Bamberg Monastery

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Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806) .svg
Territory in the Holy Roman Empire
Bamberg Monastery
coat of arms
Coat of arms diocese Bamberg.png

Alternative names Principality , bishopric , pen
Form of rule Electoral principality / corporate state
Ruler / government Prince-bishop , administrator or vacant : cathedral chapter
Today's region / s DE-BY
Parliament 1 virile vote on the ecclesiastical bench in the Reichsfürstenrat
Reichskreis Franconian
Capitals / residences Bamberg
Denomination / Religions Roman Catholic
Language / n German ( Upper Franconian )

Incorporated into Annexation by the Electoral Palatinate of Bavaria (1802)

The Holy Roman Empire 1648
Map of the bishopric around 1700, copper engraving by Johann Baptist Homann
The Giechburg

The Bishopric of Bamberg was until the secularization in the early 19th century, the secular dominion of the Prince Bishop of Bamberg , a spiritual principality in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation .


Before secularization, it comprised an area of ​​3580 square kilometers, mainly in the Franconian region with 207,000 inhabitants, barely half of the population it had before the Reformation . From 1007 to 1759 the bishopric also had possessions in Carinthia , including the cities of Villach , Feldkirchen , Wolfsberg and Tarvis as well as the upper Lavant valley , the Canal valley and the area around Griffen , which controlled the Alpine passes there from north to south. It was also owned by the Upper Austrian church village on the Krems from the 11th to the 18th century . In 1675 the Bamberg bishopric renounced sovereignty over the possessions in Carinthia and sold them to the Habsburgs in 1759 .


Foundation of the diocese

Count Heinrich von Schweinfurt supported the East Franconian King Heinrich II in the election of a king in 1002 and was promised the ducal dignity for this . After the election, however, Henry II did not keep the promise. This led to the Schweinfurt feud in 1003 . Heinrich von Schweinfurt was defeated and lost his dominant position in what is now northern Bavaria, whereupon the royal courts of Rangau , Volkfeld and Radenzgau formed the core of the new diocese of Bamberg, which Heinrich II founded immediately afterwards and which was founded by Pope John XVIII in 1007 . (1004-1009) was confirmed.

In secular matters it was under the special protection of the German king, in spiritual matters under that of the Pope. Of the 62 bishops, the first was Heinrich II's chancellor, Eberhard , 1007-1040, the second, Suidger, became Pope in 1046 as Clement II . The sixth, Hermann, supported the foundation of the Benedictine Abbey of Banz by Countess Alberada (1071), founded the Augustinian Monastery of St. Jakob in Bamberg in 1073, was later charged with simony and waste by the Pope and deposed in 1075. His successor Rupert († 1102) was banned because he had declared himself against Gregory VII at the Imperial Assembly of Worms in 1076 , but was later renounced and reinstated. The eighth bishop, Otto I. von Mistelbach (1102–1139) was the famous apostle of Pomerania in 1124, died in 1139 and was canonized in 1189. From then on, the bishops were elected by the cathedral chapter, although the emperors claimed the right of appointment until 1398. The 15th bishop, Count Ekbert von Andechs (1203–1237), was an opponent of King Philip and in 1208 was suspected of having agreed to the murder of Philip by Otto von Wittelsbach . He fled to his brother-in-law, King Andrew of Hungary , was horrified of his episcopal dignity, ostracized and only reinstated in 1214. His second successor, Poppo , son of Margrave Berchtold III. of Istria, was horrified by Emperor Frederick II in 1242 for wasting church property and other offenses .

Creation of the Hochstift

Heinrich I von Bilversheim (1242–1257) first obtained special sovereign rights and from Emperor Friedrich II the title of Prince-Bishop. From 1251 the Altenburg became a bishopric. The 30th bishop, Lamprecht von Brunn (1374–1398), close advisor to Charles IV and later Chancellor of his son King Wenceslas the Lazy , introduced new taxes, namely the beer penny, which was still called the Lambertiner for centuries. In 1390, after a long waiting period, he acquired the Giechburg , which remained in the possession of the bishopric until secularization. Friedrich III. von Aufseß (1421–1431) resigned partly because of the Hussite War , partly because of the favoritism of the Bamberg citizens by the Roman-German King Sigismund in 1431 and died in 1440. Philipp von Henneberg (1475–1487) established the old court on the spot the Palatinate of Emperor Heinrich II. , made extensive expansions to Veldenstein Castle and Rosenberg Fortress in 1476/79 , drove the Jews from Bamberg and collected great treasures that his successor Heinrich III. Groß von Trockau (1487–1501) was very helpful in his battles against Margrave Casimir von Brandenburg .

Secular administration

Court offices

The four classic court offices that were hereditary in local noble families also existed in the bishopric of Bamberg . These existed until the end of the bishopric in 1802, but sank to sinecure in the 17th century . In the 13th to 15th century the Bamberg bishops contributed the highest prince of the kingdom of these functions as bambergisches fief on: Obertruchsess was the Elector Palatine, Upper Schenk king of Bohemia, Marshal of the King of Saxony and treasurer of the Elector of Brandenburg. These did not perceive the dignities themselves, but instead enfeoffed local noble families as afterfeeds.

The office of Bamberg inheritance was initially held by the Truchseß von Pommersfelden family . In 1710 it died out in the male line and thus fell back as a settled fiefdom to the Elector of Bavaria, who in 1628 had also taken over the office of chief trustee from the Palatinate with the electoral dignity. However, this was ostracized due to his role in the War of the Spanish Succession and his cure was declared forfeit. Prince-Bishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn took the opportunity and awarded the office to Christoph Heinrich von Schönfeld. This was also accepted by the Upper Palatinate government in Amberg, but did not come into play because the von Schönfeld family did not pay the fiefdom tax. After the war, on January 21, 1721, Heinrich Karl von Bibra was enfeoffed by the Elector of Bavaria. The office remained in the possession of the Bibra family until the end of the bishopric .

The Bamberg Lower Bar Office was held by the Rotenhan family from 1190 to 1322 . Wolfram Schenk von Rotenhan was declared forfeited by the king in 1323 because of perjury. The bishop then gave the office to the Aufseß family . According to their house contract, the senior of the family held the office until 1802.

From 1453 the Rotenhan zu Rentweinsdorf were hereditary treasurers of the Bamberg monastery and remained so until 1802. Hereditary submarches were initially the Kunstadt , who then called themselves Marschall von Kunstadt, then the Marshals von Ebnet from the same sex and finally the Marschalk von Ostheim .


The highest office in the Bamberg court was that of the court master . The chamberlain, court cavaliers and the court of honor were subordinate to this. This office was primarily representative. The chief marshal was responsible for most of the court staff (including kitchen, gardening, music, construction). There was also the function of travel marshal, head stable master and head hunter master.

Central authorities

At the head of the administration stood the prince-bishop as sovereign, including various authorities whose senior officials carried the title of council. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the assembly of councilors in the capital formed the councilor . This was responsible for the general state administration and served as a court of appeal . The State Conference took its place in the 18th century. The head of the body was the President of the Court Council or State Conference. In addition, the office existed under the direction of the Chancellor. This was responsible for the administration and the archive.

There were two central administrations for the financial management: the court chamber and the revenue. The court chamber was headed by a bourgeois chamber master until 1683, after which a noble president from the cathedral chapter presided over the court chamber. Subordinate to the court chamber was the court chamber pay office, which was responsible for the payments, and the rentmaster, who controlled the incoming payments from the caste offices, forest offices, chamber goods and customs collectors. The administration of the sovereign chamber goods around Hallstadt was combined in a separate chamber office in the capital. The Hofkastenamt in Bamberg was the collection point for the natural resources from the offices and was equal to the other caste offices.

The revenue was founded in 1588 as a finance and debt repayment fund. It was originally a joint authority of the estates of the Bamberg bishopric and the sovereign. The funds raised were primarily used to finance the Bamberg military. The expenditures of the upper administration were supervised by six upper collectors. The bishop named two of them, the cathedral chapter and the estates. The revenue received its income from the tax offices. In 1678, the senior excise office was set up to take the excise and subordinated to the upper income . For the expenditure side, there was the income payment office, the extra building office and the administration of the fortresses and armories.


Office Schlüsselau with administration Frensdorf

The house monastery, the aristocratic Cistercian nunnery in Schlüsselau , founded in 1260 by the noblemen of Schlüsselberg, was endowed by the founding family with extensive real estate as well as its own jurisdiction . After a part - the village of Schnaid - passed from the Schluesselberg property to Bamberg in the 1330s, the jurisdiction over the neck was transferred to the monastery. After the Second Margrave War, the last abbess of the monastery left this property to the Bamberg Monastery in return for an annuity, which then set up the office of Schlüsselau there.

In 1728 the Marschalk von Ebneth dynasty died out, and the Frensdorf manor, which belonged to them, fell to the Bamberg Monastery with its apartments. This resulted in the Frensdorf administration and was merged with the Schlüsselau office . Until the bishopric of Bamberg in the Electorate of Baiern went up, the administration had its own bailiwick and tax office, both based in Frensdorf. With the penny jurisdiction the Office Schlüsselau shelter mainly the office cents Zentbechhofen , but also the Centen of Burgebrach , Memmelsdorf and Fronveste Bamberg. In the area of ​​the location marking of the district of Schlüsselau, the office had the privilege to deliver the delinquents directly to the Fronveste in Bamberg. The office in Schlüsselau was occupied by an administrator who was also tax collector and Ungelder . Furthermore, a forester and a hunter were deployed alongside the other administrative staff.

Time of the reformation

The 39th bishop, George III. Schenk von Limpurg (1505–1522), had Johann von Schwarzenberg issue the famous Bamberg neck court order in 1507 . It gave the church and state courts a binding set of rules on how the embarrassing questioning (= torture) of the accused should be carried out. Since this made it possible to punish the arbitrariness of the judicial organs, the neck court order was an essential step forward in a procedural law that continued to tolerate torture. George III was a trusted advisor to Emperor Maximilian I , especially at the Diet of Augsburg in 1518, corresponded with famous scholars, even with Martin Luther , and forbade the publication of the papal bull against him in his territory.

In 1552/53, Margrave Albrecht Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Kulmbach occupied a considerable part of the Bamberg Monastery, including Niesten, Burgkunstadt and later also Lichtenfels, and installed Protestant clergy there. The Fortress Forchheim was the Bishopric of Bamberg after the occupation of the city Forchheim in the Second Margrave War created (1552). The 46th bishop, Ernst von Mengersdorf (1583–1591), founded the Ernestine priests' house and the illustrious grammar school in 1586 and built the Geyerswörth residential palace. Prince-Bishop Neidhardt von Thüngen (1591–1598), previously provost of the cathedral in Würzburg, tried, in agreement with the local Prince-Bishop Julius Echter, to recatholicize his territories, sometimes by force. Under the more tolerant Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp von Gebsattel , however, these efforts fizzled out again. Johann Gottfried I von Aschhausen (1609–22) called the Jesuits to Bamberg in 1610 and implemented the Counter Reformation using military force . In 1617 he also became Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. Johann Georg II. Fuchs von Dornheim (1623–1633) also persecuted the Protestants. During his reign there was a wave of witch persecution in Bamberg. Between 1626 and 1630 the entire city council of Bamberg was executed. At the Regensburg Electoral Congress in 1630, the files were then required to be handed over and the customary legal rules to be observed. Dornheim fled the Swedes to Carinthia in 1631, where he died of a stroke. His successor Franz von Hatzfeld (1633–1642), who was also Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, also had to flee; Duke Bernhard von Weimar seized the land and wanted to form a Duchy of Franconia from the two principalities of Bamberg and Würzburg , which his early death thwarted. Bamberg and Würzburg fell back to Bishop Franz von Hatzfeld in 1634. The Reformation nevertheless left deep marks in the country: of 190 parish churches, 105 with most of the branch churches fell to Protestantism in the course of the 16th century; in 1648 there were still 64 priests available for 110 parishes. To improve education, Hatzfeld's successor Melchior Otto Voit von Salzburg (1642–1653) transformed the illustrious grammar school into a university in 1648 .

The witch hunts

Bamberg was a central location for witch hunts . During the time of the witch trials, under the reign of the Prince-Bishops of Bamberg Johann Gottfried I von Aschhausen (1609–1622) and his successor Johann Georg II. Fuchs von Dornheim (1623–1633), the persecution of witches in Bamberg took on large proportions.

Similar massive persecutions in southern Germany can only be proven in the witch trials series of the Würzburg and Eichstätt monasteries as well as in Kurmainz and Ellwangen .

In 1612/1613 and 1617/1618 300 people died in the flames of the pyre in the bishopric of Bamberg. In 1617 alone 102 people were executed in witch trials in the Hochstift. Most famous victims were z. B. Dorothea Flock and the mayor Johannes Junius , who were tortured in August 1628 in the witch prison Drudenhaus .

In 1629 a contemporary witch's treatise appeared. It says:

“Short and truthful report and terrible Neue Zeitung of six hundred witches, wizards and Teuffels banners; which the bishop of Bamberg had burned / what she known in a friendly and embarrassing question ”.

From 1595 to 1633 Bamberg was a core area of ​​witch hunt. Between 1625 and 1630, 236 burnings took place in the bishopric of Bamberg alone. According to research by the city of Bamberg, the number of people killed is around 900.

Modern times

Seehof Castle was built as a summer residence on behalf of Prince Bishop Marquard Sebastian Schenk von Stauffenberg between 1687 and 1696. The New Residence was started under Johann Philipp von Gebsattel from 1602 in the Renaissance style and between 1697 and 1703 under Prince Bishop Lothar Franz von Schönborn (1693–1729) Help from Leonhard Dientzenhofer completed. Lothar Franz, coadjutor and archbishop of Mainz at the same time, rendered important services to Austria against France during the wars of that time, built the castles of Pommersfelden and Gaibach from 1711 to 1719 and provided them with picture galleries. Friedrich Karl von Schönborn (1729–1746), who was also Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, gave the university a medical and legal faculty in 1735. In 1759 the extensive possessions in Carinthia (see above section geography ) were sold to the Habsburgs for one million guilders . The reason for this was the enormous burden of war from the Seven Years' War , in which the Bamberg diocese had allied with Austria against Prussia. During this war, Bamberg was plundered three times by plundering Prussian soldiers who extorted enormous sums of money.

Cathedral Square in Bamberg with the cathedral, the old court and the new residence

Downfall through Bavarian annexation

The last Prince-Bishop of Bamberg, Christoph Franz von Buseck (1795-1805), fled from the French to Prague in 1796 and to Saalfeld in 1799 . After his second return in 1800 he had his nephew, Prince-Bishop Georg Karl von Fechenbach zu Würzburg, appointed as coadjutor and successor. But already at the beginning of September 1802 the prince-bishopric was occupied by Bavarian troops , on September 6th 1802 Bavarian soldiers marched into the royal seat of Bamberg . In his occupation patent dated November 22, 1802, the Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph stated that he was taking possession of several territories in the Franconian Empire as compensation for lost left-Rhenish territories . For this purpose Johann Wilhelm von Hompesch zu Bolheim was commissioned by Maximilian IV Joseph as "General-Commissary" to prepare the transition of the Franconian monasteries and imperial cities to Bavaria .

On September 29, 1802, Prince-Bishop Christoph Franz von Buseck resigned his rule and released officials and subjects from their oaths. The current business in Bamberg was taken over by a "subdelegated civil commission" under Franz Wilhelm von Asbeck. This had the occupation patent dated November 22, 1802 posted in every place of the bishopric. With effect from December 10, 1802, the subdelegated civil commission ordered the dissolution of the prince-bishop's court. On January 14, 1803, Asbeck and Christoph Franz von Buseck agreed that Buseck would be granted premises in the Bamberg Residence and Seehof Castle, including the necessary inventory, as well as the desired horses and wagons, wood, wine and an annual payment of 50,000 Guilders . On February 25th, 1803, the Reichstag in Regensburg approved the main Reichsdeputation decision , which also subsequently approved the annexation of the Bamberg Monastery by Bavaria :

"§ 2. To the Elector of Palatinate-Baiern for the Rhine Palatinate, the duchies of Zweibrücken, Simmern and Jülich, the principalities of Lautern and Veldenz, the Marquisat Bergopzoom, the Ravenstein rule, and the other dominions in Belgium and Alsace; the diocese of Wirzburg, among the exceptions that appear below; the dioceses of Bamberg, Freising, Augsburg, and that of Passau; (...). "

- Main conclusion of the extraordinary Reichsdeputation of February 25, 1803

Consequences of the annexation by the Electoral Palatinate of Bavaria

As early as the spring of 1802, the Bavarian Foreign Minister Maximilian von Montgelas dispatched the General Staff Officer Karl Roger von Ribaupierre to the imperial cities and residences of Franconia and Swabia so that he could, among other things, provide information on the economic benefits of annexing the areas concerned. In a letter dated August 22, 1802, sent to the Bavarian Foreign Ministry before the annexation of the Bamberg Monastery, it states "that church treasures are also considerable in this country (Bamberg)."

After the annexation of the monastery, the new authorities set about making material use of the cultural heritage of the Bamberg monastery. On the day of the abdication of Prince-Bishop Buseck , the subdelegated civil commission headed by Asbeck ordered that the archives and coffers of the Bamberg monasteries and monasteries be sealed and that an inventory be made of all possessions. The movable property - farm animals, stocks of wine, furnishings, crockery, paintings, vestments , liturgical implements , etc. - was sold in the following months, but some were also given away free of charge. For example, the vast majority of the Banz monastery library was auctioned off. The gold and silver delivered by the Bamberg monasteries and monasteries had to be brought to Munich for minting on the instructions of the Bavarian elector . Pearls and precious stones on the sacred objects were removed, separated from the precious metals and used separately. Objects such as monstrances, goblets, candlesticks, and crucifixes were destroyed. Special individual pieces, such as from the Bamberg Cathedral Treasury originating Heinrich Krone have previously been singled out and went into the treasure house of Wittelsbach. The coin collection of the Michelsberg Monastery was brought to Munich and today represents a considerable part of the state coin collection .

Finally, properties, farms, fields and meadows belonging to the church were also sold. Some of the church buildings that had been robbed of their furnishings were used for other purposes - such as the Carmelite Monastery in Bamberg - and some were deemed useless and destroyed. In 1805 the Lower Parish (Alt-St. Martin) in Bamberg, formerly located on today's Maximiliansplatz, and in 1810 the St. Anna Church, the Franciscan monastery church on the Schranne, were demolished.

Buseck's successor as bishop was Georg Karl von Fechenbach after his death in 1805 . In 1818, when the church districts were redistributed after secularization, Bamberg became the seat of an archbishop with the suffragan dioceses of Eichstätt , Speyer and Würzburg .

The use of the title prince (arch) bishop and the use of the secular signs of dignity associated with it (such as the prince's hat and coat ) was approved in 1951 by Pope Pius XII. also formally abolished.

Bamberg Bishops (selection)

Grave of St. Otto in the Michelskirche in Bamberg
Lothar Franz von Schönborn , portrait by Christian Schilbach, 1715
  • The first bishop of Bamberg was Eberhard , the chancellor of Heinrich II. (1007-1040).
  • The 2nd Bishop of Bamberg, Suidger , was after the will of Emperor Heinrich III. elected Pope on December 24, 1046 by the Roman clergy and the people of Rome. He took the name Clement II. He died on October 9, 1047. According to his will, he was buried in his beloved Bamberg. He is the only Pope buried north of the Alps, in Bamberg Cathedral .
  • His successor, Rupert († 1102) was because he was on the 1076 national assembly of Worms against Pope Gregory VII. Declared that the spell has, but later acquitted and reinstated.
  • The 8th bishop, Otto II von Mistelbach, became the famous apostle of Pomerania in 1124, died in 1139 and was canonized in 1189.

From then on, the bishops were elected by the cathedral chapter , although the emperors claimed the right of appointment until 1398.

As a result of the Concordat of 1817 , the Bishop of Bamberg was later replaced by an archbishop, whose diocese comprises the northern part of Bavaria and to which the bishops of Würzburg , Eichstätt and Speyer are subordinate.

Coins of the bishopric

See also


  • Johann Kaspar Bundschuh : Bamberg (the Hochstift) . In: Geographical Statistical-Topographical Lexicon of Franconia . tape 1 : A-egg . Verlag der Stettinische Buchhandlung, Ulm 1799, DNB  790364298 , OCLC 833753073 , Sp. 237-253 ( digitized version ).
  • Hermann Caspary: State, finance, economy and army in the bishopric of Bamberg (1672–1693) (= BHVB, Beih. 7). Bamberg 1976.
  • Karin Dengler-Schreiber : Brief Bamberg City History. Regensburg 2006.
  • Günter Dippold : The upheaval of 1802/04 in the Principality of Bamberg ( online , accessed on April 21, 2015).
  • Albrecht Graf von und zu Egloffstein : Baroque hunting culture of the prince-bishops of Bamberg . Bavaria Antiqua. Munich 1984.
  • Britta Gehm: The witch persecution in the Bamberg monastery and the intervention of the Reichshofrat to put an end to it. 2nd edition, Hildesheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-487-14731-4 .
  • Mark Häberlein , Kerstin Kech and Johannes Staudenmaier (eds.): Bamberg in the early modern times. New contributions to the history of the city and the bishopric ( Bamberg Historical Studies, Vol. 1). Bamberg 2008.
  • Johannes Hasselbeck: The Consequences of the German Peasant War in the Bamberg Monastery. ( Bamberg Historical Studies, Vol. 7; Publications of the Bamberg City Archives, Vol. 14). Bamberg 2012.
  • Georg Paul Hönn : Bamberg Monastery . In: Lexicon Topographicum of the Franconian Craises . Johann Georg Lochner, Frankfurt and Leipzig 1747, p. 1–65 ( digitized version ).
  • Meyers Konversations-Lexikon. 4th edition. Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892.
  • Johannes Staudenmaier: Good Policey in Hochstift and City of Bamberg. Standardization, rulership practice and power relations before the Thirty Years War (studies on policey and policey science) . Frankfurt am Main 2012.
  • Robert Suckale et al. a. (Ed.): Bamberg. A guide to the art history of the city for Bamberg residents and newcomers. Bamberg 2002.
  • Wolfgang Wüst : The Bamberg Monastery as a regional early modern territorial power. Characteristics of a spiritual state in Franconia. In: Reports of the Historisches Verein Bamberg 143 (2007), ISBN 3-87735-192-1 , pp. 281-308.
  • Wolfgang Wüst (ed.): The "good" Policey in the Reichskreis. On the early modern setting of standards in the core regions of the Old Reich , Volume 6: Police regulations in the Franconian monasteries of Bamberg, Eichstätt and Würzburg . A source work, Erlangen 2013, ISBN 978-3-940804-04-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. cf. for the year 1792: Fritz Solomon: The German Reichstag in its composition in 1792. In: Karl Zeumer (Hrsg.): Collection of sources for the history of the German Reich constitution in the Middle Ages and modern times. 2nd Edition. Tübingen 1913 ( online , accessed April 22, 2015).
  2. Claus Fackler: Stiftsadel and spiritual territories 1670–1803, 2006, ISBN 978-3-8306-7268-5 , pp. 71-72.
  3. ^ Claus Fackler: Stiftsadel and ecclesiastical territories 1670-1803, 2006, ISBN 978-3-8306-7268-5 , p. 83.
  4. ^ Hermann Caspary: State, finance, economy and army in the bishopric of Bamberg (1672–1693), 1976, ISBN 3-87-735083-6 , pp. 47–59
  5. List of the names of the victims of the Bamberg witch trials (PDF; 262 kB)
  6. Wolfgang Behringer (ed.): Witches and witch trials. Munich 1998, No. 171, and web link [1]
  7. Execution: Electoral Mainzische Kanzley: Main conclusion of the extraordinary Reichsdeputation of February 25, 1803. In: Karl Zeumer (Ed.): Collection of sources for the history of the German Reich constitution in the Middle Ages and modern times. 2nd Edition. Tübingen 1913 ( online , accessed April 22, 2015).
  8. Friedrich Dörfler: The secularization of the bishopric Bamberg , with reference to Renate Baumgärtel-Fleischmann (Ed.): Bamberg becomes Bavarian. Bamberg 2003 ( online , accessed April 21, 2015).
  9. ^ Franz Gall : Austrian heraldry. Handbook of coat of arms science. 2nd edition Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 1992, p. 219, ISBN 3-205-05352-4 .