Zimmerische Chronicle

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Handwriting B, open

A German historical work from the middle of the 16th century, the family chronicle of the Swabian lords of Zimmer (since 1538: Counts) is called Zimmerische Chronik (also Chronicle of the Counts of Zimmer , more rarely Zimmer Chronicle or Zimmer Chronicle ). It was written from 1540/1558 to 1566 by Froben Christoph von Zimmer in Meßkirch Castle .


Illustration of the Zimmerische Chronik, Cod. Don. 580a, page 33
Sheet 177 from manuscript A with personal corrections by Froben Christoph

The chronicle is an outstanding source on the culture of the nobility in the 16th century, their values ​​and family life, but also on folk culture. It differs from other contemporary nobility and diocese chronicles (and thus also from the work of Wilhelm Werner von Zimmer ) in that it goes beyond genealogical lists of generational sequences and depicts the persons described as psychologically differentiated personalities. This happens not only for the family members of the rooms, but also for the neighboring noble families: Württemberg , Zollern , Werdenberg , Waldburg , Fürstenberg , Thengen etc. For the characterization, pictures and fables as well as facetia are also used for the characterization, known to the literarily educated contemporary reader . It has given some of the reports the character of what we now call the Urban Legend .

The chronicle is mainly told in the third person, occasionally an I creeps in. Since the monograph by Jenny (1959) Count Froben Christoph von Zimmer (1519–1566) has been the sole author of the Zimmeric Chronicle . His secretary Johannes (Hans) Müller († around 1600) used to be a co-author, but he was probably only active as a writer. That the chronicle was significantly influenced by Froben Christoph's uncle, the judge and historian Wilhelm Werner von Zimmer, is certainly correct. However, Froben Christoph's work is characterized by an independent style and a completely different narrative approach. A distinction between a scientifically working uncle and an amateur nephew can therefore not be maintained.

Froben Christoph wrote the Liber rerum Cimbriacarum as early as 1540 . This can be seen as the forerunner of the Zimmeric Chronicle. The original has not survived, but we know of it from two copies. The content already corresponds to the basic structure of the later chronicle:

  • Cimbri deduction - Derivation of Zimmer's descent from the Cimbri
  • Forced transplantation of Roman nobles in the Black Forest by Charlemagne , the first rooms
  • Gap of 120 years
  • Huns incursion 934 : Beginning of the line-up with the victorious hero in a duel with a Hunnic giant (missing in the chronicle).
  • Then complete listing of the name structure of the family tree (man, woman, children)
  • 1104: Legend of the Hirschwunder on the Stromberg .
  • With Konrad von Reichenau start of the historical news.
  • The Rohrdorf legacy, at the beginning of the 14th century, is the definitive departure from inventions.
  • The complaint about the family accident ( Werdenberg feud , ostracism of the grandfather) in 1486, introduces the "present".
  • The father Johannes Werner is only mentioned by name.
  • Uncle Gottfried Werner is honored with a panegyric .
  • The statements about Wilhelm Werner are the most productive. Froben Christoph thanks him for advice, support and support.

In contrast to the Liber rerum Cimbriacarum, the Zimmerische Chronik is clearly more narrative, which is only the case in the Liber rerum in the Cimbrern deduction and in the Stromberg saga.

The daring and entertaining stories are used very consciously and purposefully by Froben Christoph. They serve to characterize the people he describes on the basis of literary patterns that were very well known to the reader at the time.

The castle of the Counts of Zimmer in Meßkirch

The purpose of the chronicle was firstly to provide future generations with evidence of the family's origins and possessions after the rise of the house to the rank of count (previous generations were negligent in the preservation of documents; Gottfried Werner still allowed that from old Parchment glue was boiled). Second, the actions of Zimmer's ancestors should serve as instruction for future members of the Zimmer House. That is why the condemnation of wasteful behavior and the sale of domestic goods on the one hand and the praise of the increase in property on the other hand run like a red thread through the chronicle. The service for more powerful ruling houses, e.g. B. Austria or Württemberg is condemned; in retrospect it was usually associated with disadvantages for the Zimmer house. Examples from other noble houses are also used solely from this point of view.

Tradition and edition history

The chronicle is preserved in two manuscripts:

  • Hs. 580: Two paper folio volumes, separated in 1792, in the first pages 1 to 802, in the second pages 803 to 1567. The volumes are illustrated with 41 coats of arms, a banner carrier and three decorative pages with ornamental tendrils. The main text of the chronicle goes up to page 1181. Up to page 1557 there are additions, up to page 1567 a bibliography follows. In secondary literature, the folio volumes are also often referred to as manuscripts B1 and B2 .
  • Hs. 581: A parchment manuscript, 296 sheets, in old foliation, written by the hand of the secretary Hans Müller from Messkirch, with corrections by Count Froben Christoph von Zimmer. The volume was mutilated, all illustrations except for a coat of arms cut out and a number of sheets torn through or removed. Often referred to as handwriting A in secondary literature .

On the basis of written comparisons, three scribes could be identified in the manuscripts. The focus here is on the scribe Hans Müller, who has been in the service of Gottfried Werner von Zimmer since 1552. Half of the additions were made by an unknown scribe and the extensive correction notes, especially in handwriting A , were made by Froben Christoph von Zimmer himself. However, Hans Müller's authorship cannot be inferred from this.

Gerhard Wolf traces the beginning of the writing of manuscript A back to the year 1554 (1604 years since the writing of " De Bello Gallico " (ZC, Volume I, p. 33)) and sees this logically in the Froben Christoph's biography. (1549, birth of the ancestral owner Wilhelm, thus also stronger support from Uncle Gottfried Werner, for whom Froben had become an adopted son and who, after a period of disappointment about the lack of his own sons, began to think dynastically again and after his death in 1554 Froben gave Christoph the necessary independence to pursue his historical interests). The Manuscript A , elaborately written on parchment, was initially certainly planned as a clean copy. With the study of the material, however, the number of necessary corrections and additions grew, so that a new version was tackled. Wolf dates the beginning of this writing of manuscript B , again from the inference of a passage in B that was no longer present in A (the destruction of a tapestry in Ettenheimmünster monastery 40 years ago during the Peasants' War, ZC, Volume I, p. 65), on 1564/65.

The transcription of A and the creation of supplements took place in parallel, which can be concluded from the decrease in the number of supplements at the end of the chronicle. The creation of a final record was prevented by Froben Christoph's death in November 1566. The chronicle was written in the Froben Christophs office in Meßkirch , the residence of the Counts of Zimmer. Wildenstein Castle as a possible place of origin corresponds more to a modern romanticizing wishful thinking.

Froben Christoph left eight daughters, Wilhelm von Zimmer, and only one male heir. During his lifetime he sold or gave away the valuable cabinet of curiosities (from the ancestral seat of Burg Herrenzimmern ) of Wilhelm Werner von Zimmer to Ferdinand II. It formed the basis of the Ambras collection . Wilhelm died childless in 1594, and the family of the rooms became extinct. The goal of the chronicle was missed after a generation.

The chronicle remained in family ownership after Count Wilhelm sold it out to Ferdinand II. After the death of Wilhelm, the helpless stone family of the second oldest sister Apollonia seems to have been in the best economic condition. When they inherited in 1596, they took over the family property in Messkirch and Wildenstein, the remaining heirs were compensated with 400,000 guilders. Part of the literary estate came to the Königsegger family in Aulendorf via the younger sister Kunigunde , but Wolf logically points out that the chronicle, the content of which is also a documentation of Zimmer's ownership, must have remained with the main heirs. An earlier transition, at least the handwriting A to Fürstenberg via sister Anna, is also possible. This had given the nuns of the Frauenalb monastery information from a "clock old ... book", which can also be found in the chronicle.

The remaining part of the Zimmerische Bibliothek was in Meßkirch until 1768 and was only then brought to Donaueschingen. However, the chronicle is not listed in the inventory drawn up. Nevertheless, shortly after this point in time it can be found in the Donaueschingen court library.

Loan from the Princely Fürstenberg Court Library for manuscript 580

After it was rediscovered around 1776 by the Hofkammerrat and archivist Carl Joseph Doepfer , it became known in literary and historical circles through Joseph von Laßberg at the beginning of the 19th century. Laßberg used parts of it in his "Liedersaale". His friend Joseph Albrecht von Ittner also drew material for his stories from the chronicle. Also at Laßberg's mediation, Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen (1838) used parts of it in his story of the minstrels and Joseph Eiselein in his collection of proverbs. Both Ernst Münch for his "History of the House of Fürstenberg" (1829) and Krieg von Hochfelden for the "History of the Counts of Eberstein in Swabia" (1836) and Johann Nepomuk Vanotti in the "History of the Counts of Montfort and Werdenberg" (1845 ) went back to the chronicle. Heinrich Ruckgaber wrote his "History of the Counts of Rooms" (1840) from it. Ludwig Uhland used them as a source for his collection of legends.

The manuscripts were in the Donaueschingen court library until 1993 and came from there to the Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart .

Karl August Barack edited the chronicle for the first time in 1869 as part of the library of the Litterarian Society in Stuttgart (volumes 91 to 94), and he published a new, improved edition in 1882 (reprinted in 1932 by FW Hendel Verlag and edited by Paul Herrmann ) . Barack's merit is to have made the chronicle in its entirety available to a wider public for the first time. All later publications are mostly only excerpts limited to the Schwänke and sagas, which have also been translated into today's language.

Baracks Edition contains a comprehensive directory of people and places. The also very extensive dictionary represents the state of the office language used in Messkirch in the middle of the 16th century, which can be described as a kind of Hochschwäbisch. Considering the biography of Froben Christoph, who could only fully acquire this language at the age of 24, influences of the Kurmainzischen Franconian of his youth in Mespelbrunn and Aschaffenburg as well as the language of the imperial court in Speyer should not be excluded.

Barack wanted to reconstruct the unfinished chronicle in a form that Froben Christoph thought - in Barack's view - by inserting later “supplements” in their “intended” place. This often gives the impression of lengthy breathlessness and frequent digressing from the topic and possibly also the impression that it is more a question of a collection of swans than a historical work. Logical connections were also torn apart in such a way that they are no longer accessible to today's reader.

In the 1960s, Hansmartin Decker-Hauff began a new edition in collaboration with Rudolf Seigel (who did the main work, while Decker-Hauff contributed explanatory marginal notes) with a new edition that remained unfinished. This was based on the handwriting B1 and B2 . It was planned to publish the supplements as such at the end of the work. This made the chronicle more legible.


  1. ^ Google book search online, Wilhelm Kosch: Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon: Das 20. Jahrhundert Sp.373-274
  2. ↑ In the chapter on the murder of Andreas von Sonnenberg ( Zimmerische Chronik, Volume 2, pp. 235-246 ), after the explanation that Count Felix von Werdenberg prevented his sister from marrying Andreas von Sonnenberg (p. 236, line 20 –22), five different slots made. Later (p. 241, line 34 ff), suddenly for today's reader, it is explained with the words "For such a cause ..." how Andreas von Sonnenberg publicly insulted Felix von Werdenberg at the wedding of Duke Ulrich von Württemberg, which later led to the revenge murder of the Werdenberger on Andreas von Sonnenberg


  • Zimmerische Chronicle . Edited by Karl August Barack . Stuttgart 1869 (4 vol.), Out of date.
  • Zimmerische Chronicle . Edited by Karl August Barack. 2nd edition, Mohr, Freiburg 1881–1882 (4 vol.), Authoritative.
  • Zimmer Chronicle . According to the edition by Barack ed. by Paul Hermann. Hendel, Meersburg and Leipzig 1932 (4 vol.), Reprint of Barack's 2nd edition.
  • The Chronicle of the Counts of Zimmer. Manuscripts 580 and 581 of the Princely Fürstenbergische Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen . Edited by Hansmartin Decker-Hauff with the collaboration of Rudolf Seigel. Thorbecke, Konstanz 1964–1972 (3 vol.), Incomplete.

Selection issues and edits

  • Bernhard Ihringer (Ed.): From the chronicle of those of rooms. Histories and curiosities from six centuries of German life (= life documents of past centuries. Vol. 3). Langewiesche-Brandt, Ebenhausen and Leipzig 1911 ( online ).
  • Johannes Buehler (Ed.): Coat of arms, mug, love game. The Chronicle of the Counts of Zimmer 1288-1566. Societäts-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1940 (reprinted 1988).
  • Walther Frick: It was very different. Stories from the Zimmer Chronicle. Geiger, Horb 1988, ISBN 3-89264-260-5 .
  • Gunter Haug: About knights, farmers and ghosts. Stories from the Chronicle of the Counts of Zimmer . Gmeiner, Meßkirch 1996, ISBN 3-926633-34-4 .
  • Gunter Haug : The world is the world. Even more stories from the chronicle of the Counts of Zimmer . Gmeiner, Meßkirch 1997, ISBN 3-926633-37-9 .


  • Casimir Bumiller, Bernhard Rüth, Edwin Ernst Weber (eds.): Patrons, collectors, chroniclers . The Counts of Zimmer and the culture of the Swabian nobility. Belser, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-7630-2625-8 , doi : 10.15463 / rec.reg.1466502917 ( review - catalog for the exhibition July 15 - September 16, 2012, Kreisgalerie Schloss Meßkirch and September 30 - December 2, 2012 Dominican Museum Rottweil ).
  • Otto Franklin: The free lords and counts of rooms. Contributions to the legal history according to the Zimmerische Chronik . Mohr, Freiburg 1884.
  • Beat Rudolf Jenny : Count Froben Christoph von Zimmer. Historian, narrator, sovereign. A contribution to the history of humanism in Swabia . Thorbecke, Lindau and Konstanz 1959.
  • Gerhard Wolf: From the Chronicle to the World Book. Sense and claim of southwest German house chronicles at the end of the Middle Ages . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2002 ISBN 3-11-016805-7 . ( Google Books ; review )
  • Erica Bastress-Dukehart: The Zimmer chronicle. Nobility, memory, and self-representation in sixteenth-century Germany . Ashgate, Aldershot 2002 ISBN 0-7546-0342-3 . ( Meeting )

Web links

Wikisource: Zimmerische Chronik  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Zimmerische Chronik  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files