Lists of Knightly Accolades in the Liber Memorialis Friderici III. Imperatoris

by Alicia Lohmann

In 1436, shortly after his accession to power as duke, Frederick V, who would later become Emperor Frederik III, decided to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. After his return he created a list of knightly accolades, or dubbings (“Ritterschlagsliste”), in the so-called Liber memorialis Friderici III. imperatoris (Vienna, Austrian National Library, Cod. 2674, f.3), which provides information about the nobles who were knighted alongside Frederick at the Holy Sepulcher.[1] The young duke traveled to the center of the Christian medieval world, accompanied by at least 50 nobles and Bishop Marinus of Trieste. The list reads as follows:

Vermerkcht die da mit mir ritter worden sind und mit mir geforen sind 1436

Von erst Marinus pisolf

von Triest

graff Eberhart von Kirkperg

der junger

graff Pernhart von Schaun

berg

Albrecht von Neiperg fecit me ritter

Jorg von Pucham

Hans von Neiperg

Sigmund von Eberstarf

Leutold von Stubenberg

Hans von Kunringen

Ot von Stubenberg

Paul von Potendarf

Hans von Puechhaim

Perchtold von Lossenstain

Wilhalm von Pernek

Hans von Starenberg

Ludbeig von Ekertczau

Ulreich von Polhaim

Bolfgang von Winden

barones prescripti

(STRICH)

Hans Ungnad hofmarsch

alk

Bolfart Fux von Fuxperg

Purchart von Ellerbach

Gamaret Silberberger

Hainrich Enczastarffer

Ulreich Saurär der elter

Jorg Fux von Fuxperg

Ludbeig von Ratenstain

Andre Holeneker

Niklas von Pollencz

Tristram Teufenpechk

Veit Wolkenstainer

Leupold Taunar

Jorg Apphälterer

Leinhart Harracher

Fridreich Tunner

Pernhart Tehenstainer

Ulreich Fledenniczer

Hans Waldstainer

Jorg Scharnömel

Hans Saurer

Pangrecz Vinkchschad

Haidenreich Czebinger

Wilhalm von der Alben

Sigmund Windischgreczer

Wilhalm Reisperger

Antoni Holeneker

Fridreich Lugaster

Jorg Stainreuter

Hans Lampoltiner

Leinhar Vilsekker,

her

Sigmund Kirperger Hans Greisseneker[2]

The Liber memorialis Friderici III. imperatoris (Vienna, Austrian National Library, Cod. 2674), in which the list survives, is mostly known as the personal notebook of the emperor. Working with such a manuscript is truly a special moment of happiness for any historian. The list is a rare personal testimonial of the late Middle Ages and is found in the book among personal notes that start shortly after Frederick’s return from the Holy Land and his first months of his reign as duke. In the manuscript, the entries have mostly been recorded incoherently and unsystematically. The list quoted above is one of two lists of knightings Frederick created himself in this codex. In the first list (on folio 5r) he documents the knighting of his father’s, Ernest the Iron’s, entourage when he had set out for Jerusalem in 1414. In the second one (on folio 3r), which concerns us here, Frederick lists the nobles that were knighted with him at the Holy Sepulcher. The names were recorded in two columns and arranged hierarchically.

But why did Frederick compose this list?

The list was compiled after the event and thus did not serve any practical purpose. Because of that the list of knightly accolades holds more of a documentary significance. After returning from the Holy Land, nobles usually had the intention of publicizing and perpetuating their memory. This intention must be thought of in terms of the past and the future. Creating a memory for the future involves creating historical records, while preserving a memory of the past is achieved through ascertaining historical records.[3] Frederick must have indited this list to keep the memories of his journey and the knighting ceremony present in his mind. This list did not have to be intended for others, but could serve merely as a personal reminder. An intention to publicize the list of knightly accolades in the notebook, however, cannot be clearly proven.

That said, the tradition was to pay due reverence to the returnees for surviving the risky journey, their unique expression of piety, and the knightly accolade they had received. To achieve this, extensive showmanship was required. The nobles hoped for increased prestige by belonging to such an elite and venerable association.[4] Answering to tradition and the nobles’ hopes, there is an indication that this list of knightly accolades of Frederick’s journey to Jerusalem has also been used for representational purposes. Incidentally, this list has been recorded in a Middle High German rhyming poem by an unknown author in the so-called Chronicle of the Noble Blood of Austria from the Tribe of Habsburg (London, British Library, Cod. Add MS 16592).[5] The poem, which is in the style of heraldic poetry, focuses on the glorious deeds, chivalry and piety of monarchs and noble lords during their pilgrimage. The list of knightly accolades was included in the poem to honorably point out the travelers. Moreover, the poem was intended to promote the glory and crest of the House of Habsburg, the duke and the noble entourage and to record their experiences in writing for eternity. The list of knightly accolades in the poem clearly serves a representational function here.[6] Tangible evidence of immediate dependence between the notebook and the poem cannot be found, however.

Concern for social status in the Middle Ages developed the desire to be on lists that indicate and convey fame, reflecting a sensitivity by contemporaries to issues of belonging and not belonging. This is a development that was already met with criticism in the Middle Ages. An example of a moment of list resistance can be found in the statement “Sufficeth me, as I were ded, / That no wight have my name in honde. / I wot myself best how y stonde” in the poem “The House of Fame” by Chaucer.[7]

About the author: Alicia Lohmann is a doctoral research assistant at the Department of History at Heidelberg University. This article is expected to be published in more detail in an anthology on presentism and absence by Kohlhammer later in 2022.


[1]A digital copy of the manuscript is provided by the Austrian National Library, http://data.onb.ac.at/rec/AC13951377.

[2]The transcription was taken from Alphons Lhotsky, AEIOV. Die „Devise“ Kaiser Friedrichs III. und sein Notizbuch, in: Alphons Lhotsky. Aufsätze und Vorträge, Bd. 2: Das Haus Habsburg, hg. von Hans Wagner/Heinrich Koller, München 1971, 178 and a little revised.

[3]See Cordula Nolte, Erlebnis und Erinnerung. Fürstliche Pilgerfahrten nach Jerusalem im 15. Jahrhundert, in: Fremdheit und Reisen im Mittelalter, hg. von Irene Erfen/Karl-Heinz Spieß, Stuttgart 1997, 66, 86f.

[4] Werner Paravicini, Vom Erkenntniswert der Adelsreise. Einleitung, in: Grand Tour. Adeliges Reisen und europäische Kultur vom 14. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert. Akten der internationalen Kolloquien in der Villa Vigoni 1999 und im Deutschen Historischen Institut Paris 2000, hg. von Rainer Babel/Ders., Ostfildern 2004, 15f. and Werner Paravicini, Von der Heidenfahrt zur Kavalierstour. Über Motive und Formen adligen Reisens im späten Mittelalter, in: Noblesse: Studien zum adeligen Leben im spätmittelalterlichen Europa; gesammelte Aufsätze, hg. von Ders. u.a., Ostfildern 2012, 149–154.

[5] The first transcription of the poem with short notes can be found by Reinhold Röhricht, Die Jerusalemfahrt des Herzogs Friedrich von Österreich nachmaligen Kaisers Friedrich III. von Deutschland (1436). Ein mittelhochdeutsches Gedicht, in: Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 23 (1891), 26–41. An extensive manuscript description was elaborated by Joseph Seemüller, Friedrichs III. Aachener Krönungsreise, in: Mitteilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung 17 (1896), 625–665.

[6] Christiane Hippler, Die Reise nach Jerusalem. Untersuchungen zu den Quellen, zum Inhalt und zur literarischen Struktur der Pilgerberichte des Spätmittelalters, Frankfurt am Main 1987, 93–101 and Silvia Schmitz, Die Pilgerreise Philipps des Älteren von Katzenelnbogen in Prosa und Vers, München 1990, 219.

[7] David Matthews, Enlisting the Poet: The List and the Late Medieval Dream Vision, in: Style 50, 3 (2016), 284, 289.

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