Codex Falkensteinensis

Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv


Among the tradition books that have been handed down, the Codex Falkensteinensis assumes a very special position. It not only contains the only tradition book of a noble family, but also the oldest income register of a secular manor, a fief list and other records that are not necessarily to be expected in a tradition codex.

Count Siboto of Falkenstein made his will in the summer of 1166 before setting out on Emperor Frederick Barbarossa’s (died 1190) fourth Italian campaign. He made arrangements to secure his family’s property and position in case he did not return. He attached particular importance to the record of the so-called “Hantgemals”, the family’s ancestral estate in Geislbach ( Erding district), which was to prove his dynasty’s complete freedom. In addition to the ancestral seat, the family also had estates in Chiemgau, Sundergau and Unterinntal. When the family died out around the middle of the 13th century, their legacy fell to the Wittelsbach dynasty.

The manuscript originated in Herrenchiemsee Abbey, whose bailiff was Siboto von Falkenstein, and was later kept for centuries in Weyarn, the house monastery of the Counts of Falkenstein.

Another special feature of the codex are the coloured miniatures and marginal illustrations. The most famous miniature is at the beginning of the volume and shows the author of the manuscript with his family. The marginal drawings illustrate the levies listed in the codex, but also symbolise historical legal processes.


Elisabeth Noichl, Codex Falkensteinensis. Die Rechtsaufzeichnungen der Grafen von Falkenstein (Quellen und Erörterungen zur bayerischen Geschichte N.F. 29), München 1978.

Peter Johanek, Zur rechtlichen Funktion von Traditionsnotiz, Traditionsbuch und früher Siegelurkunde. In: Recht und Schrift im Mittelalter (Vorträge und Forschungen Bd. 23), Sigmaringen 1977, S. 152-153.

Werner Rösener, Codex Falkensteinensis. Zur Erinnerungskultur eines Adelsgeschlechts im Hochmittelalter. In: Ders. (Hg.), Adelige und bürgerliche Erinnerungskulturen des Spätmittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit (Formen der Erinnerung 8) Göttingen 2000, S. 35-55.