Images: © Wien, ÖNB, Cod. Ser. n. 2663.

Ambraser Heldenbuch:
Transcription and Scientific Dataset

Funding organization: Austrian Academy of Sciences

go!digital 2.0 – €146,652.00

Project duration: 2017–2019

Principal investigator: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mario Klarer

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Project description

The goal of the ÖAW go!digital 2.0 project “Ambraser Heldenbuch: Transcription and Scientific Dataset” was to transcribe the ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch’ (Vienna, Austrian National Library, Cod. ser. nova 2663), a text from the early 16th century, in its entirety and to provide a scientific dataset online as well as offline by 2019, which is the 500th anniversary of Maximilian I’s death. The ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch’ was commissioned by Maximilian I at the beginning of the 16th century as a luxury manuscript and was written in one hand by Hans Ried, a tax collector from Bolzano, on just under 250 large-format parchment folios. Twenty-five of the most important Middle High German texts can be found in this luxury codex (e.g., ‘Nibelungenlied’ and ‘Helmbrecht’), of which fifteen are unique to the ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch’ (e.g., ‘Erec’ and ‘Mauritius von Craûn’).

Due to the large amount of text by a single writer—the ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch’ and four further documents known to be by Hans Ried (certificate, toll record, and service records), comprising 600,000 words—the transcription of the entire Ried autograph is well-suited to be a unique linguistic and literary corpus:

  1. From a philological standpoint regarding editions, the corpus offers unique possibilities for the reconstruction of unique Middle High German texts which have been handed down only in the ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch,’ as well as for editions and the study of parallel traditions (e.g., ‘Nibelungenlied’).
  2. From a linguistic and dialectological point of view, the transcription of the ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch’ in combination with other documents by Hans Ried makes available a large, geographically liminal corpus poised at the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, produced by a single writer.

Regarding editions, historical linguists and philologists have long perceived the transcription of the entire ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch,’ and more specifically the Ried autograph, as an important desideratum of research. Thus, the goal of the ÖAW go!digital project was an elaborate state-of-the-art transcription of the entire ‘Ambraser Heldenbuch’ as well as an edition of this transcription to be a dataset that is citable by and accessible to the public and can serve as a reference work for a wide spectrum of research.


Image: © Wien, ÖNB, Cod. Ser. n. 2663.

Ambraser Heldenbuch Digital

Image: © Wien, ÖNB, Cod. Ser. n. 2663.

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