A chronicle from Genesis to Charlemagne: court life in the 13th century depicted in full-page miniatures

Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne

Lake Constance (Germany) — Around 1250

Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne

Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne

Lake Constance (Germany) — Around 1250

  1. This fragment of a Gothic manuscript mostly consists of masterful full-page miniatures

  2. The history of the world from Genesis through antiquity to Emperor Charlemagne and up to contemporary times

  3. The commission of King Conrad IV (1228–54) features detailed scenes of 13th century court life

Cronaca del Mondo e Storia di Carlo Magno

Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne

Jonathan and the Honeycomb

This gory miniature may be unique and depicts the story of Jonathan. In 1 Samuel, Jonathan the eldest son of King Saul, leads the Israelites to a victory over the Philistines, depicted with long beards and Phrygian helmets. Wearing a crown, Jonathan puts a honeycomb to his mouth, unknowingly breaking his father’s command that everyone fast until evening. He argues with his father about the fast and is nearly put to death, but King Saul spares Jonathan due to the protests of the soldiers.

Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne

Alternative Titles:
  • Die Weltchronik + Karl der Grosse
  • Cronaca del Mondo e Storia di Carlo Magno
  • Chronicle of the world and history of Charlemagne
  • Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Imageof
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

This manuscript in the Berliner Staatsbibliothek contains part of one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages. Originating from a royal commission, the World Chronicle by the poet Rudolf von Ems is considered to be one of the first historical works written in the German language. The fragmented work was appended in the manuscript by the Stricker’s epic Charlemagne. Both these distinguished works of medieval literature are artfully illustrated.

Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne

This manuscript in the Berliner Staatsbibliothek contains part of one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages. Originating from a royal commission, the work by the poet Rudolf von Ems is considered to be one of the first historical works written in the German language. The fragmented work was appended in the manuscript by the Stricker’s epic Charlemagne. Both these distinguished works of medieval literature are artfully illustrated.

Two Significant Literary Works of the Middle Ages

Rudolf von Ems, who came from Vorarlberg, completed his World Chronicle ca. 1255 at the behest of King Conrad IV son of the Hohenstaufen King Frederick II. The literary work relied on various sources and dealt with events from the Bible up to the present, already enjoying great popularity in the author’s lifetime. Recorded in German with skillful verses, it depicts tales in the Old Testament from Genesis to Solomon as historical events and deals with them similarly to ancient history and contemporary events. The literarily significant work survives today in 100+ manuscripts and fragments, which further corroborates its wide circulation and great popularity. The second, considerably smaller part of the Berlin manuscript consists of a fragment by the epic Charlemagne, which the largely unresearched poem named Stricker composed ca. 1220. The 778 campaign against the Saracens makes up the background that the tales plays out in front of. Stricker composed his epic about Charlemagne in the tradition of the 12th century heroic epic, which were also largely dedicated to the figure of Charlemagne.

Entertaining Miniature Pages in Luminous Colors

The 23 pages altogether of the Berlin manuscript mostly assembles illustrations from both texts, with the text on the backside of the respective page. It was probably because of their high artistic quality that the consistently full-page image pages were removed from their original manuscripts and stored separately. The illustrations in the first half can be stylistically dated to the 14th century. The miniatures have been matched with the circle of the Codex Manesse, but the identity of the participating artists remains a mystery to this day. The historical and biblical events, set in the contemporary court life of the 13th century with knights, crowned heads, and noble ladies, are depicted in powerfully luminous colors. An additionally interesting aspect bound up with the Berlin manuscript is the provenance of the book. Both manuscript fragments (probably already bound together) were acquired in 1826 by the famous German poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben. They left his collection in 1850 after being sold to Berlin’s Royal Library.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Die Weltchronik + Karl der Grosse
Cronaca del Mondo e Storia di Carlo Magno
Chronicle of the world and history of Charlemagne
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
Size / Format
46 pages / 28.0 x 19.0 cm
Date
Around 1250
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
23 full-page miniatures, vibrantly colored and opaque, with striking use of gold
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Cronaca del Mondo e Storia di Carlo Magno

Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne

Moses Throws Pharaoh’s Crown

In an apocryphal scene from the life of Moses, the young boy is sitting on the lap of Pharaoh’s daughter, who has adopted him, when the crown is playfully placed on his head. Young Moses promptly removes the crown from his head and casts it to the ground, breaking it. Medieval audiences were particularly fond of such scenes that foreshadowed later events.

Set within an architectural frame featuring Gothic elements, the scene has a splendidly radiant gold background. Pharaoh’s daughter has her hair “up” in a red lace hairnet, which were common in 13th century Germany and England and were made from the finest silk. The crown is first shown in tact in Moses’ hand, then broken on the ground in the lower right corner.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne “

Cronaca del Mondo e Storia di Carlo Magno
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
 – Ms. Germ. Fol. 623 – Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin, Germany)
Imageof

Cronaca del Mondo e Storia di Carlo Magno

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena
Limited Edition
950 copies
Binding
Red leather with dry impressions
Commentary
1 volume by Wolfgang Irtenkauf
Language: Italian
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Die Weltchronik - Karl der Große
Imageof

Die Weltchronik - Karl der Große

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Limited Edition
950 copies
Binding
Red leather with dry impressions
Commentary
1 volume by Wolfgang Irtenkauf
Language: German
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Regular price without login (like new)750 €
Login for a Better Price!
  1. Matching Works
  2. Matching Background Articles

Matching Works

Book of Treasures

Book of Treasures

Philosophy, history, natural sciences, religion and politics: an extraordinary textbook with imaginative miniatures

Experience More
Diebold Schilling's Spiez Illuminated Chronicle

Diebold Schilling's Spiez Illuminated Chronicle

The history of Bern from its foundation until 1465: the last and perhaps most beautiful city chronicle by the great Diebold Schilling

Experience More

Matching Background Articles

Publisher