Vienna Hispana Codex

Vienna Hispana Codex – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Cod. Vindob. 411 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)

Eastern France near the Rhineland (France) — Around 800

The template for the most extensive canonical forgery of the Middle Ages: the oldest surviving copy of the Hispana is now a valuable piece of ecclesiastical history from the East Franconian Empire ca. 800

  1. The Hispana was a collection of ecclesiastical legal regulations that first originated in Spain and was also later used in Gaul

  2. The surviving Viennese manuscript was written at the end of the 8th century and rebound in 1527

  3. It is the oldest preserved copy of the canonical text and served as a model for the so-called "pseudoisidorian decrees"

Vienna Hispana Codex

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Vienna Hispana Codex

The Hispana (complete with a collectio canonum or "collection of canons") is a collection of ecclesiastical laws of popes and councils, which originated in Spain and was later also used in Gaul. There are several manuscripts of it dating back to the 10th century. One manuscript was already written in 788 for Bishop Rachio of Strasbourg. However, since this manuscript was lost in a fire in Strasbourg in 1870, the Vienna manuscript is the oldest testimony to the Hispana today . The manuscript has the highest source value for church history and church law for the East Frankish Empire, since it served inter alia as a model for the "pseudoisidorian decrees" in the 9th century. The script of the Hispana is a beautifully developed Carolingian minuscule.

Vienna Hispana Codex

The Vienna Hispana Codex is a liturgical manuscript presumably written in eastern France near the Rhineland judging by the script – a beautiful Carolingian minuscule. Further information about its origins can be found in the texts, which correspond with a work written in 788 for Bishop Rachio of Strasbourg and lost by fire in 1870 (C.L.A., VI. 835). As such, it has been an early and important source for similar texts and for historians interested in the medieval church.
The manuscript was rebound in 1527 at the expense of Johannes Marquardus (cf. fol. I) before coming to the library of Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria (1529–95) at Ambras Castle, located in the hills above Innsbruck, later in the 16th century. It bore the number 281 in the Ambras collection which was incorporated in the Vienna Palatine Library in 1665. Today it is numbered among the extensive collection of precious and historic manuscripts that is found in Austrian National Library in Vienna, where it is stored under the shelf mark Cod. Vindob. 411.

The Canon Texts

The largest portion of the manuscript comprising folios 1r-202v consists of the Canones Conciliorum, usque ad Concilium Hispalense secundum or “Canons of the Councils, up to the Second Council of Spain”. It is followed by the Decretalia Pontificum usque ad Hormisdam, Virgilium et Gregorium (fol. 202v-312v) or “Decrees of the Pontiffs as far as Hormisda, Virgil, and Gregory”. The third and final text is a short numerological work called De valore numerico literarum graecarum or “On the Numerical Value of Greek Letters” (fol. 312v-313v).


Alternative Titles
Wiener Hispana-Handschrift
Size / Format
634 pages / 31.0 × 20.5 cm
Around 800

Available facsimile editions:
Vienna Hispana Codex – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Cod. Vindob. 411 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1974
Facsimile Editions

#1 Wiener Hispana-Handschrift

Binding: Half leather
Commentary: 1 volume (72 pages) by Otto Mazal
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. 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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)
You might also be interested in:
Codex Albeldense – Testimonio Compañía Editorial – D.I.2 – Real Biblioteca del Monasterio (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain)
Codex Albeldense
Monastery of St. Martin at Albelda (Rioja, Spain) – 976

Doctrinal and legal texts of early councils and civil law, the history of Mohamed, Benedict's rules, Gregory's homilies...: Probably the most famous composite manuscript of the Middle Ages and the first European text with Arabic numerals

Experience More
Codex Epistolaris Carolinus – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Cod. Vindob. 449, Jur. Can 83 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Codex Epistolaris Carolinus
Cologne (Germany) – 9th century

Invaluable sources on early medieval politics and church history from the court scriptorium of Emperor Charlemagne: The most important documents on the relationship between the Frankish Empire and the Papacy

Experience More
Sacramentarium Leonianum – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Codex Veronensis LXXXV (80) – Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Sacramentarium Leonianum
Mid 6th century

Contains the oldest preserved prayers of the Catholic Church: a 6th century manuscript of great historical and theological importance with liturgical texts from the pen of Pope Leo I himself

Experience More
Saint Petersburg Bede – Rosenkilde and Bagger – Lat. Q.v.I.18 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Saint Petersburg Bede
Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey or York (United Kingdom) – 735–750

The oldest historiated initial in the history of European illumination: preserved in the Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the highly educated Beda Venerabilis

Experience More
Secretum Templi II – Ediciones Grial – Several Owners
Secretum Templi II
France/Spain – 1308–1312

The unbroken fascination of the Knights Templar: original documents stolen in 1985 as testimonies of the daily life, organization and ceremonies in the life of the Knights Templar, their persecution and their absolution in Spain and Portugal

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection