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Scraps of Thought: Margin Notes in Old Romanian Books


Mariana Borcoman

Scraps of thought analyses notes in medieval books from the archive of the First Romanian School from Şcheii Brașovului, the Romanian settlement outside Brașov city walls. Merchants, craftsmen and wealthy people financially supported St. Nicholas Church and the school on its premises. Families of scholars, formed in the school of Şcheii, preserved the light of books and Romanian Orthodoxism in the region. The notes in the books reveal an educated society, passing on fragments of their way of thinking. We learn about unusual weather conditions, covenants for preserving the moral norms, information regarding the meeting of the priests in the area and especially the curses that were meant to protect the books. The study shows the medieval book as a written medium which included glimpses of life, fragments of human emotions and events.
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Chapter II. Şchei, Brașov – A Cultural center of Romanians


Chapter II. Şchei, Brașov – A Cultural center of Romanians

The school in Șchei was established and run under the patronage of the Church of Saint Nicholas from the same neighborhood of Brașov. Consequently, the goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the people who served before and during the 17th century in the two institutions. In order to do this, it will outline a cultural micro-monograph of Șchei by highlighting the contribution and development of the Șchei school of copyists.

First, the chapter will briefly provide some information on Șchei, as a neighborhood of Brașov, and on the Church of Saint Nicholas.

The Romanian community in Șchei dates back long before the establishment of the Saxons in the region. Initially, the citadel of Brassovia is raised by the Teutons on the Tâmpa Mountain and Șchei lies to the West of the citadel. The town of Brașov is first mentioned in 1252 in a decree of King Bela IV. In 1292 the Bulgarians inhabit the south of the city. There are vivid debates concerning the place of origin of the latter. Most scientists support the idea that the term ‘Bulgarian’ is used by Saxon documents not to refer to the homonymous ethnic group but to the Vlachs. The latter come from the Southern Carpathians and merge with the Romanian community in the area. Today their generic name is şcheieni, a name derived from the name of the...

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