The Breviary Croatian Glagolitic Hagiography of St Nicholas

Vesna Badurina Stipčević
In various Glagolitic sources one could find different versions of the legend of St Nicholas. In this paper we present the analysis of the legends of St Nicholas found in the Sanctorals of 20 Croatian Glagolitic breviaries, dating from the 14th to the mid-16th century. Textological analysis reveals that the legends contained in the breviaries were translated from the Latin Vita auctore Iohanne diacono Neapolitano (BHL 6105), and that they are a part of the corpus of the West-European Mediaeval Nicholas’ hagiographies. The complete version of the legend, which contains 9 lessons, can be found in 8 breviaries. This version includes the most popular motives in the Nicholas iconography, which have, through the centuries, been interpreted in literature and the visual arts (i.e. the birth and the childhood of the Saint, description of young Nicholas sharing his possessions with people, the miracle when St. Nicholas gave gifts to the three daughters of a poor nobleman). All the breviary texts belong to the same redaction, but textological analysis has revealed differences between breviary groups. The Croatian Glagolitic version from the 6th Vatican Illirico Breviary (mid-14th century) is edited in Latin script transliteration, accompanied by variants from other breviary texts which are given in critical footnotes.
Key words
hagiography, Croatian Glagolitic breviaries, St Nicholas, textological analysis
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