Latin Moamin

Latin Moamin

Italy — Arround 1240

The template for his own famous falcon book: Emperor Frederick's compilation of two Arabic teaching texts on the training and care of falcons and hunting dogs, adorned with gold initials

  1. The learned Emperor Frederick II (1194–1250) had two Arabic falconry texts compiled and translated into Latin

  2. It is filled with figural initials and served as a template for the falconry book that Frederick II wrote himself

  3. More than a work of art, the text is a practical guide for the training and care of falcons and hunting dogs

Latin Moamin

K 4984 Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna, Austria)
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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Latin Moamin

Alongside his own famous falcon book, the so-called Latin Moamin is further proof of Emperor Frederick II’s fascination with the art of falconry. The emperor had the Arab treatise about hunting with falcons and dogs translated into Latin ca. 1240 and introduced his own ideas as well. A uniquely splendid edition of this manuscript is stored in Vienna, which is presented with lovely, thematic illustrations.

Latin Moamin - Liber Moamin falconarii de scientia venandi per aves et quadrupeds

A famous falconry text is known by the name Moamin, which was compiled from two works from the 8th and 9th centuries. Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who greatly loved falconry not only as a pastime but as a science, allowed this treatise on hunting to be translated into Latin by Theodore of Antioch beginning in 1240. It served as inspiration for his own famous book on falconry.

The Imperial Passion for Falconry

Emperor Frederick II (1194–1250) of the house of Hohenstaufen was King of Sicily and became Holy Roman Emperor in 1220. As a patron of art and culture, he was famous above all for the falcon book that he himself wrote. De arte venandi cum avibus became the most important textbook on falconry and ornithology of the Middle Ages. Originating in the 1240’s, it is heavily influenced by another treatise on falconry, which is closely associated with the name of Frederick II: the so-called Moamin.

Liber Moamin falconarii de scientia venandi per aves et quadrupeds

The Book on the Science of Hunting with Birds and Quadrupeds was an ancient Arabic treatise on hunting. Text segments from the falcon book of al-Gitrif and from four books of the treatise for Caliph al-Mutawakkil were compiled in the 9th century for an Abbasid caliph in Baghdad. The author of this manuscript, which has not survived completely intact, was Mohamed, son of Abdullah the Falconer. Theodore of Antioch was already active as a learned doctor and astrologer for the sultan in Baghdad when he translated the treatise for Frederick II. According to an anecdote, the emperor personally oversaw and corrected this translation.

A Unique Manuscript

The so-called Moamin is divided into five books: the first three contain fundamental knowledge of falcons and falconry, the illnesses of birds, and their treatment. The 4th and 5th books are concerned with hunting dogs. Of the 27 specimens existing today, only two are splendidly illustrated. The so-called Latin Moamin of Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum originated in Italy ca. 1275. The splendid codex, made for a wealthy patron, is adorned with 101 historiated initials, each in a rectangular frame with a precious gold background. Ornamental, fantastically bright frames adorn the pages as well. The high-quality illustrations show birds molting or hunting and always in cooperation with the person, as well as the training of the animals and caring for sick falcons. The rear portion of the manuscript – concerning hunting dogs – was appended at the later date with gorgeous depictions of dogs. A wonderful special feature contained in the Latin Moamin is the notes in Italian by the miniaturist, who is believed to have illustrated the text so splendidly. An intimate glimpse into the provenance of the manuscript!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Wiener Moamin
De Scientia Venandi per Aves
Vienna Moamyn
Size / Format
108 pages / 22.0 × 15.4 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
Arround 1240
Style
Language
Script
Gothic Textura
Illustrations
101 historiated initials
Content
Treatise on falconry
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Latin Moamin – K 4984 – Kunsthistorisches Museum (Wien, Austria)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 2017
Limited Edition: 381 copies

Der Wiener Moamin (Real Gold Edition)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 2017
Limited Edition: 99 copies
Detail Picture

Latin Moamin

Falcons and Dogs

Hunting with falcons required more than a bird and a big leather glove, it also required the cooperation of well-trained hunting dogs. As such, there is a section of this manuscript dedicated specifically to man’s best friend. These two historiated “S” initials show falconers tending their birds, one is feeding while the other is enjoying some caresses on its chest. White hunting dogs can be seen next to both golden initials, meandering nearby in a naturalistic manner.

Der Wiener Moamin (Normal Edition)
Single Page

Latin Moamin

Eye Disease

The third book of this text consists of 15 chapters concerning the treatment of external diseases in falcons. This is the first page of the chapter, which is not surprising considering the importance of a falcon’s eyes for hunting. A unique feature of the page is the marginalia – tendrils of red, blue, and gold that spring from a head appearing on the left side of the initial.

This historiated “C” initial spans ten lines and is framed by gold leaf, it contains a falconer dressed in lavish red garments – a patterned robe and hat – who is meticulously inspecting his falcon’s eyes. They sit in front of night-blue background. The falcon’s illness is described as albedo in oculis or “whiteness in the eyes”, likely pointing to corneal leukoma.

Der Wiener Moamin (Normal Edition)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Der Wiener Moamin (Normal Edition)

Limited Edition: 381 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Baudouin Van den Abeele
Language: German (in preparation - will be published in spring 2021)
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
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#2 Der Wiener Moamin (Real Gold Edition)

Der Wiener Moamin (Real Gold Edition)
Der Wiener Moamin (Real Gold Edition) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Limited Edition: 99 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Baudouin Van den Abeele
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.The gold elements are reproduced with real gold leaf.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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