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AcasăSATU MARETHE OLDEST BOOK HELD BY THE COUNTY LIBRARY IN SATU MARE IS...

THE OLDEST BOOK HELD BY THE COUNTY LIBRARY IN SATU MARE IS OVER FIVE CENTURIES OLD. THERE IS ALSO A UNIQUE INCUNABULUM IN ROMANIA

The Special Collections and Heritage Section of the Satu Mare County Library holds a valuable collection of books that was formed by merging other previously established libraries, by taking them over from schools and institutions that had been closed, from private individuals who bought them and then donated them.

The collection of old books amounts to more than 7,600 volumes: printed books, manuscripts, periodicals. These include incunabula, old foreign books (1500-1800), manuscripts, the oldest being a Slavonic Liturgy from 1585, old Romanian books (1508-1830). The collection also includes foreign and Romanian books from the 19th and early 20th century, the main fields of interest being religion, history, philosophy, medicine, natural sciences, geography, mathematics, law, art of war and literature.

In the collection of foreign books from the 15th and 16th centuries, there are volumes from publishing and surveying houses that have become famous, such as those of Aldus Manatius, , El, the Plantin family, the printers of Iohannes Froben and Nicolaus Episcopius, etc.

There are also first editions, such as the first edition of the verses of Titus Vespasianu, the father of Hercules Strozzius, son, published in the Aldinian printing house in 1513, the first edition of the poetic Schediasmata of Paulus Melissus Chede, published in 1575 in Frankfurt am Main.

The most valuable volumes in the Saarland collection are the five incunabula – a term used by 17th century bibliographers, who said in-cunabula („the diapers, the cradle”), using the term to denote the early period of printing and not the books themselves.

Two of the five incunabula in the collection come from the famous printing press in Venice. The founder of the printing house is Aldo Manuzio.

According to the national catalogue of incunabula, there are only two other copies of this edition in Romania: at the National Library of Romania, Battyaneum branch (SR Inc VI) and at the B.A.R (III 46062). The volume is mentioned in the following catalogues consulted: Graesse, vol.) Brunet, vl. 5, col.780, Hain – Copinger 15477.

The library also holds two Venetian incunabula:Cicero, Marcus Tullius. Commentarii questionum Tusculanarum. The incunabulum, representing the work Tusculanae disputationes by the Latin writer Marcus Tullius Cicero, was printed in Venice on 17 July 1499.

Another incunabulum is ,,Cicero. De oficiis. Laelius de amicitia. Cato maior de senectute. Comm(entarii) Martinus Phileticus. Paradoxa Stoicorum”. It appeared in 1500 in Venice and includes the work of the Latin writer, Marcus Tullius Cicero, De officiis, as well as Laelius de amicitia, Cato maior de senectute and Paradoxa stoicorum. The volume belonged to the Piarist School of Carei (1797).

Gratianus. Decretum – incunabulum published on September 1, 1486 in Basel, in Michael Wensler’s printing house, with commentaries by Bartholomaeus Brixiensis.The volume belonged to the Reformed Lyceum of Satu Mare.

The Decretum Gratini has three parts: Distincto, 101 in number, II Causa (36), III. De consecratione. The Decretum Gratini was the basis for the Corpus inuris canonici, drawn up in 1580.

It is the only copy in Romania (according to the national incunabula catalogue), there being only 11 copies in the world (according to the ,,Incuable Short Title Catalogue”, printed by the British Library). The other copies are found in the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Hungary.

In Satu Mare there are two other incunabula in the collection of the Roman Catholic Eparchial Library of Satu Mare: a Bible (part I), published in Basel in 1498 and the work of Eusebius Caesariensis, De evangelica pareparatione.

The presence of incunabula in the Satu Mare County Library’s collection of old books proves that the concern for books has been alive in these regions since ancient times.

Also from the section „Special collections and heritage fund” belongs the „Nae Antonescu” Memorial Workshop, where more than 6000 volumes are collected, especially from the inter-war period, as well as numerous periodicals from the same period, manuscripts, some unpublished, belonging to „the father of Romanian literature”, the literary historian Nae Antonescu.

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