“Many laughed at the thought of this illustrious young man reading books:” About Miklós Báthory’s Library and His Cicero-Codex
Eötvös Loránd University
This paper pursues an anecdote of Galeotto Marzio about the erudite Miklós Báthory, bishop of Vác, who read Cicero’s Tusculan disputation while he was waiting with other noblemen for the royal diet in Rákosmező, and the mocking attitude of the Hungarian political elite toward any intellectual endeavor. The traces lead to the National Széchényi Library in Budapest which has in its holdings a manuscript of Cicero under Cod. lat. 150. This book might have been in the hands of Báthory at Rákosmező. The purpose of this paper is to confirm the scarcely known plans of Miklós Báthory, bishop of Vác, to found a Platonic school on the basis of what little remains of his library and, mainly, the notes of his Cicero codex. This information perfectly harmonizes with his well-known aspirations to found a Platonic school in Buda and later his gymnasium in Vác, which seems to have been permeated with a kind of Platonist spirituality. After a summary of the life of Miklós Báthory, the paper offers an outline of the remains of his once rich library and then finally an examination of the history of the Cicero codex and its marginalia.
Keywords: Galeotto Marzio, Miklós Báthory’s library, Cicero codex, Platonic school