When, in 1349, the efforts of Emperor Charles IV were finally rewarded and Prague, his capital, was at last raised to the status of archbishopric, the neighbouring Moravian diocese of Olomouc, hitherto part of the Mainz province, came within the embrace of the newly established Prague Province. The Bishop of Olomouc became suffragan to the Metropolitan. Papal bestowal of archiepiscopal status set in train a process of administrative consolidation and ecclesiastical control emanating from Prague throughout the new province. The most obvious evidence of this were the bi-annual synodial deliberations. They proved to be short-lived, though, put paid to by the upheavals associated with the Hussite revolution. Authorities within the Olomouc diocese, however, were not easily deterred. Right through to the end of the fifteenth century, they continued to hold synods, albeit irregularly, that addressed a wide range of issues of concern to the Church in Moravia and the adjoining Czech-controlled Silesian territories to the north-west.
The volume at hand is an expanded, lightly revised edition of Pavel Krafl's publication of the same title which appeared in a small print run in 2003. The main changes are to be found in the chapter on legatine and provincial statutes, the cataloguing of those statutes, and the inclusion of three chapters in English: 'Medieval Synods of the Diocese of Olomouc', 'Medieval Statutes of the Olomouc Diocese. Review and Comprehensible Description', and 'Manuscripts with Copies of Moravian Statutes and the Usage of the Statutes'. Readers may have come across an earlier combined translation of these chapters that appeared in a collection entitled Partikularsynoden im späten Mittelalter (ed. by Nathalie Kruppa and Leszek Zyger, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006).
The balance of the book remains essentially the same: catalogues of legatine and provincial statutes, lists of medieval synods, statutes, manuscripts and manuscript references to statutes, and a fully annotated diplomatic edition of extant statutes (ten in total covering the period 1253–1498) together with six documents directly pertinent to them (1386–1498). Preceding the catalogues is a 120-page monograph reviewing the literature on synods and synodical legislation in East-Central Europe, and covering canon law in Moravia, legatine and provincial statutes and medieval synods in Litomyšl, Wrocław and Prague, in addition to the Czech version of the aforementioned chapters in translation.
One of the great strengths of this handsome edition is the extensive critical apparatus that makes the material readily accessible to those without [End Page 226] a knowledge of Czech. The bibliography of printed editions and secondary literature runs to twenty-eight pages and includes no fewer than forty-eight items by Krafl himself, attesting to his command of every aspect of this material. There is an extensive subject-person-place index and a detailed thematic-topical catalogue for the critical edition. The subject entry on clerical behaviour, for example (de vita et honestate clericorum), takes us to the specific paragraph appearing in both the 1349 and 1413 statutes. Textual annotations then distinguish which reading is preferred from the multiple available sources (manuscript and printed) transmitting this paragraph. If we wish to find more general coverage of clerical respectability, we can turn to the index under 'honestas clericorum, clericalis' and there we find an additional five references to this topic across another sixteen documents in the edition.
Equally as impressive as his scrupulously prepared critical edition are Krafl's detailed cross-referencing and emendations of the many (error-strewn) pre-existing published editions of this material, many of which date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In every respect, Krafl's monograph and edition is a splendid publication, to be welcomed afresh in its revised edition.