Peter Ransanus

A brief biography.

Peter Ransanus was born in Razzano, Sicily,in 1428 and also named Peter of Razzano. He joined the Dominicans and was provincial of the Sicilian province from1455 till 1459 and from 1463 till 1467. In 1478 he was appointed bishop of Lucera in Apulia, Italy.

It was then that one of Hungary’s most significant, and certainly most popular kings took the throne. Matthias Hunyadi (1458–1490), also known as Matthias Corvinus for the black raven in his crest, lives on in numerous legends and children’s tales. He was elected king with the acclamation of the country’s noblemen in the middle of the frozen River Danube, and proved a strong ruler against the willful lords, securing the support of the nobility against the barons. He established centralized rule, increased taxes, and set up a permanent mercenary army, which, as the “Black Army”, became the stuff of many legends. After he succeeded in securing the southern border against the Turks, he marched against Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, which he was able to hold until his death. In 1485 he took Vienna, and thus made Austria a province of his kingdom. Matthias was a fierce man who did not shy away from involving himself in diplomatic intrigues, and he stood as one of Europe’s wealthy Renaissance sovereigns. With his connections through his second wife, Beatrice of Aragon, daughter of the King of Naples, he established a Humanist court in Buda that equalled the court of any Italian duke. He ordered works from the leading Italian artists of the time, such as Mantegna, Filippino Lippi, or Pollaiuolo. Perhaps even Botticelli made him paintings, and Verrocchio created two bronze reliefs, and the greatest artist of all, Leonardo da Vinci, painted a Madonna on his order.

Petrus Ransanus was as delegate of king Ferdinand of Naples two years at the Hungarian court, where he gave an address to king Matthias and his consort Beatrix in 1488.  This major event is depicted in a miniature of the end of the 15th century made in the South of Italy.

King Matthias acquired a magnificent library holding over two thousand volumes with codices containing the finest miniatures, known as Bibliotheca Corvina.
Ransanus would proffer his work ‘Epitome rerum Hungaricarum’ illuminated with many miniatures (finished about 1480) to king Matthias, but the king died in 1490, and so the autograph remained in Dominican possession and was never part of the Bibliotheca Corvina.
Only a tenth of the Bibliotheca Corvina survives today, dispersed over 43 cities in the world.
Ransanus died in 1491.


Peter Ransanus gave an address to king Matthias
and his consort Beatrix in 1448. Miniature from
Ransanus’ work :'Epitome Rerum Hungaricarum'
 (middle 1480)), South Italy.

Known as Clmae 248, miniature F 17a.

Hungary 1970, Mi 2607, Sc bl 283a.


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