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Welcome to History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site. From finds in ancient Egypt to new discoveries in anthropology, History Buff wants to know.

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author


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Questing lost manuscripts

From The Economist print edition

SOMEWHERE deep in the court of the Ottoman sultans lay the hidden library of Hungary’s most famous medieval king, Matthias Corvinus. If only it could be discovered and the books prised out of Turkish hands, then all would be well and Hungarian honour and glory restored. Or so believed many a 19th-century Hungarian academic and nationalist.

“We wanted to scream we had reached our goal,” wrote one, who in 1862 along with two companions had succeeded in gaining access to the court. A pile of books was brought out for them to see, including six manuscripts from the fabled library. In the end the quest was a failure; there was no hidden treasure trove. But some of the books had indeed survived for more than 300 years in Constantinople, others were found elsewhere and Marcus Tanner has written a lively account of the search.

Matthias, known as the “Raven King”, reigned from 1458 to 1490. He was born a commoner, albeit into a wealthy Transylvanian family. By the time he died, he had stemmed the relentless Ottoman advance through Europe and himself ruled over an empire that stretched from the Black Sea to Dalmatia and from Moravia to Bosnia. Within decades all of this was gone and for some 150 years Hungary was under Ottoman domination.

Read the rest on the Economist.