Lawbook of the City of Herford

Lawbook of the City of Herford Facsimile Edition

Herford (Germany) — 1375

Legal guidance and security for the citizens of Herford: a law book with written rights and duties as an expression of the self-confidence of a late medieval citizenry

  1. The Lawbook is based in part on the famous Sachsenspiegel by Eike von Repgow

  2. Created ca. 1375, it is the most precious item stored in the city archives of Herford, Germany

  3. Decorative initials and two colorful full-page miniatures in the Gothic style adorn the important text

Lawbook of the City of Herford

Msc. 1 Kommunalarchiv Herford (Herford, Germany)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Lawbook of the City of Herford

The Lawbook of the City of Herford is the most precious item stored in the city archives of Herford, Germany (not to be confused with Hereford, England) today. Written ca. 1375, it is based in part on the Sachsenspiegel by Eike von Repgow and various court cases from the city are listed in the last pages of the codex. The document is significant for both the legal and cultural history of the area. Written in Middle Low German, it summarizes the rights and duties of the citizens on 27 sheets of parchment and was created for the purpose of empowering the citizens of Herford by providing them with legal securities and guidelines for their behavior. The beautiful adornment of the manuscript with decorative initials and two colorful full-page miniatures in the Gothic style attests to the prosperity and self-confidence of the community of Herford.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Rechtsbuch der Stadt Herford
Rechtsbuch der Stadt Herford: vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Original-Format der illuminierten Handschrift aus dem 14. Jahrhundert
Size / Format
54 pages / 35.5 x 23.5 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
1375
Style
Language
Illustrations
2 full-page miniatures and decorative initials
Detail Picture

Lawbook of the City of Herford

Recording Court Proceedings

Surrounded by jurors debating the verdict of a trial, a court clerk records the proceedings while seated in front of the table, on which lies the court sword, a symbol of the authority to punish capitol offenses, and a reliquary, upon which oaths were sworn. The scribe wears a simple tunic and tights in comparison to the richly dressed burghers who are serving as jurors. He is believed to be the author of this manuscript – the initials “S” and “H” on his tunic identify him as Siffridus Hanteloye.

Rechtsbuch der Stadt Herford: vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Original-Format der illuminierten Handschrift aus dem 14. Jahrhundert
Single Page

Law Book of the City of Herford

The Elder Wise Man

This lawbook claims legitimacy from Cicero, Cato, and Aristotle and draws from their teachings on the advantages of city life and the rights and responsibilities of the community. The allegorical figure of a scholar found at the beginning of the manuscript embodies these sentiments and he is positioned as the foundation of the cityscape depicted above.

He is seated in front of a blue-and-gold checkerboard background and is dressed in a long green patterned tunic, a red cloak, and a hat. A banderole that frames him reads: “Oh, my dear citizens, be of one mind, for the citizens' harmony is the cities' best fortification”. The beautiful décor of the manuscript, including numerous decorative initials, is an expression of urban self-confidence.

Rechtsbuch der Stadt Herford: vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Original-Format der illuminierten Handschrift aus dem 14. Jahrhundert
Facsimile Editions

#1 Rechtsbuch der Stadt Herford: vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Original-Format der illuminierten Handschrift aus dem 14. Jahrhundert

Lawbook of the City of Herford – Msc. 1 – Kommunalarchiv Herford (Herford, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Lawbook of the City of Herford – Msc. 1 – Kommunalarchiv Herford (Herford, Germany) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Limited Edition: 380 copies
Binding: cloth slipcase
Commentary: 1 volume by Theodor Helmert-Corvey with contributions by Wolfgang Fedders, Ulrich Weber, Heinrich Rütting, Wolfgang Schild and others
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Blind embossed cowhide leather cover
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