Adopt this book in July!

The Jesuit István Tarnóczy (1626–1689) taught in Nagyszombat (Trnava), Kassa (Košice), Sopron, Lőcse (Levoča), and Győr. He penned several religious books. The one entitled Rex admirabilis […] (Admirable king…) is the versified life of St. Ladislaus of Hungary (r. 1077–1095) in 50 eulogies. The book was published by the Viennese printing office of Christoph Cosmerovius (1652–1685), son of Matthäus Cosmerovius (1606–1674).

The work was republished two years later with a new titlepage. Many of the miracles performed with the intercession of St. Ladislaus are represented on engravings. In addition to Gábor Hevenesi’s book on saints and blessed related to Hungary titled Régi magyar szentség (1692), this was the main source of the chivalric king’s life in the 17th century. The engraving showing the saint’s equestrian statue erected in Várad (Oradea) in front of the cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary in 1390 is of particular attention. Since no reliable description, nor any contemporary representation of the statue has come down to us, it was hypothesized that the image in the book is a faithful depiction of the equestrian statue. However, as Terézia Kerny has pointed out, its original form was made unrecognisable by the baroque decorative elements. The other remarkable engraving in the book depicts the miracle of the „wringing water from a flint” known primarily thanks to one of the sermons of Pelbárt of Temesvár OFM. It became Tarnóczy’s version that was adapted again and again in the following centuries. In the opinion of Kerny, this miracle was filled with hidden symbolic meaning because it was easy to associate with the contemporary (18th–19th century) noble-national uprisings and liberation fights. This copy was possessed by the Jesuits in Trnava (Nagyszombat) in 1705.

The book is part of the book adoption program of the Foundation for the University Library. Save a book, adopt a book! For more information visit our website:


RMK III 508a:1

Tarnóczi István: Rex admirabilis, sive vita S. Ladislai regis Hungariae historico-politica, ad Christianam eruditionem elogiis theo-politicis illustrata / authore R. P. Stephano Tarnoczi e Societate Jesu. Viennae Austriae [Wien] : typis Joannis Christophori Cosmerovii, Sac. Caes. Majest. Typographi Aulici, 1681.

Source/author of illustration:
ELTE University Library and Archives