The Chronicle of the World and the First Sequel


The so-called Wernigerode Chronicle is the oldest surviving manuscript of the Chronicle of Rudolf von Ems and the basis of the printed edition of the text. With its 65 tacked pen drawings on the lower and lateral leaf margins and the two full-page miniatures, this late-13th century manuscript assumes, formally and iconographically, a special position among the codices of this text. The drawings in the margins with lively characters, their expressive looks, vital movements, and meaningful gestures recall the pen drawings of the Bonmont Psalter in Besançon (Bibliothéque Municipale, Ms. 54). Echoes of the Zackenstil (jagged style), predominant in Germanic regions in the 13th century, are still visible in the robes with their rigidly breaking folds and jagged hemlines next to softly swelling folds. An illustration that is rarely shown in the image program of the world chronicles is found on folios 17 verso and 18 recto: in it the river landscape appears with a rocky shore and a city is depicted with a gothic church as an illustration for the "Eulogy of the cities in the Rhineland." A parchment leaf with two full-page miniatures precedes the text: it depicts the chronicler and scribe (frontispiece) on the recto page and has on the verso page an unusual depiction of the creation of the world. Similarities between this work and works of sculpture and stained glass in the Cathedral of Freiburg im Breisgau (Baden-Württemberg, Germany), as well as the names of Freiburg patricians from the first half of the 15th century that are mentioned at the end of the manuscript, together with philological observations, all lead to the conclusion that the codex must have been produced either within the city walls of Freiburg or at least in its immediate vicinity.

Last updated: December 20, 2017