Sächsische Weltchronik

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The death of Frederick Barbarossa as depicted in the Gotha manuscript of the Sächsische Weltchronik

The Sächsische Weltchronik ("Saxon World Chronicle") is a universal history written in vernacular German prose between 1229 and 1277. The twenty-four surviving manuscripts are a mix of Low German (ten), High German (nine) and Central German (five). The 98-line verse prologue is always in High German. The Weltchronik is the oldest historical work in German prose.[1] Ludwig Weiland, who made a critical edition for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in 1877, gave it the conventional title by which it is most commonly known.[2] The first edition was prepared by Hans Ferdinand Massmann in 1857, but was based on only one manuscript.[3] The manuscripts are classified into three recensions—A, B and C—and the oldest group (A) is entirely High German.[4] Michael Menzel classifies a fifteenth-century manuscript from Wolfenbüttel as the Leittext.[4]

It was once thought that the Weltchronik might be the work of Eike of Repgow, the author of the Sachsenspiegel (a Low German work on law), but this hypothesis—which depended in part on the assumption that the original work was Low German—has been abandoned.[4] The author employed at least thirty-six different Latin chronicles in his research. The most important were the Chronicle of Frutolf of Michelsberg, the continuation of the same by Ekkehard of Aura and the Annales Palidenses.[4]


  1. ^ Kries 1987, p. 448–49. The Kaiserchronik is earlier, but in verse. The Weltchronik of Rudolf von Ems is contemporary, but also verse.
  2. ^ MGH Deutsche Chroniken 2 (Hanover: Hahn, 1877).
  3. ^ Massmann titled his work Das Zeitbuch des Eike von Repkow (Stuttgart).
  4. ^ a b c d Kries 1987, pp. 449–50.


  • Kries, F. W. von (1987). "Review of Die sächsische Weltchronik: Quellen und Stoffauswahl by Michael Menzel". Speculum. 62 (2): 448–50. doi:10.2307/2855265. 
  • Shaw, Frank (2013). "Sächsische Weltchronik". Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle. Brill Online. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 

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