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Johannes de Thurocz: Chronica Hungarorum

 Bibliographic Description


Inc C 75, accession number F 1450/76


The Slovak National Library at Matica slovenská in Martin


The Library of Piarists in Prievidza (Bibliothecae Prividiensis Scholarum Piarum)


[Johannes de Thurocz: Chronica Hungarorum]


Johannes de Thurocz


the second edition, augsburgian, 2. version (variant)

Type of Document

incunabulum (the early printed book)


Theobald Feger, the citizen of Buda, the publisher of this issue

Place of Publication

Augsburg (Augusta Vindelicorum)


Erhardus Ratdolt

Place of Printing



3. VI. 1488 (III. Non. Iun.)

Physical Description

the incunabulum relatively well-preserved, restaurated ( November 1985) by restaurator Mr. Ján Padúch at the Slovak National Library Conservation Division (workshop), whole inner book was taken apart (dismantled), leaves corrected and improved through Japanese paper and cleaned, authentic (original) totally broken parchment binding was fully replaced by new parchment (vellum) 1/1 with sewn headband




15x20x3 cm


II, 160 ff. (folia a1-y9)


the hand coloured woodcut illustrations (55), the initial letters


Johannes de Thurocz (next Ján from Turiec) was born about 1435 in Pýr (the part of the village called Šípice at the present time, near to Zvolen). He died in the end of 1488, or in the beginning of 1489. He descended from Turiec yeoman family historically recorded already in the first half of the 13th century (in Nedožery settlement, at present time the part of the parish locality Rakša, district of Turčianske Teplice).

Members of the family ennobled their possessions located in Turiec district until the beginning of the 15th century. In that time one of the members of the family Ondrej from Turiec was on the Court of King Sigismund of Luxembourg. For his services to the Court of King Sigismund, he obtained the locality called Pýr as a donation, which after him his brother Peter inherited, father of the chronicler called Ján. In spite of the fact that his family was living in the county of Hont, they used the predicate "de Thwrocz" permanently. Also Ján who obtained only a basic education was using it consistently. He obtained the education probably in the Premonstrate Convent School in Šahy. Obviously he learned the basic knowledge of the Latin language and Law there. Any reliable document about his study at some from the Middle European universities was not conserved. So the title "magister" in front of his name did not express his university degree, but it only presented the commonly used title of a person working in an office (as a civil servant). As a participant in possessive law suits, he was mentioned in a document from 1459. In 1465 he appeared in Buda, as a prosecutor of the Premonstrate Convent in Šahy. From 1467 to 1470, he was one of the notaries in the office of Ladislas from Pavlovce who worked as a county judge. After 1470 he worked outside of the Royal Court. He used his knowledge of the Latin language and Law as a notary of a reliable position at the Premonstrates Convent in Šahy, where he had also the function of a public notary. In 1475 he started to work as a principal notary of the county judge Stephen Báthory in the Royal Curia and in 1486 as a head notary and judge of the Royal personnel clerk Thomas Drági. Direct and exact documents about his dead have not been preserved.

Ján from Turiec was undoubtedly a significant country and royal clerk. Importance of this activity of his is exceeded by his historiographic work. He was in fact the first lay Hungarian chronicler and creator of the most extensive Hungarian chronicle of the 15th century.

Magister Ján from Turiec, as resulted from his own words formulated in the dedications of the work, did not intend to be a historiographer. The impulse to elaborate his work obviously came from the character of his work and surroundings, in which he functioned (he was twice appointed a general notary of a county judge).

His Chronicle originated partly in seventies and eighties of the 15th century, probably on the basis of an impulse of his superiors (Thomas Drági, county judge and the Royal personnel, and Stephen from Haserhag, general notary of the Royal court).

The first part presents the so-called Hunian chronicle (ancient history of Scyts, Huns and Magyars), which Ján elaborated on the base of old Hungarian chronicles (Pictorial chronicle, Buda chronicle) and preserved manuscripts. Going out from so-called "Gesta" he tried to enlarge the interpretation about the original country of Magyars, to raise the great significance "the Great King Attila", and also to correct errors by elaborating the history of Hungarian rulers, sovereigns, and monarchs.

The second part of the work contains the interpretation of the history of the Hungarian Kingdom since the second arrival of Magyars until the period of the reign of King Charles Robert of Anjou (1307- 1342). In elaborating the first and also the second part of his Chronicle Ján of Turiec worked also with non-Hungarian sources (for example the historical-geographical Lexicon of Aeneus Silvius Piccolomini, the World Chronicle of Antoninus, bishop of Firenze, the ancient authors Trogus Pompeius, Pomponius Mela etc.).

The third part of the Chronicle concerning the period of the reign of King Louis I the Great (1342-1382) is the work of magister Ján from Šarišské Sokolovce (Slovakia), which Ján from Turiec inserted in full extent into his work. To this part he attached also an interpretation of the history of King Charles II the Small (Parvus) inspired by the work of Lorenzo de Monacis.

The fourth part of the work, containing interpretation of events since the death of King Charles II the Small (he died in 1386) till the conquesting of Vienna and Vienna New City (Wiener Neustadt) by King Matthias Corvinus in August 1487, can be considered as the own creation of Ján of Turiec. In addition to the work Cosmographia of A. S. Piccolomini he was inspired also by preserved diplomatic documents and letters. The data from Cosmographia was selected very one-sidedly and superficially. He committed a lot of errors. Very tendentiously he included data, which even for him was historically and politically unacceptable. On the other side he did not accept the data with which he was unable to identify himself - for example critical evaluations of significance of the reign of the Hunyady family.

The period of the reign of King Sigismund of Luxembourg (1387-1437) and also of Matthias Corvinus (1458- to 1487) was described on the basis of diplomatic sources as privilegiums, donations, letters and correspondence of significant dignitaries (for example letters of Jan Vitez of Sredna to Jan Hunyadi). From these materials he selected mainly various stories.

Ján of Turiec considered as significant sources of historical interpretation living tradition, oral history, folk songs and anecdotes. He plentifully took both from the talking of his contemporaries (Michal Orságh and County Judge Thomas Drági). In his interpretations of historical events the miraculous and unusual natural phenomena predict important historical ups and downs with bad consequences. This element is evident also at Italian humanistic historiographers (for example at Antonio Bonfini). The significant role in historical evolution process is played in Ján´s chronicle by destiny and fortune that in his apprehension inexorably control laws of mankind. Very often, he identifies fate with nature. He is convinced also about close relationship between human fortune, historical events and motion of celestial bodies.

Considerable attention is given also to depiction of feelings historical characters, mainly outstanding figures and active individuals. These are specific features of a humanistic historiographer. He looked for explanation of lot of events in the moral imperative. The reader can see scenes of crimes and punishments. Ján´s clear tendency is also idealisation of characters of Attila and Matthias Corvinus. On the other side he degraded consciously the significance of queens on the Hungarian throne. Some surprise can be found also in the omission of significance material and spiritual culture and arts. The Chronicle does not contain any mention about foundation and function of the Bratislava university Academia Istropolitana and the well-known Corvinus Library.

Although Ján of Turiec descended from and grew up in the historical territory of Slovakia (in the region called Hont) and he lived in the time from which concrete historical sources have been conserved manifestation of the Slovak nation, he did not give the special attention to Slovaks. He could have for it a lot of reasons. It can be assumed that he knew the Slovak language, because he used some Slovak names of seats (Rosnawa-Rožňava) and also persons (Zlowachko-Slováčko, one from the commanders of armed bratrik detachments, which functioned on the territory of Slovakia in the time closely after the end of the Hussite revolution movement and its ideas).

Reminding the existence of Slovaks was not his intention and the reason to write his chronicle. Slovakia and Slovaks still did not form in the Hungarian Kingdom any autonomous administrative part and their existence was for Ján of Turiec obvious. On the basis of his descriptions of events from the territory of Slovakia from 1439, it results clearly that he distinguished Slovaks from Czechs and Poles (... Bohemi, Poloni et Sclavi...).

he Chronicle of Ján of Turiec is a rare reflection of social opinions, views and home conditions in the Hungarian Kingdom in the last third of the 15th century. The chronicle reflects very clearly the tendencies of disregarding the non-Hungarian nationalities of Hungarian monarchy. The opinions of Ján of Turiec can be considered from this point of view as the beginning of such tendencies, which prevailed at Hungarian aristocracy fully in the 18th and 19th centuries, when they led to attempts to liquidate Slavonic nations.


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* 143r: [ ownership records] >>>

* 143v-144v: [empty] >>>

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Posledná aktualizácia: Aktualizované 27.10.2009 12:35  Tlačiť Hore

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