Fragments of a Czech Translation of the Poem Facetus

Pages 19–30
DOI 10.37520/amnpsc.2020.003
Keywords Facetus – Latin medieval literature – Czech medieval literature – moral-educational texts – school texts
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Citation DRAGOUN, Michal a VOLEKOVÁ, Kateřina. Fragments of a Czech Translation of the Poem Facetus. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2020, 65(1-2), 19–30. DOI: ISSN 2570-6861 (Print), 2570-687X (Online). Also available from:
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2020/65/1-2

The article deals with two incomplete handwritten copies of the poem Facetus with a Czech translation. The poem Facetus, or more specifically its version referred to as ‘Cum nihil utilius’ based on its incipit, probably originated in the 12th century; in the high Middle Ages, it was the second most widespread of moral lessons in verse. It was also used in school instruction, with which both copies are associated. The fragment of the National Museum Library 1 H b 179, most likely from the second decade of the 15th century, contains the beginning of the poem’s interpretation and a part of the text accompanied by a Latin explanation and Czech interlinear glosses on individual verses. This Czech version reveals a certain continuity with the tradition of Czech scientific terminology of St Vitus School and Bartholomew of Chlumec, called Claretus. The second copy is written on the front free endpaper of the manuscript of the National Library of the Czech Republic X F 19; it comes from the turn of the 15th century; it is an incomplete record of the beginning of the text of the poem, with the Latin and Czech versions alternating after individual words or short sections. The study further provides a transcription of both fragments and records the manuscript preservation of the Latin text of Facetus, excerpts from it and German translations in Czech libraries.

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