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Codex of Conrad Sacristan (BayHStA HL Freising 3c)

conradussacristaMiniatures showing the Bishops of Frisingia at the start of the manuscript of Conrad Sacristan

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This large and rich manuscript was assembled in the year 1187 in the Freising scriptorium under the leadership and according to the conception of Conrad Sacristan. The codex, which was written in two parts, contains from fol. 1 to fol. 121 a history of the see of Freising, beginning with St. Corbinian and ending with the tenure of Otto of Freising (1137-1158), the diocese's most celebrated historian, and his successor Albert I. of Harthausen (1158-1184).

This coherently and systematically constructed work is in its first part (fol. 1-96) a copy of the bishops' property acquisitions to Freising, which for the early period follows from fol. 1-79v the Kopialbuch of Cozroh (HL Freising 3a) through the tenure of Hitto (811-835). Generally, Cozroh's work appears to have been a model for Conrad Sacristan, as one might infer from his introductory prologue. However, it also becomes clear, that Conrad understood the property conveyances to Freising during the time of Bishop Erchanbert (836-854) in Cozroh's work not as a third section of the Kopialbuch, but rather copied them in a chronologically incorrect sequence among the conveyances of the tenure of Bishop Anno (855-875), which was marked by property exchanges. The drying up of donation charters as documents for the diocese's history during the time of Bishop Arnold (875-883) is mentioned on fol. 96v by Conrad, who announces a change in method, which characterizes the second part of the manuscript: the tenure of Waldo (883-903) on fol. 97-100 contains copies of royal and imperial diplomas, beginning with a charter of Louis the Child from the year 906. These documents now form the core texts and have been made visibly recognizable with the reproduction of the rulers' monograms in the text columns.

According to Conrad's theory of history, the dues owed to the bishops established through the acquisition of royal privileges take precedence over those acquired through the donations of the Bavarian aristocracy. This is especially clear in the depiction of Bishop Egilbert (1006-1039). Because Egilbert was bound in friendship to the last Ottonian emperor and was appointed as the tutor of Henry III, duke of Bavaria and successor to the throne, emperors Henry II and Conrad II rewarded his work with numerous privileges for Freising. Consequently, Conrad concluded his representation of Engilbert's tenure with its own list of the royal privileges acquired at that time (fol. 111).

The illuminations at the beginning of the text sequence are mostly medallions with busts of the reigning bishops and rulers. Ordered in pairs, they visually represent imperial service and royal protection. However there are also some full-body depictions in the codex, such as that of Bishop Abraham in vestments with stole and crook (fol. 102v), as well as rulers on a itinerate throne. The labeling ensues in oversized initials and text headings at the border in brick red. The fore-page at the beginning of the codex, with the medallions of the Freising bishops, forms together with the closing pages from fol. 121v-122 a Staufer-era framing of the manuscript, which arose at the beginning of the thirteenth century with different coloring. They are followed by a death-list dating from the 14th century (fol. 123-124) and some addenda dating from the 15th century (fol. 124-125).

The codex shows hardly any traces of use in the modern era, for neither Karl Meichelbeck nor Theodor Bitterauf drew upon it intensively for their editions. Among the libri traditionum that arose at the end of the twelfth century in the Bavarian region, it represents a unique document, by which the author intended to create a diocesan history in documents and figures. With respect to the person of Conrad Sacristan, one may refer to the biographical sketch by Joachim Wild.

All documents found in the codex  were published by Theodor Bitterauf in his Edition. He also provided a detailed description of the codex (Introduction, pp. XXII-XXV). In his work named the codex the key A', to show its dependence with regards to content to the work of Cozroh. The chronical parts of the codex can be found in the edition of the MGH.

Adelheid Krah (IÖG, Universität Wien)
Translated by Hans Hummer (Wayne State University)

Literature

  • Maß, Joseph, Das Bistum Freising im Mittelalter (Geschichte des Erzbistums München und Freising 1) München 1986.
  • Stockmeier, Peter, Das Bistum Freising in der Geschichtsschreibung. In: Beiträge zur altbayerischen Kirchengeschichte 36, 1985, 9-28.
  • Wild, Joachim, Conradus Sacrista und die Geschichtsschreibung des Bistums Freising im 12. Jahrhundert. In: Beiträge zur altbayerischen Kirchengeschichte 45, 2000, 19-38.

 

 

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