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Facsimile Edition of the Heidelberg “Sachsenspiegel

Press Release No. 304/2010
7 December 2010
Presentation on 14 December 2010 at the University Library
University Library: Sachsenspiegel

Hardly any other work has left such a mark on German legal history as the 13th century “Sachsenspiegel”. Unequalled in its lasting impact on later generations, it is the most important German law book and is also the first prose work written in German. The Heidelberg manuscript dates back to a time between 1295 and 1304 and is the earliest of the “Sachsenspiegel” codices to have come down to us. On 14 December 2010 a facsimile edition will be presented to the public at Heidelberg University Library. The invitation to the presentation comes from the library together with Heidelberg University’s Institute for the History of Law and the publisher, Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt Graz.

The “Sachsenspiegel” was written by Eike von Repgow between 1220 and 1235. After centuries of purely oral transmission, the work represents the first written record of customary law as it was practised at the time. The facsimile edition contains the complete Heidelberg illuminated manuscript – notable for the unusually high degree of concordance between text and images – in its original format with faithful edge trimming and colour accuracy down to the smallest detail. The extensive scholarly commentary describes the origins and history of the manuscript and its historical setting. The text volume contains a transcription that follows the original text in line and word. A modern German translation rounds off the annotations. A parallel commentary on the margins provides detailed notes on each scene in terms of content and iconography.

At the presentation of the facsimile edition, Dr. Veit Probst, Director of the University Library, will open the proceedings. Subsequently, Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Schroeder of the Institute for the History of Law will discuss the significance of the “Sachsenspiegel” as a law book of European stature. Legal historian Dr. Dietlinde Munzel-Everling (Wiesbaden) will be talking on the translation of legal provisions into pictorial form in the Heidelberg “Sachsenspiegel”. The facsimilisation of important manuscripts is the topic of remarks by Alexander Wilhelm of the Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt Graz. The presentation on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 takes place on the basement storey of Heidelberg University Library, Plöck 107-109, and begins at 6 pm.

Eike von Repgow: Sachsenspiegel. Die Heidelberger Bildhandschrift Cod. Pal. germ. 164. Vollständige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat der Handschrift aus der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Hrsg. V. Gernot Knocher und Dietlinde Munzel-Everling. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt 2009/2010.

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Dr. Sabine Häußermann
Heidelberg University Library
phone: +49 6221 542581

Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 542311

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