NSU Scientist Edits Published Collection of German Medieval Manuscripts

NSU scientist Valentin Portnykh, Head of the NSU Humanitarian Institute’s Laboratory of the History of the Ancient World and the Middle Ages, was editor of a catalog of valuable medieval manuscripts fr om German collections. The catalogue was created in collaboration with Russian and German scientists fr om manuscripts and other documents that were stored in the Tomsk State University Library. The primary partner was Dominik Kuhn from the Lubeck City Archive. It was published by the Schmidt-Römhild publishing house in May 2021 as part of the Lübeck City Archives book series. The catalog is in both Russian and German languages and has color illustrations.

Valentin Portnykh described aspects of their work,

Our work on the Tomsk manuscripts involved more than identification and description. In 2020, Hansische Geschichtsblätter, the leading journal on the history of Hanseatic cities, published the texts of Hanseatic trade receipts from 1368-1370 in Tomsk. Our catalogue has a preamble that explores in detail why the 13 receipts that were issued in Lubeck, wh ere the goods originated, remained in Lubeck rather than being handed over to the city council at the destination. The most profound and detailed research within the framework of this project was on a letter from the Norwegian King Hakon V that was found in Tomsk. It was conducted by Moscow medievalist Sergei Agishev/

The catalog begins with an introduction that provides an overview of the items stored in the collection of Western European medieval manuscripts and documents at the Tomsk State University Library. It also provides a description of wh ere they were kept in Germany during the pre-war period, how the Germans evacuated the library and valuable archive materials ​​during the war, how they ended up in the Soviet Union, and how they were transported within the country. It is worth noting that the collection comes primarily from Hamburg and Lubeck that were not part of the Soviet occupation zone. In the manuscript section, four books from the 14th – 16th centuries are described in succession and in detail along with fragments from the collection. In the documents section, there are descriptions of two charters stored in Tomsk. This is followed by an extensive section on the 238 Hanseatic trade receipts from 1368-1370 with a preamble that describes the stamps found on the receipts and the handwriting.

Portnykh continued,

Work is currently underway on a deeper study of a very valuable manuscript from the Tomsk collection, the Commemorative Book of the City Council of Lübeck, or Memorialbuch. An article that lists the City of Lübeck consuls in the XIV-XVI centuries has already been accepted for publication in the 2022 Hansische Geschichtsblätter journal. This manuscript calls into question the explanation of the principle for rotating councilors that has been accepted in historiography. The most critical edition of this source is expected to be published by 2023.