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  • The Vinodol Code, 16th century, National and University Library in Zagreb, Manuscripts and Old Books Collection, R 4080


The Vinodol Code (Vinodolski zakonik) is a collection of legal provisions written in the Glagolitic alphabet, containing altogether 77 articles. By accepting their duty towards the Krk dukes, the inhabitants of the free towns of the Vinodol municipality, i.e. Novi, Ledenice, Bribir, Grižane, Hreljin, Bakar, Trsat, and Grobnik, ceased being free peasants and became serfs. The Code was given as a gift to the Krk duke Vid and his heirs by king Andrija II. It retained “the good customs of old”, and its articles reveal a particular effort to carefully formulate provisions regulating criminal acts. The Code is the second oldest Slavic legal text, written shortly after the legal code Russian Justice (Russkaya Pravda). It has been attracting the attention of philologists and legal historians until this day, and its translation is available in several European languages.

The original copy was written on 6 January 1288, in the Glagolitic uncial script. The National and University Library in Zagreb holds a transcript from the beginning of the 16th century, under the shelfmark R 4080. It has no title, and has been transcribed in the Glagolitic cursive, except for the first two lines, which have been transcribed in the Glagolitic uncial. The transcript contains 14 243×165 mm parchment leaves with initials decorated by floral and geometric motifs and drawings, some of which are incorporated into text and some are in the margins. In the 19th century, it was furnished with a leather binding. Prior to restoration treatment, its cardboard jacket was covered with black cloth.