The Codex Manesse, also known as the “Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift” (Great Heidelberg Song Manuscript), is an important medieval manuscript from the 14th century. It is a codex, which is a type of book format where pages are bound together in a book-like form.
The Codex Manesse is a collection of medieval German poetry, specifically Minnesang, which was a tradition of courtly love poetry in medieval German-speaking regions. It was created around 1304 to 1340 in the region that is now modern-day Switzerland.
The codex contains over 400 illustrated pages featuring over 130 poets, including both well-known and lesser-known Minnesänger (Minnesang poets). It is beautifully illuminated with intricate and colorful illustrations, depicting the poets themselves and scenes from their poems, as well as portraying the contemporary social and cultural life of the time.
The manuscript provides valuable insights into the cultural and literary history of the High Middle Ages in German-speaking territories and is an important source for studying the development of the German language during that period.
Today, the Codex Manesse is housed in the University Library of Heidelberg, Germany, where it remains an important cultural and historical treasure, often studied and admired by scholars and enthusiasts of medieval literature and art.