Sunday, June 11, 2023

Codex Manesse

From Medievalists:

The Codex Manesse, created in the 14th century and known for its 134 beautiful images, has been included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. It’s one of 14 medieval documents that have been just added to this list of documentary heritage.

Also known as the “Great Heidelberg Book of Songs” – the Codex Manesse is regarded as one of the world’s most famous books and can be accessed digitally worldwide. Alongside the elaborately crafted illustrations of medieval courtly life, a considerable part of what has remained preserved from German Minnesang is exclusively found in this large-format parchment manuscript.

The Codex is currently kept in the Heidelberg University Library, which has made a digital version available. “The Heidelberg University Library has rich and highly renowned historical collections, with the Codex Manesse as its most precious item,” says Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University. “Admission to world documentary heritage pays tribute to the significance of this unique testimony from the past”, adding that the digitization of the “Great Heidelberg Book of Songs” enables any interested person to browse, page by page, through the centuries-old manuscript with its delicate drawings.
Codex Manesse, UB Heidelberg
The main part of the Codex Manesse emerged around the year 1300 in Zurich – presumably at the behest of Rüdiger Manesse and his son Johannes, who wanted to collect Middle High German songs in all their variety of genres and forms. Several more contributions were made to it until about 1340. The manuscript comprises 426 parchment sheets inscribed on both sides. They contain the texts of 140 poets in a total of approx. 6,000 verses. Over half the works are only extant here. (Read more.)

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