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  • An initial from The Istrian Book of Boundaries 1546, National and University Library in Zagreb, Manuscripts and Old Books Collection, R 3677


The Istrian Book of Boundaries (Istarski razvod) is a legal document determining the boundaries (termeni i kunfini) between feudal lords and rural districts (komune). The manuscript documents the old Slavic legal custom of setting borders between lands by field inspections. It is a compilation of documents dating from the period between 1275 and 1395 which are based on earlier documents. It was originally written in three languages – Latin, German and Croatian.

The National and University Library in Zagreb holds a 1546 transcript in the Glagolitic alphabet, under the shelfmark R 3677. Its content provides valuable insight into the economic, political and cultural conditions and everyday life in the Istrian region at the end of the 13th and throughout the 14th century, while a specific rhythm characterising some of its parts indicates that it may also be read as a literary text. The Book’s Latin transliteration was first published by Ante Starčević in 1852. According to the foreword, Starčević received the original manuscript from Ljudevit Gaj, the notable leader of the Croatian National Revival, who had previously kept the manuscript as part of his personal library. It was given the title The Istrian Book of Boundaries (Razvod istrianski), according to the frequent use in it of the word razvod (setting boundaries), which in the legal terminology equals the Latin word reambulatio. The Book’s second edition was published in 1978 by Josip Bratulić, who prepared a comprehensive accompanying commentary. Josip Bratulić also prepared its third edition, published in 1992.