More than the chronicle of Bern's wars against the Burgundians: impressive pictures of war, camp life, sieges, and battles in the Middle Ages

Great Burgundian Chronicle by Diebold Schilling of Bern

Bern (Switzerland) — Around 1480

Great Burgundian Chronicle by Diebold Schilling of Bern

Great Burgundian Chronicle by Diebold Schilling of Bern

Bern (Switzerland) — Around 1480

  1. Diebold Schilling gives the most-comprehensive source concerning Bern’s wars against the Duchy of Burgundy

  2. He depicts everyday life during wartime: camp life, sieges, plundering, and battles were all illustrated

  3. Schilling's early realism and apparent hero worship account for the allure of the miniatures

Great Burgundian Chronicle by Diebold Schilling of Bern

Alternative Titles:
  • Burgunderchronik des Diebold Schilling von Bern
Great Burgundian Chronicle by Diebold Schilling of Bern – Hs. Ms. A5 – Zentralbibliothek (Zürich, Switzerland)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Great Burgundian Chronicle is a part of the official city chronicle of Bern by Diebold Schilling and probably represents the most-comprehensive source concerning Bern’s wars against the Duchy of Burgundy. The depictions of everyday life during wartime, of camp life, sieges, plundering, and battles were illustrated through 199 precise and richly detailed pen and ink drawings in watercolors.

The Great Burgundian Chronicle of Diebold Schilling of Bern

The Great Burgundian Chronicle is the three-volume source for the Burgundian Wars and depicts a comprehensive and original city chronicle of Bern. The work portrays the history of the city of Bern, initiated with the founding until what was then the present. In doing so, the focus is on the events of war such as sieges, plundering, skirmishes, and the everyday life of the soldier. The bloody events of the text are vividly depicted in magnificently colored and highly detailed illustrations.

Diebold Schilling, a Practitioner

In the year 1474, the city council of Bern assembled in order to commission an extensive chronicle. That commission was given to Diebold Schilling the Elder, who was active in the city chambers since 1460. The writer thus learned the conventions of the city’s administration and judiciary and gained insight into the prevailing circumstances of foreign policy. In 1486 he would himself be a member of the Great Council and personally fought on the side of the Bernese army in the Burgundian War.

Political Dynamite and Amusement Together

The official chronicle that Schilling was bid to complete came into being between 1474 and 1483 and was comprised of three volumes. From the third part of the chronicle, the Great Burgundy Chronicle, an edited and revised version was published. What is more, Schiller allowed his own anecdotes some influence, which had no basis in fact but nevertheless should contribute to the amusement of the reader. An example of this is the tale of the parish priest of Bern, who supposedly threatened to send a plague of insects to the court of the bishop of Lausanne.

Magnificently Rich Imagery

An unknown illuminator completed the 199 pen drawings in watercolors, in order to illustrate Schilling’s elegant gothic script. Sometimes fantastical illustrations are depicted from a bird’s eye view revealing citizens, cities, and villages in beautiful rolling landscapes. Such idealistic landscape paintings nevertheless are kept within the bounds of supporting Schilling’s bellicose text. The military campaigns, plunder, murder, and other violence were unsparingly embellished in the finest detail. Blood flows in rivers in the scenes, in which soldiers and knights lose their lives in battle. This early realism and apparent hero worship make the allure of the miniatures partly responsible for the fame of the work.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Burgunderchronik des Diebold Schilling von Bern
Size / Format
1,036 pages / 39.0 x 25.0 cm
Date
Around 1480
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
199 lavish illustrations
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Great Burgundian Chronicle by Diebold Schilling of Bern“

Burgunderchronik des Diebold Schilling von Bern
Great Burgundian Chronicle by Diebold Schilling of Bern – Hs. Ms. A5 – Zentralbibliothek (Zürich, Switzerland)
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Burgunderchronik des Diebold Schilling von Bern

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Faksimile Verlag – Munich, 1983
Limited Edition
980
Binding
The leather binding corresponds exactly to the original and is decorated with embossings and clasps. The headband is stitched by hand; the individual sections were trimmed in accordance with the original and sewn together by hand.
Commentary
1 volume (More than 300 pages) by Alfred A. Schmid, Pascal Ladner, Carl Pfaff, Roger Sablonier, Hugo Schneider and Robert Wyss
Languages: French, German
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