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Thank you Germany: Part 092: The Codex Manesse is a very special song manuscript


In beautiful Heidelberg, with its time-honoured tradition, a very special treasure from the Middle Ages is kept. Known under the Latin name Codex Manesse, the manuscript gathers many important texts of the Middle Ages in a single book. However, the book does not only contain unique love poems, which were known as Minnesang in the Middle Ages. There are also many beautiful illuminations in the book. The book is many hundreds of years old and invaluable.

It is kept in a vault in the Heidelberg University Library. The university library has a reproduction of this book that can be viewed. The Codex Manesse is better known under its German name. The Heidelberg Song Manuscript has a very special reputation around the world among medieval researchers and literary scholars. This reputation ensures that Heidelberg and Germany are revered throughout the world. Many visitors come to the Heidelberg University Library every year to see the reproduction of this special book on site. But a digitised version is also available on the internet. Germany can be proud of the Codex Manesse. A unique work of art like this exists nowhere else in the world.

The value of this book cannot be quantified at all. It is a cultural heritage of a very special kind. Most people in Germany are familiar primarily with the modern era or with antiquity. They are not aware that there were also great cultural products in between. If you take a look at the texts and productions from this period, you will see that Germany has special treasures here. Germany can be proud of treasures from this period. The state has made sure that these treasures have been made accessible. Today, they are made available to Germans as well as to all people in the world in a digitalised version in a simple and uncomplicated way.

Those who want to know more can also find information in many research reports. But exhibitions on the important findings about this period also take place regularly. In these exhibitions and the books on them, Germans can learn about a cultural heritage that very few people in Germany are aware of. In fact, the country has treasures here that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Germans should take advantage of the opportunity to visit such exhibitions and view this special material. Even if not everyone understands the German language of the Middle Ages – Middle High German – the book pages and the illuminations already offer a very special sight. This is a sight to be proud of.

If access to it is as easy as it is today, one should also make use of this access. It is not only die-hard medieval fans who will have their hearts lifted at the sight of such treasures. Many people will also have a special experience. The confrontation with the treasures from the Middle Ages can lead to completely new areas of interest opening up or create a new approach to an epoch that people had previously been rather unfamiliar with. Germany has treasures that can provide this experience.

Last updated on 6. February 2023

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