The ejournals@cambridge blog publicises trial access to and purchase of various databases and ejournals, and it is certainly a blog worth following. Several purchases over the last few months complement our European collections, so this post gives an overview. The subjects of these new resources span philology, politics, art history, theology, migration studies, history, and bibliography, and their contents are in English and various European languages.
We have recently started to catalogue various reference works transferred to the University Library from the Modern and Medieval Faculty Library’s Balkan section. Most are academic dictionaries, but among them is the delightful 1938 Croatian picture dictionary Sta je sta (What is what). Each opening provides often quite complex terminology facing illustrative pictures. Produced by two academics and writers, Iso Velikanovic and Nikola Andric, the 685-page dictionary covers a huge number of topics in quite extraordinary detail. Even cricket is included.
This month, we look at a 1528 Croatian Missal, published in Venice and printed in the Glagolitic alphabet. The first illustration here shows a woodcut of the nativity scene, which accompanies the introduction of the third mass on Christmas Day. It begins, from the large letter to the right of the woodcut, with the standard nativity quotation from Isaiah 9:6 which starts “For unto us a child is born.”
The Glagolitic alphabet was introduced by Saints Cyril and Methodius and used for liturgical texts in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. In the East, it was rapidly replaced by Cyrillic (a younger alphabet), but it remained in religious use in Croatia until the 19th century. Glagolitic items number very few in the University Library, particularly in terms of early original books such as the Missal. Among our non-original holdings are various critical editions of facsimiles, including a wonderful 1971 reproduction of the earliest printed Glagolitic Missal – a 1483 incunable (872.b.119). Both this and the 1528 Missal are in a form called uglata glagolicja – angular Glagolitic, the typical Croatian typeface – and in the Croatian recension of Old Church Slavonic. Continue reading