Romfilatelia continues the series of postage stamp issues with the Collections theme and puts into circulation on Friday, November 17th, this year, the postage stamp issue National Library of Romania. Collections, consisting of 2 stamps and 1 First Day Cover.
The National Library of Romania is the owner of some of the most significant documentary values in the national treasury.
Among its patrimonial collections, the collection of old and rare Romanian books also stands out, which includes testimonies of the evolution of written culture in our country, true literary and bibliophile treasures.
One such work, whose significance in the development of the Romanian language in its best form cannot be forgotten, is the Bible of Bucharest (Romanian: Biblia de la București) or Șerban Cantacuzino’s Bible (Romanian: Biblia lui Șerban Cantacuzino), the first Bible printed in Romanian language in 1688 (detail reproduced on the stamp with the face value of Lei 10).
The work represents the first complete edition in Romanian of the Holy Scriptures, printed in Cyrillic characters, in two runs, under the patronage of ruler Șerban Cantacuzino, respectively of his successor, Constantin Brâncoveanu. Among the important names that were part of the group of translators are the scholars Nicolae Spătaru-Milescu, Mitrofan, bishop of Huși, and the brothers Șerban and Radu Greceanu.
On the stamp with the face value of Lei 12 is rendered a detail from the book Istoria delle moderne rivoluzioni della Valachia: con la descrizione del paese; natura, costumi, riti, ae religione degli abitanti… (History of the Modern Revolutions of Wallachia: With A Description of the Country; Nature, Customs, Rites, and Religion of the Inhabitants…)
The work represents the chronicle compiled by the Italian-speaking secretary of Constantin Brâncoveanu, the Florentine Anton-Maria Del Chiaro, published at the author’s expense in Venice, in 1718, four years after the ruler’s assassination. The Italian writer x-rays the Muntenian (Greater Wallachian) society as a whole, focusing on various aspects of the lives of the locals, but also on the troubling historical moments of that period.
The edition includes a plate executed by the engraver Alessandro Dalla Via, after the designs of Pietro Uberti, showing the portrait of the ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu, in the central inset, bearing the inscription “Costantino Bassaraba Brancovani Principe di Valachia Decollato in Costantinopoli MDCCXIV” [“Constantin Basarab Brâncoveanu Prince of Wallachia Beheaded in Constantinople in 1714”], and in the four corners, the inset portraits of the ruler’s sons, Constantin, Ștefan, Radu and Matei. In the composition, the coat of arms of Romania also appears, the eagle with a distorted head, carrying a cross in its beak and featuring the sun on the right, and the New Moon on the left.
On the First Day Cover is depicted the manuscript of the work Înșir’te Mărgărite (Get Strung, Pearl Bead) – manuscript (text by Vasile Alecsandri) – illustration by Queen Elisabeth – Carmen Sylva.
Queen Elizabeth had a special soul connection with the poet Vasile Alecsandri, who also wrote a poem especially for her after the death of her only child and who advised her to choose Carmen Sylva as her literary pseudonym. The manuscript is particularly delicate and beautifully illuminated, in vivid colours and with graphic ornaments of colloidal gold.
Romfilatelia brings thanks to the representatives of the National Library of Romania for the documentary support granted to the development of this issue of postage stamps.