Lorsch Codex

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First page of the Lorsch Codex

The Lorsch Codex ( Latin Codex Laureshamensis ) is a manuscript written in Latin between about the years 1170 and 1195 in the imperial abbey of Lorsch . It contains an extensive history of the monastery , a copy book of over 3800 documents and some land records . The special value of the copy book in particular is that the copies contained therein represent the only surviving tradition of the completely lost original documents that were once in the archive of the important imperial abbey.

Today the codex is kept in the Würzburg State Archives ( Bavarian State Archives with the Lower Franconia administrative region as the area of ​​responsibility) under the signature "Mainz books with various contents, no. 72".

Contents of the Lorsch Codex

Cod. Laur. III, No. 3399: Donation from August 790 in the village of Hostat (today Frankfurt-Höchst ) to the Lorsch Monastery.

The codex was created to document the rights and properties of the Lorsch Monastery and thus to secure the abbey in the long term. The Codex was compiled in the 12th century, when Lorsch power was already declining. It consists of 3836 documentary entries (traditional notes) of a legal transaction (e.g. purchase, donation) with the corresponding cited documents (from kings, popes and others). These documents have been reproduced in abbreviated form. The oldest legal transactions are described and registered from the year 764. The codex also contains two lists of patrons and an abbot chronicle. This abbot chronicle serves primarily as a source for the building history and the development of the church treasury. Only the initial letter on the first page is illuminated . The text of the Codex is written in Carolingian minuscule .

Since the Lorsch Codex contains the first mention of many municipalities - more than 1000 places are mentioned in it - it is anachronistically referred to as the land register by some people interested in local history . The Lorsch Codex is the oldest written history source for hundreds of places.

In the Codex Laureshamensis , the monks of the Lorsch monastery recorded purchase and barter contracts as well as the donations made to the monastery by villages, farmsteads, lands and all sorts of other valuable items according to the original documents available to them. In this book, donations from emperors and princes are mentioned first and then those from the people, the latter arranged according to Gauen, Wormsgau (where the monastery owned estates around 1180), Speyergau , Lobdengau , Rheingau , Maingau , Neckargau , Kraichgau and others . The Palatinate Academy of Sciences , founded under Elector Karl Theodor in Mannheim, published the work for the first time in print in the years 1768–1770.


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