Recently Discovered Printed Books from the Library of Martin Mareš, a Humanist from Český Krumlov

Pages 5–17
DOI 10.37520/amnpsc.2023.002
Keywords incunabula, printing in Italy, provenance research, Humanist libraries, University of Bologna
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Citation BOLDAN, Kamil. Recently Discovered Printed Books from the Library of Martin Mareš, a Humanist from Český Krumlov. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2023, 68(1-2), 5–17. DOI: ISSN 2570-6861 (Print), 2570-687X (Online). Also available from:
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2023/68/1-2

From 1487, Martin Mareš studied with the financial support of his brother-in-law Václav of Rovné, a chancellor of the South Bohemian Rožmberk family, at the University of Bologna, where he received the degree of Doctor of Canon Law in 1494. He was one of the favourite students of the leading Italian Humanist Filippo Beroaldo the Elder, who dedicated the first edition of his collection Orationes et poemata to him in 1491. Martin Mareš worked as a parish priest in his native Český Krumlov from 1496 until 1498 while developing his ecclesiastical career in Wrocław, Silesia, where he had been, already as a student, appointed canon and, later in 1498, vicar general of the diocese. Nevertheless, he died there the next year, in 1499, before the age of thirty. Mareš’s library is one of the most interesting Humanist collections of the Jagiellonian period. It mainly consists of Italian printed books, which he purchased during his studies. The reconstruction of Mareš’s scattered library was carried out more than 50 years ago by the classical philologist Josef Hejnic. In the appendix, the author of the paper presents descriptions of six recently discovered incunabula and a complemented description of one previously known incunabulum (four are part of the collections of the National Library of the Czech Republic, one is deposited in the collections of the National Széchényi Library in Budapest, one in the Lobkowicz Library at Nelahozeves Castle and one in the Schwarzenberg Library at Český Krumlov Castle). In total, we know of one manuscript and almost seventy incunabula from Mareš’s library. Most of them are editions of works by ancient authors, especially Roman poets. New discoveries have enriched Mareš’s collection with Virgil, Horace and Justin. The equally large collection of works by Italian Humanists included i.a. Naldo Naldi and Francesco Filelfo. Surprisingly enough, Mareš’s library contained only a few juristic and theological titles. We now know that he owned collected works of St Augustine and also the Digest, which was part of the codification of Roman law.

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