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The Freising Manuscripts (also Freising Monuments; Slovene Brižinski spomeniki, German Freisinger Denkmäler, Latin Monumenta Frisingensia, Slovak Frizinské pamiatky) are the first Roman-script record of any Slavic language.
They consist of three texts in the oldest Slovene, that were discovered bound into a Latin codex (manuscript book) from Freising in Bavaria, Germany (translated into Slovene in 1854 by the Slovene Slavist and grammarian Anton Janežič at Brizno, Brižnik, later adopted as Brižinje, Brižine or Brižinj), which was once the centre of a diocese. In 1803 the manuscript came to the Bavarian State Library in Munich, where they were discovered in 1807.
Four parchment leaves and a further quarter of a page have been preserved. Linguistic, stylistic and contextual analyses reveal that these are church texts of careful composition and literary form.
The precise date of the origin of the Freising Manuscripts cannot be exactly determined; the original text was probably written in the 9th century. In this liturgic and homiletic manuscript, three Slovene records were found and this miscellany was probably an episcopal manual (pontificals). Brižinski spomeniki in it were created between 972 and 1093, most likely before 1000. The main support for this dating is the writing which was used in the centuries after Charlemagne and is named Caroline minuscule or Carolingian minuscule.
In the 8th century the early medieval Slovenian state Karantania joined in union with Bavaria and during the time of the writing of the two manuscripts (sermons on sin and repentance, a confessional form), bishop Abraham was active (from 957 to 994) in Freising, who also acquired a large estate of land in the Creina province around Škofja Loka (now central Slovenia) and in Carinthia around Wörthersee lake (now part of Austria, with a Slovenian minority). It is believed that the manuscripts were written in Carinthia. For this reason some linguists (e.g. Jernej Kopitar and Rajko Nahtigal ) linked Abraham closely to the origin of the Freising Manuscripts and, without any firm evidence, attributed to him authorship of one of the texts and suspected that he was of Slovene origin.
The manuscripts are still kept at the Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) in Munich and have left it only twice. In the 1970s they were exhibited in the Vatican City and in May and June 2004 they were exhibited at the National and University Library in Ljubljana (a notice in Slovene language only).
Before the second world war a facsimile of Freising manuscripts was published by Silvester škerl at Akademska Založba in Ljubljana.
- Brižinski spomeniki - Monumenta Frisingensia (Znanstvenokritična izdaja), ZRC SAZU, Inštitut za slovensko literaturo in literarne vede 2004 (English Summary and English translation of all three manuskripts)
Other important early medieval texts in the Slovene language are:
- Stična manuscript (Stiški rokopis)
- Klagenfurt manuscript (Celovški rokopis)
- Cividale manuscript (Čedadski rokopis)
- Castelmonte manuscript (Starogorski rokopis)
- Introduction at Slovenian PRMO's site
- F. Kortland, The Freising Manuscripts - An electronic text edition: http://www.kortlandt.nl/editions/freis.html
- Bavarian State Library
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