A new Grünenberg copy from Brno

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Moravian Land Archives at Brno, G 12 Cerr II, 397, here at 22: Ladies representing the tournament societies. Image courtesy of Karl Müller, Oppava.

Konrad Grünenberg (d. 1494) is rightly famous for having had one of the greatest armorials of the Middle Ages. For a long time now, heraldists, art historians and (increasingly) historians have studied Grünenberg’s great work, but only recently the popularity of this giant collection of coat of arms has become evident, as new copies were discovered. If you want to learn about these discoveries, look no further than the heraldica nova blog! (Here, here and here in particular.)

Today, I am very happy to annouce that yet another manuscript of Grünenberg has been identified in the Moravian Land Archives at Brno (Moravsky zemsky archiv v Brne). It came to my knowledge by a comment by František Pícha on my last blogpost Konrad Grünenberg X: Eine Zwischenbilanz”The number of known copies, often given as three in the secondary literature, and still at five when I published my first blogpost on Grünenberg, has thus risen to an impressive nine copies.

The Brno manuscript has the shelf-mark G12 Cerr. II, 397.  The manuscript is apparently from the sixteenth century; the older catalogues assume that it comes from the first half of the century, but at first look it may equally be post-1550. As František Pícha kindly informed me, Karel Müller (himself an archivist at Oppava and a heraldist) identified the armorial as a Grünenberg copy; the images shown here were also taken by him.

The Brno copy has never been mentioned in the (rather rich) secondary literature on Grünenberg, and indeed there seems to by no modern description of the manuscript except a short description by Mojmír Švábenský made in 1973. František Pícha kindly translated this account into English, added helpful comments in the light of the identification of Karel Müller, and generously shares the result with us (see below).

My warmest thanks to all colleagues who were so kind to share their discoveries and insights!

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Moravian Land Archives at Brno, G 12 Cerr II, 397, here at 10: The so-called Four Pillars of the Realm. Note that the coat of arms of the Counts Palatine of the Rhine is replaced by those of Bavaria. This corresponds to the ‘correction’ made in the Munich copy of Grünenberg’s armorial (see the image to the left). Image courtesy of Karl Müller, Oppava.


Munich, BSB Cgm 145, here at 9 (detail): Coat of arms of the Counts Palatine of the Rhine crossed out, Bavarian arms added, with a comment reading “Soll Bayern sain unnd not Pfaltz!” Source: http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/bsb00035320/image_14

Manuscript description by Mojmír Švábenský, translated and commentated on by František Pícha:


Translation of the Czech bibliographic record, which is given in: Mojmír ŠVÁBENSKÝ: Cerroniho sbírka. 13. stol. – 1845. Svazek II., Rukopisy Cerr 2, č. 153 – 413. Cerr 3. Inventáře a katalogy Státního oblastního archivu v Brně. č. 26. Brno 1973 [Collection Cerroni. 13th century-1845. Vol.II – Manuscripts Cerr II 153-413 and Cerr III. Inventories and catalogues of State Regional Archives in Brno, No.26. Brno 1973]

Inv. No. 511                                                                      Cerr II, 397

Before 1523, paper 2 ff + ff. 10-358 + 2ff germ. text   33 x 22 cm, leather original binding

Czikann catalogue[i] describes as : WAPPENBUCH, ALLGEMEINES, ENTHALTEN 1940 WAPPEN, FEIN AUSGEMALT, mit den betreffenden Ueberschriften, auf 358 Blaettern in fol.: aus dem Anfange des 16. Jahrhundert.

At the beginning two leaves without foliation[ii], original foliation starts on Fol. 10 by four “columns of the Empire” and ends at fol. 358 ( Fol. 75, 301,302, 353 missing, twofold foliation on fol. 210,269,293). On Fol. 28, 29 longer coherent text comprising a philosophical essay of the compiler of the codex, knight Konrad Khienenberg[iii], burgher of Konstanz.

Coloured pictures of arms[iv]:

Fol. 10-27 includes four Banners of the Empire –among them Silesia-, four Margraves of the Empire –among them Moravia- , further counts, landgraves, officials, burgraves, magistrates[v], huntsmen, knights, waiters etc.

Fol. 30-32 Pictures of four cities and four castles,

Fol. 33 figures of peasants with arms of corresponding towns –among them Konstanz- ,

Fol. 34 four villages,

fol. 35 four hamlets,

fol. 36-51 arms of various kingdoms beginning with France, also with an indication of its capital – among them Bohemia on Fol. 41-

Fol. 52-85 arms of Asian and mythical kingdoms – incl. a figure of sitting Priester John, Shah, Saracene sultan, Java sultan, Mandembrian king ( with dog´s head), queen of Amazonians , an unfinished view of a town on an island on Fol. 79, some descriptions, e.g. a description of China on Fol. 79b –

Fol. 86 a picture of the “first duke” Josue

Fol. 87-119 Arms of Dauphin of France, three electors, dukes ( incl. Oppeln on Fol. 114),

Fol. 120 Arms of dignitaries of empires of Constantinople and Turkey

Fol. 121,122 and 124 arms of margraves,

Fol. 106,123,125-158 arms of counts,

Fol. 159-180 arms of barons[vi]

Fol. 181-221 arms of nobles

Fol. 222 Banners of twelve Bavarian tournament societies hold by women, further arms of members of the respective societies: Fol. 223-236, 237-240, 241-246, 247-249, 250-253, 254-269, 269a-272, 273-281

Fol. 282-356 arms of Bavarian tournament nobility (among them fol. 310 von Veitmuhl, fol. 318 “von Medleskha aus Pehain” )

Fol. 357-358 Arms form an older book, probably from Codex Manesse ( ? “in einem Puech das zu schatzen ist, wohl 400 Jahr alt” )

Terminus ante quem of the codex is 1526 (Buda is still the capital of Hungary, fol. 38) or 1523 (three Nordic kingdoms still joined, fol. 37)[vii]

Wooden sleeve covered by brown leather, the imprint on it is mostly rubbed away. Rests of two hook clips.

Provenience : Exlibris on the flyeleaf: Fr. Franc. Paulus de Smitner, 1777[viii]

Comments of FP:

[i] This is the original catalogue compiled when the Cerroni collection was sold in the year 1845 by Cerroni´s heir Mr. Czikann to the Land Archives in Brno

[ii] Seven Roman kings and twelve Roman emperors.

[iii] The text really reads Khienenberg. The date of the completion of the codex, included in the Berlin manuscript, is missing, similarly as in the Munich manuscript. For the dating of the armorial and Stillfried’s manipulation of the evidence, see also here.

[iv] The arms are drawn single-sided, only on the obverse side of the leaves, some notes are occasionally placed on reverses.

[v] Translation of Vögte.

[vi] Translation of Freiherren.

[vii] It should be noted that the author of the bibliographic record did not recognize that the armorial is a copy of the Grunenberg armorial. Analysis of watermarks was not performed.

[viii] Most likely Franz Paul Ritter von Smitmer, born March 3, 1741, died October 14, 1796, son of the court juweller Franz Michael Smitmer (from 1740: Ritter von Smitmer). He was knight of the Order of Malta from 1760, and reached the rank of a priest commander. He was a famous antiquarian, collecting documents and inscriptions. His main work, the Collectanea historica Austriaca, is an important source for history and heraldy.

Cite this blog post
Christof Rolker (2016, January 27). A new Grünenberg copy from Brno. Heraldica Nova. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/phy6

Christof Rolker

Christof Rolker is a historian interested in the Middle Ages, esp. canon law, kinship, family, sex and gender, and the use of symbolic goods (names, coats of arms etc).

2 Responses

  1. Dear Steen,
    thanks for your thoughts. No doubt the ms awaits closer analysis, and whoever will do it, it grealty profit from your heraldic edition. As for the date, I am a convinced sceptic, at the moment we have very little evidence for a date at all. As for cgm 145 – none of the later copies has the pecularities of the Berlin ms, but this does not mean that they directly depend on cgm 145.
    Ideally, we would want to compare all mss but with 2,000 cots of arms and the numbner of mss still rising this is wishful thinking (at least for now). What we would need next is a check list of important features that may indicate mutual dependency of the mss. Additions, omissions, misbindings, all kinds of errors – especially those that cannot be corrected simply by common sense and therefore were bound to pass on to all copies made from a given exemplar.
    Any ideas for this check-list? The Vier Säulen are certainly in (because of Palatinate/Bavaria), maybe the odd French coat of arms, the imperial arms (because it must have been tempting to insert references to contemporary emperors), the position of the preface (because it varies between the mss), maybe the Vier Bauern (because of the anachronistic Konstanz coat of arms)…
    Other suggestions, anyone?
    Best wishes, and happy manuscript hunting everyone,

  2. I do not want to be a spoilsport, so let me begin by gratulating both Christof Rolker and Frantisek Picha with their discoveries and presentations of new Grünenberg manuscripts. The discovery of six manuscripts previously unconnected to the main series bodes well for what may be expected from closer scrutiny of the holdings of armorials.
    Three comments on the Brno manuscript. With only 1940 arms of 2300 known, it obviously lacks some parts of the main tradition, while the parts (or segments) listed have the order and content as the BSB cgm.145 manuscript, but does not appear to have the Nine Worthies, Ternionen and Roman emperors (which probably were in the lost fff.1-9), and possibly some of the swabians in the last but one segment. The last few items are obvious the ones from the Weingartner / Heidelberger (Manesse) Liederhandschrifft.
    Secondly, the few images, I have seen reminds me of the cgm.9210 as well as the Konstanz ms, which like most presumptive datings runs between 1560-1605.
    Thirdly, a warning – never date a copy from the appearance , quarterings, presence or absence of arms, unless there are independent strong evidence of the manuscript, segment or more than one coat of arms having been updated. The Nordic countries formed a union when Grünenberg commissioned his first armorial, and the (horrendous) combinations there were copied faithfuly into most of the copies I have seen or heard of. The Brno manuscript unlikely to have been copied before 1523, my guess would be closer to 1600.
    What is worth speculating on, is how did people get to copy the cgm.145, if this is really the common precusor of most late copies?

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