Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

A fragment of a unique medieval work, 20 years hung in his thief's house

Un fragmento de una obra única medieval, 20 años colgado en casa de su ladrón


Hanging on the wall and framed in the house of the man who took it. So he spent 20 years a manuscript fragment of one of the key works of medieval Portuguese literature, the Livro de Montaria, a treaty of falconry of the fifteenth century that will return to the place from which it disappeared, the Provincial Archive of Lugo.

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Today, investigators of the National Police and the Ministry of Culture have reported the end of the history of this handwritten sheet with the presentation in a press conference of the document of "exceptional value", which was considered destroyed since the eighteenth century and finally it will be part of the work to which it belongs.






The document of "exceptional value", which was considered destroyed since the eighteenth century, will finally be part of the work to which it belongs.

The sheet was in a private house, framed and hung on a wall. Although the man who stole her from the Monforte de Lemos notarial deposit had asked professors and Galician language professors about the importance of the piece, at no time decided to put it in the hands of the Lugo Archive and had it exposed "probably because it was beautiful" .

When the researchers discovered the location of the handwritten sheetIn 2014, the man had already died, but his family, as soon as he knew what the document was about, voluntarily returned it to the authorities.

Presentation to the media of the recovered medieval manuscript of the 'Livro da Montaria'

Presentation to the media of the recovered medieval manuscript of the 'Livro da Montaria'
(Víctor Lerena / EFE)

The folio recovered belongs to the Livro da Montaria, a treatise dedicated to the art of falconry and hunting, which studies different prey and techniques to hunt them and has special relevance because, they have explained, "to know hunting techniques it was a way to prepare for war. "

This treaty was developed at the request of Portuguese king João I, and the original manuscript dates from between 1415 and 1433, so it is the only medieval copy that exists of this work. From the year 1600, it was guarded in the Jesuit school of Monforte de Lemos but with the expulsion of Spain from the order in the eighteenth century, the work disappeared and was considered destroyed.





The General Director of Fine Arts Román Fernández Baca presents the recovered medieval manuscript of the 'Livro da Montaria'

The General Director of Fine Arts Román Fernández Baca presents the recovered medieval manuscript of the 'Livro da Montaria'
(Víctor Lerena / EFE)

The National Police managed to recover the fragment of the work after the Archive of Lugo detected among its funds another 24 pages of the book, and the general subdirectorates of State Archives and Protection of Heritage discovered that years before had the looting of another folio of the same work in the notarial deposit of Monforte de Lemos. After several inquiries, they found the man.

His family also handed over 23 documents that were part of the Council of Monforte de Lemos and since they were rescued they all remained in the National Historical Archive, where they have been restored, studied, and digitized.

Next Thursday, the Ministry of Culture will finally deliver to the Provincial Archive of Lugo the fragment of the recovered work, taking advantage of the celebration of the Historical Heritage Council that will take place in Ourense.


His family also handed over 23 other documents that were part of the Council of Monforte de Lemos






The General Director of Fine Arts, Román Fernández-Baca; the chief commissar of the Specialized and Violent Crime Unit (UDEV) of the National Police, Enrique Juárez; and the deputy director general of State Archives, Severiano Hernández, have highlighted the "exceptional value of this cultural asset" and the "happy result" of their work, which is the restitution of the document.

From Culture and the Police have emphasized the need to protect the cultural heritage, which is "identity of the people" and therefore must be "known and cared for". "The best way to protect heritage is to spread its existence," said Severiano Hernández.







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