Another Grünenberg Copy

Some time ago, I started a little series on the Grünenberg armorial and its manuscripts. (Have a look here and here, if you like). As it turned out, Grünenberg’s work – which often is praised as one of the most important medieval armorials – is extant in relatively many manuscripts: in addition to the two famous copies at Munich and Berlin, Bernd Konrad, František Pícha, and I have identified another extant seven copies, mostly from the sixteenth century, and a lost one (last documented in 1989).

King of Matembrion in the Überlingen manuscript Stuttgart, WLB, HB V 25, fol. 47v; online at

Today, while routinely checking out digitized armorials, I looked at a manuscript from Überlingen which Klaus Graf brought to my attention (actually, some time ago): Stuttgart, WLB, HB V 25; online at The preview in Klaus Graf’s orginal post showing a dog-headed King of Matembrion (spelled matembrian here) should have alerted me spot-on: the armorial is clearly dependend on Grünenberg!

The manuscript was written in the 1590s by Georg Han in Überlingen, a prolific scribe who copied several other armorials, too (see Irtenkauf/Kreckler, Handschriften II.2, xiv-xv and 40-41). It clearly was left incomplete; not only are there many empty pages and a few arms only sketched, but from fol. 263v on it is completely empty.

The sequence of the arms is rougly that found in Grünenberg, and some of the material can only be taken from here. The manuscript begins with an alphabetical index of family names. After some empty pages the first content is the AEIOU of Frederick III.

The Überlingen armorial starts with the ternions, Western and non-Western realms (including Prester John and Matembrion), and continous with principalities. In between one finds a few texts not from Grünenberg which seem to date from the early sixteenth century. I have not yet checked the relation to the Zurich manuscript (see here), but the similarity is evident.

With 347 folios it is a mighty volume but probably not identical to the lost copy which Stillfried described as “alte, allerdings nur sehr mittelmäßige Copie von Grünenberg, 362 Blatt umfassend” (Stillfried, ‘Einleitung’, p. VII)


Secondary Literature

Wolfgang Irtenkauf and Ingeborg Krekler, Die Handschriften der Württembergischen Landesbibliothek II, 2: Codices historici (HB V 1 – 105), Wiesbaden 1975.

Rudolf Graf Stillfried-Alcántara, ‘[Einleitung]’, in Des Conrad Grünenberg, Ritters und Burgers zu Costenz, Wappenpuch, ed. Rudolf Graf Stillfried-Alcántara and Adolf Matthias Hildebrandt (5 vols. Görlitz 1875–83), vol. 1 (1875), V–VIII.


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).

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