Under Reconstruction!
Object Alone

Obj. ID: 6122
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Munich High Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor, Franconia, late 13th - early 14th century

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Unknown,
Summary and Remarks

The Munich Ashkenazi Mahzor is a medium-sized 14th-century manuscript which includes the prayers for the High Holidays and Sukkot. Several folios are missing at the beginning, between various pages and at the end. The Mahzor may have included the rest of the prayers for Simhat Torah, and other holidays as well.

The Mahzor served as one example of the western Ashkenazi rite in Goldschmidt's scientific edition of the High Holiday prayers (Goldschmidt 1970, I:52). However, although the majority of the prayers and piyyutim follows the western Ashkenazi rite, some piyyutim seem to follow the Polish one. For example, the ofan for the morning service of the first and second days of the New Year holiday כבודו איהל כהיום (fols. 5-5v and 57-58) includes an addition of a section והחיות ישוררו which corresponds to the rite ofPoland (Goldschmidt 1970, I:53).

Shalev-Eyni refers to a similar phenomenon in the Tripartite Mahzor, where two alternative piyyutim for the evening service are written for each day, each representing a tradition typical of different geographical regions. Accordingly, the inclusion of several variants may suggest the mixed population of the community where the Tripartite Mahzor was produced (Shalev-Eyni 2010:13). A similar conclusion may explain the reason for the two different rites, the western Ashkenazi and the Polish, appearing side by side in our Mahzor.  The mobility of Jews inEuropeat the beginning of the 14th century raises difficulties in localising any particular liturgical manuscript according to the content of its piyyutim and in determining its exact source. Thus including several variants in one mahzor, as in ours, points to its production for a community of Jews who originated from different regions.

According to Goldschmidt, in most communities only the 21st and 22nd lines of the piyyut אתה מבין תעלומות לב are recited in the morning service of the Day of Atonement (fols. 140v-141v). In our manuscript, the first few lines are vocalised and the rest are not, which could suggest that they were not read (Goldschmidt 1970, II:48). The piyyutאתה מבין סרעפי לב  is recited only in some communities (fols. 142-144v; Goldschmidt 1970,


Moreover, two other piyyutim which appear in the afternoon service for the Day of Atonement (אמונת אם נוטרת, fols. 197v-198v; אפאר למלכי בקודש, fols. 198v-199) are recited in the rite of Poznan, a city in western Poland(Goldschmidt 1970, II:611 and 613). In the musaf for the Day of Atonement (fols. 151-196) the amidah with the magen שושן עמק אוימה (fols. 151-167) including a section ובשורם מלאכי מרומים was recited only in some communities, amongst them Frankfurt-am-Main and Metz (fol. 162; Goldschmidt 1970, II:396). The selihot for the musaf includeאת הברית ואת החסד  (fols. 183v-184v), usually recited in afternoon service (Goldschmidt 1970, II:636), אנא אדון רחמים (fols. 184v-185), usually recited in morning service (Goldschmidt 1970, II:256), אלה אזכרה recited according to the eastern European rite (fols. 185-187v; Goldschmidt 1970, II:568) and the section: זאת קראתנו וסיפרנו (fols. 187v-188) recited in the rite of Poland (Goldschmidt 1970, II:573). The piyyut אנא השם הנכבד והנורא (fols. 216-217) is part of the morning service prayers for the Day of Atonement, and does not belong here (Goldschmidt 1970, II:205).

An instance of our text following neither the western Ashkenazi rite nor the Polish rite is to be found in the evening prayers for the Day of Atonement (fols. 85-86v), where the sequence of verses determines the rite (Goldschmidt 1970, II:12-16). The order of verses in Avinu malkenu (fol. 150-150v), when compared to Goldschmidt, matches neither the western Ashkenazi nor the Polish rites, which suggests that our scribes also used a different textual exemplar (Goldschmidt-Fraenkel 1981:312).

Furthermore, several piyyutim in our Mahzor are not recited in most communities, for instance the piyyut אתה מבין תעלומות לב in the evening service prayers (fols. 94-95; Goldschmidt 1970, II:48); and three piyyutim for the morning service of the Day of Atonement:הגוים אפס  (fols. 129v-130), מלכותם באברך (fol. 136-136v) and ויאתיו כל עבדך )fol. 138-138v; Goldschmidt 1970, II:186, 426, 198 respectively). On the other hand, the piyyut כי אנו עמך follows the western Ashkenzi rite (fol. 139-139v; Goldschmidt 1970, II:290). In the morning service for the second day of Sukkot, the magen אוימתי בחיל כיפור in the repetition of the amidah (fols. 228v-231v) is usually recited on the first day, except in western Ashkenaz, where it is recited on the second day (see Goldschmidt-Fraenkel 1981:98). This Munich Mahzor also contains later inscriptions by several hands of the 14th-15th centuries, some adding piyyutim particular to the rite ofPoland in the margins.

The Mahzor's modest dimensions in comparison to some of the large Ashkenazi mahzorim for cantors of the 13th century (e.g. the Worms Mahzor of 1272 from Würzburg), reflect the trend towards producing smaller Hebrew and Latin manuscripts for personal use from the early 14th century on (Shalev-Eyni 2010:14). Indeed, the relatively small size with no instructions for the cantor suggests that our Mahzor was intended for personal use.

It was copied by two scribes who were also responsible for its decoration. Scribe A copied and profusely decorated less than a third of the Mahzor (fols. 1-71v), while Scribe B copied the main part of the Mahzor

(fols. 72-250v) but added few decorations, among which are initial words with wrigglework or rosettes and catchwords. It is interesting to note that Scribe B, when taking over, attempted to imitate the script of Scribe A, but further on his individual characteristics are revealed: his script is squat, wider and more stable in comparison to that of Scribe A. While Scribe A encloses his catchwords for quires within pen-work animals and hybrids, Scribe B writes his catchwords vertically and decorates them with dots. However, from the very beginning Scribe B changed the poetic shape of the text of the piyyutim, cf. the transition of hands where Scribe B copied the two-column verses of the piyyut מלך עליון in continuous straight lines, except for the refrains (fols. 71v-72).

In the section by Scribe A, the name Moshe is decorated by a simplified crown drawn in brown ink (fol. 48v) which may indicate the name of the scribe.

The style, motifs and pen-drawings employed by both scribe-artists are related to the scribal art produced by Jewish scribe-artists in the region ofFranconiaduring the 13th and 14th centuries. The decoration by our scribes is mostly executed in brown ink, as is the text. Scribe A sometimes adds green, red and yellowish colours.

The decoration includes an illustration of a man blowing the horn (shofar) with his foot raised on a stool, drawn next to the relevant text (fig. 1). This image appears in several other manuscripts produced inGermanyin the second half of the 13thand 14th centuries. The custom of placing a foot on a three-legged stool while blowing the horn was common in Germany in the Middle Ages in order to ward off Satan (Sperber 2003, VII:242-245; Róth 1962:4); and the ram's horn alludes to the ram which was sacrificed instead of Isaac, as well as the Lord's promise to Abraham that he will multiply his seed (Gen. 22:1-18).





Fig. 1: Blowing the hornת Munich High Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor. Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 40


Fig. 2: Moses with the Tablets of the Law, Munich High Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor. Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 39v


A smaller marginal text illustration appears on fol. 11, illustrating the cantor or reader as the bust of a man praying next to a lectern. The illustration is set in the upper margin, above the word 'rule' (מלוך) in the text, which is also written in small script above the lectern, alluding to our Mahzor.

Scribe A, besides his liking for dragons and hybrids, shows his love for literal word illustrations, allusions and puns. The horn-blower is depicted next to the text which describes how the horn should be blown (fig. 1).

The winged Moses on the other hand (fig. 2) is not mentioned in the text, but the Tablets of the Law which he holds represent the twice mentioned תורתך (Your Law; fols. 39v-40). Since Moses appears on the page opposite the horn blower, the depiction could also allude to the sound of the horn accompanying the Revelation onMount Sinai(Ex. 19:16-20).

The lions (fols. 13v, 23v, 24v, 57) representing the Almighty King and the King allude to God and are common in Hebrew manuscripts, for example the maned lions in our Mahzor (fols. 13v, 23v, 24v-fig. 3) similarly found in the Tinted Mahzor of c.1300 (fig. 4).





Fig. 3: Lion as a King, Munich High Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor. Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 24v



Fig. 4: Lion as a King, Tinted Mahzor, Franconia,  c.1300. London, BL Add. 26896, fol. 371v. (Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)



Similarly, depicting a sickle moon and stars in the initial word אתיתי (fig. 5) for the second day of New Year,

is an allusion to the birth of the new moon (molad Tishre) on the first and not the second day of the month of Tishre. The depiction originated in the yozer for morning service אות זה החודש (Sign of this month) for the Sabbath before the new moon of Nisan (molad Nisan), which in illuminated Ashkenzi mahzorim is usually illustrated with a crescent moon accompanied by one or more rosette stars, for example in the Worms Mahzor

of 1272 (fig. 6). It is also possible that the rosette within the upper right arm of the letter Aleph of the אתיתי initial represents the sun, which together with the moon symbolises the lunisolar nature of the Jewish calendar.



Fig. 5: Inhabited initial word

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 60v


Fig. 6: Decorated initial word


Würzburg, 1272

Jerusalem, NLI, Heb. 40781, I:26v

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)


The entwined dragons representing the word יחד (together, fol. 37v) or the dragons supporting the word תומך (support, fol. 39), literally illustrate the relevant words. The monkey smelling an apple illustrates a pun on the word אף (af) which in the text means 'despite' (fig. 7), but can also mean 'nose'. Our artist chose to depict the olfactory sense. A similar monkey, though unconnected to the text, decorates the initial word of the 

yozer מלך אזור גבורה (fig. 16, top left). This motif appears as a drollery, for example in a German 14th-century Latin Breviary

(fig. 8), the like of which could have inspired our artist.



Fig. 7: A monkey smelling an apple

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 21


Fig. 8: A monkey smelling an apple

Latin Breviary

Germany, 14th century

Lucerne, Zentral- und Hochschulbibliothek,

P 4.40, fol. 155v  

(Raeber 2003, colour pl. 9)


A dominant feature of the decoration programme of our Mahzor is the initial word surrounded by wrigglework and inhabited by dragons, dogs and grotesques executed in spared-ground technique (figs. 9, 10 and 26).

This type of initial word is prevalent in the scribal art of Ashkenazi manuscripts dating from the turn of the 13th to 14th century, produced in the region of Franconia, southGermany. The use of similar motifs and technique

are found, for example, in the initial words of the David Siddur of 1308 (fig. 11), the Tinted Mahzor of c.1300 (fig. 12) and the Würzburg Siddur of c.1304 (fig. 13). However, the variety and posture of the animals and hybrids inhabiting the initial words in our Mahzor (figs. 9, 10, 26) are strikingly similar to those in the Dragon Heads Mahzor from the last quarter of the 13th century (cf. figs. 14 and 15).



Fig. 9: Inhabited initial word

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 31v


Fig. 10: Inhabited initial word

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 54



Fig. 11: Inhabited initial word

David Siddur

Franconia, 1308

London, BL Add. 26970, fol. 50

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)

Fig. 12: Inhabited initial word

Tinted Mahzor

Franconia, c.1300

London, BL Add. 26896, fol. 268

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)


Fig. 13: Inhabited initial word

Würzburg Siddur

Würzburg, c.1304

Oxford, Bodl.Can.Or. 1, fol. 14

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)


Fig. 14: Inhabited initial word

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 6v


Fig. 15: Inhabited initial word

Dragon Heads Mahzor

Franconia, last quarter of 13th century

London, BL Or. 42, fol. 1

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)



The many variations of animals and hybrids with which Scribe A decorated the margins of our Mahzor, surrounding initial words and letters or enclosing catchwords, can also be compared to those appearing in contemporary German Ashkenazi manuscripts, especially those produced in the Franconia region, e.g. our animals and hybrids (figs. 16-17) can be compared to similar ones in the Franconian Siddur and Haggadah

(figs. 18-19), for example the deer (cf. figs. 17 with 18-19), the eagles (cf. figs. 19 and 24), and particularly the unicorns with the down-turned horn (cf. 16 and 19) if compared to the Munich Incomplete Ashkenazi Mahzor

of the 14th century (fig. 20); and the colophon page of the Pentateuch of Gershom bar Eliezer of 1304 (Oxford, Bodl.Can.Or. 91, fol. 307; Narkiss 1984:45 and fig. 41).



Fig. 16: Decorated initial word

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 2v


Fig. 18: Hunting scene

Franconian Siddur and Haggadah

Franconia, early 14th century

Oxford, Bodl. Opp. 645, fol. 30

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)


Fig. 20: Pen-drawn animals

Incomplete Ashkenazi Mahzor

Franconia, end 13th-beginning 14th century

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 422, fol. 130v

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)


Fig. 17: Decorated catchword

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 5v


Fig. 19: Pen-drawn animals

Franconian Siddur and Haggadah

Franconia, early 14th century

Oxford, Bodl. Opp. 645, fol. 97v

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)













Fig. 21: Decorated catchword

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 55v



Fig. 22: Marginal pen-drawn hybrid

Tinted Mahzor

Franconia, c.1300

London, BL Add. 26896, fol. 184

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)


Similarly, the crude hybrids consisting of large rounded heads and a wide, rounded lower body in our Mahzor (fols. 48, 55v-fig. 21; 59) can be compared to the hybrid in the Tinted Mahzor (fig. 22).

In addition to the similarities mentioned so far, it is possible to see that the decoration programme as a whole in our Mahzor follows the Ashkenazi tradition. As in several other Ashkenzi mahzorim the richest decorated initials belong to yozer for the morning service (figs. 23-24). The yozer indicates the beginning of the morning services for each event during the liturgical year, even when it is preceded by other prayers. As such the elaborate initial of the yozer is the visual marker which divides the manuscript into its liturgical units (Shalev-Eyni 2001:57-58 and Table V).



Fig. 23: Decorated initial word of yozer

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 2v


Fig. 24: Inhabited initial word of yozer

MunichHigh Holiday and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 54


However, our scribe emphasised initial words for prayers and piyyutim which are not yozer, such as the enlarged initial המלך (fig. 25) for the prayer preceding the yozer for the morning service, which follows directly afterwards (fig. 24); and especially the initial word אפד for the qedushtah, the first piyyut for the musaf service (fig. 26). Both initials occupy the upper part of the page and are colourfully decorated, but they detract from the prime importance of the yozer within the decoration programme of the Mahzor.


Fig. 25: Decorated initial word

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 53


Fig. 26: Inhabited initial word

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 19


As for the decorated initial words executed by Scribe B, his initials are uncoloured, placed within the text column and surrounded by wrigglework incorporating foliage extensions, acorns and two birds (figs. 27, 28). Inclusion of motifs in the wriggly lines by Scribe B appears in several early Ashkenazi manuscripts, such as the grotesque in the Worms Mahzor (fig. 29), and the animals' heads in the Munich Ashkenazi Mahzor for the Whole Year

(fig. 30) both fromFranconiain the last quarter of the 13th century.


Fig. 27: Decorated initial word by Scribe B

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 84v


Fig. 28: Decorated initial word by Scribe B

MunichHigh Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 86, fol. 151


Fig. 29: Decorated initial word


Würzburg, 1272

Jerusalem, NLI Heb. 40781, I:125

(Beit-Arié, facsimile 1985)


Fig. 30: Decorated initial words

Munich Ashkenazi Mahzor for the whole year

South Germany, last quarter of the 13th century

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 4, II:43

(Jerusalem, CJA Documentation)

The decoration by Scribe B, albeit sparse, shows that he paid full attention to the large initial words. Nevertheless, why one initial remained unfinished is inexplicable (fol. 196v; see Illuminated Documents) while the following one was fully decorated (fol. 219v).

To conclude, our manuscript follows the traditions of Franconian scribal art, particularly of the end of the 13th 

and the beginning of the 14th century. The importance of our manuscript lies firstly in its mixed text which shows western and eastern Ashkenazi piyyutim, the latter mostly added. It could thus suggest a heterogeneous community, perhaps including immigrants fromPoland.

Secondly, its decoration shows the wealth of motifs and their variants with which the scribe-artists felt free to amuse themselves regardless of dexterous execution, which does not allow for a proper stylistic analysis. There are many such manuscripts with similar motifs and decoration programmes, some mentioning places of origin in Franconia. Hence it is possible to attribute our manuscript, with discretion, to the same region.   


29 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Munich High Holidays and Sukkot Mahzor | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Late 13th - early 14th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Community type
Period Detail
Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod.hebr. 86 (Steinschneider 1895, No. 86)
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Parchment, 249 + 1 leaves (fol. 103 is erroneously numbered 104).
Both sides of the parchment are similarly treated.
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Full page: (296-299) x (235-240) mm.
Text space: (190-195) x (143-150) mm.
Panel Measurements
The front pastedown and folios 1-4 are blackened by fire. Perhaps this is why the leaves missing at the beginning and end of the manuscript have not survived. Fol. 52v, the text and decoration are effaced.
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Mahzor for the New Year, Day of Atonement and Sukkot, punctuated and vocalised, including small portions of the main prayers and many piyyutim, mostly follow the western Ashkenazi rite. New Year (fols. 1-84): First day (1-52v): afternoon service: only one page of the text remains (fol. 1); morning service (fols. 1v-18v): text is missing between fols. 5v-6; musaf (fols. 18v-52). Second day (fols. 52v-84): afternoon service (fols. 52v-53), including only the first blessing before the Shema and the beginning of a piyyut; (four folios are missing between fols. 52v-53); morning service (fols. 53-78v); musaf (fols. 78v-84). Day of Atonement (fols. 84v-218v): evening service (fols. 84v-95); morning service (fols. 95-150v); musaf (fols. 151-196); afternoon service (fols. 196v-208); neilah (fols. 208v-218v), the amidah starting with the magen )fol. 208v); the beginning of the piyyut אבן מעמסה (fol. 210) is missing; and the middle bifolium between fols. 209v-210 is missing from quire XXVIII. Sukkot (fols. 219-231v): First day: morning service (fols. 219-227), the beginning is missing. Second day: morning service (fols. 227v- 231v). Shemini Azeret (fols. 231v-241): morning service (fols. 231v-232v); musaf (fols. 232v-241). Simhat Torah (fols. 241v-245v): morning service (fols. 241v-245v). Morning service for the Sabbath in the intermediate days of Sukkot: including only the first part of the yozer (fol. 245v), though no folios are missing. Hoshanot (fols. 246-250v): for the week of Sukkot and for Hoshana Rabba.
The text was copied by two scribes: Scribe A (fols. 1-71v; quires I-X). Scribe B (fols. 72-250v; quires XI-end). Vocalisation: in different shades of brown ink. The manuscript was vocalised by a single hand but not that of either scribe. The vocaliser may also have added several texts omitted by the scribes in light brown ink (e.g. fol. 15v, mid-inner margin). Variants of vocalisation are usually written by proof-readers in the margins (e.g. fols. 98, 116v, 117v, 118v, 127).
The main text was written by both scribes in square Ashkenazi script and semi-cursive Ashkenazi script for several shorter parts (e.g. fols. 50v, 78v, 114) in dark and light brown ink, sometimes with Scribe A's addition of red and green (e.g. fols. 24-25; 31v-32v) or yellow texts (fol. 24, last line). The piyyutim are written by Scribe A in a poetic form involving several sizes of square lettering.
Number of Lines
Columns The text is written in one column (except for the Torah readings in two columns, fols. 15-18v). Number of lines Mostly 19 lines per page (except for e.g. fols. 36, 39v-40).
Ruling in plummet, Scribe A: 20 horizontal and 1+1 vertical lines, sometimes 2+2 vertical lines (e.g. fol. 2) or 4+2 (e.g. fol. 6), or 3+2 (e.g. fol. 27), dependent on the layout of the text. He usually rules 2-3 top and 2-3 bottom lines across the entire page. Scribe B: 20 horizontal lines and mainly 2+2 vertical lines, but inconsistent (e.g. fols. 90, 111v-114v, 195). Sometimes there is ruling in ink over the plummet ruling (e.g. fols. 115v-116).
Discernible in all margins. Upper and lower margins were pricked 2 + 2. The manuscript was pricked quire by quire. Scribe A has double pricking for the third from top and third from bottom lines (except for the first quire). Scribe B sometimes has two vertical rows, one next to the other, in the inner and outer margins (e.g. fols. 205-206).
The beginning of the manuscript probably lacks one quire and three leaves of quire I. At least one quire is missing between fols. 5-6, and another one at the end of the manuscript. Numbering of quires in Roman numerals from the end of the manuscript to the beginning: i-xxxi, written on the first folio of each quire, in the lower right-hand corner (e.g. fols. 243, 235). The first and the last quires are not numbered. 33 quires of 8 leaves each, except for: I8-3, VII8-1, VIII6-3, XVII10, XX4, XXVIII6 and XXIX8-2. Quire structure: I8-3 (1-5: last 3 leaves are single ones, the stubs glued under the pastedown. Text is missing at the beginning of the quire); II8 (6-13); III8 (14-21); IV8 (22-29); V8 (30-37); VI8 (38-45); VII8-1 (46-52: last leaf missing, with text); VIII6-3 (53-55: first three leaves with text were cut off); IX8 (56-63); X8 (64-71); XI8 (72-79); XII8 (80-97); XIII8 (88-95); XIV8 (96-104: fol. 103 is erroneously numbered 104); XV8 (105-112); XVI8 (113-120); XVII10 (121-130); XVIII8 (131-138); XIX8 (139-146); XX4 (147-150); XXI8 (151-158); XXII8 (159-166); XXIII8 (164-174); XXIV8 (175-182); XXV8 (183-190); XXVI8 (191-198); XXVII8 (199-206); XXVIII8-2 (207-212: the middle bifolium of the original quire is missing); XXIX6 (213-218: no text missing); XXX8 (219-226); XXXI8 (227-234); XXXII8 (235-242); XXXIII8 (243-250).
Catchwords for quires in the lower left-hand corner of the final verso: Scribe A: horizontal catchwords for all quires written within pen-drawings of dragons, deer and hybrids (e.g. fols. 21v, 29v, 37v, 63v). Fol. 5v – the catchword does not correspond to the first word of the next quire, since a quire is missing. Fol. 52v – the last leaf with the catchword is missing. Scribe B: vertical catchwords decorated with dots; on fol. 226v he added a vertical catchword decorated with a rosette. Exceptions: Fol. 71v, which is the last folio copied by Scribe A; both scribes wrote a catchword: Scribe A included it within a dragon and Scribe B wrote it vertically on the left. Fols. 150v, 218: catchwords missing.
Hebrew Numeration
Several leaves have Hebrew numeration in the lower left-hand margin (fols. 135-138 are numbered א-ד and fols. 144-146 are numbered א-ג).
Blank Leaves
Façade (main)
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Scribal Notes
Fol. 48v: In the section written by scribe A the name Moshe is decorated by a crown on top, most probably indicating the name of the vocaliser, since the ink is very similar to that of the vocalisation. However, it could also have been marked by the scribe, patron or a later owner. Abbreviated instructions by Scribe B, indicating which prayers or readings should follow in the service (e.g. fols. 78v, 95, 167, 227).
Trade Mark

14th-century binding (305 x230 mm), rebound in the original binding. Dark brown leather over wooden boards,

blind-tooled on the upper cover with two squares, enclosing at the top a medallion with two entwined dragons and below a hunter on a horse aiming an arrow at an unseen target, with his dog jumping up in front of a tree. Both depictions are carved sideways and bordered by bands stamped with rosettes on left and right. Separating the upper and lower squares is a band of parallel diagonal lines punctuated with small roundels.

Framing the entire composition are bands of an incised fishbone motif with a large open rosette in a square at each corner. The lower cover is divided into four rectangles, each sub-divided by an X into four triangles each enclosing a three-lobed foliage motif, all incised. The dividing bands are stamped with small roundels. 

The spine is divided into four squares by three double cords. The top and bottom squares are incised as chequerboard stamped with roundels. The two centre squares have incised foliate motifs. The spine has head and tail bands. Holes at the corners and centres of the front and back covers indicate lost decorative metal bosses. One hole at the edge of the front cover and three at the back suggest clasps and straps (see Schmidt-Künsemüller 1980, No. 177, p. 30, figs. on p. 167; Geldner 1958, pl. XV, fig.15 and p. 22).

Decoration Program

The decoration was executed by Scribes A and B in brown ink while copying the text. Scribe A used red, green and yellow ochre colours (e.g. fols. 39v, 53). The drawings on fols. 95 (bird), 107 (chain), 115 (human head) and 215 (crown) were added by a later hand in light brown ink.

Scribe A

I. Text and word illustrations:

    1. 4 Text illustrations, two of which illustrate the New Year prayers. The first (fol. 39v) depicts a winged

        Moses with the Tablets of the Law, alluding to the verse in the text: "it is written in your Law" (ובתורתך כתוב

        לאמור); the second depicts a man blowing a horn (shofar) next to the text which states how to blow it

        (fol. 40); the third depicts a cantor or reader inscribed "rule" (מלוך) above the word in the text (fol. 11);

         while the fourth depicts a crescent moon and stars within the initial word for the second day of the month,

         alluding to the inception of the New Year (fol. 60v).

    2. Literal word illustrations: a monkey smelling an apple next to the word אף (literary 'nose'; fol. 21); two

        connected dragons holding an acorn, supporting the word תומך ('support'; fol. 39).

II. Marginal decoration consisting of decorative motifs, dragons and grotesques (e.g. fols. 18, 34, 36, 51v, 52,

     59); other motifs include lions (e.g. fols. 23v, 24v), a bust of a bearded man with a Jewish hat sitting on a

     chair and reading from a book on a lectern (fol. 38v), dragons kissing (e.g. fols. 38v, 48), a hound chasing a

     deer (fol. 42v), and birds (e.g. fol. 71).

III. Decorated initial words and letters:      

     1. Inspared-ground technique (stem height: 42-70 mm), some surrounded by wrigglework, dragons, dogs and

          grotesques inhabiting the letters (fols. 6v, 19, 31v, 54, 60v). Some letters are filled in with dark brown ink

         (e.g. fol. 13v), others are coloured (e.g. fols. 19, 60v). One initial word is surrounded by animals and a

         dragon (fol. 54), and one includes a sickle moon and stars alluding to the New Moon (fol. 60v).

      2. Surrounded by zoomorphic motifs: large initials (stem height 20-40 mm) in display letters filled in with

         dark brown ink (stem height 20-40 mm), sometimes surrounded by wrigglework and decorated by rosette

         roundels on the stems of the letters (e.g. fol. 25v). The words are surrounded by confronting animals such

         as a dragon facing a seated hybrid and a lion, a unicorn (fol. 2v), an owl being attacked by giant birds and a

         snake (fol. 5); a peacock, snakes, lions, a monkey and dragons, hybrids and grotesques (e.g. fols. 2v,12v,

         20, 22, 25v, 27, 33v, 36, 41v, 53, 54 (see category II, 1 above), 57, 63, 70), sometimes painted in green or

         red ink (e.g. fols. 53, 57) or surrounded by wrigglework only (e.g. fols. 1v, 25v, 66v). That on fol. 52v is


         The hybrid animals adjacent to the initial word "The animals" (וחיות) may serve as a text illustration

         (fol. 27).

         Small initial words and letters filled in with dark brown ink and decorated by various motifs extending

         from the letters into the margins, such as foliate motifs (e.g. fols. 22v-23, 57v, 58, 70), birds kissing

         (e.g. fol. 57v), hybrids (e.g. fols. 30, 30v, 58, 71), acorns (e.g. fols. 60v, 61, 62, 69v, 70v), a deer

         (e.g. fol. 70v), fleurs-de-lis (e.g. fol. 9), rosettes (e.g. fols. 5, 5v, 9), trees (fol. 11v) and spirals

         (e.g. fols. 5v, 64).

IV. Decorated catchwords surrounded by or enclosed within animals attacking grotesques and dragons (fols. 13v,

       21v, 29v, 45v, 55v, 71v). Some of these may be text illustrations, such as a deer enclosing the word "animal"

       (חיה) on fol. 5v, and that on fol. 37v depicting two hybrids with entwined tails enclosing the catchword

       'together' (יחד). One is a hunting scene of a dog with a broken chain chasing a deer (fol. 63v).

V.   Two decorative bearded heads forming the flag of the letter Lamed (fols. 20, 22). One is a bearded Janus

       face wearing a Jewish hat and surrounded by three dragons (fol. 20). 

Scribe B

I. A crown in the upper margin of fol. 215, indicating the importance of a particular prayer on the Day of


II. Several decorated initial words, filled in with dark brown ink (stem height 20-43 mm), mostly decorated

    with wrigglework or rosettes set in the stems of letters (e.g. fols. 79, 82v, 84v, 95v, 151, 219v, 246); one is

    incomplete (fol. 196v).

III. Decorated catchwords, written vertically and decorated with rosettes and dots (e.g. fols.79v, 226v).

Suggested Reconsdivuction
Commentaries and annotations in the margins by several later hands of the 14th and 15th centuries. At least two later hands add piyyutim in the margins. • Hand 1 writes in semi-cursive 15th-century Ashkenazi script in dark brown ink, adding certain piyyutim only recited in the rite of Poland (e.g. fols. 90v, 105, 152v, 154v, 155v). • Hand 2 writes in a semi-cursive Ashkenazi script with initial words in square script in light brown ink, adding certain piyyutim which are either not recited in the Ashkenazi rite (e.g. fol. 158), recited only in some Ashkenazi communities (e.g. fols. 167-171), or recited only in the rite of Poland (e.g. fol. 241). • Hand 3 writes in tiny semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in dark brown ink, usually giving short commentaries or quotations next to related piyyutim verses (e.g. fols. 2v-3v, 36, 61v-62v, 95v-96, 167v-172). This hand also adds a more extensive commentary in the margins (e.g. fol. 68v). • Hand 4 writes in semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in light brown ink, mostly indicating where to find certain sections of the prayers or other instructions (e.g. fols. 5v, 28, 44, 68, 152v, 154v, 197v, 209v), for example on fol. 44 in the middle of the outer margin: אתה זוכר/ הפוך ג' דפין (… /turn 3 pages). The note refers the reader to the piyyut אתה זוכר which appears in the Mahzor three leaves earlier. Fol. 152v: Musaf prayer for the Day of Atonement; in the upper outer margin is a note in small semi-cursive script: תמצא ביוצר הכל מה שלא נכתב פה (You will find everything which is not written here, in the yozer). Fol. 154v: in the outer upper margin:כאן מתחיל אשר אימתך אחר ב דפים (Here begins (the piyyut) אשר אימתך which is written two pages later in the Mahzor. Fol. 197v: middle of the outer margin, next to the opening of the piyyut אמונת אום נוטרת: בקול רם אומר זה (aloud say this), instructing the hazan to recite this piyyut aloud. Later inscriptions: • Front pastedown, on the upper edge: לאיסיריל (to Isiril). • Single back flyleaf, recto: pen trials; verso: Joseph son of the late Rabbi Nathan (יוסף בר' נתן נב"ע=נשמתו (בגן עדן written upside-down in light brown ink; and a six-line Yiddish warning note from a worried father to his son, by a 16th-century hand in dark brown ink: טוזניט גווטור יור צודיר ליבור זון דוד לוי איש רע/ דער שליח הוט גלוגין מן רטא מיר קיין גלינדער/ געבון דרום זלוט דו יוא ניכוט קומון איך/ זיכרא דיר דנין איינון שליח דורום זיך דיר בו'ה/ איך וויש נוך הייצור נוייא אונד הבא זוכא ווש טועוס איך בין אין גרושון זוריגין דאמיט בהוטא אוך גוט/ אלין. • Fol. 1, upper right-hand corner:.צדקה לזולתנו Inscriptions of librarians and researchers: Front pastedown, on the left: 19th-century table of contents in German, entitled in Latin: Cyclus Precum, Cim. 139. Stamps: Fol. 1v, and back fly leaf: an oval stamp: BIBLIOTHECA REGIA MONACENSIS. Signatures: Stickers of the Library on the back pastedown and the spine: Cod. Hebr. 86. A piece of paper is glued at the top of the spine: 80. Back pastedown, in the upper middle section, two shelf-marks both written in pencil: Cod. Hebr 86 and below by a different hand Cim 139.
Main Surveys & Excavations
Abbreviations BL London, British Library Bodl. Lib Oxford, Bodleian Library BSB Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek CJA Jerusalem, Center for Jewish Art, The Hebrew University: • Narkiss Archive • Schubert Archive • Sed-Rajna Archive • CJA Documentation JTS New York, New York, Theological Seminary of America MTAK Budapest, Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences NLI (olim JNUL) Jerusalem, National Library of Israel Bibliography Beit-Arié, facsimile 1985 M. Beit-Arié, ed. The Worms Mahzor: MS Jewish National and University Library Heb. 4°781, Vaduz 1985. Davidson 1924-33 I. Davidson, Thesaurus of Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry, 4 volumes, New York 1924-33. Geldner 1958 F. Geldner, Bucheinbände aus elf Jahrhunderten, Munich 1958. Goldschmidt 1970, I&II ד' גולדשמידט, מחזור לימים הנוראים לפי מנהגי בני אשכנז לכל ענפיהם, ירושלים תש"ל: כרך א – ראש השנה, כרך ב – יום כיפור. Goldschmidt-Fraenkel 1981 ד' גולדשמידט וי' פרנקל, מחזור סוכות שמיני עצרת ושמחת תורה לפי מנהגי בני אשכנז לכל ענפיהם, ירושלים תשמ"א. Mellinkoff 1974 R. Mellinkoff, "The Round-topped Tablets of the Law: Sacred Symbol and Emblem of Evil", Journal of Jewish Art, vol. 1 (1974), pp. 28-43. Narkiss 1984 B. Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, Jerusalem 1984 (Hebrew). Raeber 2003 J. Raeber, Buchmalerei in Freiburg im Breisgau: Ein Zisterzienserbrevier aus dem frühen 14. Jahrhundert. Zur Geschichte des Breviers und seiner Illumination, Wiesbaden 2003. Róth 1962 א' רות, "השרפרף בתקיעות ובשבועה היהודית", ידע עם, כרך ח (1962), עמ' 3-7 . Schmidt-Künsemüller 1980 F-A. Schmidt-Künsemüller, Corpus der gotischen Lederschnitteinbände aus dem deutschen Sprachgebiet, Stuttgart 1980. Sed-Rajna 1994 G. Sed-Rajna, Les manuscrits hébreux enluminés des bibliothèques de France, Leuven- Paris 1994. Shalev-Eyni 2001 S. Shalev-Eini, Hamahzor Hameshulash (The Tripartite Mahzor, Ph.D. Thesis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2001 (Hebrew). Shalev-Eyni 2010 S. Shalev-Eyni, Jews Among Christians: Hebrew Book Illumination from Lake Constance, Turnhout 2010. Sperber 2003 D. Sperber, Minhagei Yisrael, vol. VII, Jerusalem 2003 (Hebrew). Steinschneider 1895 M. Steinschneider, Die Hebräischen Handschriften der K. Hof- und Staatsbibliothek in München, München 1895.
Ilona Steinmann Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin Estherlee Kanon | 2008 2009, 2014 2009
Author of description
Estherlee Kanon Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin Yaffa Levy | 2009-2010 2014 2009, 2014
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal; Project Head: Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 2014
Language Editor
Christine Evans | 2014
Supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation | 2008-2012
Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |