Research Group for Medieval Philology

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Bergen and Iceland: The Production of Codex Hardenbergianus and the West Icelandic Helgafell Workshop

Stefan Drechsler (University of Aberdeen) presents the law manuscript Codex Hardenbergianus, written mainly in Bergen, and its possible ties to international book production in the medieval North.

Bilde av en illustrert side i lovhåndskriftet Codex Hardenbergianus
Codex Hardenbergianus, f. 6r

Bergen and Iceland: The Production of Codex Hardenbergianus (GKS 1154 fol) and the West Icelandic Helgafell Workshop

Stefan Drechsler, University of Aberdeen

The Norwegian law manuscript Codex Hardenbergianus (Copenhagen, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, GKS 1154 fol) is today considered the most impressive law manuscript from fourteenth century Norway. Mainly written and illuminated in or around Bergen c. 1350–60, the Codex Hardenbergianus exhibits many interesting features that link the manuscript to a local workshop, yet one clearly inspired artistically by English styles. Meanwhile certain features also suggest strong palaeographic, as well as iconographic ties with an ecclesiastical scriptorium in Iceland, specifically the established workshop of the Augustinian monastery at Helgafell in the north of Snæfellsnes.

My talk will discuss the international production of the law code Codex and presents the strong ties of Icelandic and Norwegian manuscript workshops prior to the devastating Black Death in 1348–49. It will be argued that the production of Codex Hardenbergianus might also be linked to the Cathedral workshop of the southern Icelandic diocese of Skálholt, an important literary production centre of legal texts at the time. Finally, my talk will highlight the great potential in future interdisciplinary research between Old Norse Philology and Medieval Art History.


Stefan Drechsler is a PhD student at the The School of Divinity, History and Philosoph at the University of Aberdeen.

Velkomen! Forskargruppe i mellomalderfilologi ved UiB inviterer.