14th Century

The Serbian Psalter

Der Serbische Psalter : Faksimile-Ausgabe des Cod. Slav. 4 der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. Wiesbaden : L. Reichert Verlag, 1978-1983. 2 v.
BS1425 .C4 1978b Special Collections

Serbia's most precious example of medieval book illumination may be the Serbian Psalter now located in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library).  It originated around 1400 through the Brankovic princes and was much later booty to the winners of the Turkish war in Bavaria in 1689. Despot Djuradj Brankovic (1427-1456, George Brankovich) was one of the last Serbian rulers before Serbia's final fall under Turkish yoke in 1459. His family was known for having a strong and decisive faith in God.
The Codex is written on paper and its composition offers evidence for liturgical use by laymen. This possibility reflects the fact that some of the Serbian Orthodox monks taught literacy in order for people to understand Christianity better and the monasteries served as centers for culture and art. Monasteries of Studenica, Zica, Pec, Mileseva, Sopocani, Decani, Ravanica, Manasija, etc., all founded by royal donators, outlived the State and centuries of captivity. The manuscript contains 148, often full-page miniatures reflecting the tradition of illustrating the Psalms of the Bible.  

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