De arte venandi cum avibus, one of the most famous manuscripts of the Middle Ages: the masterpiece of falconry, written by the Staufer Emperor Frederick II

The Art of Falconry by Frederick II

Rotunda or Naples (Italy) — ca. 1258–1266

The Art of Falconry by Frederick II

The Art of Falconry by Frederick II

Rotunda or Naples (Italy) — ca. 1258–1266

  1. This codex originated in Italy between 1258 and 1266 and was personally authored by Emperor Frederick II (1194–1250)

  2. The work was compiled from Arabic sources and the Emperor's own experiments and observations

  3. The text is illustrated with more than nine hundred pictures of over eighty different types of birds

Arte de Cetrería de Federico II

The Art of Falconry by Frederick II

The Emperor’s Falconers

A team of falconers was required to maintain the unequalled collection of falcons and hawks belonging to the greatest falconer in history, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen. They are dressed in the flowing robes popular in the 13th century, with the striped clothing of the two central figures indicating that they are wealthy, perhaps even noble. Two more modestly-dressed falconers kneel on either side of them, one tying his bird to a perch, while the other’s bird bathes itself.

The Art of Falconry by Frederick II

Alternative Titles:
  • De Arte Venandi cum avibus
  • Arte de cetrería de Federico II
  • Falkenbuch Friedrichs II.
  • Die Kunst mit Falken zu Jagen von Kaiser Friedrich II.
  • Falkenbuch Kaiser Friedrichs II. - De arte venandi cum avibus
  • Emperor Frederick II – The Art of Falconry
  • Manfred Manuscript
  • Über die Kunst mit Vögeln zu jagen
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology
Short Description

The Falcon Book of Emperor Frederick II originates from Italy from somewhere between 1258 and 1266. It was composed by the enthusiastic falconer Frederick from Arabic sources and his own experiments and observations. The special manuscript remained into modern times a standard work of ornithology and impressed its readers with unbelievably realistic and precise scenes from nature.

Emperor Frederick II’s Falcon Book

One of the most important textbooks about falconry and ornithology of the Middle Ages was composed by Emperor Frederick II. The manuscript with the Latin title De arte vanandi cum avibus was written by Frederick II with comments from his son Manfred between 1241 and 1248. One hundred and seventy depictions of human figures illustrate the work. Additionally the book includes pictures from more than 900 types of bird, of twelve horses and thirty-six other animals as well as equipment that is necessary for falconry.

The Historical Background

Fredrick II of the noble Staufer family was the King of Sicily from 1198, the Roman-German King from 1212 and Emperor from 1220 until his death. He was one of the greatest rulers of the Middle Ages. His court developed as an important center of literature and science. The keen ornithologist composed his Falcon Bookusing Arabic sources and his own observations. The text is illustrated with more than nine hundred pictures of over eighty different types of bird. They show the different attitudes of the birds but falconers, their activities, and their tools are also depicted. It also provides information on the operation of a falconry.

Attractive Book Decoration

The Falcon Book has remained the standard work of falconryuntil well into modern times. This is due in particular to the scientific accuracy and systematic approach of Frederick, who worked with empirical methods and was thus far ahead of his contemporaries. Several experiments on his study of admired birds make his work unique, but his wonderful illustrations also contribute to the extraordinary fame of the book. The fully illuminated manuscript shows images of unsurpassed closeness to nature and precision. Though landscape and architectural scenery is consistent with contemporary style, the inclusion of over nine hundred pictures of birds is a novelty. A previously unknown realism is achieved in the pictures – from the appearance to the specific attitudes of the various bird types. The original issue of the Falcon Book can be found today in the apostolic library in the Vatican.

Codicology
Alternative Titles
De Arte Venandi cum avibus
Arte de cetrería de Federico II
Falkenbuch Friedrichs II.
Die Kunst mit Falken zu Jagen von Kaiser Friedrich II.
Falkenbuch Kaiser Friedrichs II. - De arte venandi cum avibus
Emperor Frederick II – The Art of Falconry
Manfred Manuscript
Über die Kunst mit Vögeln zu jagen
Size / Format
222 pages / 36.0 × 25.0 cm
Date
ca. 1258–1266
Style
Language
Illustrations
170 human figures, more than 900 species of birds, 12 horses and 36 other animals plus all the paraphenalia needed for falconry
Content
Treatise on hunting with birds of prey and a study of birds
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Arte de Cetrería de Federico II

The Art of Falconry by Frederick II

Author Page

The second page of this manuscript is damaged, but contains an important portrait of its author, the powerful and brilliant Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II. He is depicted enthroned, crowned, and wearing a blue cloak and red tunic, holding a fleur-de-lys in his right hand, pointing to his falcon with the left. His son, King Manfred of Sicily, is depicted below him in almost identical fashion, but he is holding a scepter and the colors of their garments are switched.

Normally, one might expect a dedication miniature on a page in this part of a codex, wherein a scribe or monk would present a book to the patron. Instead we have a depiction of Frederick and his son being presented with hooded falcons by kneeling, well-dressed falconers.

3 available facsimile edition(s) of „The Art of Falconry by Frederick II“

Arte de Cetrería de Federico II Facsimile

The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Art of Falconry by Frederick II – Pal. Lat. 1071 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
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Arte de Cetrería de Federico II Facsimile

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 2004
Limited Edition
980 copies
Binding
Handbound in embossed brown leather with metal clasps
Commentary
1 volume by José Manuel Fradejas Rueda
Language: Spanish
More Information
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.
Regularly from 2,390 €
Edition available
Price: Login here!

De Arte Venandi cum Avibus Facsimile

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De Arte Venandi cum Avibus Facsimile

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1969
Limited Edition
1000 copies
Binding
Brown suede leather over wooden boards Protected with the commentary in a slip case with a leather spine
Commentary
1 volume by Carl A. Willemsen
Language: German
More Information
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)2,390 €
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De Arte Venandi cum Avibus Facsimile

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De Arte Venandi cum Avibus Facsimile

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Edilan – Madrid, 1978
Commentary
1 volume by Esther Perera Fernandez and Agustin Santiago Luque
More Information
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.
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