Nine heroes

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Earliest representation of the nine heroes in the Hansa Hall of Cologne City Hall . From right Alexander the Great, Hector, Caesar, Judas Maccabeus, David, Joshua, Godfrey of Bouillon, King Arthur, Charlemagne.
King David, drawing the sword, stands in the middle.

Nine heroes refers to a literary and art-historical topos , the first time at the beginning of the 14th century within the French epic poem was "Les Vœux du Paon" (1312) of the Lorraine poet Jacques de Longuyon from the courtly-chivalric milieu set up as a list of ideal knight .


Nine Heroes ( Alcalá de Henares , 1585).

This group consists of:

Motif story

The nine heroes moved into town halls and offices across Europe as an art-historical motif to remind councilors or officials of a “good government” (town hall iconography typical of the time). The earliest depiction of the Nine Heroes in German-speaking countries can be found in the Cologne City Hall: Nine larger-than-life stone sculptures in Gothic pinnacles adorn the splendid Gothic State Hall (Hansasaal) on the southern narrow wall. The Schöne Brunnen in Nuremberg, built around 1385–96 by the parlier and stonemason Heinrich Beheim , shows the nine heroes in the context of philosophy, the seven liberal arts , the four evangelists , four church fathers , seven electors , Moses and seven other prophets (original parts in Germanic National Museum Nuremberg ).

The nine-heroes cycle also shows a unique Lüneburg glass window in the so-called court arbor in the town hall (created around 1410). In Misery, Switzerland ( canton Friborg ), a large-scale cycle was painted on the wall of the manor house around 1478. The tapestry of the Historisches Museum in Basel shows only five instead of nine heroes (around 1490). It shows that chivalric ideas were transported into urban culture. A famous series of engravings has come down to us from the hand of the Augsburg artist Hans Burgkmair (1516).

In art can be found as a counterpart, the nine heroines : as the life-size Frenchified portraits of the nine heroines in the company of nine heroes in Baron hall of the castle of Manta in Saluzzo (Piedmont), with its well-known fable of Arms ( attributed arms ) or at the Maison Kammerzell , beautiful one Strasbourg half-timbered house, the carving of which along the windows and corner posts on the facade of the cathedral on the west side shows musicians as well as the nine heroes and heroines.

See also

Nine heroines


  • Ivo Rauch, Daniel Hess: The good government. Models of politics in the Middle Ages ; Exhibition from October 13, 2000 to January 14, 2001, exhibition catalog Museum Schnütgen , Cologne 2001, ISBN 3-932800-02-8 .
  • Ulrich Meier: On the myth of the republic. in: Andreas Löther et al. (Ed.) Mundus in imagine. Fink, Munich 1996, pp. 345-387, ISBN 3-7705-3118-3 .
  • Jörg Rogge: The picture cycles in the office of the weavers' guild house in Augsburg from 1456/57. in: Andreas Löther et al. (Ed.) Mundus in imagine. ibid, pp. 319-343, ISBN 3-7705-3118-3 .
  • Uwe Heckert: The equipment of the large hall in the old Erfurt town hall. A contribution to the political self-image of a city council in the late Middle Ages. in: Andreas Löther et al. (Ed.) Mundus in imagine. ibid, pp. 303-318, ISBN 3-7705-3118-3 .
  • Horst Schroeder: The Topos of the Nine Worthies in Literature and Fine Arts , Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971, Zugl .: Regensburg, Univ., Diss., 1969, ISBN 3-525-23112-1
  • Andrey Egorov: Charismatic Rulers in Civic Guise: Images of the Nine Worthies in northern European town halls of the 14th-16th centuries. in: Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak, Martha Dana Rust (Ed.) Faces of Charisma: Image, Text, Object in Byzantium and the Medieval West . Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2018, pp. 205-239, ISBN 978-90-04-36380-9

Web links

Commons : Nine Good Heroes  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Barbara Schock-Werner : Nine heroes with courage and intelligence . In: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger , edition of October 9, 2013, p. 26.