Martin of Troppau

Penflourish initial Q at the beginnning of the Chronicon
MS Dd.1.17, f. 129r
Martin of Troppau (Opava), Chronicon pontificum et imperatorum
England, ca 1375

Martin (d. 1278) was born at Opava in Moravia, and is best known as Martin of Troppau, the German name of the town. He entered the Dominican Order at the convent in Prague, but moved to Rome in the middle years of the thirteenth century. There he served as penitentiary in the Curia in 1261 and 1262, and as chaplain to the popes from Urban IV (1261–1264) to Nicholas III (1277–1280), and was appointed Archbishop of Gniezno by the last in 1278 but died at Bologna before he could take up the post. He was buried in San Domenico Bologna. His chronicle of the popes and emperors exists in hundreds of manuscripts produced in many European countries, and it was translated into French, German and Middle English. In Cambridge alone there are twelve copies. The Middle English version of the Chronicon, produced in the late fourteenth century, of which manuscripts in Cambridge are Magdalene MS Pepys 2014 and CUL MS Ee.4.31, reduces the length of the text by about a third. This copy begins with the partially erased rubric, Incipit cronica fratris martini de ordine fratrum predicatotum et domini pape penitenciarii, naming him as papal penitentiary. The text of this manuscript made in England begins with a large penwork ornamental initial in red and blue.

Extended captions