Cologne cathedral (photo: German Wikipedia)
Manfred Groten
(Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn)


For the period 1348 – 1418 three ‘environments’ can be identified, in which literary production occurred:

1) City council and the patriciate:

Epic and prose texts in German were commissioned by the patrician city council and its supporters. They deal with current political events or continue older chronicles. Outstanding texts are the fragmentary epic poem The Weavers’ Battle (Die Weberschlacht) describing the weavers’ revolt of 1370/71 and its suppression, and the New Book (Das neue Buch) by Gerlach vamme Hauwe on the overthrow of the patrician government in 1396 and the establishment of a new city council.

2) Collegiate churches, monasteries, and other religious houses:

Historiographical texts in Latin (continuations of the Chronicle of Martinus Polonus, short biographies of archbishops, such as the Chronica presulum) were written in the ecclesiastical environment. There are probably also ascetic and devotional texts to be considered, but this field has not yet been researched systematically. A preliminary survey can be made on the basis of the catalogues compiled by Joachim Vennebusch on the manuscript holdings of the Municipal Archives of the City of Cologne (Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln).

3) University (founded in 1388):

The teaching staff of the municipal university produced scholarly treatises and texts for academic courses. As there are no editions of or studies on such texts, they can only be mentioned in general terms.