Philip the Good, Maximilan I, the Medici, and many more: over 100 of the most important princes and European rulers of the 15th and 16th centuries compiled in a codex

Book of Heroes

Augsburg (Germany) — 1603

Book of Heroes

Book of Heroes

Augsburg (Germany) — 1603

  1. Known as the “Heroes’ Armory”, the collection of Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529-95) is still preserved today

  2. Ferdinand commissioned the very first systematic presentation of objects in the history of museums

  3. 125 woodcuts designed by Giovanni Battista Fontana (1524-1587) were engraved by Dominicus Custos (1560–1612)

Book of Heroes

Alternative Titles:
  • Heldenbuch
Book of Heroes – Private Collection
Imageof
Edition available
Ask for an offer!
  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

At the same time as the importance of mounted knights was waning on the battlefields of Europe in the Late Middle Ages, the code of chivalry that defined their identity was in many ways stronger than ever, evolving from a battlefield code of conduct to a model for courtly etiquette. By the 16th century, professional infantry dominated the battlefield and many among the nobility longed for a nobler past – real or imagined – wherein honor, loyalty, and Christian charity were prized above all else. Archduke Ferdinand II’s splendid collection of arms and armor, recorded here in the world’s first museum catalog, is a monument to the idea of chivalry that was supposed to elevate and ennoble the warrior.

Book of Heroes

This work catalogs the famous Heldenrüstkammer or “Heroes’ Armory” of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand II (1529-95), a collection of arms, armor, portraits, and other objects in Ambras Castle associated with the most famous men of the 15th and 16th centuries, who all happened to be great warriors and military commanders. The collection is still preserved today. Among the most fascinating of the objects is Bartlmä Bon’s suit of armor, which towers over the rest of the collection because the knight in the Archduke’s service was supposedly more than 8 feet tall. Ferdinand II commissioned a book inventorying this collection, considered to be the very first systematic presentation of objects in the history of museums, and tasked his valet, counsellor, and confidential secretary Jakob Schrenck von Notzing (1539-1612) with its creation.

A Splendid Catalog of Warriors

In addition to a frontispiece, 125 woodcuts illustrating the text and were made by the Flemish engraver Dominicus Custos (1560–1612) according to designs by the Italian painter Giovanni Battista Fontana (1524-1587). Various European princes and warriors are depicted in portrait wearing their armor in decorative surroundings, a short biography accompanies each image. Unfortunately, Ferdinand II died before the initial publication of the Latin Armamentarium Heroicum in 1601, this German edition of the monumental work was published in 1603. Von Notzing’s work is considered to be the first printed and illustrated museum catalog in the world.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Heldenbuch
Date
1603
Style
Baroque
Language
Illustrations
125 woodcuts representing the rulers and chiefs of Europe
Content
125 woodcuts representing the rulers and chiefs of Europe
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Heroes“

Book of Heroes
Book of Heroes – Private Collection
Imageof

Book of Heroes

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Bernardinum Wydawnictwo – Warsaw,
Limited Edition
200
Details
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
  1. Matching Works
  2. Matching Background Articles

Matching Works

Notitia Dignitatum

Notitia Dignitatum

The famous ledger for the management of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity

Experience More
Chronicles of Lucca by Giovanni Sercambi

Chronicles of Lucca by Giovanni Sercambi

Pictures from Tuscany in the Middle Ages: 651 detailed miniatures on the eventful history of Lucca

Experience More

Matching Background Articles

Publisher