Johannes Hartlieb

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Johannes Hartlieb: Alexander, manuscript Augsburg 1455, BSB Munich Cgm 581, p. 19v: Alexander finds his father's monument
Johannes Hartlieb: The book of the history of the great Allexander, 1514
Houseleek (Anholter-Moyländer herb book, a copy of Hartlieb's herb book from around 1470)

Johannes Hartlieb , also called Hans Hartlieb , (* around 1400, probably in Möglingen ; † May 18, 1468 in Munich ) was a German doctor and personal physician, learned counselor, diplomat, court poet and early humanist translator at the court of the Wittelsbach family in Munich.


Johannes Hartlieb was born around 1400, possibly in the Württemberg village of Möglingen north of Stuttgart, into a family that had various academics before and after him. His father was Johann Hartlieb von Möglingen ("de Meglingen") (the elder), who, according to the records of the University of Padua, had studied there.

In his early days, Hartlieb took part in two wars. On the one hand at some point in the Hussite Wars (1419–1436) and others in the so-called Bavarian War (1420–1422) on the side of Ludwig the Bearded of Bavaria-Ingolstadt.

In 1436 Hartlieb was now documented as secretary in the service of Duke Albrecht III. from Bayern-Munich. On the intercession of his employer, he was given the pastor's position in St. Mauritius in Ingolstadt, which he did not take on, but used to finance a degree at the University of Vienna. As early as 1437 he was mentioned as a master's degree in Vienna. In that year the pastor's position was withdrawn from him.

In 1439 Hartlieb received his doctorate in Padua at the medical faculty.

Then, in the autumn of 1440, Doctor Johannes Hartlieb became a personal physician, learned counselor and thus diplomat to Duke Albrechts III. recorded by Bayern-Munich. After his death in 1460 at the latest, he entered the service of his son Sigmund von Bayern . He remained in the service of the Munich line of the Wittelsbach family until his death in 1468.

In 1442 Hartlieb received from Duke Albrecht III. the synagogue building and its accessories, which became sovereign property after the Jews were expelled from Munich in 1440, were given as a gift. He had the synagogue converted into a residential building and set up the first Marienkapelle in the former mikvah . It was later vaulted by Hartlieb and he built a new chapel ('Gruftkapelle') on the property. This name also passed on to the alley.

A little later, Hartlieb is named as a relative of Duke Albrechts and it is assumed that his wife Sybilla was an illegitimate daughter of the Duke. The remarkable property in Munich that Hartlieb can now prove to have come into his hands in part as a dowry.

Around 1450 he translated the Alexander novel for the royal couple and the Munich court . In addition, Hartlieb wrote several classical works, including the partial translation of the Dialogus miraculorum (books 7 to 12) by the Cistercian Caesarius von Heisterbach , which was edited by Karl Drescher . With the Munich city doctor Sigismund Gotzkircher, Hartlieb prepared a medical tax for Munich in 1453. In 1456 he wrote Das puch aller verpoten kunst, unglaubens and der zaubrey , which contains the first known record of a witch's ointment recipe . The book of forbidden art also represents a turning point in Hartlieb's life. In this book, Hartlieb distanced himself from the forbidden arts, although in his earlier works (lunar fortune-telling , name-mantic) he was definitely devoted to magic and fortune-telling . This change can possibly be traced back to a presumed meeting with Cardinal Nikolaus von Kues in the years 1451 and 1454. According to a suspicion by Wolfram Schmitt, Nikolaus Hartlieb convinced of the sinfulness of magic and superstition and thus converted him to a religious position.

Johannes and Sybilla Hartlieb had three children: Eucharius, Gothard and Dorothea. Gothard later entered the service of Archduke Sigmund of Austria as a councilor and carried out diplomatic missions. From 1488 he officiated as Bavarian district judge and nurse to Tölz. So he stayed in the courtly environment.

Most important works

De amore

De amore was originally under the title Puech Ovidy from the love to acquire, also the love to mow down in 1440 in Vienna as a work commissioned by Duke Albrecht VI. written by Austria. This is a translation of the Tractatus de amore by Andreas Capellanus and represents a rulebook of courtly love. Hartlieb kept the translation close to his Latin model, initially only translating the first two books and only at the suggestion of the court society also devoted himself to the third part. De amore currently has a total of 13 manuscripts and three incunabula prints.

Herbal Book

The herb book is one of Hartlieb's medical writings and was written between 1435 and 1450. It covers various animals and plants and explains their medicinal value and benefits. In seven plant chapters, Hartlieb also indicates a magical or prohibited use; however, these passages all go back almost verbatim to one of his models, the book of nature by Konrad von Megenberg . The herb book has survived in a total of nine manuscripts: five picture manuscripts contain the complete text, a fragmentary picture manuscript contains chapters 52–170. In addition, the herb book without a chapter on animals has survived in two manuscripts and a fragment of Konrad von Megenberg's book of nature , where it replaces Konrad's original herbalism.


Alexander was created under the original title The histori of the great Alexander around 1450. This work is a prince mirror that Hartlieb commissioned from Albrecht III. and Anna von Braunschweig was written. Hartlieb translates a Paris manuscript of the Historia de preliis Alexandri Magni (around 950) by Archipresbyter Leo of Naples and supplements this with his own comments and additions so that Alexander is presented as an ideal image of a ruler and thus serves as a model for the noble recipients. Alexander has come down to us in 22 manuscripts and 18 print editions.

Dialogus miraculorum

Hartlieb's Dialogus miraculorum was probably made between 1456 and 1467. It is a partial transmission of the Dialogus miraculorum by Caesarius von Heisterbach in the form of a dialogue between a monk and a novice with the help of a question-and-answer dialogue on Christian topics. Hartlieb adheres to the Latin model very closely and only adds his own prologue. Only one record of Hartlieb's Dialogus miraculorum has survived in a codex in the British Library.

The book of all forbidden art

The book of all forbidden art was created in 1456 as a commissioned work for Johann von Brandenburg-Kulmbach and represents one of Hartlieb's most famous works. The book is divided into two parts, with the first part mainly dedicated to the author's intention, the condemnation of sorcery and superstition . In the second part, Hartlieb describes the seven forbidden arts (Nigromantia, Geomantia, Hydromantia, Aeromantia, Pyromantia, Chiromantia, Spatulamantia). It is the earliest German-language testimony that deals with the superstition of the Middle Ages encyclopedically. Hartlieb's attitude to the forbidden arts of magic is a specialty.

Other works

  • 1430/32: The art of memory
  • 1433/35: lunar prophecy diary
  • 1434: On the preservation of victory
    • around 1437: Onomatomantie ( name mantics )
  • 1448: chiromancy
  • 1456/57: Incendiary
  • 1465: Secreta mulierum ( translated from Latin on behalf of Duke Siegmund and supplemented with a Trotula translation)

The attribution of some of these works to Hartlieb has been questioned in the past. The book of warm baths , which is a translation of Felix Hemmerli's De balneis naturalibus sive termalibus , cannot really be assigned to Hartlieb ; it is very likely that the translation was not made by Hartlieb, but by Jordan Tömlinger. In the case of geomancy , too , Hartlieb is currently denied authorship. According to Volker Schmidtchen, a Tractatus de arte scolopetaria germanicus , Onomatomantia ('name mantic') and Iconismus bellicis did not come from Hartlieb himself.

Newer editions

  • Johann Hartlieb's translation of the Dialogus miraculorum by Caesarius von Heisterbach , edited from the only London manuscript. by Karl Drescher. Weidmann, Berlin 1929 ( digitized version )
  • Franz Speta (ed.): The herbal book of Johannes Hartlieb. A German illuminated manuscript from the middle of the 15th century . With an introduction and transcription by Heinrich L. Werneck. ADEVA, Graz 1980, ISBN 3-201-01131-2 ; partial reprint of:
    • Heinrich L. Werneck: herbal book of Johannes Hartlieb. A German manuscript around 1435/1450 from the Innviertel. In: Ostbairische Grenzmarken , Volume 2, 1958, pp. 71–124.
  • Johannes Hartlieb's "Alexander" . Introduced and edited by Reinhard Pawis. Artemis Verlag, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-7608-3397-7 , ( Munich texts and studies on German literature in the Middle Ages 97).
  • The Book of Forbidden Arts. Medieval superstition and sorcery . Translated from Middle High German, annotated and provided with a glossary by Falk Eisermann and Eckhard Graf. With an introduction and an appendix by Christian Rätsch . Extended new edition. Diederichs, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-424-01424-9 , ( Diederichs yellow series 149 Europe ).


  • Frank Fürbeth : Johannes Hartlieb. Studies of life and work . Tübingen 1992 ISBN 3-484-15064-5 , ( Hermaea - German Research NF 64).
  • Andrea Gamweger: The herbal book of Johannes Hartlieb. Medieval herbalism between science and superstition . Graz, Univ., Dipl.-Arb. 2007.
  • Klaus Grubmüller: A doctor as a man of letters: Hans Hartlieb. In: Poetry and utility literature in the German Middle Ages. Würzburg Colloquium 1978. Edited by Volker Honemann , Kurt Ruh , Bernhard Schnell and Werner Wegstein. Tübingen 1979, pp. 14-36.
  • Klaus Grubmüller: Hartlieb, Johannes . In: The German literature of the Middle Ages. Author Lexicon . 2nd Edition. Vol. 3. Berlin and New York 1981, Col. 480-496.
  • Gundolf Keil: Hartlieb, Hans (Johannes) . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 4, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-7608-8904-2 , Sp. 1943 f.
  • Edmund von OefeleHartlieb, Johann . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 10, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1879, pp. 670-672.
  • Wolfram Schmitt:  Hartlieb, Johann. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 7, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1966, ISBN 3-428-00188-5 , p. 722 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Wolfram Schmitt: Bio-bibliographical notes on Hans Hartlieb . In: Gundolf Keil (Ed.): Specialized prose studies. Contributions to medieval science and intellectual history . Published in collaboration with Peter Assion, Willem Frans Daems, Heinz-Ulrich Roehl. Schmidt, Berlin 1982, ISBN 3-503-01269-9 , pp. 255-271.
  • Bernhard Schnell : News about Johannes Hartlieb's biography . In: Journal for German Antiquity and German Literature . 136th year 2007, pp. 444-448.
  • Wolfgang Wegner: Hartlieb, Johannes. In: Werner E. Gerabek, Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil, Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 536.

Web links

Individual evidence

  3. Fürbeth 1992, pp. 30ff. and Schnell 2007.
  4. See the more recent facts on the biography before 1439 in Schnell 2007.
  5. See Fürbeth pp. 30–41. See the summary there. Deviating information (except Schnell 2007) is currently problematic because too little can be proven by sources.
  6. Mitchell B. Merback: Cleansing the Temple. The Munich Gruftkirche as Converted Synagogue . In the S. (Ed.): In: Merback, Beyond the Yellow Badge. Anti-Judaism and Antisemitism in Medieval and Early Modern Visual Culture . Leiden, Boston 2008, pp. 306-346.
  7. Wolfgang Wegner: Gotzkircher, Sigismund. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil, Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 506.
  8. Wolfram Schmitt: Hartlieb, Johann (Hans) .
  9. Wolfram Schmitt: Hans Hartlieb's mantic writings and his influence by Nikolaus von Kues. Philosophical dissertation, Heidelberg 1962.
  10. Fürbeth 1993, p. 26.
  11. Johannes Hartlieb: "Herb book", chap. 31, 32, 88, 131, 150, 157 and 162.
  12. Johannes Hartlieb: 'Herbal Book'. Critical ed. by G. Hayer and B. Schnell. Wiesbaden 2010 (Knowledge literature in the Middle Ages 47); for tradition cf. ibid. pp. 36–51 (together with a description of the scattered tradition) and the entry in the manuscript census .
  13. Kristian Bosselmann-Cyran: "Secreta mulierum" with gloss in the German arrangement by Johann Hartlieb. Text and Investigations. Pattensen / Hanover (now Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg) 1985 (= Würzburg medical-historical research. Volume 36).
  14. Cf. also Kristian Boselmann-Cyran: Another text witness of Johann Hartlieb's 'Secreta mulierum' and 'Buch Trotula' adaptation: The Mailänder Codex AE. IX. 34 from the private library of the doctor and writer Albrecht von Haller. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 13, 1995, pp. 209-215.
  15. On this, see Schnell, Bernhard: News on Johannes Hartlieb's biography. In: ZfdA 136 (2007), pp. 444–448.
  16. Cf. Fürbeth, Frank: Jordan Tömlinger instead of Johannes Hartlieb: A supplement to the author's lexicon? In: ZfdA 115 (1986), pp. 283-303; see. on this, the addendum to the Hartlieb article in author's lexicon 11 (2004), column 590.
  17. See Wierschin, Martin W .: Johannes Hartliebs "Mantische Schriften". In: PBB. Volume 90, 1968, pp. 57-100; Klaus Grubmüller: Hartlieb, Johannes. In: Author's Lexicon . Vol. 3 (1981), col. 480-496, here col. 495.
  18. Volker Schmidtchen : (Pseudo-) Hartlieb, Johannes. In: Burghart Wachinger et al. (Hrsg.): The German literature of the Middle Ages. Author Lexicon . 2nd, completely revised edition, Volume 3. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1981, ISBN 3-11-007264-5 , Sp. 497-499.