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Collection of Sermons, Treatises, Liturgical Formulae and Canons. Slavic Liturgical Formulae (Freising Monuments)
This manuscript, assembled in Freising, Bavaria, at the behest of Bishop Abraham (died 994), is famous for three texts, the so-called Freising manuscripts (also Freising folia, fragments, or monuments). These are the first continuous texts in a Slavic language written in Latin script and the oldest documents in Slovene. They contain a confessional formula (folio 78 recto), a sermon on sin and repentance (folios 158 verso−161 recto), formulae for abjuration and confession, and a penitential prayer (folios 160 verso−161 recto). The second and most important literary text is ...
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Bavarian State Library
Exegetical Works
This manuscript of works by Honorius Augustodunensis (also seen as Honorius of Autun) is one of the rare examples of an illustrated commentary on the Old Testament Song of Songs, preserved mainly in manuscripts from southeastern Germany and Austria. The manuscript, written in the monastery of Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, around 1170, features a title piece and three miniatures on books two to four, that is, the full cycle of illuminations. Honorius follows the allegorical interpretation of the marriage of Christ and his Church, depicted in the title piece. In books two ...
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Bavarian State Library
Dialogue in Praise of the Holy Cross
Dialogus de laudibus sanctae crucis (Dialogue in praise of the Holy Cross), written between 1170 and 1180, and once owned by the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg), Bavaria, contains a text in praise of the Cross, which has come down only in this manuscript. The text, written by an unidentified author, is in the form of a didactic dialogue between “Magister” and “Discipulus,” the teacher and a pupil. It relates the history of salvation to the Holy Cross in the so-called typological exegetical tradition. The text ...
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Prayer of Wessobrunn
This manuscript, dating from the early ninth century, contains the Wessobrunner Gebet (Prayer of Wessobrunn) and many other short works. The prayer itself, in prose, which gives the text as a whole its name, is preceded by a short creation poem, which, in nine lines of alliterative verse, seeks to explain the creation of the world out of chaos. This small literary monument is among the earliest written examples of poetry in Old High German. It has come down to us in a composite (mainly Latin) manuscript written before 814 ...
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Third Series of Maxims, Number 16 / Bernard of Clairvaux. The External and Internal Composition of Man (Fragment) / David von Augsburg. Sermon against Jews, Pagans and Aryans / Quodvultdeus of Carthage (Pseudo-Augustin). Muspilli
The fragmentary Old High German poem “Muspilli,” on the fate of the soul after death, the Day of Judgment, and Armageddon, is written on blank leaves and in the margins of a manuscript of the pseudo-Augustinian sermon Sermo contra Judaeos, Paganos et Arianos (Sermon against Jews, Pagans and Aryans). The sermon itself was written in Salzburg in a fine Carolingian minuscule and bears a dedication in rustic capitals (folio 120 recto) from Adalram, archbishop of Salzburg from 821 to 836, to Ludwig, Duke of Bavaria (later King Louis the German ...
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Gospel Lectionary
This gospel lectionary was created around 1130. A lectionary is a liturgical book, which—in contrast to usual gospel books containing the full texts of the gospels—comprises only those parts of the gospels that are used for the liturgical readings during the ecclesiastical year, presented in chronological order. The book features two pen-and-ink-drawn initials, several decorated initials in gold and silver ink, and four full-page miniatures, each showing one of the four Evangelists. The style and coloring of the miniatures follow a Bavarian tradition of book illumination, the so-called ...
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Gospels for the Year
This lavishly illuminated manuscript represents a fine example of a gospel lectionary, a liturgical book that—in contrast to the usual gospel books containing the full texts of the gospels—comprises only those parts of the gospels that are used for the liturgical readings during the ecclesiastical year, presented in chronological order. The manuscript’s miniatures display the main events in the life of Jesus Christ, which correspond to the main religious feasts: from Nativity to Ascension to the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. All the miniatures are ...
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Bavarian State Library
Hrotsvitha's Poems
This 11th century manuscript is the only to survive to transmit the complete text of the epic and dramatic works of the first German poetess, Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim. Corrections and marginal notes are entered in the hand of the humanist Konrad Celtis, who used the manuscript as a printer's copy for his edition of Hrotsvitha's works published in Nuremberg in 1501. The manuscript once belonged to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg) and reached Munich in 1811. Born around 935, Hrotsvitha was a canoness ...
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Bavarian State Library
The Six Books of the Hexaemeron (The Six Days) by Ambrose
In his Hexaemeron, Saint Ambrose treats the six days of creation. In this manuscript, written in the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg), Bavaria, the six days are illustrated with full-page pen drawings; another representation of the creator resting on the seventh day concludes the cycle. Representations of the Hexaemeron appear from the late 11th century onwards as a new subject of Romanesque illumination, above all in Bibles or in liturgical works, such as choir books and missals. The Ratisbon school of illumination, responsible for this work ...
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Bavarian State Library
Victorius of Aquitaine. Martianus Capella. Remigius of Auxerre. Gregory the Great
This manuscript opens with a one-page text by Victorius of Aquitaine (fifth century). The rest of the work consists of two distinct parts. The first part, written in the second half of the 11th century, presents a work of Martianus Capella (fifth century) on the Seven Liberal Arts, followed by an important commentary on this text by Remigius of Auxerre (circa 841−908). A full-page pen drawing, which depicts numerous gods and demons of the ancient world, is situated between the text and the commentary. Because of its stylistic features ...
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Parzival
Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his medieval German epic poem Parzival, which consists of more than 24,000 lines, in the first decade of the 13th century. It tells the story of the juvenile fool Parzival who, having grown up in the seclusion of the forest, is ignorant of the world and causes much grief as he ventures out to become a knight. He arrives at the Castle of the Grail, but fails to pose the question to the sick King Fisher Anfortas about the source of his suffering—a question ...
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Bavarian State Library
Parzival
Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his medieval German epic poem Parzival, which consists of more than 24,000 lines, in the first decade of the 13th century. It tells the story of the juvenile fool Parzival who, having grown up in the seclusion of the forest, is ignorant of the world and causes much grief as he ventures out to become a knight. He arrives at the Castle of the Grail, but fails to pose the question to the sick King Fisher Anfortas about the source of his suffering—a question ...
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Bavarian State Library
Gospel Book from the Bamberg Cathedral (Reichenau Gospel)
The gospel from the cathedral of Bamberg is one of the most important masterpieces of book painting from the Benedictine abbey on the island of Reichenau in Lake Constance in southern Germany. In the 10th and 11th centuries, this abbey was the site of what was probably Europe’s largest and most influential school of book illumination. Book production reached its artistic peak between around 970 and 1010–1020, a period known as the Ottonian Renaissance (after Otto I, Otto II, and Otto III, German kings and Holy Roman Emperors ...
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Gutenberg Bible
Johann Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany, around 1400, the son of an aristocratic family with ties to the local metalworking industry. He lived in Strasbourg (in present-day France) for a time, where he carried out experiments with moveable metallic type made from a mold. By the mid-1450s, he had perfected a system of printing with moveable type that he used to create what became the world’s most famous book, the Latin translation of the Bible (Vulgate), generally known as the Gutenberg Bible. Scholars have thoroughly researched all aspects ...
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Bavarian State Library
Publication of Offices
The Notitia dignitatum is a state paper that documents virtually the whole of the civil and military organization of the Roman Empire as it existed after the reforms of Emperor Diocletian (ruled, 284–305). The manuscript contains chapters on the high state offices, and each chapter is preceded by pages of illustrations depicting the insignia of the officials in these offices and objects characteristic of their functions. The original of the document, probably written around 425 in Rome, is lost, as is a copy from the Carolingian period. The Carolingians ...
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Bavarian State Library
Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria
This unique manuscript was commissioned in 1552 by Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria, the founder of what is today the Bavarian State Library. The manuscript is an inventory of the jewelry owned by the duke and his wife, Duchess Anna, a member of the Habsburg dynasty and a daughter of Emperor Ferdinand I. The work contains 110 magnificent drawings by the Munich court painter Hans Mielich. One of the most impressive of these drawings is the front page miniature showing Albrecht and Anna playing chess, with Albrecht portrayed as a ...
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Bavarian State Library
Indian Summer
Adalbert Stifter (1805–1866) was one of the greatest stylists of German literature. He began his career in the spirit of Austrian Biedermeier by writing stories for the bourgeois reading public. The theme of these stories, which first appeared in popular journals and almanacs, was often the humanization of the elemental. Stifter later thoroughly revised these works, which led to their publication in his Studien of 1844–50 and Bunte Steine of 1853. After the revolutionary upheavals of 1848, Stifter distanced himself from contemporary trends. Der Nachsommer (Indian summer), the ...
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Bavarian State Library
Ottheinrich Bible
The Ottheinrich Bible is the earliest surviving illustrated manuscript of the New Testament in the German language. The work was commissioned around 1430 by Ludwig VII, the Bearded, Duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. The text was written, presumably in Ingolstadt, in a monumental script consistent with the highest calligraphic standards. The text was then sent to Regensburg for illumination. Only about one-fifth of the miniatures were completed, however, before work was stopped. Sometime before 1530, the Count Palatine Ottheinrich acquired the Bible and commissioned the artist Mathis Gerung to complete the sequence ...
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Bavarian State Library
Heliand
The Heliand is an epic poem in Old Saxon that was first written down in around 830–840. The poem, whose title means “savior,” recounts the life of Jesus in the alliterative verse style of a Germanic saga. At about 6,000 lines, the Heliand is the largest known work written in Old Saxon, the precursor of modern Low German. The name of the poet is unknown, but some information about him and the origins of the poem can be gleaned from a Latin preface printed by Matthias Flacius Illyricus ...
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Bavarian State Library
The Nuremberg Chronicle
The Liber chronicarum, a universal history compiled from older and contemporary sources by the Nuremberg doctor, humanist, and bibliophile Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514), is one of the most densely illustrated and technically advanced works of early printing. It contains 1809 woodcuts produced from 645 blocks. The Nuremberg entrepreneur Sebald Schreyer and his brother-in-law, Sebastian Kammermeister, financed the production of the book. Michael Wolgemut and his son-in-law Wilhelm Pleydenwurff executed the illustrations in around 1490, a time when their workshop was at its artistic peak and the young Albrecht Dürer was ...
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Letter to Philocrates
Under the influence of Italian humanism and of his book-collector tutor János Vitéz, the Archbishop of Esztergom, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (1443–1490), developed a passion for books and learning. Elected king of Hungary in 1458 at the age of 14, Matthias won great acclaim for his battles against the Ottoman Turks and his patronage of learning and science. He created the Bibliotheca Corviniana, in its day one of Europe’s finest libraries. After his death, and especially after the conquest of Buda by the Turks in 1541, the library ...
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Bavarian State Library