The German inscriptions

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The German Inscriptions of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age (DI) is an interacademic epigraphic publication company founded in 1934 by the Germanist Friedrich Panzer ( Heidelberg ) in collaboration with the historians Karl Brandi ( Göttingen ) and Hans Hirsch ( Vienna ) . The project is funded by the academy program.


The first collections of medieval inscriptions go back to the time of the High Middle Ages and the time of early humanism . One of the first in the area of ​​today's Germany is "the Mainz inscription collection of Hebelin von Heimbach in the 16th century"; in the 17th century collections followed on a larger scale. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the collections increased in the context of the emerging history . Numerous and extensive collections of material were created; "[T] he theoretical penetration of the material was limited to the development of a Christian or early Christian epigraphy [...]."

The beginnings (1900–1939)

The historical development of the epigraphic edition project “German Inscriptions” and the series of publications connected with it go back to the initiatives of Friedrich Panzer and Karl Brandi at the beginning of the 20th century. Both had already dealt with inscriptions and inscription carriers from the Middle Ages and the early modern period as sources for linguistics and history from their respective fields of research and were dissatisfied with the current state of epigraphic research. Brandi in particular emphasizes that “there was a complete lack of really useful tools and methods for dating German inscriptions,” even if there was “an abundance of individual publications and notes” that could serve as the first collections of material. Together with Edward Schröder he came up with the plan in Marburg to “establish a 'German epigraphy'”; however, a change of Brandis to Göttingen prevented a practical implementation.

After Brandi's first attempt at the beginning of the 1900s had failed, Panzer initiated a first conceptual meeting of the representatives of the academies in Berlin, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Munich and Vienna thirty years later, more precisely on August 2nd. The conception phase dragged on for a few months until in August 1934 in Bamberg the areas and periods of work had been defined, Panzer appointed as chairman and Heidelberg appointed as the central office and financial issues clarified. The last academies approved the project by Christmas 1934. The inscriptions of the city of Mainz should be used as the basis for a first sample edition. This should serve "at the same time [...] as an attempt in relation to the delimitation of the material and individual questions of the material" and by Konrad F. Bauer on the basis of his dissertation "Mainzer Epigraphik. Contributions to the history of medieval epigraphy ”from 1936 onwards. Ernst Cucuel and Hermann Eckert began work on the inscriptions on the Main and Taubergrund in 1934 .

Those involved in the project also planned to develop a methodological foundation within their university and academic activities and to involve the next generation of epigraphers. Brandis did this in thematic exercises and lectures, which he offered in the winter semesters 1934/35 and 1935/36, and on the part of the other participating scientists by holding an inscription camp of the cartel of the German academies , which was held from the 6th to the July 11, 1936 was held in Mainz. The participants emphasized the interdisciplinary and international orientation of medieval and early modern epigraphy as well as the necessity of linking the theoretical basis and practical work such as experience.

The epigraphic work in Heidelberg went its course, but the work on the 'Musterband' Mainz stalled between 1936 and 1938. "Bauer probably no longer saw himself in a position to continue carrying out the project alongside his regular work and therefore suggested Arens [1938] as his successor [...]." On January 23, 1939, Fritz Arens officially started work on the Mainz tape . Postal correspondence developed between Arens and Panzer, in which both dealt with fundamental questions of inscription editing and drafted guidelines for the project for the future.

Third Reich and Second World War (1939–1945)

"The Second World War was a severe setback for the company [...]." The German Research Foundation decided to discontinue funding on September 30, 1939. Emergency funding came first from the Heidelberg Academy, then from the DFG. The drafting of the employees for military service also threatened the project, even if, as can be seen from the example of Arens in 1941, attempts were made to portray the employees and the project as "important companies" and thus to protect them.

The war damage hindered work, employees and workers fell or went missing during the war years, material collections and typescripts worked out in Heidelberg and Mainz were lost or - like Aren's first typescript in the Mainz volume - destroyed in a bombing raid in 1942. Because of this, in 1942, instead of the Arens Mainz volume planned as a 'sample volume', the inscriptions of the Baden Main and Taubergrunds appeared as volume DI-1 of the series. In February 1945, Arens and Bauer were also able to publish an introductory booklet intended to promote young talent.

Post-war period (1945 to today)

During the first post-war years, Arens was able to resume work. Between 1951 and 1958 his Mainz volume was published in ten deliveries as volume DI-2 of the publication series. In contrast to the Heidelberg classification in DI-1, Arens implemented a chronological order in DI-2. Other volumes begun during the war - such as volume DI-4, published in 1958 - could gradually be published.

In 1951 Panzer had to give up the chair due to age. In 1959 the inscription company was able to reconstitute itself. Long-established research centers were renewed in terms of personnel and received new impulses or - like the Mainz office in 1978 - were founded from scratch.

On the territory of the GDR, Ernst Schubert started working at the inscription company as an employee of the department for art history at the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin in 1954, but had to stop it when the department was closed in 1971. In 1992, as part of the restructuring of the Berlin Academy, Schubert succeeded in setting up a department for inscription research at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences . Four years later he succeeded in founding another "German Inscriptions" post at the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig .

In 2020, the inter-academic inscription company with nine jobs in Germany and an Austrian one in Vienna reached its largest staffing level to date and confirmed its efficiency with the publication of two to three volumes of inscription per year.

Project and background

DI recorded the inscriptions from the early Middle Ages to the year 1650 and later in the area of ​​today's Federal Republic of Germany , the Republic of Austria and South Tyrol . 102 volumes have now been published (as of 2019). A single volume documents the inscriptions of one or more specific buildings (cathedral) or groups of buildings (monastery complex), a city or a district or a political district in Austria.

The sponsors are the Academies of Sciences in Berlin , Düsseldorf , Göttingen , Heidelberg , Leipzig , Mainz and Munich as well as the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna .

In Germany and Austria, the company, together with the Munich Epigraphic Documentation Center, represents the research area of ​​medieval and modern epigraphy on a scientific level.

The inscription volumes are published by Reichert-Verlag, but some of them can also be viewed in the online portal “Deutsche Insschriften Online (DIO)”.

German Inscriptions Online (DIO)

The “German Inscriptions Online” project was planned and implemented as an inter-academic project between the Göttingen and Mainz academies . The aim of the project was the digitization and online provision of the inscription volumes DI 66/45/56/58/61. The implementation of the project is based on the technical basis of the databases developed in the Greifswald and Mainz offices . The project is a pilot project and sees itself as an extension of the project "Inscriptions Middle Rhine - Hunsrück (IMH)", which was carried out in Mainz in 2008 in collaboration with the Institute for Historical Regional Studies at the University of Mainz , which merely digitizes the volume "The inscriptions of the Rhine-Hunsrück Kreises I (DI 60) ”by Eberhard J. Nikitsch . The original website of the IMH project has now been incorporated into the new DIO portal. In the long term, the digitization and online provision of further volumes of inscriptions as well as a translation of the portal into English are planned.

In addition to the digitized edition volumes, DIO offers a full-text search, epigraphic news and the article series “Epigraphic Tip” and “Inscription in Focus” on certain types and forms of inscriptions, as well as a glossary and a list of thematic links. In addition, the portal offers not only texts, but also photographs embedded in the corresponding catalog numbers for numerous inscriptions and in this way tries to combine various options for conveying information.

So far, a total of 47 volumes of inscriptions can be accessed (as of January 2020).

Volumes available online

There are also six online catalogs that are either only available in digital form or have not been published in print as part of the edition series "Die Deutsche Insschriften".

The Heidelberg Academy of Sciences has made another five volumes available online as digital copies.

Cooperation projects

The edition project The inscriptions of the “German national church” Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome . Part 1: From the Middle Ages to 1559. were implemented in the context of the edition series Die Deutsche Insschriften and its digital offshoot DIO in cooperation with the DHI Rome . As an interdisciplinary project of various workplaces and institutes in the context of DIO, with St. Stephan a digital tour through the Kreuzbau of St. Stephen's Church in Mainz was used to create possibilities for processing, linking and - also aimed at a broad interested public - epigraphic, general historical representation and space-related issues.

The Inscriptions in the Reference System of Space (IBR) project, which is part of the so-called Spatial Humanities , uses terrestrial laser scanning to reproduce the interior of the Church of Our Lady in Oberwesel and links it with the epigraphic specialist data of the digitally published DI volumes, "to use this as a basis for spatial and content-related To model and analyze relationships between epigraphic and anepigraphic objects. ”The aim of the project is to develop a web application and a“ semantic model that represents the meaning and reference levels of the space between inscription, furnishings, liturgy and society and connects to a network ”and in this way, on the one hand, opens up new questions and, on the other hand, allows existing questions to be answered using quantitative methods.

Within the DFG project Reference Corpus of Historical Texts in German based at Ruhr University Bochum and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz , the digitally available inscription texts are "completely grammatically annotated using a STTS-related tag set (HiTS)" and lemmatized automatically. The texts are then made available in the reference corpus German inscriptions . The corpus should "after completion include approx. 400,000 annotated word forms" and then be available for further linguistic and codicological questions.

See also


The German inscriptions

  • Karl Brandi: Foundation of a German inscription . In: German Archive for Research into the Middle Ages, Vol. 1 (1937) pp. 11–43.
  • Friedrich Panzer: The inscriptions of the German Middle Ages. A call to collect and edit them . Written on behalf of the Academies of Sciences in Berlin, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Munich and Vienna. Leipzig 1938.
  • Ernst Cucuel: The German inscription work of the united academies, its tasks, goals and methods . In: Blätter für deutsche Landesgeschichte Vol. 85 (1939) pp. 116-134.
  • Rudolf M. Kloos : The German inscriptions . In: German Archives for Research into the Middle Ages Vol. 15 (1959) pp. 177–181.
  • Rudolf M. Kloos: The German inscriptions. A report on the German inscription company . In: Studi medievali Ser. 3, 14 (1973) pp. 335-362.
  • German inscriptions. Font description terminology . Acquired of the employees of the inscription commissions of the Academies of Sciences in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Göttingen, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Mainz, Munich and Vienna. Wiesbaden 1999.
  • Renate Neumüllers-Klauser, lunch in the hotel "Bamberger Hof" with consequences, 1934. On the beginnings of the German inscription company. In: Werner Taegert (ed.), Hortulus Floridus Bambergensis. Studies on Franconian art and cultural history. Renate Baumgärtel-Fleischmann on May 4, 2002, Petersberg 2004, pp. 415-420.
  • Eberhard J. Nikitsch: Fritz V. Arens as a Mainz inscription collector and epigraphist . In: Mainzer Zeitschrift Vol. 103 (2008) pp. 231–243.
  • Karl Stackmann : Report on the activities of the Inscription Commission (1970–1994): Göttingen's contribution to the collection and processing of German inscriptions , in: Yearbook of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1994, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1995, pp. 130–143 ( Report on the work of the commission in Göttingen).

German inscriptions online

Web links

German inscriptions project


Individual evidence

  1. see presentation of the research projects in the academy program of the Göttingen Academy accessed April 21, 2020
  2. Kloos, 1973, p. 338.
  3. Kloos, 1973, p. 341.
  4. Kloos, 1973, pp. 337-41.
  5. ^ Panzer, foreword, p. IX; Nikitsch, p. 233. And in a similar tenor, Kloos 1959, 1959, p. 178.
  6. Brandi, p. 11, 39–40: “With classical epigraphy one stands on solid ground. […] Even with the Carolingian era, the problems increased, and that increased from century to century. ”(Pp. 39–40) - In Brandi's opinion, there was also a lack of competent offspring. See Brandi, p. 13.
  7. a b Brandi, p. 11.
  8. ^ Neumüllers-Klauser, p. 416.
  9. Brandi, p. 12.
  10. Nikitsch, pp. 232-3; Kloos, 1959, p. 177; Kloos, 1973, pp. 342-3; Kloos, 1973, pp. 341-3.
  11. Nikitsch, pp. 233-4; Brandi, pp. 12-14.
  12. Brandi, pp. 13–14: "Delegates from the German academies [...], i.e. Germanists, art and legal historians as well as palaeographers and historians, [...] met for more detailed discussions about the further progress of the work." (P. 14 )
  13. Brandi, p. 18: “Therefore, this method must be secured […]. On the one hand through an overview that is as broad as possible in terms of time, and secondly through an equally extensive spatial reach into the great medieval unity of the West. "
  14. Nikitsch, p. 234; Brandi, pp. 13–14, 20, 40: "In the afternoons there were visits [...], combined with practical exercises in reading, assessing, also in copying and rubbing through stone and metal inscriptions [...]." (P. 14) - “Good vision also includes a sense of technique, knowledge of the types of stone and their way of weathering or scraping off; vivid ideas of the work of the chisel [...]. ”(p. 20) -“ With all visible things, drawing, namely pausing and tracing yourself, is an irreplaceable means of penetrating the structure of the forms. ”(p. 40)
  15. Nikitsch, p. 235. There p. 234 a copy of the correspondence between Arens and Panzer.
  16. Nikitsch, pp. 235–6. There p. 236 reprint of Aren's first invoice.
  17. ^ Kloos, 1959, p. 177.
  18. ^ Arens usage map, January 15, 1941, printed by Nikitsch, p. 238.
  19. Nikitsch, p. 237.
  20. Nikitsch, pp. 237–8, see also the quotations from Aren's letter to Panzer of August 30, 1942; Kloos, 1959, p. 177; Kloos, 1973, p. 344.
  21. Kloos, 1973, p. 344.
  22. Kloos, 1959, pp. 178-9; Nikitsch, pp. 239, 241.
  23. ^ Kloos, 1959, p. 177.
  24. Kloos, 1959, pp. 177-8; Nikitsch, p. 241.
  25. See also the page Editing and Editing Principles for “The German Inscriptions” (accessed March 17, 2014) as of June 2005 and the project's own “Terminology for Description of Fonts” for detailed inclusion and edition criteria for the publication series.
  26. In May 2011 the number of catalog numbers was still 4170 and the number of images was around 4000. See Schrade, Epigraphik im Digitale Umgebung , Paragraph 2.
  27. The inscriptions on the church can be found in DI-60 Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis I.
  28. IBR: project description (accessed March 17, 2014).
  29. IBR: project description (accessed March 17, 2014).
  30. ReDI project website (University of Bochum) (accessed: March 14, 2014).
  31. ReDI project website (University of Bochum) (accessed: March 14, 2014).