National and University Library in Zagreb Day 2017
22 February, the day of the printing of the first Croatian book, Misal po zakonu rimskoga dvora, in 1483, which was only 28 years after the completion of the Gutenberg 42-line Bible, is a day of particular importance for the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK). As the central Croatian library and a guardian of Croatia’s cultural heritage, the Library celebrates it as the National and University Library in Zagreb Day, visually reaffirming its bond with this masterpiece of Glagolitic printing by using as its logo the letter of the Glagolitic alphabet Iže, the transliterated Latin ‘I’ as it is represented in Misal.
This incunabulum was the first European book not printed in the Latin script, but in the Croatian language and alphabet. Misal was printed on the day of the Chair of St. Peter, which has been celebrated on 22 February since the 4th century as a symbol of the Church being built on the apostle Peter. The exact place of publishing and publisher of Misal have not been established yet.
The missal was printed in the Glagolitic script, the alphabet of medieval Croatia, which began to be used during the 9th and 10th centuries. It was the so-called ‘square’ Glagolitic, which had developed from the older, ‘round’ Glagolitic script. It is often referred to as ‘angular’ owing to its upright and spaced letters, whose sophistication made them perfectly appropriate for writing down liturgical texts.
Today there are only 11 incomplete copies of Misal in existence, of which six are preserved in Croatia, and five abroad. Two copies may be seen in the Library’s Manuscripts and Old Books Collection, two are preserved at the Franciscan monastery at Ksaver (Zagreb), one at the Library of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Zagreb), and one at the Library of the Dominican monastery in Bol (Brač). The remaining copies are preserved at the Vatican Library in Rome, Library of Congress in Washington, National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg and Austrian National Library in Vienna.
The celebration of the NSK Day 2017 at the Library’s grand lobby will start at 12:00.