Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War

Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War

Regensburg (Germany) — 1432–1456

A magnificent codex from Regensburg, left to the city council for 15 kilograms of silver: golden miniatures depicting the Trojan War in a unique German translation

  1. The story of Troy as told by Guido de Columnis in the 13th century is presented here in a unique German translation

  2. The Regensburg-based illuminator and scribe Martinus Opifex created it at the behest of an unknown noblemen

  3. His wife sold the book treasure to Regensburg’s city council for 15 kilograms of silver

Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War

This famous manuscript from the Austrian National Library in Vienna contains the most comprehensive German language Trojan cycle. The manuscript, originating from Regensburg in the 15th century, presents a German translation of the famous 13th century epic by Guido de Columnis. The enthusiasm in the Middle Ages for the legends of the fall of Troy is made clear in the magnificent miniatures and the accompanying text. This mythological tale, which fascinates to this day, was published as manuscript in the lifeworld of the 15th century. The gorgeous miniatures from the hand of the painter Martinus carry the beholder off into the world of courtly society at that time. The manuscript, which came into the collection of the Austrian Hapsburgs, counts among the greatest treasures of illumination!

Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War

This famous manuscript from the Austrian National Library in Vienna contains the most comprehensive German language Trojan cycle. The manuscript, originating from Regensburg in the 15th century, presents a German translation of the famous 13th century epic by Guido de Columnis. The enthusiasm in the Middle Ages for the legends of the fall of Troy is made clear in the magnificent miniatures and the accompanying text. This mythological tale, which fascinates to this day, was published as manuscript in the lifeworld of the 15th century. The gorgeous miniatures from the hand of the painter Martinus carry the beholder off into the world of courtly society at that time. The manuscript, which came into the collection of the Austrian Hapsburgs, counts among the greatest treasures of illumination!

The Myth of Troy

Guido de Columnis (1210–1290) was a Sicilian poet from Messina. At the end of the 13th century, he wrote his most famous work, the Historia destructionis Troiae. This story about the destruction of Troy stands in the long tradition that has built itself around the mythological tale of the downfall of the ancient city. This material, Homer’s epic among others, was well-loved in the Middle Ages. For the impressive manuscript in the Austrian National Library, one has to reach back to the Latin original by Guido de Columnis, which was translated into German – albeit in the dialect of Bavaria and Austria. Thus the most-comprehensive German language Trojan cycle arose in a magnificent manuscript!

A Master from Regensburg

On 478 pages measuring 37 x 27.5 cm, the famous Cod. 2733 of the Austrian National Library in Vienna collects 334 miniatures, some even full-page. These magnificent paintings are richly embellished with gold and silver, once again highlighting the worth of the entire manuscript. The master responsible for these paintings was a miniaturist named Martinus. He immortalized himself in gold text on fol. 1r as martinus opifex. An unusual detail! One such illuminator named Martin was active in Regensburg during the middle of the 15th century, which allows conclusions to be made about the origins of the manuscript. In is believed among researchers that the manuscript of the work by Guido de Columnis was made in Regensburg in the years 1432–1456.

Courtly Life and Bloody Battles

The miniatures of the German translation of the work by Guido de Columnis offer a glimpse into the lifeworld of the 15th century. Gorgeous courtly scenes illustrate the tale of the downfall of Troy and the events associated with it. For example, a handsome procession of noble ladies and elegant noblemen, who ride out amidst a verdant green landscape, along with a court jester who rides together with an ape on a horse. Gothic architecture, e.g. a splendid doorway, surrounds some of the depictions. Yet, the painter did not shrink back from drastic depictions. A telling facial expression characterizes the brightly-dressed figures before an ornamental gold background.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Guido de Columnis: Der Trojanische Krieg
Historia destructionis Troiae
Size / Format
478 pages / 37.0 × 27.5 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1432–1456
Style
Script
Gothic Textura
Illustrations
334 large-size miniatures (some of them full-page), richly decorated with gold and silver
Content
The most comprehensive German language Trojan cycle
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519)
Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529–1595)

Available facsimile editions:
Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War – Cod. 2773 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 2007
Limited Edition: 998 copies

Guido de Columnis: Der Trojanische Krieg
Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 2007
Limited Edition: 998 copies
Detail Picture

Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War

Shipbuilding

Helen of Troy’s beauty famously launched 10,000 ships and began the Trojan War. An army of shipbuilders was required in order to make this fleet possible, who are depicted here with childlike characteristics. Hammers in hand, they are shown driving nails into the side of a ship. The size of figures in medieval manuscripts was usually a reflection of their social stature, and as a result these commoners look childlike in comparison to the nobles who lazily watch their labor.

Guido de Columnis: Der Trojanische Krieg
Single Page

Guido de Columnis: The Trojan War

Wedding of Paris and Helen

The love between the Trojan prince Paris and the Spartan princess Helen was the catalyst for the bloodshed of the Trojan War. Amidst that tale of gods and men battling with one another, this is a scene of love and tranquility – the wedding of Paris and Helen, who was promised to Paris by the goddess Aphrodite.

The wedding is presented in the context of a Gothic cathedral, as witnessed through its pointed main doors. Both bride and groom are depicted as slender figures with thick, flowing locks of brown hair, small noses, pursed lips, and pink cheeks. Paris is dressed in a green tunic and tights while Helen has a long beautiful train of pink and gray. The Trojan king and queen, dressed in beautiful blue and gold brocade, flank the couple.

Guido de Columnis: Der Trojanische Krieg
Facsimile Editions

#1 Guido de Columnis: Der Trojanische Krieg

Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 2007

Publisher: Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 2007
Limited Edition: 998 copies
Binding: As a model for the facsimile's binding, the publisher chose a binding of a late medieval calendar manuscript from 1481 owned by the Austrian National Library, Codex 2683 from the workshop of Salzburg book artist Ulrich Schreier. Elaborately decorative embossed leather binding with four book clasps and five raised frets. The corners of the frame and the center of the book cover are each set with a swirl rosette in real gold. Protected with the commentary volume in a case with an acrylic cover. The commentary provides the first detailed scholarly discussion of the manuscript.
Commentary: 1 volume by Karin Schneider, Norbert H. Ott, Katharina Hranitzky, and Robert Suckale
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 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: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!

#2 Guido de Columnis: Der Trojanische Krieg

Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 2007

Publisher: Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 2007
Limited Edition: 998 copies
Binding: The binding of the facsimile edition has been modelled on the binding of a late medieval calendar manuscript dating from 1481, now in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vol. 2683 from the studio of Ulrich Schreier, a bookmaker in Salzburg. The leather binding has four clasps and is decorated with blind toolings (line tool and single stamp coloured motifs). The corners of the frame and the centre of the book cover are each set with a whirl rosette in real gold. The book spine is made of five raised bands. The facsimile and commentary volume come in a joint case with acrylic cover. The commentary provides the first-ever detailed scholarly discussion of the manuscript.
Commentary: 1 volume by Karin Schneider, Norbert H. Ott, Katharina Hranitzky, and Robert Suckale
Language: German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 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.
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