The Tabula Hungariae is also called Lazarus map, because its manuscript was made by a person called Lazarus, who worked under Archbishop Tamás Bakócz (1497-1521) in the chancellery. Katalin Plihál’s studies during the recent years have revealed a person who perfectly fits the known descriptions, Lazarus Tinódy.
About the creator, our main source is the ornamented field on the map, which says: ‘Tabula Hungarie ad quatuor latera per Lazarum quondam Thomae Strigonien Cardin Secretariu viru expertu congesta…’
In English, this says: ’Map of Hungary on four pages, by Lazarus, secretary of the former Archbishop Tamás, an adept person.’
We don’t know where or when he was born, nor where and when he died. In the surviving sources about Bakócz’s secretaries and known workers of the chancellery, no person with the surname or given name Lazarus has been found. This can be explained with the fact that only about 10% of the documents made before the Battle of Mohács have survived.
Lazarus was of Hungarian nationality, and spoke Hungarian as his mother tongue. He knew the used “rules” of Hungarian grammar. According to our sources, he didn’t attend university, but had all the literacy he needed.
However, the sources contradict themselves. The only person known to have met Lazarus (Jakob Ziegler of Landau) never mentions that Lazarus is a secretary of a known person. Supposedly, Lazarus wasn’t a high ranking person who would interest his contemporaries.
As we know today, Lazarus was a cultivated, but low-ranking and uneducated man, who made the first map of Hungary.