- Regesta Bohemiae et Moraviae aetatis Venceslai IV (1378 dec.–1419 aug. 16.), Tomus VII Fontes Archivi terrae Moraviae Brunae, and: Řeholní kanovníci sv. Augustina v Lanškrouně. Dějiny a diplomatář kláštera / The Canons Regular of St Augustine in Lanškroun: History and Diplomatarium of the Monastery
‘A useless, dilatory, ill-esteemed dissolver and unworthy disposer of the Holy Roman Empire’ – the verdict of history has been damning on Václav IV (Wenceslaus) and his reign, the period covered by these two handsome volumes. But no matter how tumultuous the world outside, the work of notaries employed in the great bureaucracies of church and state rarely slackened; quite the contrary. Putting in order and making available the wealth of archival documents that survive from the four decades of Václav’s reign has kept Czech scholars busy for more years than the documents themselves cover.
Through most of the past century the history of the Czech Church and its institutions has not been a particularly lively area of research (the Hussite revolution excepted), unlike that of Poland and Hungary, countries whose history, religious history especially, was closely intertwined with that of Bohemia–Moravia. Scholars of Czech ecclesiastical history had to rely largely on information gleaned from monumental registers of archival documents pertaining to diplomatic history, undertakings commenced in the mid-nineteenth century: the Codex diplomaticus et epistolaris Regni Bohemie, the Codex diplomaticus et epistolaris Moraviae, and the Regesta diplomatica nec non epistolaria Bohemiae et Moraviae (RBM). The RBM commenced in 1855; by 1892 it had produced four volumes covering the period 600–1346. Thereafter the pace slowed. Two fascicles of Volume VI (1355–57) appeared in the late 1920s while the remaining ten fascicles of Volumes V–VII, covering less than two decades (1346–63) of the reign of Václav’s father, Charles IV, appeared at irregular intervals from 1958 to 2004.
For the period 1378–1419, Václav IV’s reign, the RBM adopted a different taxonomy (and modified title): Regesta Bohemiae et Moraviae aetatis Venceslai IV (1378 dec.–1419 aug. 16). The RBMV assigns a volume to each archival institution or to a group of archives all of a similar type; within [End Page 227] each volume entries are ordered chronologically. To date, volumes have been devoted to the archives of the Prague Metropolitan Chapter (seven fascicles, published 1967–81), to the Vyšehrad Collegiate Chapter (1969), to the State Regional Archive in Třeboň (1977), to the Provincial Archive in Opava comprising the Olomouc bishopric and cathedral chapter (1989), and to the National Archives (2006–07). The volume to hand, the seventh in the series (hereafter RBMV-7), is devoted to material from the Moravian Archive in Brno.
As the editor Pavel Krafl makes clear, only instruments and letters extant as original and medieval copies are included; similarly, only documents pertaining directly to matters concerned with Czech history and affairs are gathered into RBMV-7. The Moravian Archive yields 701 instruments and letters from a total of thirty-nine funds and collections. In view of the above tight restrictions on what can be included, all the more valuable are the summary outlines of the character of each fund and collection, and the location of repositories of material which falls outside the criteria for inclusion.
RBMV-7 is equipped with a preface in Czech and an extended version in English together with an invaluable ten-page bibliography. The register itself maintains the high standard in diplomatics seen in Krafl’s earlier volume on the synods and statutes of the diocese of Olomouc. Heading each entry...