent residence of several notable professors who were active in Bratislava. Here, educational activities gradually took place at its four faculties of art, law, theology and medicine. The academy won international acclaim especially thanks to the mathematicians and astronomers Regiomontanus (Johannes Müller von Königsberg) and Marcin Bylica from Olkusz. Despite the original ambitious plans, the academy only lasted for a short time. After the death of provost Peltelvon Schönberg, it never found another equally dedicated vice-chancellor and at the turn of the 1590’s king Corvinus himself increasingly gave his support to the university in Vienna instead. Thus, the Academia Istropolitana gradually ceased to exist. To this day, we cannot with certainty determine the contents of its library, although it is assumed that its core was formed by a collection of codices and books which passed into the ownership of the Fraternity of Corpus Christi through a Franciscan monastery in the 16th century.
     The motifs used on the stamp and the sheet come from the illuminated decoration of two contemporaneous codes originating from the Bratislava Chapter. The stamp uses an initial from an unknown Franciscan manuscript from 1494 (possibly an antiphonary) depicting a scene from a scriptorium; St. Francis accompanied by a scribe and an unknown benefactress (the engraved initial is currently in the ownership of Bratislava City Museum). The background of the sheet uses the decoration of a folio from Bratislava Notated Missal VII, which was written for the Chapter in 1489 by Lukáš Apáti (from the village Opatovce), a canon of the Chapters of Veszprém and Eger. The code has only been preserved in the form of a few folios in the collections of the Archives of the City of Bratislava and Bratislava City Museum. It is especially important because of the combination of Gothic and Renaissance ornaments within a single manuscript. The Gothic ones are distinguished by the use of colourful flowers with plant tendrils on the top and bottom margins and between the columns; the all’antica motifs, typical for the court of Matthias Corvinus and the Archiepiscopate of Esztergom, found their way into the scenes in the initials. In this case, it is a part of the Proprium de tempore liturgy, in particular the De sancta Trinitateofficium and the ad romanos rubric.
                                                                                                                                                                                             Dušan Buran

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