The Maciejowski Bible.
"Tomãto, Tomäto...Potãto, Potäto". Attempting to find a majority consensus on the proper, correct and authentic pronunciation for "Maciejowski" is tedious at best.
Our research staff shall be delving into this seemingly inconsequential, yet historically essential and widely debated piece of minutia. Until they locate a definitive, authoritative and documented answer to this conundrum, we suggest that you, essentially, "take your pick" (or, if you know of another pronunciation, please email us and we will add it to the list of possibilities until an answer is found).
As an addendum to the above paragraph, we have since learned of an "official" position regarding the pronunciation of "Maciejowski"1. According to the Cultural Attaché of the Polish Embassy in New York City, the correct Polish phonetic pronunciation is the first one on the above list, highlighted in blue-bold type, "Mah • Chay • Yawf • Skee".
As we have been informed1, the stress is on the third syllable, "Yawf", and there is apparently a slight pause between the second and the third syllables, "Mah • Chay • <pause> • Yawf • Skee".
Of French origin, the Maciejowski Bible was commissioned by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) of France (1214 - 1270). Even the most authoritative sources can only stipulate with certainty that it was created somewhere between 1244 - 1254AD; hence, the oft cited "Circa 1250". It's visual majesty was crafted by "several" different Parisian artisans whose identities, to this day, are unknown. According to Sir Sydney Cockerell, it is surmised that there were seven different artists, living in Paris, who had a hand in the creation of the manuscript.
Historians theorize that in approximately 1300, the manuscript was transported from Paris, where it was crafted, to the Court of Naples, Italy; there, descriptions of each of the scenes were added. These were Latin descriptions, in an Italian script, with beautifully painted Italian initials ("first letters") beginning each description.
The manuscript was then later (precisely when is unknown) transported northward to Cracow, Poland. This transfer is known to have occurred at some point, since around the turn of the 17th Century, a partially illegible inscription was found on the bottom margin of the very first page:
This demonstrates that at one time it was in the possession of Cardinal Bernard Maciejowski, (1548 - 1608) the proclaimed "Cardinal Priest of the Holy Roman Church, Bishop of Cracow, Duke of Siewierz, Senator of the Kingdom of Poland". Cardinal Maciejowski sent the manuscript to Isfahan, Persia (present-day central-Iran), as a gift to Shah Abbas The Great (1571 - 1629), King of Persia, on January 3, 1608. The manuscript was transported there as part of a mission to Isfahan, called for by Pope Clement VIII, with the intent of nurturing Shah Abbas's acceptance of Christians and to secure a cooperative, combined military campaign against the Turks, who were then perceived as a common threat to almost all of Europe.
Shah Abbas, through the assistance of missionaries and interpreters, ordered Persian descriptions of each of the scenes to be added to the margins. These descriptions were not, in fact, direct translations of the Italian Latin descriptions which were added c.1300; Rather, they were the interpretations of the Persians themselves, from their own (eastern) point of view.
Approximately 200 years later in the early 1800's, the ownership of the manuscript was transferred to Giovanni d'Anthanasi through a sale in Egypt. A few years afterward, in 1833, it was sold to Payne & Foss, who in turn sold it approximately 35 years later. At that time, the manuscript came under the possession of Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792 - 1872, a renowned antiquarian (dealer of old and rare books) who possessed a massive collection of "books of antiquity"), and was later sold in 1916 to John Pierpont Morgan (1867 - 1943), founder of the Pierpont Morgan Library of New York, where the manuscript now rests as "Manuscript m.638". That particular preserved volume is the very same one owned by Cardinal Maciejowski. , which is, of course, the very same one which arrived in Poland from Italy, which previously had arrived in Italy from it's origin, France.
A reproduction of that masterpiece was produced in 1927 at the direction of John Pierpont Morgan and was given the title "Old Testament Miniatures". The artwork was reproduced by Emery Walker, a preeminent type-designer and printer of the period and it contained a detailed history by Montague Rhodes James of Old Testament illustrative art of the medieval period, a history of the manuscript itself by Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell (1867 - 1962), an introduction by M.R. James (1862 - 1936) with notes on the arms and armour by Charles John Ffoulkes (1868 - 1947). The original collection contained the original color paintings (few in number, surprisingly) and the original black-and-white drawings.
Subsequent reprintings of "Old Testament Miniatures" continued well into the late 1970's (there is reportedly a 1998 reprinting available as well, entitled "The Morgan Crusader Bible: The Picture Bible of Saint Louis", with text by Daniel Weiss, printed in Luzerne, Switzerland). The most common of the 1970's reprints were 209 pages in length, printed in Switzerland and had ALL of the scenes (color AND black-and-white) reproduced in full color. It included a preface by John Plummer as well as the original history of the manuscript itself by Sir Sydney Cockerell. Omitted from the 1970's reprinting were the original notes on arms and armour by Charles Ffoulkes as well as the original detailed history by Montague Rhodes James of Old Testament illustrative art of the medieval period. Although no longer in print, rare copies are occasionally available at auctions or through old/rare book searches. Typical prices range (depending upon size and condition) anywhere from $125 to $400.
The Maciejowski Bible is an illuminated manuscript which illustrates the initial section of the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. It is a pictorial, artistic representation beginning from the story of The Creation in the book of Genesis to the story of David and Absalom in the book of II Samuel.
It is composed of the original 46 leaves (folios) containing a total of 283 scenes which, in the original manuscript, were painted on BOTH sides of each leaf with the c.1300 Latin Italian descriptions in the top and bottom margins and the later-added (c.1608 AD) Persian descriptions in the left and right margins. In the reprinted "Old Testament Miniatures", the original 46 leaves (folios) have been separated into 92 "plates" (the front side of a leaf on one plate, and the back side of the same leaf on a second plate). This allows for a page containing the descriptions (translated from Latin into English by Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell) to lie adjacent to the "plate" which is described. As you view the manuscript, the descriptions are on the left page, the accompanying paintings are on the right page. The 283 paintings pictorially present a vast variety of information regarding the 13th century, in story-fashion, very much like a pictograph, or the Egyptian Hieroglyphics. This includes armour, clothing, construction techniques, cooking methods, entertainment, furniture, politics, religious practices, utensils, and weapons.
Although this is a chronicle of a time period as many as 12,250 years prior to the period in which it was composed, this is nonetheless a superb chronicle of the life and times of the 13th century.
The explanation for this is thus: it was quite common during the high medieval ages for artisans to "tell stories" of ancient times from their own "contemporary" point of view. Specifically, these artisans would indeed relate such stories with historical accuracy, but would depict the physical aspects of the stories (clothing, weapons, armour etc.) using what was known to them at the time...their own clothing, their own weapons and their own armour.
This is what makes the Maciejowski Bible such a superb compendium, and an unparalleled pictorial record of the minute details of many aspects of the 13th century.
It is our belief that historical, artistic knowledge of this magnitude does not belong to any one individual, nor to any elite group or peoples; rather, it belongs to every man, woman and child with a thirst for such knowledge. It is also our belief that this knowledge should be made available freely.
Therefore, we have scanned and placed all of the images from the Maciejowski Bible onto this web site so that all may enjoy them, and gain vision into the 13th century. These images are not here for purposes of making profit - they are presented for your edification and enjoyment, with intellectual and cultural objectives in mind.
We gratefully acknowledge the intellectual, artistic and creative efforts and achievements of the following participants responsible for the creation and preservation of this masterpiece of historical illumination:
The images presented here have been grouped by original leaf (folio). Each page contains all the scenes from an individual leaf, front and back (there are 46 recovered original leaves in the 1927 reproduction, as stated earlier).