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The collection of "Totenroteln" of the Benedictine monastery of Ensdorf, held by the provincial library of Amberg

Totenrotelsammlung des Klosters Endorf Totenrotel for Frater Ockarius Schmidt of the Tegernsee monastery, 1725

zur deutschen Fassung

Among its collections the Provinzialbibliothek (provincial library) Amberg holds some "flotsam of secularisation" in the form of seven folio-sized volumes containing a total of 1497 so-called "Totenroteln". These "rolled-up documents of deceased persons" originally belonged to the former Benedictine monastery of Ensdorf in Upper Palatinate. The text type of the "Totenrotel" goes back to the late-medieval custom of sending a message about the decease of a fellow brother to other monasteries allied through a prayer pledge, so that these could include the deceased in their remembrance of the dead and their prayers. These "remnants of monastic memorial culture" – originally rolled-up strips of parchment and paper (thence the name) – were sent per messenger to said confederate monasteries in the form of broadsheets or as printed forms with handwritten entries starting at the middle of the 16th century. In the archive of a recipient monastery thus numerous messages were collected which came from different, partly very remote monastic communities. The Ensdorf collection thus comprises in particular the "Roteln" from monasteries of the Bavarian Benedictine congregation, including i. a. Andechs, Benediktbeuern, St. Emmeram and Tegernsee. Regarding their content, these documents are more than mere messages that a brother had died in that they frequently also contained information about the brother's background (place of birth, Christian name, profession and sometimes the name of the father), his studies, his fields of activity in the monastery, as well as information relating to time (e. g. about the time span since ordination to priesthood) and a brief report about the last days of his life. Accordingly, they represent a rich source for prosopographic research.

The "Roteln" compiled in the seven volumes refer to the years 1716 to 1789. For the sake of greater user friendliness in the digital presentation they are offered together with some structural data: an interlinked table of contents with personal names, home monastery and date of death.

A german index of provenance lists all 35 monasteries from where "Roteln" entered the collection at Ensdorf monastery; all "Roteln" of an individual monastery are listed there in chronological order. There are also an alphabetical index of surnames and a chronological index available.


On the collection of "Totenroteln" of the Benedictine monastery of Ensdorf, held by the provincial library of Amberg
Further readion on "Totenroteln"


Description of the Project

The Digitisation of the collection of "Totenroteln" of the former Benedictine monastery of Ensdorf is a project of the Provincial Library Amberg in connection with the Bavarian State Library / Munich Digitisation Centre. The digitized "Roteln" are online since 2009, the indices followed in 2010 and 2011.
Provinzialbibliothek Amberg
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek - Information in erster Linie.
Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum (MDZ)