Middle High German Spruchdichtung - Early Meistersang

Middle High German Spruchdichtung - Early Meistersang – Reichert Verlag – Codex Palatinus Germanicus 350 – UniversitĂ€tsbibliothek Heidelberg (Heidelberg, Germany)

Germany — 1250-1380

A "best-of" of Middle High German poetry: works of the so-called Twelve Old Masters from the 13th and 14th centuries united in a magnificent 16th century binding

  1. The codex represents one of the most important surviving collections of Spruchdichtung and Meistersang

  2. In 1558, the codex was created with a binding depicting Prince Elector Palatine Ottheinrich (1502–59)

  3. It includes works by Reinmar von Zweter, Walther von der Vogelweides, der Marner, Frauenlob, and others

Middle High German Spruchdichtung - Early Meistersang

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Middle High German Spruchdichtung - Early Meistersang

The Heidelberg Liederhandschrift (Cod. Pal. germ. 350) consists of three separate collections of Middle High German Spruchdichtung and early Meistersang spanning the 13th and 14th centuries, which can largely be attributed to the so-called “Twelve Old Masters”. While the first part contains almost all the works of Reinmar von Zweter supplemented with some political poetry by Walther von der Vogelweide, the second part is mostly religious and moralistic in nature and the third part includes contributions from Regenbogen, der Marner, and Frauenlob. These three works were combined into a single codex in 1558, the calfskin binding of which has been furnished with tooled brass fittings and clasps as well as gold embossing: a portrait of the Prince Elector Palatine Ottheinrich with the year 1558 on the front cover and his coat of arms on the back. Altogether, the manuscript represents a cross-section of Middle High German poetry from some of its most distinguished practitioners.

Middle High German Spruchdichtung – Early Meistersang

The contents of this outstandingly important manuscript for the history of the German language and Spruchdichtung in particular have been dated to between 1250 and 1380, judging by the written evidence, and localized thanks to the dialectical markers in the language. Judging by the abrasions on the outer leaves of Fascicle I, it remained as a set of loose leaves for a long time before it was bound with Fascicle II during the 14th century. The last few pages in Fascicle III, a collection referred to as “Apologetics and Praise of Mary”, was appended thereafter. An old record of the manuscript from 1556/59 refers to it as Gaistliche vnd allte Lieder auf Perment geschrieben. The outstanding importance of this manuscript, which makes it unique for the transmission of Middle High German poetry, is based on the corpus of poetry by Reinmar von Zweter (ca. 1200 – after 1248), which in its present form proves to be a factually and chronologically ordered collection that was created during the poet's lifetime.

A Coveted Unicum

The portrait of Ottheinrich, Elector Palatine (1502–59), confirms that it was owned by the famous founder of the Bibliotheca Palatina, the most important library of the German Renaissance and one that supposedly rivalled that of the Pope. However, this debate was put to an end in the course of the 30 Years’ War: Heidelberg was sacked in 1622 by forces of the Catholic League and the entire library was taken as war booty to be gifted by Maximilian I of Bavaria (1573–1651) to the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana in 1623. This historic collection of Spruchdichtung has remained in Rome ever since.


Alternative Titles
Heidelberger Liederhandschrift cpg 350
Size / Format
138 pages / 15.5 × 24.5 cm
136 colored initials
1st collection with the work of Reinmar von Zweter, supplemented by political poetry of Walther von der Vogelweide and others.
2nd collection contains religious and moral sayings of various poets of the 13th century.
3rd collection with works on apologet
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
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