John of Tepl

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Cod. Pal. germ. 76 , sheet 2r: The Plowman from Böhmen - The Plowman accuses death (first page of text; workshop of Ludwig Henfflin around 1470, probably in Stuttgart)

Johannes von Tepl (also Johannes von Saaz , Czech Jan ze Žatce , Johann Ackermann or Johannes von Schüttwa ; * around 1350 in Schüttwa , Kingdom of Bohemia ; † 1414 in Prague ) was a German poet, town clerk and notary.

With Ackermann from Bohemia (first printed around 1460) he wrote one of the most important German-language prose poems of the late Middle Ages around 1401. The argument between a peasant and the personified death is considered to be one of the few literarily significant German-language texts of the late Middle Ages. At the same time, Der Ackermann from Bohemia is also a link to early humanism .


Johannes von Tepl was born around 1350 in Schüttwa ( Šitboř ), a village in western Bohemia . He possibly got his name from the monastery school in Tepl , which he attended as a boy, but this has not been proven. Maybe Tepl was his first place of work. He sometimes called himself Johannes de Sitbor . His wealthy father owned a parish there until 1374 .

Tepl first completed a degree in Artes liberales , probably at Prague University, founded in 1348 . Postgraduate studies in law at another university are likely. Several documents prove that he obtained the dignity of a master's degree . From around 1373 he worked initially as a public notary ( notarius civitatis ) and from the early 1980s as the head of the local Latin school ( rector scolarium ) in Saaz . Since 1383 he also kept the Saaz City Register.

His diverse activities made him a member of the urban elite. Because of his services, the city council granted him the right to serve wine, beer and mead for a year. It is believed that this brought him high income, because not much later he bought a building site in front of the city wall and erected a tower-like building there. In 1404 King Wenzel again granted him an additional income: Johannes von Tepl was allowed to demand money from every butcher who brought meat to the market.

From 1411 he lived as a pronotary in Prague's New Town . There he bought a house in Brenta Street in 1411 (today Spálená 23). However, he fell ill in 1413 and died the following year.

The memory of Johannes von Tepl

In October 2011, a monument to St. John of Tepl was inaugurated in the monastery garden of the town of Žatec (Saaz) . Streets are named after him in several Czech cities, including Žatec. In Germany there is a Johannes-von-Tepl-Straße in Donauwörth . In addition, the Egerland Culture Prize , which has been awarded annually since 1995, was named after Johannes von Tepl.



Web links

Commons : Johannes von Tepl  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Johannes von Tepl  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl Bartsch:  Ackermann, Johann . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, p. 36 f.