Chronicle of Emperors


The author of the Kaiserchronik (Chronicle of the emperors) is believed to have been a native of Regensburg, Bavaria. A history of the (Holy) Roman Empire and its (German) rulers, enriched with legends, the work enjoyed great success, as its long-lasting and rich tradition shows. The manuscript presented here, consisting of 133 parchment leaves and dating from the 14th century, contains the old text from the mid-12th century (recension A) and ends with verse 17,181, dealing with Emperor Lothair II (1075‒1137). As the spaces left blank in the text columns show, 68 illustrations were originally planned of which, however, not a single one was executed. Only rarely did the planned level of the miniatures exceed 11 or 13 lines. Here and there one can spot, in the margins or in the spaces left blank for the miniatures, some instructions for the painter or draftsman as to what scene would have been depicted in the space. Even in its present, unfinished state the manuscript has an abundance of decorated initials: alternating red or black capital letters at the beginning of the verses, as well as red, blue, and green three-line lombards (decorated initials much used in late-medieval manuscripts) at the beginning of the text portions. At the beginning of the chapters on the respective emperors there are larger initials in gold and rich body colors, often with lined, mostly red fleurons.

Last updated: December 20, 2017