Nibelungenlied und die Klage

Nibelungenlied und die Klage Facsimile Edition

Passau (Germany) — Second quarter of the 13th century

Etzel and Hagen, Siegfried and Kriemhild in pictures: the only comprehensive picture cycle of the German national epic

  1. The Hundeshagen manuscript is the only comprehensive picture cycle of the story of Siegfried the dragon slayer

  2. It combines fictitious and real events from the Migration Period and the Merovingians

  3. The work was lost for a long time but was rediscovered in the 18th century and was considered the German national epic in the 19th century

Nibelungenlied und die Klage

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  1. Description
  2. Single Page
  3. Facsimile Editions (1)
Nibelungenlied und die Klage

The famous story surrounding the valiant Siegfried and his beloved Kriemhild, the wild Brünhild, and many more familiar protagonists belongs among the oldest literary evidence of the German language. After the saga was orally transmitted for centuries, the text was first recorded in writing ca. 1200. The Middle High German heroic epic was subsequently widely disseminated in manuscripts, some of which still survive today. The oldest and most comprehensive among them is the so-called Manuscript C or the Hohenems-Donaueschinger Manuscript.


Since 2001, this gem of linguistic and literary history has been kept in the Badischen Landesbibliothek in Karslruhe. The manuscript probably originates from the second quarter of the 13th century, presumably ca. 1230. This oldest transcript of the Nibelungenlied originates **from the Bavarian-Alemannic area and was written down in the language used in Tirol or Voralberg.

A Spectacular Discovery

The precious manuscript was forgotten for a long time and was first rediscovered in the 18th century. This sensational rediscovery aroused great scholarly and national enthusiasm. From the library of the dukes of Hohenems, the location of the spectacular find, the manuscript finally came into the possession of the Baron of Laßberg in 1816. After his death, the holdings joined the library of the princes of Fürstenberg, the Hofbibliothek Donaueshingen.

A Unique Textual Testimony

The famous Manuscript C contains the text of the Nibelungenlied and the Klage. In 2,439 strophes, the 39 ‘Aventiures’ of the Nibelungenlied are sung. The Klage is comprised of 4,427 verses. Among the three surviving 13th century manuscripts, Manuscript C takes on a special position as the oldest and most comprehensive, and is considered today to be the reference manuscript, upon which the field of research bases itself. As a sign of its significance, the Hohenems-Donauschinger manuscript of the Nibelungenlied has been raised to the status of a UNESCO Memory of the World Document.

“Uns ist in alten mæren, wunders vil geseit…”

Hiding behind the unadorned 114-page manuscript, bound in simple leather, is a true national epic, a tragic and exciting story of power and vengeance, love and hate. The beginning of the text is adorned with a beautifully colorful initial and the coat of arms of the Baron of Laßberg. The following text is continuously interfused with great red letters and colorful initials. Thus, the historical substance of the text comes entirely come into its own.


Alternative Titles
Das Nibelungenlied und Die Klage: Handschrift C der F. F. Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen
The Song of the Nibelungs
Size / Format
228 pages / 24.5 × 17.0 cm
Second quarter of the 13th century
Protogothic minuscule
Several fleuronnée initials
A version of the epic poem "Nibelungenlied"
Previous Owners
Heinrich Durricher
Joseph Freiherr von Laßberg

Available facsimile editions:
Nibelungenlied und die Klage – Ms. 63 – Fürstlich Fürstenbergischen Hofbibliothek (Donaueschingen, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1968
Limited Edition: 500 copies
Single Page

Nibelungenlied und die Klage

Opening Page with Initial and Coat of Arms

This codex, referred to as Manuscript C among the surviving manuscripts of the Nibelungenlied, is considered to be authoritative and is text-forward with the original artistic adornment of the manuscript limited to fleuronnée initials in light blue and red as well as countless smaller red initials. Naturally, the opening page of the work has the largest and most elaborate initial with interlace filigree tendrils.

The heraldic medallion miniature in the right margin reads “Joseph von Laszberg, Knight” and refers to the German antiquarian Baron Joseph Maria Christoph von Laßberg, who acquired the manuscript in 1816. It is a 19th century addition that was intentionally executed in the Gothic style to make it look original and features his coat of arms with a decorative helmet set against a green diamond-patterned background with tiny gold stars.

Das Nibelungenlied und Die Klage: Handschrift C der F. F. Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen
Facsimile Editions

#1 Das Nibelungenlied und Die Klage: Handschrift C der F. F. Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen

Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1968

Publisher: Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1968
Limited Edition: 500 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Heinz Engels
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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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