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The unrecorded Eytzinger copy

[Leopold von Wien]. Austrian Chronicle of 95 Seigneurs.

Austria, c. 1430.

Folio (222 x 305 mm). German ms. on paper. Southern German bastarda in brown ink, rubricated throughout. With 5 splendid coats of arms in gold, silver, and colours (each approx. 65 x 120 mm). 2 cols., 28-35 lines; written space ruled up to quire H. 141 (instead of 145) ff.: complete collation A12, B11, C-M12, N2 (unfoliated, but with the scribe's quire signatures I-XII at the end of each gathering; blank B1 trimmed to a stub during binding); wants ff. B6, C5, C7, D2, L3 (the latter leaf supplied in the 16th century by a different hand and mounted on the stub). Several chapter headings in red ink; numerous lombardic initials in red, blue, green, yellow, and pink, some with penwork flourishes and infillings different colours; first initial painted in red on green ornamental background, showing somewhat more elaborate ornamentation. Supplied L3 is also rubricated with lombardid initials. Inside back cover shows contemp. arms of the Eitzinger family in giold and colours (120 x 160 mm). Original 15th-c. red-brown smooth calf over wooden boards with ten brass bosses and remains of clasps (spine professionally restored recently; spine-ends repaired); ms. spine label (c. 1780): "Chronick von Oestreich bis 1398. M.S." with shelfmark label "670". In custom-made cloth portfolio.

Finely executed, early ms. copy of the widely disseminated "Austrian Chronicle of 95 Seigneurs", containing five splendidly coloured coats of arms. Composed near the end of the 14th century, probably at the commission of Duke Albrecht III, this all-encompassing chronicle traces the genealogy of Austrian rulers from the days of Noah. Aiming to prove the descent of the Dukes of Austria from the Jews of the Old Testament, the work quickly became the country's semi-official history and decisively informed 15th century Austrian historiography.

The present copy represents the so-called "D" redaction, a digest distinguished by the fact that most of the paragraphs concerning the Popes have been omitted. "Thus, the interruptions in the enumeration of legendary sovereigns are eliminated and the succession is presented as a uniform narrative series: it was these legendary rulers that guided the interest of the 'D' redactor; afterwards, the tendency towards abridgement becomes less marked. The idea of abridgement seems to have been developed gradually. All characteristics of 'D' point to a text showing the perfectly ordinary corruptions to be expected in the case of multiple copyings, but also to one edited by a distinguishable hand which mainly trimmed down the scope of the text but otherwise largely refrained from meddling with the wording" (cf. Seemüller, LXXXV). Our text ends with the so-called Second Sequel ("und ander zierhait und schankhung"), as called for by Seemüller's edition on p. 223; although two further appendices are known, these are not part of the chronicle proper and would hardly have been added to a redacted text such as the present one; the final leaves N3-4 lacking in our copy thus may safely be assumed to have been blank.

The Manuscript Census lists no less than 49 ms. copies (some extant in fragments only), the large number pointing to the great popularity which the work enjoyed in the 15th century and the importance attached to it. Many copies also contain coats of arms associated with the largely legendary Habsburg ancestry; others even have miniatures from Biblical and Austrian history. The present ms., not listed in the Census, contains five very appealingly executed coats of arms: the four fictional arms of Saptan (C1v), Salanata (C9r), St Amman (C10r), and Johann (C11r) as well as Leopold's famous "gules a fess argent" arms (E9r), the flag of Austria to this day. The four missing leaves must also have contained coats of arms, possibly up to six, judging by the amount of missing text (B6: probably Abraham, C5: prob. Samaym and/or Samanna, C7: prob. Enna, D2: prob. Albrecht and/or Salme). The original fol. L3, replaced in the 16th century, could not have contained any miniatures; indeed; the illustrations cease altogether after quire E.

Binding shows star-shaped cuts and a surface defect; the unsophisticated brass bosses are all preserved. Provenance: Large coat of arms on inside back cover, contemporary with the text illustrations and apparently the work of the same artist, showing the crest of the Eyczingers, a noble family important in the Lower Austrian Assembly of Estates in the 15th and 16th centuries, who may thus be assumed to have commissioned this handsome copy. As Ulrich von Eitzing, head of levies under King Albrecht II, was created Baron by the Emperor in 1439, while the arms used here still show the original design, the ms. may be dated around 1430 - a tentative dating which is borne out by the handwriting (libra watermark not in Piccard).

Front pastedown has ms. ownership "W. Paumgarten", dated 1550; shortly afterwards the volume must have been acquired by the Puchheim family from the Lower Austrian Waldviertel region (ms. ownership "Veit Alb[recht] H[err] v[on] Puechamb" on fol. A1r - possibly the father of the like-named founder of the well-known Protestant private press located at Wildberg castle near Horn). Last in a Salzburg private collection.

Cf. MGH VI (ed. Seemüller). Lhotsky, Quellenkunde 312ff.