Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne

Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne

Zurich (Switzerland) — ca. 1300

Decorated with 58 golden miniatures of the Gothic style: the chronicle of the world and the history of Charlemagne in a German verse narrative

  1. Two German verse narratives by Rudolf von Ems (ca. 1200–54) and the "Stricker" were combined in a single Codex with golden miniatures

  2. The history of the world and Emperor Charlemagne is reproduced in over 33,000 rhyming couplets and 58 expressive miniatures on gold backgrounds

  3. The original text was created at the behest of the Staufer King Conrad IV (1228–54)

Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne

Regular price without login (like new)1,890 
Login for a Better Price!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne

Rudolf von Ems World Chronicle and the biographical Legends of Charlemagne, composed by the so-called “Knitter”, are two of the most beloved documents of German Gothic literature and were combined into a single codex ca. 1300. It is not only both epic texts, but rather the illumination of the work in particular that are spectacular. Biblical elements, ancient heroic sagas, and stories from the life of Charlemagne were depicted against a gold background in expressive style and surprising liveliness.

Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne

Around the year 1300, two beloved documents of German Gothic poetry were combined in one codex, namely the World Chronicle of Rudolf von Ems and the heroic epic about Charlemagne by the so-called der Stricker. Both of the High Middle German tales in verse are written in rhyming couplets and are decorated with lively miniatures set against costly golden backgrounds. The contents of this work, whose commissioner probably hailed from a courtly environment, was aimed at a knightly audience and takes the modern beholder back to the Middle Ages, to recite the world and legends of Charlemagne around a Gothic table with meat and drink.

Two Works, Two Masters

The World Chronicle, as was typical in the Middle Ages, is oriented toward the Bible and was compiled by the Staufian court poet Rudolf von Ems. It was created at the behest of the Staufen King Conrad IV and relates the history of the Earth in over 33,000 rhyming couplets, from the creation of the Earth to the death of King Solomon. The biblical events were stylized for the time period: the book art accompanying the text depicts slender female figures in flowing garments and battling knights in armor. No name for the author of the Legends of Charlemagne is known, only his pseudonym “Der Stricker” (knitter). His script does not resemble that of a cleric or a knight, it indicates that the author was from the Burgher class. For the structure of his epic, the Stricker used the Song of Roland, which told of Charlemagne and his trusted knight Roland, who falls valiantly in battle against the Saracens. Charlemagne, who was called by Roland’s horn Oliphant too late, could not save his friend, but nonetheless defeated the enemy in a subsequent battle, which is seen as being symbolic for Christian victory over the heathen.

The most Expensive Book Paintings of their Time

The 58 miniatures of the codex, which were laid upon a background of gold leaf, involve truly extraordinary book painting. The images are not in the style of the Zackenstil, as in previous works, but rather show a strong influence from the French art of illumination. Biblical elements, ancient hero sagas, and stories from the life of Charlemagne were depicted in expressive and surprising liveliness. The gold background of the paintings makes the exceptional worth of the codex clear. Not only are the stories both informative and enjoyable, but also the thrilling illustrations make this work an especially magnificent specimen of medieval German bookmaking.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Rudolf von Ems: Weltchronik – Der Stricker: Karl der Große
Die Weltchronik - Karl der Grosse
Weltchronik Rudolfs von Ems
Cronaca del Mondo e Storia di Carlo Magno
Chronicle of the World and History of Charlemagne
Cronica del Mundo
Size / Format
582 pages / 29.5 × 20.0 cm
Date
ca. 1300
Style
Language
Illustrations
58 miniatures on gold backgrounds
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Bartholomäus Schobinger (1500–85)

Available facsimile editions:
Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne – Ms 302 Vad. – Kantonsbibliothek, Vadiana (Saint-Gall, Switzerland)
Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1982
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Detail Picture

Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne

Roland Appointed Governor of Spain

Upper register: dressed in red, the famous paladin Roland kneels before Charlemagne, who is wearing a fur-lined cloak. Charlemagne bestows a crown and banner-lance as tokens of his authority as governor of Spain while Bishop Turpin and two arms bearers witness the ceremony. Lower register: Roland demonstrates his strength to Charlemagne and his entourage by driving a lance into a rock with such force that it sinks into it, which was taken as God’s endorsement of this appointment.

Rudolf von Ems: Weltchronik – Der Stricker: Karl der Große
Single Page

Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne

Conquest of Jerusalem

After David is anointed king over all Israel, he conquers the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, making it his capital and bringing the Ark of the Covenant there. The miniature is innovatively integrated into the text and set against a burnished gold background. This unique scene has the feel of a snapshot that freezes a moment in the action.

The early Gothic illumination presents the soldiers fighting in typical high medieval armor: long mail shirts, kite shields, armed with swords, axes, bows, and crossbows. The host of the Israelites, led by Joab climbing the ladder with shield in hand, attacks the tower as arrows and stones rain down upon them. Beautifully colored, the battlements of the tower also feature Gothic quatrefoil windows at the top.

Rudolf von Ems: Weltchronik – Der Stricker: Karl der Große
Facsimile Editions

#1 Rudolf von Ems: Weltchronik – Der Stricker: Karl der Große

Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1982
Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne – Ms 302 Vad. – Kantonsbibliothek, Vadiana (Saint-Gall, Switzerland)
Rudolf von Ems: World Chronicle - Der Stricker: Charlemagne – Ms 302 Vad. – Kantonsbibliothek, Vadiana (Saint-Gall, Switzerland) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Faksimile Verlag – Lucerne, 1982
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: True-to-original binding made from nappa cowhide ornately adorned with 16 brass fittings. The individual leaves have been trimmed according to the original and the headband is stitched by hand.
Commentary: 1 volume (307 pages) by Ellen J. Beer, Johannes Duft, Hubert Herkommer, Karin Schneider, Stefan Sonderegger, and Peter Wegelin
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.
Regular price without login (like new)1,890 
Login for a Better Price!
You might also be interested in:
Diebold Schilling's Spiez Illuminated Chronicle
Diebold Schilling's Spiez Illuminated Chronicle
Bern (Switzerland) – ca. 1480

The history of Bern from its foundation to the year 1465, narrated in over 300 pictures: the last and perhaps most beautiful city chronicle by the great Diebold Schilling

Experience More
Genealogy of the D’Este Princes
Genealogy of the D’Este Princes
Ferrara (Italy) – ca. 1474–1479

The secret kings of Italy: the story of one of the most powerful Italian noble families in wonderful portraits

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher