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Printing House of Crnojevići is the first Serbian printing house; the facility operated between 1493 and 1496 in Cetinje, Montenegro.

It was founded by Đurađ IV Crnojević, the ruler of the Principality of Zeta (today's Montenegro) between 1490 and 1496. The printing press was operated by orthodox monks led by hieromonk Makarije. The Crnojević printing press was also the first in southeastern Europe, and the first state press in the world. Five books printed in this printshop remain preserved, and all are for orthodox liturgy: Oktoih Prvoglasnik, Oktoih Petoglasnik, Psaltir, Trebnik (Molitvenik) and Cvetni Triod (Čevtverojevađelje). These books were as well the first printed books among the southern Slavs.

The Books Printed

  • Oktoih, the first voice (Oktoih provglasnik) is the first book printed in Cyrillic type. It was printed in January 17, 1494. There are 108 copies of this book existing. It contains 538 pages sized 29 x 21,6 cm. It is characterized by high quality and clean two-coloured printing, red and black, with nicely shaped letters and well placed banners and initials. These xylographic banners and initials are made in the spirit of Renaissance with a trace of old manuscript tradition. By the beauty of its graphic it is considered to be at the same level as Venetian production at that time. The Central National Montenegrin Library "Đurđe Crnojević" published 600 issues of Oktoih, the first voice in 1987.
  • Oktoih, the fifth voice (Oktoih petoglasnik) represents the first illustrated South Slavic incunabula. It was printed in 1494. Its fragments have been preserved. The longest one contains 37 pages. What makes this incunabula special are six xylographic illustrations. The artist who engraved them managed to put rather complex compositions with many characters on a relatively small space.
  • Book of Psalms with Possession (Psaltiri s posjedovanjem) was printed at Cetinje in 1495. It is not only of liturgical and conventional but also historical and literary significance. It is decorated with three engraved banners and 27 initials repeated for the 221 time. There are 36 complete and partial copies preserved. The Central National Library ‘Đurđe Crnojević’ published 650 copies of its photo-printed edition in 1986.


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