Ebendorfer, Thomas

views updated


Austrian historiographer, theologian, and diplomat;b. Haselbach, Korneuburg prefecture, lower Austria, Aug. 10, 1388; d. Vienna, Jan. 12, 1464. The son of a landed peasant family and subject to military duty, he began his studies at the University of Vienna in 1408, where he received a doctorate in theology (1428). He became a canon in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna (1427). Sent to the council of basel as a representative of the University, he recorded his activities there in the Diarium [ed. E. Birk, Monumenta conciliorum generalium saec. XV (1857) 1:701783], a sort of official diary. As a councilor of Emperor Frederick III, he went on diplomatic missions, but when the two men began to grow apart, Ebendorfer withdrew more and more to teaching and administration at the University and to writing history. In 1442 Frederick commissioned him to write a Chronicle of the Emperors [ed. W. Jaroschka (Vienna 1956) and F. Pribram, Mitteilungen des Instituts für osterreichische Geschichtsforschung (1890), sup. 3]. In 1451 Ebendorfer delivered the first draft to the Emperor, but he continued to expand the work until his death. His Austrian Chronicle (ed. A. Lhotsky, Monumena Germaniae Historica Scriptores rerum Germanicarum (new series) ), planned originally as the seventh book of the Chronicle of the Emperors, developed into a separate major work of five volumes, of which the last section (continued to 1462) was partly in diary form. Ebendorfer belonged to the old school, and there is no trace of the humanistic spirit in his works. His distinguishing features as a historian are a special realism of detail and the use of other than writen sources to an extent then unknown. He wrote also many philosophical, theological, and occasional works (mostly unedited).

Bibliography: h. schmidinger, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques 14:127681. a. lhotsky, Thomas Ebendorfer, ein österreichischer Geschichtschreiber, Theologe und Diplomat des 15. Jahrhunderts (Schriften der Monumenta Germaniae historica 15; Stuttgart 1957); Quellenkunde zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte Österreichs (Graz 1963).

[m. m. zykan]