The Codices of György Handó1
Research Centre for the Humanities
The Florentine bookseller and cartolaio Vespasiano da Bisticci included the life of three Hungarian prelates in his Vite, dedicated to the the lives of his most famous clients. Two of the Hungarians, the archbishop of Esztergom, János Vitéz of Zredna, and the bishop of Pécs, the poet Janus Pannonius, are well-known personalities of early humanism in Hungary and some of their codices prepared in Florence still exist. The third one, however, György Handó (c. 1430–1480), provost of Pécs cathedral chapter from 1465 until his death, is much less known. Scholars of early humanism in Hungary were unable to contextualize the information given by Bisticci on Handó’s library, because no other written source could confirm his accounts, and no manuscript could been identified as a Handó codex. The present study demonstrates that contrary to the common belief that his codices had been completely lost, there are, in fact, twenty manuscripts originating from this early humanistic library. This research result is based on the identification of his coat of arms.
Keywords: György Handó, Orbán Nagylucsei, Péter Garázda, Vespasiano da Bisticci, Bartolomeo Fonzio, Piero Cennini, Corvina Library, Matthias Corvinus, Florence, Buda, humanistic book culture, illuminated book