Codex Sangallensis 857

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The Codex sangallensis 857 is the most extensive and completely preserved German-language epics - collective manuscript of the 13th century . It contains one of the largest copies as the Nibelungenlied, Nibelungen handwriting B is called.



318 sheets of the manuscript are in the St. Gallen Abbey Library , five sheets in the Berlin State Library (mgf 1021) and the inner column of a sheet in the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe (Cod. K 2037). The 318 sheets in the Abbey Library of St. Gallen were written by six or seven different hands.

Every epic begins with a new situation. The main scribe provided the complete Willehalm , he continued the Parzival begun by another scribe and also helped to create parts of the Nibelungenlied . The language and furnishings of the different hands refer to a professional writing room that was probably located in the Alpine region. The scriptorium also made use of Italian illuminators , as indicated by the precious initial jewelry. Furthermore, it is assumed that the work was not used as a complete collection from the start, but was later put together. This is indicated by signs of use at the beginning of the individual seals.

The sheet size of the collection is 310-315 × 215 mm, of which 255-260 × 165 mm were described. The leaves were written in two columns. The verse structure is not the same in the entire codex, but is set off in Parzival , Charlemagne and Willehalm , but not in the Nibelungenlied , the associated lament , the verse verse of Friedrich von Sonnenburg , Childhood of Jesus and Our vrouwen hinvart .


The St. Gallen collective manuscript 857 is dated to the middle of the 13th century - the St. Gallen Abbey Library itself even writes very explicitly "around 1260" on its website.

The episode collection comes from the estate of the Swiss historian and statesman Aegidius Tschudi and has been in the abbey library since 1768. Since it belongs together with the Berlin manuscript (Mgf 1062) or the Riedegger manuscript around 1300 and the Donaueschingen manuscript (Fürstl. Fürstenbergische Hofbibliothek 74), which was also created around 1300, to the collection of the three completely preserved large collections, its value for the then still young discipline of German research recognized. Johann Jakob Bodmer , Karl Lachmann and Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen were among the first scientists to study the collection in detail.

Based on this, the relevant editions of the Nibelungenlied , Parzival and Willehalm are still based on this codex. It also served as the basis for the development of a normalized spelling for editing Middle High German texts.

More recent research then showed that with the two poems Childhood of Jesus by Konrad von Fußesbrunnen and Unser vrouwen hinvart by Konrad von Heimesfurt, two spiritual texts also belong to the manuscript. However, these pages were removed from the code at an unknown point in time and are now in libraries in Berlin and Karlsruhe (see above).

Nibelung Manuscript B, together with Hohenems-Munich Manuscript A and Donaueschingen Nibelung Manuscript C, has been part of the Unesco World Document Heritage since 2009 .

Individual evidence

  1. German UNESCO Commission


  • Sankt Galler Nibelungen manuscript (Cod. Sang. 857); Parzival, Nibelungenlied, Lament; Charlemagne, Willehalm . Digital facsimile, ed. from the Abbey Library of St. Gallen 2003. 1 CD-ROM, booklet by Michael Stolz (Codices Electronici Sangallenses 1).

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