Under Reconstruction!
Object Alone

Obj. ID: 22120
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  The Piyyutim Mahzor, Franconia, late 13th - early 14th century

© BSB, Photographer: Unknown,

Summary and Remarks

This small-size Mahzor, though no longer intact, originally comprised only piyyutim for the Special Sabbaths and festivals for the whole year. It was copied by Scribe A, vocalised by Menahem bar Yehiel and was not originally decorated. The only pen-drawn hybrid and animals are on the added leaves by the later Hand 4 (fols. 129v 130v, 136v). The careful proof-reading throughout the manuscript, the reference to well known vocalisers, the marginal annotations, and especially the additional piyyutim by four later hands suggest that the Mahzor was written for a cantor for liturgical use in the synagogue rather than for private use.

According to Goldschmidt, mahzorim which contained only piyyutim are not exceptional. Furthermore, some mahzorim remained in the cantor's pulpit for decades and the communities used to write in changes and even erase some texts to conform to the norm of the community (see Goldschmidt 1970, I: נ=40, though usually in cantor's mahzorim of large format). The manuscripts usually reflect the custom of the particular place of writing. However, in the Middle Ages the eastern rite, today called the "Polish rite", in contrast to the "Western Ashkenazi rite" is known to us from manuscripts of the 14th century in eastern parts of Germany but also in south German communities of Nuremberg, Rotenberg and Regensburg (for the distribution areas of the "Ashkenazi rite" from the 10th century to west and east of the German countries, see op. cit. I:יד=14,

and note 8). 

The piyyutim according to western Ashkenazi rite added by Hand 1 to the original text (see Contents) suggest that the Mahzor was adapted to the needs of a community where the population changed over time due to immigration. For instance, the western Hand 1 has erased the liturgy (silluk) for musaf for the Day of Atonement ונתנה תוקף קדושת היום (fols. 116v-117) which was customary in eastern Ashkenaz (Y. and A. Fraenkel 2008:7).

The Mahzor was not censored and all the sections usually erased by censors are intact (e.g. fols. 109, 109v; Róth 1965, II:233). הקשב

קרא באופן פונטי



  1. שם עצם
  2. poetry
  3. liturgical hymn


The decoration by Hand 4 was popular as scribal art in thirteenth-and fourteenth-century Ashkenazi manuscripts in Franconia and neighbouring regions of south Germany. Although the motifs are often similar, the individual style of the scribes differs according to their dexterity. Nevertheless it is possible to compare the animals in our Munich Mahzor (fig. 1) to those in the initial word וידבר in the Vienna Rashi Commentary on the Bible of the 14th century from Franconia (fig. 2); and our goat and unicorn (fig. 3) to the deer and unicorn in the Franconian Siddur and Haggadah of the early 14th century (figs. 4- 5). Both unicorns are shown with the horn turned downwards and also resemble the pen-drawn unicorn adorning the colophon page of the Franconian Pentateuch of Gershom bar Eliezer of 1304 (fig. 6).


Fig. 1: The Piyyutim Mahzor                                        Fig. 2:ViennaRashi Commentary on the Bible

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 422, fol. 129v                          Franconia, 14th century

                                                                                   Vienna, ÖNB Cod. Hebr. 12b, fol. 63

(Jerusalem, CJA documentation)


Fig. 3: The Piyyutim Mahzor                                        Fig. 4:FranconiaSiddur and Haggadah   

Munich, BSB Cod.hebr. 422, fol. 130v                          Franconia, early 14th century

Oxford, Bodl. Lib. Opp. 645, fol. 30

(Jerusalem, CJA Narkiss Archive)



Fig. 5: Franconia Siddur and Haggadah                            Fig. 6: Pentateuch of Gershom bar Eliezer

Franconia, early 14th century                                         Franconia, 1304

Oxford, Bodl. Lib. Opp. 645, fol. 97v                             Oxford, Bodl. Lib.Can.Or. 91              

(Jerusalem, CJA Narkiss Archive)                                (Narkiss 1984:45, fig. 41, top right)


Considering the codicology in our manuscript, viz. the pricking in all margins and the plummet ruling, it was apparently produced in the last quarter of the 13th century (Beit-Arié 1981, pp. 70-71, 77-78), whereas the motifs and style of drawings executed by the later Hand 4 suggest a date at the beginning of the 14th century.

In contrast to the sparse decoration of the manuscript, the later binding is richly decorated. The cover was made in Heidelbergin 1553 for Ottheinrich Count Palatine (b. 1502, Elector 1556-1559), most probably by his bookbinder, Jörg Bernhardt of Görlitz (Mittler 1986 I:513-516; Schlechtez 2005:142-145), and carries the typical features of his bindings: a gilt portrait, the initials O.H.P. (Ott Heinrich Princeps), date of execution (1553), and his abbreviated motto M.D.Z. (Mit der Zeit). Ottheinrich had a personal library of several hundred books in Neuburg an der Donau and several thousands in HeidelbergCastlewhich he inherited from Friedrich II. Both libraries were united by Ottheinrich to form the Heidelberg University Library Bibliotheca Palatina in the Protestant Holy Ghost Church (Mittler 1986, I:1-13). Our Munich Mahzor, among other Hebrew manuscripts from the Ottheinrich Neuburg collection, entered the BSB in 1909 (Cod.hebr. 421-428; Walde 1916:229, Wagner 2003:30, 33).


3 image(s)

sub-set tree:

The Piyyutim Mahzor | Unknown
Object Detail
Monument Setting
Late 13th - early 14th century
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Historical Origin
Community type
Unknown |
Unknown |
Period Detail
Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod.hebr. 422 (Róth 1965 II, No. 327)
Documentation / Research project
Parchment, I + 155 + I leaves.
Both sides of the parchment are similar.
Watermarks on front and back fly-leaves: coat-of-arms with hatching (height 26 mm).
Full page: (245-250) x (162-166) mm.
Text space: varies, mostly (194-196) x (105-110) mm.
The text is written by Scribe A, except for leaves of different parchment, size and ruling. These were inserted into the original quires and written mainly by several later hands:
Hand 1: fols. 15, 118-119, 134. He also added piyyutim and a prayer in the margins (fols. 27v, 64v-65, 137), erased the piyyut 'ונתנה תוקף' (fols. 116v-117); erased 2 last lines on fol. 148v and 15 on fol. 149, and supplied another text instead (half of fol. 149, 153v line 6-155v).
Hand 2: fols. 80-81, inserted leaves.
Hand 3: fols. 122-128, inserted a quire.
Hand 4: fols. 129-131, 136, inserted leaves. He is the only decorator.
Vocaliser: Menahem ben Yehiel: added corrections in the margins in the same colour ink as the vowels (e.g. fols. 49, 140-148v).
The text is written in square Ashkenazi script in dark brown ink. Some piyyutim are arranged according to verses and refrains in 3-4 columns (e.g. 96v, 122-123v); the majority are written continuously, with apostrophes marking pauses between the verses.
The text is mostly written in one column.
Number of lines
The text is written in 31-32 lines per page, except for the inserted leaves with varying numbers of lines and a quire within quire XVI (fols. 122-128) with 25 lines per page.
Ruling in plummet, mostly 31 horizontal lines and 1+1 vertical lines. The ruling reflects the various arrangements of the text (e.g. fols. 2v, 30-31, 96v). Some horizontal lines are ruled across almost the entire page (e.g. fols. 6v, 23, 90v). The ruling of a quire within quire XVI is different (fols. 122-128): 26 horizontal and 2+1 vertical lines.
Noticeable in all margins. Top and bottom lines are double pricked. Fols. 114-133 (quire XVI): the inner margins are not pricked, except for the quire inserted within quire XVI (fols. 122-128), which has two rows of pricks in the inner margins. For the ruling of this inner quire the inner row was used while the outer row includes 23 pricks only, of which the 1st, 21st and the last are double pricked.
20 quires of 8 leaves each except for: I4; II4-2, fol. 15, XII2+8, XVI20; XVII8+2, XIX2; XX2.
Quire structure:
I4 (1-4); II4-2 (5-6: single leaves); III8 (7-14); 15 (half a leaf by Hand 1 its stub sewn to fol. 7); IV8 (16-23); V8 (24-31); VI8 (32-39); VII8 (40-47); VIII8 (48-55); IX8 (56-63); X8 (64-71); XI8 (72-79); XII2+8 (80-89: fols. 80, 81 are two single leaves written by Hand 2); XIII8 (90-97); XIV8 (98-105); XV8 (106-113); XVI20 (114-133: 3 quires a6 (fols. 116-121), b8-1 (fols. 122-128), by Hand 3, and c2+1 (fols. 129-131) are placed side by side in the centre of two bifolia (114/133 and 115/132). The first leaf of b8-1 and last of c2+1 (fols. 122 and 131) are single. Fols. 118-119, 129-131 are inserts of a different thin parchment written by Hands 1 and 4 respectively; XVII8+2 (134-143: fol. 134 is a single half leaf by Hand 1); fol. 136 is a single leaf by Hand 4); XVIII8 (144-151); XIX2 (152-153: 2 single leaves by Hand 1); XX2 (154-155: 2 single leaves by Hand 1).
Catchwords for quires are written in the lower left margin in square script by the scribe, mostly emphasised by double dots at the top.

Hebrew numeration

Blank leaves
Additional fols. 119v, 131v.
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Construction material
Panel Measurements
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Type of grave
Mahzor for the whole year according to the eastern Ashkenazi rite. The Mahzor now mutilated, consists of piyyutim for Special Sabbaths and festivals, without the statutory prayers. Piyyutim for evening services are omitted. Several piyyutim according to the western Ashkenazi rite were added later in the margins of some leaves, at the end of the manuscript, on added leaves and in an added quire. Contents in details: Shabbat Hanukkah: the last part of the yozer for Shabbat Hanukkah (fol. 1-1v) opens with במחנה אל מול פני המנורה ; its beginning אודך כי אנפת is added towards the end of the manuscript (fols. 150v-153v); Shabbat Shekalim (fols. 1v-5v); Shabbat Zakhor (fols. 6-12v); Shabbat Parah (fols. 12v-17); Shabbat Hahodesh (fols. 17-20v); Shabbat Hagadol (fols. 20v-26v). The omitted yozer אתי מלבנון is added by Hand 1 (fols. 153v-155v). Passover (fols. 26v-52v): first day (fols. 26v-32v): morning service (fol. 26v). On fol. 27v Scribe A wrote part of the piyyut שלחייך פרדס, and Hand 1 added the rest in the outer margin; musaf (fols. 29-32v); second day (fols. 32v-37): morning service (fol. 32v); Shabbat holhamoed (fols. 37-39): morning service (fol. 37); seventh day of Passover (fols. 39-46): morning service (fol. 39); eighth day (fols. 46-52v): morning service (fol. 46). The omitted first sentence of the piyyut אמרו לאלוהים אדירים was added in the margin by the scribe (fol. 48). Shavuot (fols. 52v-71v): first day (fols. 52v-64): morning service (fol. 52v). In Elazar Hakaliri's piyyut for Shavout ארץ מטה (fols. 53v-54) the verses defaming the Fathers are omitted; musaf (fols. 60v-64); second day (fols. 64-71v): morning service (fol. 64). Additional piyyutim written by Hand 1 in the margins of fols. 64v-65 are mostly of the western Ashkenazi rite (see Fraenkel 2000:144, 275, 165). In the piyyut שעשוע יום יום (fols. 66v-68) the extra verse on fol. 68 is also included in western Ashkenaz (op. cit. p. 251); musaf (fols. 71-71v), including azharot. New Year: (fols. 72-94): first day (fols. 72-85): morning service: (fol. 72); musaf (fols. 76-85): fols. 80-81 are written by Hand 2 on two inserted leaves, repeating the text ה' יודע יצר כל יצורים which is the last part of the piyyut האוחז ביד משפט on fol. 82, with additional text not in the original quire; second day (fols. 85-94): morning service (fol. 85); musaf (fols. 91v-94). Day of Atonement (fols. 94-137): Kol nidrei (fol. 94); morning service (fol. 96); musaf (fols. 112v-130v): the liturgy (silluk) ונתנה תוקף קדושת היום (fols. 116v-117), customary in eastern Ashkenaz, is erased and crossed out by Hand 1, who added also the Ashkenazi piyyutim on two inserted leaves (fols. 118-119); afternoon service (fols. 130v-135). Addition of 3 inserted leaves with piyyutim for the musaf and aftrernoon services by Hand 4 (fols. 129-131), who also erased part of fol. 132. Neilah (fols. 135v-137). Addition of a single page with some selihot by Hand 4 (fol. 136-136v). A prayer by Hand 1 added in the margin (fol. 137). The Day of Atonement service includes only a few selihot (fols. 110-112v; 135v-137), which is typical of the eastern Ashkenazi rite (Y. and A. Fraenkel 2008:102, note 472). Additional piyyutim after סדר העבודה were written by Hand 4 on separate pages (fols. 129-131, 136-136v), and the end of סדר העבודה is copied twice. Sukkoth (fols. 137v-150v), first day (fol. 137v): morning service (fol. 137v); second day (fols. 141v-144): morning service (fol. 141v); Shemini Azeret (fols. 144v-149): morning service (fol. 144v); musaf (fols. 145-149): prayer for rain אף ברי אותת. Hand 1 erased the 2 last lines on fol. 148v and 15 on fol. 149 and supplied another text instead (first half of fol. 149): איום זכור נא לשואלי מים, which is a western piyyut (cf. Worms Mahzor, II:194v-195); Simhat Torah (fols. 149 second half-150v): morning service (fol. 149). The beginning of the morning service for Shabbat Hanukkah is added by Hand 1 (fols. 150v-153v); its end is on fol. 1-1v). The missing yozer אתי מלבנון כלה for Shabbat Hagadol (fols. 20v-26v), was added on fols. 153v lines 6-155v by Hand 1.
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
Vocaliser, Menahem bar Yehiel: Fol. 67, marked in the text and outer margin by roundels and lines: מנחם הנוקד בר' יחיאל מ"ך (מנוחתו כבוד) (Menahem the vocaliser ben Yehiel may his rest be honoured).
Scribal Notes
The last line of fol. 49v and first line of fol. 50 have dotted initials by Scribe A which make up an acrostic with the name Shimon (שמעון), the poet of the piyyut אילי הצדק ידועים for the morning service on the eighth day of Passover, R. Shimon bar Yitzhak (Mainz, c.950 - c.1020; Habermann 1938:=סט69). References to vocalisers: Marginal notes by the vocaliser Menahem bar Yehiel who proof-reads the text (e.g. fols. 49, 50, 140-148v), and references to other vocalisers in semi-cursive script: • Fol. 62, outer margin: (הר' יצחק נקדן ז"ל (בר' שמשון ז"ל (the late R. Yitzhak the vocaliser son of the late R. Shimshon). • Fol. 67, upper outer margin: מה"ר חיים דנץ זצ"ל (the late R. Hayyim Danz(. • Fol. 69v, lower margin: הר' יצחק נקדן ז"ל (the late R. Yitzhak the vocaliser). • Fol. 71v, lower margin:הַדְבַרוֹת מה"ר חיים דנץ ז"ל קבלתי אני הנוקד (I the vocaliser received this from the late R. Hayyim Danz). • Fols. 72, 72v, 86, outer margin: מה"ר חיים דנץ או דנש ז"ל (from the late R. Hayyim Danz). 3. Fol. 102v: בשם הרי"ח (ר' יהודה בן שמואל החסיד) כתי' (by R. Judah Hehasid).
Trade Mark

16th-century brown calf binding on wooden boards. Front and back are similarly blind-tooled with biblical figures, David playing the harp, the risen, blessing Christ, and St. Paulwith a book and sword, repeated within the outer frame. Floral scrolls within the inner frame. In the centre of the front cover is a rectangular gold-leaf portrait of Ottheinrich holding an open book and appearing in a window flanked by columns. Below is an inscription: "Ott Hainrich von G.G. (Gottes Gnaden) Pfaltzgrave Bey Rhein Hertzog in Nidern und Obern Bairn 1553". On the back cover is a central rectangle with Ottheinrich's coat-of-arms in gold leaf, with the letters M.D.Z. (Mit der Zeit) above and O.H.P. (Ott Heinrich Pfalzgraf) below.

The front and back covers have four metal corner bosses. Traces of two clasps on the outer edges of the front and back covers. The spine has three double cords and no head or tail bands.

This binding is typical of Ottheinrich's books and it was executed inHeidelbergin 1553 most probably by his bookbinder, Jörg Bernhardt of Görlitz (Mittler 1986, I:513-516; Wagner 2003:28-36, esp. 33; Schlechtez 2005:142-145).

For a similar binding see BSB, Cod.hebr. 421 (binding: 1553); only the scenes or figures in the outer frame are different (cf. Mittler 1986 II:151, 156, 160, and Heidelberg University Library, Cod. Pal. germ. 67 and 435; see also Remarks).

Restored in 2007.

Decoration Program

By the later Hand 4, drawn on additional leaves (fols. 129, 130, 136):

  1. Pen-drawn scene of a hare chasing two dogs, one hiding (fol. 129v).
  2. A pen-drawn unicorn, a goat and a lamb running randomly (fol. 130v); a hybrid with two human heads, one on its back, and a dog biting its own hind leg (fol. 136v).
Suggested Reconsdivuction
Additions and corrections: Single leaves and supplements of omitted texts and texts added by different hands. Marginal additions: A few commentaries, corrected words and additional piyyutim by later hands (see Contents). Owner: Ott Heinrich von der Pfaltz. Entered the BSB library from Pfalz-Neuburg an der Donau in 1909, belonged to the Palatine Library of Ottheinrich in 1553 (Róth 1965, II:233). Library signatures and stamps: Back pastedown in pencil: C. hebr. 422; below in blue crayon: 154 fol. in 32 Zeilen. Library sticker on spine: Cod. Hebr. 422. On fols. 1, 155v: an oval stamp of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in the 20th century: BIBLIOTHECA/ REGIA/ MONACENSIS. Restored 2007.
Main Surveys & Excavations
Beit-Arié 1981 M. Beit-Arié, Hebrew Codicology: Tentative Typology of Technical Practices Employed in Hebrew Dated Medieval Manuscripts, Jerusalem 1981. Fraenkel 2000 י' פרנקל, מחזור שבועות, ירושלים תש"ס (Y. Fraenkel, Mahzor for Shavuot, Jerusalem 2000). Y. and A. Fraenkel 2008 י' וא' פרנקל, תפילה ופיוט במחזור נירנברג, ירושלים תשס"ח (Y. and A. Fraenkel, Prayer and Piyyut in Nuremberg Mahzor, Jerusalem 2008). Goldschmidt 1970, I ד' גולדשמידט, מחזור לימים הנוראים, כרך א (ראש השנה), ירושלים תש"ל (D. Goldschmidt, Mahzor for the Days of Awe, vol. I (New Year), Jerusalem 1970). Habermann 1938 א"מ הברמן, פיוטי רבי שמעון ב "ר יצחק, ברלין-ירושלים תרצ"ח (A. M. Habermann, The Piyyutim of R. Shimon bar Yitzhak, Berlin-Jerusalem 1938). Metzger 2009 W. Metzger, Ottheinrich von der Pfalz, A Princely Bibliophile of the Reformation, Weimar 2009. Mittler 1986 E. Mittler (ed.) Biblioteca Palatina. Katalog zur Ausstellung vom 8. Juli bis 2. November 1986 Heiliggeistkirche Heidelberg, Heidelberg 1986. Narkiss 1984 B. Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, Jerusalem 1984. Schlechtez 2005 A. Schlechtez and B. Wagner, "Von der Neuburger Kommerzbibliothek zur 'Bibliotheca Palatina' Ottheinrichs Bücher und ihre Einbände", Bibliotheken in Neuburg an der Donau B. Wagner (ed.), Wiesbaden 2005, pp. 137-154. Róth 1965 E. Róth, Verzeichnis der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, Wiesbaden 1965, vol. II, No. 327. Wagner 2003 B. Wagner, "Die Ottheinrich-Einbände in der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München", Einband Forschung, No. 13 (October 2003). Walde 1916 B. Walde, Christliche Hebräisten Deutschlands am Ausgang des Mittelalters, Münster i. W. 1916.
Short Name
Full Name
The lower edges of some parchment leaves are originally defective (e.g. fols. 49, 50, 55, 56, 58). Others are damaged (e.g. fol. 80).
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
Ilona Steimann; Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 2008; 2010
Author of description
Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin; Michal Sternthal; Yaffa Levy | 2011, 2013; 2011, 2013; 2013
Architectural Drawings
Computer Reconstruction
Section Head
Michal Sternthal; Project Head: Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin | 09-2016; 2008-2015
Language Editor
Christine Evans | 2013
Supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation |
Negative/Photo. No.