The Pilate Legend

Author unknown
Genre Epic, Poem
Keywords 14th century, hagiography, Old Czech
Title (in Czech) Legenda o Pilátovi
Title (in English translation) The Pilate Legend
Editor Andrea Svobodová – Kateřina Voleková
Translator Walter Schamschula
Edited source Praha, Knihovna Národního muzea, sign. 1 A c 52, 1 fol.
Introduction Walter Schamschula – Andrea Svobodová
TEI P5 XML Encoding Anna Michalcová – Michal Mocňák – Ondřej Tichý
Summary of content A fragment of an Old Czech verse legend about Pilate containing analogies to the events of the early 14th century.
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Introduction to the Text

Together with the Legend of Judas (proklik), the Legend of Pilate belongs to the cycle of legends in Old Czech literature which originated shortly after 1306, representing the oldest known tradition of epic narrative in Czech literature. Both legends are free adaptations of themes from Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda Aurea (1263–1273). The most immediate model, however, is the Latin De vita Pilati whose corresponding parts are published by Václav Flajšhans in Nejstarší památky (cf. Flajšhans 1903, p. 179, 181).

Both legends are preserved in fragmentary form. Their setting is rather fantastic, keeping to certain mythical archetypes. Pilate, like Judas, is a purely negative figure throughout the Middle Ages. The structure of the legends is unstrophic, with rhyming pairs and trochaic tetrameter.

Introduction to the Sources

The text of the legend is fragmentary, only one folio has survived (Praha, Knihovna Národního muzea, 1 A c 52, 1 fol.; not available online).

About this Edition

The given transcription was made according to the manuscript, taking into account the edition of Walter Schamschula (cf. Schamschula 1991, see Existing editions below). The manuscript copy is written in the so-called primitive spelling, the transcription therefore presents the reconstructed standardized form.

The present translation has been taken, with the permission of Walter Schamschula, from the text of his edition. No textual changes have been made to the text, and only obvious typographical errors have been removed (cf. Schamschula 1991, see Existing editions below). The introductory information, based on Schamschula´s edition, has been supplemented from new contributions on the topic.

Existing Editions

Staročeské zlomky legend o Pilátu a o seslání Ducha sv., Ladislav Dolanský (ed.), Listy filologické 20, 1893, pp. 375-379 [semi-diplomatic transcription].

Nejstarší památky jazyka i písemnictví českého. Díl I. Prolegomena a texty, Václav Flajšhans (ed.), Praha 1903, pp. 177-181 [semi-diplomatic transcription].

Výbor z české literatury od počátků po dobu Husovu, Bohuslav Havránek a kol. (eds.), Praha 1957, pp. 197-200 [reconstructed transcription].

Nejstarší české veršované legendy, Jiří Cejnar (ed.), Praha 1964, pp. 143-154 [semi-diplomatic transcription, reconstructed transcription, provided with Latin origin].

Pilát a Jidáš/The Pilate and Judas Legends, in: An Anthology of Czech Literature. 1st Period: from the Beginnings until 1410, Walter Schamschula (ed.), Frankfurt am Main – Bern – New York – Paris 1991, pp. 86-102 [reconstructed transcription].

Existing translations

Pilát a Jidáš/The Pilate and Judas Legends, in: An Anthology of Czech Literature. 1st Period: from the Beginnings until 1410, Walter Schamschula (ed.), Frankfurt am Main – Bern – New York – Paris 1991, pp. 86-102.

Further Reading

Dolanský, Ladislav: Staročeské zlomky legend o Pilátu a o seslání Ducha sv., Listy filologické 20, 1893, pp. 370-382 [text of the legend and commentary on spelling and analysis].

 

Edition


MECZ [online], The Pilate Legend, ed. unknown, trans. Walter Schamschula. KREAS Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Retrieved 07.12.2022, from https://mecz.kreas.ff.cuni.cz/publication/the-pilate-legend/ Bibtex citation

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