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Object Alone

Obj. ID: 22118
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Munich Stories in Yiddish, Germany, 1580-1600

© BSB, Photographer: Unknown,
Summary and Remarks

This manuscript is a collection of stories in Yiddish copied in Tannhausen, Germanybetween 1580 and 1600. The manuscript was decorated by the Jewish scribe Yitzhak bar Yuda Reutlingen with pen-drawn text illustrations within panels: eighteen illustrations for the text of Kaiser Octaviano and three for the twenty-two Maisses (Jewish stories). The story of Till Eulenspiegel, also included in this manuscript, is not illustrated. Although the model for the story of Kaiser Octaviano is unknown, our manuscript resembles in part the complete version which was printed inAugsburg in c.1568 by Matthäus Franck. 

The German-Yiddish language is of East Swabia, nearAugsburg, between Tübingen andUlm(Timm 1987, pp. 465f). It was copied with pictures from a printed book with woodcuts, now lost.

This exemplar is affiliated on the one hand to the Frankfurt edition (F) of W. Han Erben (80), of 1568 and the Augsburg one (A) of M. Franck (80), of c.1568; and on the other hand to the Cologne edition (C2) of H. Nettesem (80), of 1593. However, the East Swabian language points to anAugsburg edition which was printed before that of M. Franck of c.1568, probably in the same workshop (Friderichs-Berg 1990).

The scenes on fols. 3, 4, 4v, 6, 8, 13, 16, 23, 28v, 30v, 39, 49, 57, 61 and 64 follow the woodcuts of the printed book of Augsburgc.1568, while fols. 32v, 53 and 55v illustrate different episodes not depicted in print. The scenes of Florens and the kidnapped Marcebilla (fol. 32v), Clemens escaping with the Sultan’s unicorn (fol. 53), and Florens and Marcebilla in a boat (fol. 54v) are not inAugsburg 1568, which suggests that this edition did not serve our scribe-artist. However, the printedAugsburg edition is more richly illustrated with 46 woodcuts, not counting the four missing ones with text at the beginning of our manuscript. Fourteen depictions are repeated in the printed edition, but none in the manuscript.

This manuscript is amongst the earlier known illustrated Yiddish manuscripts. There are several illustrated books printed in Yiddish from 1546-1600, mainly from Italy(Shmeruk 1986, pp. 11-12); and the earliest known Italian Yiddish manuscript with extensive illustrations is the Paris Book of Customs of c.1600 (Wolfthal 2004, p. 6). The Munich Yiddish Bellifortis (BSB Cod. hebr. 235), of the last quarter of the 15th century may be regarded as the earliest known illustrated Yiddish manuscript. Though the Bellifortis manuscript was written by the scribe apparently for his own use, the targeted audience for Yiddish illustrated literature, such as the Jewish Maisses and the Octavian story (BSB Cod. hebr. 100), were men and women of the middle ranks of Jewish society (Wolfthal 2004, p. xxv), rather than just women, young people or children as Shmeruk suggests (Shmeruk 1986, p. 40).

The owners of our Munich Yiddish manuscript, Yitzhak and Eliah, sons of Abraham Ulma (of Ulm) signed their names after the year 1600. From the 15th century on many Jews probably from Ulm bore the name Ulma. The Ulma families owned several manuscripts. Owners' inscriptions by members of the Shlomo Ulma family from the 16th and 17th centuries were found for example in the following manuscripts: (1) The most famous is the earliest complete Talmud known today, copied in France in 1342 (BSB Cod. hebr. 95). The inscriptions there mention Shlomo Ulma (1587/8), his son Shimon and his grandson Eliezer the son of Shimon. This Munich Talmud was kept by the Ulma family in Pfersee near Augsburg for around 200 years (Striedl 1957, p. 23). (2) Another manuscript, an illuminated Pentateuch from Brussels, 1309 (Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. Levy, 19) seems also to have been in the possession of Shlomo Ulma, as testified by an inscription by another son, Kalonymus, who reports that he received this manuscript from his father in 1605/1610 (Róth and Striedl 1965, part 3, pp. 3-4). (3) The third manuscript owned by Shlomo Ulma is the Munich Liturgical Pentateuch from the end of the 13th century (BSB Cod. hebr. 2; see CJA Documantation). Another manuscript, a book of Evronot (Intercalation), was written by Shlomo Ulma in Günzburg in 1552 (New York, Jewish Theological Seminary Mic. #9487).


22 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Munich Stories in Yiddish | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Yitzhak bar Yuda Reutlingen
Binyamin bar Josef Rofe, family Merks
|(scribe and artist 1580-1585); (scribe 1600)
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
Period Detail
Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod. hebr. 100 (Steinschneider 1895, No. 100)
Documentation / Research project
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Type of grave
Paper, 1 + 192 (+ fols. 73a, 92a, 146a; fols. 45, 81 cut out) + 1 leaves.

Fol. 73a Fol. 192
Watermarks according to Friderichs-Berg 1990, p. 185; Briquet 288-89, 942, 1008, 8379-81, 8750, 8823-30 from the years: 1533-1584.

Full page: (290-293) x (182-192) mm
Text space: changes according to scribe:
Scribe A: Yitzhak bar Yuda Reutlingen (fols. 1-89): (238-250) x (150-160) mm
Scribe B: (fols. 90-116v): (220-238) x (135-150) mm
Scribe C: Binyamin bar Josef Rofe, family Merks (מערקש) (fols. 117-191): (250-280) x (155-165) mm

The manuscript was copied by three scribes:
Scribe-artist A (texts 1-3): Yitzhak bar Yuda Reutlingen; fols. 1-89 in dark brown ink.
Scribe B (part of text 4): fols. 90-116v in light brown ink.
Scribe C (continuation of text 4 and text 5): Binyamin bar Josef Rofe, family Merks (מערקש): fols. 117-191
in brown ink.

The manuscript is written in semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in the Yiddish spoken in East Swabia between Tübingen and Ulm.

The text is written in one column.

Number of lines
Scribe A (fols. 1-89): 35-36 lines per page.
Scribe B (fols. 90-116v): 26-28 lines per page.
Scribe C (fols. 117-191): 40-45 lines per page.

Ruling by stylus: frames for the text space (e.g. fol. 63v). Scribe C: ruling of the frames in plummet
(e.g. fols. 147-149).

Not noticeable

37 quires: Beginning mutilated, one quire with text is missing. Quires I-XXIII are mostly of 4 leaves each, except for XII4-1 (fol. 45 with text missing), XVI2 (text missing between fols. 62-63), XX4 (text missing between fols. 77-78), XXI4-1 (fol. 81 with text missing).
Quires XXIV-XXXVII are mostly of 8 leaves each, except for XXIV8-1 (first folio, perhaps blank missing between 89-90), XXVII6 (text missing between 116-117), XXVIII6, XXXVII6 (end of book).

I4 (1-4); II4 (5-8); III4 (9-12); IV4 (13-16); V4 (17-20); VI4 (21-24); VII4 (25-28); VIII4 (29-32); IX4 (33-36); X4 (37-40); XI4 (41-44); XII4-1 (46-48, fol. 45 cut out); XIII4 (49-52); XIV4 (53-56); XV4 (57-60); XVI2 (61-62); XVII4 (63-66); XVIII4 (67-70); XIX4 (71-73a); XX4 (74-77); XXI4-1 (78-80, 81 cut out); XXII4 (82-85); XXIII4 (86-89); XXIV8-1 (90-95); XXV8 (96-103); XXVI8 (104-111); XXVII6 (112-117); XXVIII6 (118-123); XXIX8 (124-131); XXX8 (132-139); XXXI8 (140-146a); XXXII8 (147-154); XXXIII8 (155-162); XXXIV8 (163-170); XXXV8 (171-178); XXXVI8 (179-186); XXXVII6 (187-192).

Note: since the leaves were mostly strengthened in the gutter, no bifolia could be established. The quires were determined according to the sewing in the centre. The tail threads do not correspond to ends of quires.

Catchwords for leaves in the lower left margin by Itzhak bar Yuda and Scribe B.
Catchwords for pages in the centre of the lower margin on the recto and verso by Binyamin bar Yosef, when not cut off.

Blank leaves
Fols. 73a recto and verso (now including owner's inscriptions), 89v, 133-133v, 191v-192v.
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Panel Measurements
The manuscript is mutilated at the beginning and several folios with text are missing (see Codicology). The paper was conserved and many patches of paper stuck in the lower margins and gutters. It was restored in August 1963 and in 2007 (stickers on front pastedown).
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
Collection of stories in Yiddish. 1. Fols. 1-66v: Die Historie von dem Kaiser Octaviano, quire missing at the beginning; fol. 45 missing; another quire missing between fols. 62-63). The story begins in the middle of the third chapter (Friderichs-Müller, Vol. II, 1981). 2. Fols. 67-73v: Beria und Simra, (Timm 1975, pp. 1-94). 3. Fols. 74-89: Maisses (22 stories), text missing between fols. 77-78 and fol. 81 cut out (Steinschneider 1864, vol. 25; Staerk-Leitzmann 1923; Timm 1995; Stark 2004). 4. Fols. 90-132v: Die Sieben Weise Meister, text missing between fols. 116-117 (Steinmetz 2000; Steinmetz 2001). 5. Fols. 134-191: Till Eulenspiegel (102 stories), (Howard 1983).
Number of Lines
Hebrew Numeration
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
Two colophons by scribe A: • Fol. 66v, at the end of Kaiser Octaviano: יצחק בר יודא ז"ל רויטלינגן. גאטאט זייא גילובט ור אלין זייגן גישריבן אונד פולענד. אם טג דען מן מונטג נעכט, ח’ שבט ש"מ לפרט. סליק סליק.../ בנל"ך (ברוך הנותן ליעף כח) בנל"ך / אמן סלה Yitzhak bar Yuda Reutlingen. Praised be the Lord, written and completed on Monday night 8 Shevat in the year 5340 (Ianuary 25th 1580). • Fol. 72v, at the end of Beria and Simra: גישריבן אים יאר כי ש’ם’ ה’ (=שמ"ה) אקרא וכו' / דש פיט איך דער שרייבר יצחק בר יודא ז"ל רויטלינגן Written in the year 5345 (1585) by me the scribe Yitzhak bar Yuda of blessed memory Reutlingen. Colophon by scribe C: • Fol. 191: אני הסופר אשכול הכופר הנותן אמרי שפר היום סיימתי יום ד' ג' / ימים מרחשון שנת שס"א לפ"ק בפרשה אלה תולדות נח פה בק"ק / טנהויזן אני בנימן בר יוסף רופא זצ"ל משפחת מערקש I the scribe Eshkol ha-Koffer (Cluster of camphire, Song of Songs, 1:14) the one who giveth goodly words (Gen. 49:21); completed today Wednesday, 3 MarHeshvan in the year 5361 (October 11th 1600) during the week when the pericope Toldot Noah (Gen. 6:9-11:32) is read, here in the Holy Community of Tannhausen, I Binyamin bar Josef Rofe, the righteous, of blessed memory, family Merks.
Scribal Notes
Trade Mark

Modern gray cardboard with head and tail bands.

Decoration Program

I. 18 pen drawn illustrations: by scribe A for the text of Kaiser Octaviano (fols. 3, 4, 4v, 6, 8, 13, 16, 23,

    28v, 30v, 32v, 39, 49, 53, 55v, 57, 61, 64).

    The scenes are enclosed within square or rectangular panels (46-59) x (54-70) mm. Shading is done by

     parallel lines and hatchings. The scenes are composed of two or three main figures and the rest are

     partly shown. The panels are placed next to the text they illustrate, and there are no titles, in

    contradiction to the printed text,Augsburgc.1568. 

    The text was transcribed into German letters and collated mainly with the printed text of Matthäus

    Franck,Augsburgc.1568. Four drawings are probably missing at the mutilated beginning of the story

    (cf. facsimile of Franck's printed text, Kaiser Octaviano, vol. 2, pp. 1, 3, 7, 11).

II. Text illustrations of three of the 22 Maisses: by Scribe A (fols. 80, 83v, 87).

The Maase of the two children (fol. 80); The Maase of the Hasid and his Son (fol. 83v); Susanna and

the Elders (fol. 87).

Suggested Reconsdivuction
Owner's Inscriptions: Fol. 73a verso: • In light brown ink: אי מה צבי בשרה קלה ואינו שמנה. Overdrawn on this inscription is a pen drawing in black ink of a deer chased by a dog. • Below it, in black ink: אני יצחק בר אברהם שליט (שיחיה לאורך ימים טובים) אולמא אני אליה בר אברהם שליט (שיחיה לאורך ימים טובים) אולמא אני אליה ... I Yitzhak son of Abraham Ulma I Eliah son of Abraham Ulma I Elia … Fol. 192v: • Cod. hebr. 100, in pencil. • In German in pencil: Isaac ben Juda 1580 und Benjamin/ ben Joseph 1601. Mährchen/ in jüdisch deutscher sprache/ mit hebraischer (rabbinischer) schrift. Fol. 81v: by Steinschneider in pencil: Blatt 81 fehlt. Stamps and ex-libris: On fol. 2 is blue oval stamp of BSB: BAYERISCHE / STAATSBIBLIOTHEK / MÜNCHEN. On fol. 191v is a dark blue rectangular stamp: BIBLIOTHECA / REGIA / MONACENSIS, and an oval violet one with the same inscription. A small ex-libris (76 x 45 mm) of Maximilian I of 1630 (B1b) stuck on the front pastedown.
Main Surveys & Excavations
For 1. Die Historie von dem Kaiser Octaviano von Ertzdorff 1989 X. von Ertzdorff, "Chanson de geste und Prosa-Romane des 15./16. Jahrhunderts: 'Keiser Octavianus' in: Wolfram-Studien XI: Chansons de geste in Deutschland (Schweinfurter Kolloquium 1988, ed. Joachim Heinzle, L. Peter Johnson, Gisela Vollmann-Profe), Berlin 1989, pp. 227-242. Friderichs-Müller, vol. I, 1981 T. Friderichs-Müller, Die 'Historie von dem Kaiser Octaviano'. Transkription der Fassung des Cod. hebr. monac. 100 mit 18 Federzeichnungen von Isaak bar Juda Reutlingen, (ed. Walter Röll, Jidische Schtudies Bd. 1), Hamburg 1981, pp. 1-27. Friderichs-Müller, vol. II, 1981 T. Friderichs-Müller, Faksimile des Drucks Augsburg, Matthäus Francks (c. 1568), (ed. Walter Röll, Jidische Schtudies Bd. 2), Hamburg 1981. Friderichs-Berg 1990 T. Friderichs-Berg, Die 'Historie von dem Kaiser Octaviano'. Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien zu den Druckausgaben eines Prosaromans des 16. Jahrhunderts und seiner jiddischen Bearbeitung aus dem Jahre 1580 (ed. Walter Röll, Jidische Schtudies Bd. 3), Hamburg 1990, pp. 9-13, 184-187; 232-237; 266-269. For 2. Beria und Simra Frankes 2004 J. C. Frankes, Early Yiddish Texts 1100-1750, Oxford 2004, No. 67, pp. 355-367. Timm 1975 E. Timm (ed.) "Beria und Simra. Eine jiddische Erzählung des 16. Jahrhunderts" in: Literaturwissenschafttliches Jahrbuch NF 14 (1973), Berlin 1975, pp. 1-94. Timm 1987 E. Timm, Graphisches und phonische Struktur des Westjiddischen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Zeit um 1600. (Hermaea. Germanische Forschungen NF 52) Tübingen 1987, p. 8f, p. 465ff. For 3. Maisses Kohlenberger 1997 J. K. Kohlenberger (ed.), The Parallel Apocrypha, New York-Oxford 1997, pp. 695- 705. Stark 2004 A. Stark (ed.), Un beau livre d'histoires, Eyn Shön Mayse Bukh (facsimile edition, Basel 1602; Scriften der Universitätsbibliothek Basel vol. 6/1,2, ed. Ueli Dill and Martin Steinmann) Basel 2004. Steinschneider 1864 M. Steinschneider, "Jüdisch-Deutsche Literatur und Jüdisch-Deutsch" in: Serapeum (1864), vol. 25: No. 3, pp. 33-46; No. 5, pp. 65-95, esp. pp. 67-72; No. 7, pp. 97-104. Timm 1995 E. Timm, "Zur Frühgeschichte der jiddichen Erzälprosa. Eine neuaufgefundene Maisé- Handschrift" in: Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur, 117 (1995), pp. 243-280. Zfatman 1979 ש. צפתמן, "'מעשה בוך' - קווים לדמותו של ז'נר בספרות יידיש הישנה (עם גילויו של מ"ב כ"י ירושלים (Heb. 805245", הספרות כח (תשל"ט), עמ' 152-126. Diederichs 20042 U. Diederichs (ed.), Das Ma'assebuch Altjiddische Erzählkunst, Munich 20042. For 4. Die Sieben Weisen Meister Steinmetz 2000 R.-H. Steinmetz, Exempel und Auslegung. Studien zu den 'Sieben weisen Meistern' (Scrinium Friburgense 14), Switzerland 2000. Steinmetz 2001 R.-H. Steinmetz, Die Historia von den sieben weisen Meistern (Altdeutsche Textbibliothek), Tübingen 2001. For 5. Till Eulenspiegel Howard 1983 J. A. Howard (ed.) Wunderparlich und seltsame Historien Til Eulen Spiegels, Würzburg 1983. General References Monumenta Judaica Monumenta Judaica. 2000 Jahre Geschichte und Kultur der Juden am Rhein. Catalogue, Konrad Schilling (ed.), Cologne 1964. Shmeruk 1986 Ch. Shmeruk, The Illustrations in Yiddish Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Texts, the Pictures and their Audience, Jerusalem 1986 (in Hebrew). Staerk-Leitzmann 1923 W. Staerk and A. Leitzmann, Die Jüdisch-Deutschen Bibelübersetzungen von den Anfangen bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, Hildesheim 19972. Steinschneider 1895 M. Steinschneider, Die Hebräischen Handschriften der K.Hof-und Staatsbibliothek in München, München 1895, No. 100. Striedl 1957 H. Striedl, Geschichte der Hebraica-Sammlung der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek, Wiesbaden 1957, p. 23. Róth and Striedl 1965 E. Róth and H. Striedl, Hebräische Handschriften, Wiesbaden 1965, part 3, pp. 3-4. Wolfthal 2004 D. Wolfthal, Picturing Yiddish. Gender, Identity, and Memory in the Illustrated Yiddish Books of Renaissance Italy (David S. Katz, ed., Brill Series in Jewish Studies 36) Leiden 2004. Zfatman 1983 ש. צפתמן, הסיפורת ביידיש מראשיתה עד 'שבחי הבעש"ט' (1814-1504), א-ב, חיבור לשם קבלת תואר דוקטור לפילוסופיה של האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים, תשמ"ג.
Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 2008
Author of description
Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 2011-2012
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal; Project Head: Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 09-2016; 2008-2015
Language Editor
Christine Evans | 2012
Supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation |
Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed:
Unknown |