Nikolaus von Jeroschin – digital

Nicholas von Jeroschin is the most famous Teutonic Order chronicler and one of the few who are identified by name. This not withstanding, confirmed information as to the circumstances of his life remain unknown. In his works he reports being conferred into the Order by Gottfried von Heimberg, Commander of Königsberg from 1327 to 1329, as well as attests to his service as chaplain to Dietrich von Altenburg, Grand Master from 1335 to 1341. He was commissioned to author ‘The Legend of St. Adalbert’ by the Komtur and the ‘Prussian Chronicle’ by the Grand Master. Both works are translations from Latin.

The ‘Legend’, the only surviving tradition of which is a fragment, was intended to supplement the legends collected in the ‘Father’s Book’. Adalbert of Prague, the first Prussian missionary, promised canonisation as a local saint. This idea, however, did not carry through. The ‘Chronik des Preußenland’ (Prussian Chronicle), being the Order’s earliest complete German-language chronicle, was received more widely and had greater impact. It was a significant influence on later historical works and the Order’s image. ‘The Prussian Chronicle’ is continued by ‘The Older Grand Master's Chronicle’, to which it contributes about two-thirds of the text. The Polish historian Jan Długosz commissioned its translation back into Latin in 1464. Excerpts originating in the 16th century have been turned to as historical sources ever since.

Nikolaus von Jeroschin digital offers a virtual library of the manuscript tradition of the ‘Chronicle’ and ‘Legend’. Included are transcriptions, which can in due course be compared to each other. The project is presently under construction, therefore the entirety of planned information is not yet available. It will, however, be added as it becomes available.

The long-term goal is the online publication of a new critical edition that not only reliably reproduces the text according to the latest standards, but also makes the content accessible by, among other things, identifying the numerous historical persons and place-names and documenting notarial marks and signs of wear. A further follow-up project shall work out the extensive reception of the ‘Chronicle’ in adaptations, excerpts, transcripts and translations. This will elucidate the lastingness and influence of the texts over the centuries.

Nikolaus von Jeroschin digital is managed by Ralf G. Päsler (The Philipps University of Marburg) in cooperation with Heidelberg University Library.