Fučić B.

Glagolitic Breviary of Vitus of Omisalj

Glagoljski brevijar Vida Omišljanina Sec. XIV-XV

Guttenberg's discovery of print characters made it possible to print a lot of copies of a book at a lower cost and with more efficiency. But a book of the Middle Age was an expensive, unique copy, written with feather on parchment or paper. If a book had to be copied, the number of copyists had to match the number of copies needed. Those copyists would sit, each at his own desk, with a feather in his hand, an ink pot and a piece of parchment in front of him. One of them would slowly a distinctly read the text, and others would write it down. It was a hard and painful work. Crouched over their desks, with a feather pressed between three fingers, staring at letters at poor light, copyists were martyrs, with pains in their backs. 

Breviary is a book, comprised of predetermined sequencing of texts (prayers, psalms, excerpts from the Holly Scriptures for particular hours of prayer, writings of church teachers and legends of the lives of saints) from which a priest, alone or together with other priests, prays in a particular time of day. Vitus of Omisalj's breviary contains offices for Lord's holidays and Sundays (Proprium de tempore). It is characterized by volume, richness and extensivness of the texts. It is a codex bound in leather, consisting of 468 pages of parchment, weighing almost 10 kg. Its pages are 26.7 cm wide and 35.5 cm long. It is being kept in Vienna, in what used to be the Imperial, and is now the Austrian National Library, among valuables, under the signature Cod. slav. 3.


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Di: Fučić B.
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