The view of Nagyszombat in the title-page frame of a 17th century calendarIn the second half of the 16th century following the Synod of Trident (1562/1563) the Catholic church in Hungary realized the necessity of spreading Catholic confession against protestants in printed form. Because of the Turkish occupation of the central part of Hungary the Esztergom Chapter had to move to the North-western part of Hungary, that is why the newly founded printing shop of the Chapter was also established in Nagyszombat. From 1543 on Nagyszombat remained the seat of the Chapter and the Archbishop for nearly 300 years, well after the Turks were purged from Hungary.
The Jesuit church in Nagyszombat (Trnava, SK)It was Miklós Oláh who invited the Jesuits into the town, and planned to establish a university to increase this way the number of highly educated Catholic priests. Before the printing of Catholic books began in Nagyszombat, all the polemic works by Catholic authors were published abroad: mostly in Graz or Vienna. This situation has changed when Telegdi founded the first press in Hungary issuing Catholic works in Nagyszombat in 1578.

Miklós Telegdi (1635-1586) attended the Cracow university, returning home he was the teacher of the Chapter school in Nagyszombat, in 1579 he was nominated Bishop of Pécs, although he could not enter his office as the town was under Turkish occupation. As administrator of the Esztergom Archbishop he played a significant part in the re-organization of the Catholic church. Besides developing schools, the priest seminary, the establishing of the Catholic press he served the church with his literary activity as well.
Telegdi's aim was to buy the printing shop of the Jesuits in Vienna, which was out of use for several years. To realize this, he requested and gained financial support, 1000 Florins from the emperor and Hungarian king Rudolf and further 500 Florins from the Esztergom Chapter. It was purchased November 20, 1577 and the press was transferred to Nagyszombat. It was housed in the residence of Telegdi. The books issued by the printing shop emphasized on their title-pages the "permission of the Roman Emperor". Some years later, 14 August 1584 the publications of Telegdi' s press gained a special privilege of the Emperor prohibiting all foreign reprints. For this end three copies of each publication had to be sent to the Hungarian Royal Chancery. In Hungary this was the first regulation referring to deposit copies.
The first product of the press was the Latin work of Lorenzo Magio Provincial of the Jesuit Order, who was probably selling the Vienna typograhy of the Jesuits to Telegdi and the Nagyszombat Chapter. From that time on Telegdi's own works, mostly sermons, (RMNy 418, RMNy 474) were published in Nagyszombat instead of Vienna.

The first book printed by the Catholic press in Nagyszombat (RMNy 417)Lukács Pécsi (Peechi) (c. 1548-1604) jurist, employed at the Chapter was working in the press of Telegdi from the very beginning. He studied law at the Cracow university and he has acquired the art of printing presumably while in Cracow. It can be taken for certain that in 1577 when the press was purchased, he was already staying in Nagyszombat. He was active as poet, editor, corrector and probably as woodcutter, and played a prominent part in organizing the work carried on in the printing shop. As his own works were decorated The coat of arms of Lukács Pécsiwith a great number of woodcuts it can be assumed that these were cut by himself. The most richly decorated book is a herbal book with the botanic illustration of twenty plants. The booklet also includes a woodcut portrait of Pécsi's family and his coat of arms. (RMNy 670)

In 1583 the head of the printing shop was Bálint Ottmár, a member of the Augsburg printers' guild, as his name can be read ont he new calender for 1584. In fact, this is the only printing of the press, where the name of the printer is marked. Otherwise only the name of the town is placed on the title page in its Hungarian or Latin form. One of The richly illusztrated herbal book by Lukács Pécsi (RMNy 670)the most impressive publications of the press is Corpus juris Hungarici by Miklós Telegdi and Zakariás Mossóczi, a handbook of Hungarian law. (RMNy 549). It can be connected to Ottmár's presence that some new printing types appeared. We cannot be sure how long he was working in Nagyszombat, anyway, in 1603 his name occurs in Prague.

The woodcut representing the family of Lukács PécsyIn 1586 Miklós Telegdi, the founder of the printing shop died. In his last will there are no references as to the ownership of the press. As a result, the Vienna Jesuits tried to regain their one-time typography, however Emperor Rudolf forwarded the request to the Hungarian Roal Chancery, which refused it. Thus, with the Emperor's agreement the press remained in the possession of the Esztergom Chapter.
In the next years iAndrás Monoszlói (1552?-1601) provost of Pozsony, humanist professor of the Chapter school was the person in charge of the typography. An author of polemic works aginst protentants himself, he had Lukács Pécsi as an assistant in the matters of the press. However, the printing shop has gradually lost its previous importance and productivity. After 1609 there is no trace of its existence and its further destiny is similarly obscure.
The first Catholic press in Hungary produced - during its thirty years of activity - about 70 printings.

Woodcut ornament used in Nagyszombat -- originally from Singriener's Vienna workshop

When Telegdi purchased the typography of the Vienna Jesuits, it had been out of use for ten years. However, at that time certain decorative elements of the Vienna Singriener office were already included in it. The rather worn printing types of the Jesuits had to be renewed, and some alterations were also needed to make it suitable for the Hungarian language. This was probably done by Bálint Ottmár, while it was perhaps Lukács Pécsi who was the master of the new woodcut illustrations. The press of the Chapter was still issuing books when the scattering of its typographical material began. There is no explanation at present how a characteristically damaged decorated initial went into the possession of the Lutheran press of Manlius (1598) and his successor Farkas. Certain woodcuts appear twenty years later in Transylvania, when another Catholic printing shop, eventually staying in Nagyszombat, the one founded by Archbishop Ferenc Forgách was transferred to the Principal Seat of Gábor Bethlen in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia).

- Printing Types - Printer's Flowers - Illustration - back to the top -


- Printing Types - Printer's Flowers - Illustration - back to the top -


- Printing Types - Printer's Flowers - Illustration - back to the top -


- Printing Types - Printer's Flowers - Illustration - back to the top -

A királyi magyar Egyetemi Nyomda története 1577-1927. Budapest, 1927.
V. ECSEDY Judit: A könyvnyomtatás Magyarországon a kézisajtó korában. 1999. 73-76.
V. ECSEDY Judit: A régi magyarországi nyomdák betűi és díszei 1473-1600.
A nagyszombati Telegdi nyomda. 2004. 110-116., 537-564.