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Bele Regis Notarius

notary and chronicler of Hungarian King Béla III

1200   -   1300

country of citizenship: Hungary
occupation: author, historian, writer

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Anonymus Bele regis notarius ("Anonymous Notary of King Bela") or Master P. (fl. late 12th century – early 13th century) was the notary and chronicler of a Hungarian King, probably Béla III. Little is known about him, but his latinized name began with P, as he referred to himself as "P. dictus magister". Anonymus is famous for his work Gesta Hungarorum ("The Deeds of the Hungarians"), written in Medieval Latin around 1200. This work provides the most detailed history of the arrival of the Hungarians to the Carpathian Basin (Hungarian: honfoglalás). Most of his attempts to explain the origin of several Hungarian place names are unsupported by modern etymology. The identity of the author of the Gesta has always been subject to scholarly debate. Although the first words of the opening sentence—an initial "P" followed with the words "dictus magister ac quondam bone memorie gloriosissimi Bele regis Hungarie notarius"—describe him, they cannot be interpreted unambiguously. First of all, the interpretation of the "P dictus magister" text is unclear. The text may refer to a man whose monogram was P or it may be an abbreviation of the Latin word for "aforementioned" (praedictus) in reference to a name on the title page which is now missing. Most scholars accept the former version, translating the text as "P who is called magister, and sometime notary of the most glorious Béla, king of Hungary of fond memory".
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