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Georges d'Esclavonie Croatian professor at Sorbonne in Paris and French spiritual writer around 1400
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic
Published on 12/12/2011
Georgius de Sclavonia or Georges d'Esclavonie wrote his book Le chasteau de viriginte in 1411. With this article we mark 600 years since its appearance in France, at the Beaument Benedictine Abbey in the city of Tours. This Croatian scholar studied at the famous Sorbonne in Paris, where he became professor at the beginning of the 15 century. The Municiapl Library of Tours keeps his texts written in the Croatian Glagolitic Script (see on the left), which he expressly calls Alphabetum Chrawaticum. This texts constitute the earliest known Croatian handwritten manual for children, which he reproduced at Sorbonne in Paris, accompanied with his commentaries in Latin.

Author of the earliest kown Croatian manual for children, written in Paris around 1400

George d'Esclavonie - Juraj Slovinac, Croatian Glagolitic priest and professor at Sorbonne in Paris around 1400, wrote his book Le chasteau de vriginite (The Castle of Virginity) in 1411 in French. Above is its translation into Croatian, published in 1996 by Kršćanska sadašnjost in Zagreb, prepared and translated from Old-French by Stanko Tenšek, prof.

 Here we see the upper half of the first page of the earliest known Croatian manual for children. It was written by George d'Esclavonie (Juraj Slovinac) around 1400 at the University of Sorbonne in Paris, where George studied, and later in 1400s became a professor. He reproduced the content of the manual written in the Croatian Glagolitic Script, that he knew by heart as a child. This shows that he was educated in the Glagolitic cultural environment in Croatia. With this text he wanted to show his colleagues and students at Srobonne that in Europe there exists a genuine Croatian Script. Morevoer, at the bottom of the upper half one can see the following words in Latin:

"Istud alphabetum est chrawaticum"

i.e., "This is Croatian Script"!

George d'Esclavonie is best known for his book "Chateau de virginite", written first in Latin for young benedictine nun Isabelle de Villeblanche at the Beaument Benedictine Abbey in the city of Tours, for who George was spiritual father. Since this young French nun did not know Latin, George translated his own text from Latin into (old)French for her in 1411. There are numerous handwritten copies of this book (about 50 pp) alreday from the 15th century. It was subsequently  printed three times (in 1505, 1506, and 1510) in French in Paris, and in Latin in 1726.

The lower half of the first page of the first known Croatian manual for children containing Lord's Prayer, handwritten in Croatian Glagolitic Script around 1400 by George d'Esclavonie. It is known that among his students at Sorbonne there were other Croatians, like Paval Dijak from Krbava. Krbava is a part of today's region of Like north of the mountain of Velebit in Croatia.

Among investigators of Croatians in France in the Middle Ages, in particular at Sorbonne, we mention professor Henrik Heger, associate professor at Sorbonne, himself of Croatian origin on his mother's side. We mention that Ms Joelle Bouzereau defended her diploma work at Sorbonne in Paris, under the guidance of professor Henrik Heger, entitled Recherches sur Le Chasteau de virginite de Georges d'Esclavonie. Of course, there are several Croatian scholars as well, who studied the heritage of George d'Eslavonie. His manuscript are kept in the Municipal Library of the city of Tours, France, among valuables and rarities.

For more information see Juraj Slovinac.

In his testimony written in 1416, i.e. in the year of the death of George d'Esclavonie, and kept today in the British Library in London, he expressed his wish that the Holy Mass be held in his honour be held on the day each year following the day of St. Jerome, that is, on the 1st September. His wish was fulfilled in modern times in 2010 in the Zagreb Cathedral, where a holy Mass was served by Mons. Dr. Juraj Batelja, accompanied with glagolitic singing of the Bašćina Choir of Scripturae Glagolitica Amicorum Societas (Society of Lovers of the Glagolitic Script) in Zagreb. The memorial Holy Mass for George d'Esclavonie, Croatian Glagoliti priest and professor at Sorbonne in Paris around 1400s, was served in the same cathedral also in 2011.

On that occasion the first Internet web page has been prepared as a hyper-text, entirely using the Croatian Glagolitic Script. It contains some of thoughts of George from his book Le chasteau de virginite:

The web page is based on a Croatian Glagolitic font has been prepared by Nenad Hančić from Dueseldorff, Germany.

Croatian Glagolitic Culture with a special reference to France

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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