Herrad of Landsberg

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Abbess, compiler of the Hortus deliciarum; b. Chateau of Landsberg, Alsace, c. 1130; d. Hohenberg, July 25, 1195. No details are known of her early life. She was abbess of Hohenberg (Mont Sainte-Odile) from 1167 and under her rule the convent prospered materially, spiritually, and intellectually.

Her abbey's cultural level is exemplified by the Hortus, which she had compiled for the spiritual benefit of her nuns. Its theme was the history of man from creation to last judgment, told against a Biblical background. Incorporating a wide range of contemporary knowledge, it was a compendium of 12th-century thought. Herrad's personal authorship included only the preface and a few short verses, but selections comprising about 45,000 lines represented sources ranging from the Fathers to her own contemporaries. Its miniatures, numbering at least 344, were its chief claim to distinction. Some of these occupied an entire page of the manuscript, which measured 53 by 37 centimeters. They may have been produced independently of the text and by an organized scriptorium, but exact artistic responsibility is uncertain. The influence of the Canons of marbach has been noted in the script, however. The miniatures combined artistic influences of East and West and pictured details of contemporary daily life. The original manuscript was completely destroyed in 1870. Parts of the text have been restored and copies of many of the miniatures are extant. The unpublished portions of the text are in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Bibliography: herrad of landsberg, Notitia et fragmenta, in PL 194:153742; Hortus deliciarum, ed. a. straub and g. keller (Strasbourg 187999), fol. ed. with plates; ed. j. walter (Strasbourg 1952), valuable introd. and notes. c. m. englehardt, Herrad von Landsberg (Stuttgart 1818). l. eckenstein, Women under Monasticism (Cambridge, Eng. 1896). c. wittmer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, j. hofer and k. rahner, eds. (Freiburg 195765) 5:269270. g. webb, "Herrad and Her Garden of Delights," Life of the Spirit 16 (196162) 475481.

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Herrad of Landsberg

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