The „Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae“ (CDS)

Bildausschnitt aus Gemälde von Jan Lievens Bücherstilleben 1628
Bücherstilleben. Gemälde von Jan Lievens. 1628

Editor: Christian Schuffels

To a considerable part, the medieval history of Saxony is accessible through diplomatic records. In order to present these documents in scientifically reliable editions, the “Codex diplomaticus Saxonis regiae” was founded in 1860 by the Saxon State Government. Within a short time, the project had earned the respect of the scholarly world. Up to today, about 12 000 documents have been registered and edited. Consequently, the “Codex” has become the most significant collection of sources on the history of Central Germany, and the basic and indispensable resource for research of the Wettin territories in the Middle Ages.


Übergabe des Lehnbriefes für das Herzogtum Lüneburg an Herzog Albrecht von Sachsen-Wittenberg
Übergabe des Lehnbriefes für das
Herzogtum Lüneburg an Herzog
Albrecht von Sachsen-Wittenberg;
Buchmalerei von Hans Bornemann
in der Lüneburger Handschrift des
Sachsenspiegels. 1448

The “Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae“ is easily accessible, as it divides the charter texts into three "Main parts" I, II, and III; and these main parts are pragmatically edited according to different principles of critical text edition.

Main part I contains the charter texts of the secular territorial princes, that is, of the Margraves of Meissen, the Landgraves of Thuringia, as well as of the Dukes and Electors of Saxony. According to the editorial principle of issuer and recipient, the critical editions also take into account documents and deperdita - transmitted in original as well as in copies of privileges, mandates and letters, issued and co-sealed by the ruling princes or probably received by them. Main part I is divided into two “sections”, A and B: Section I/A begins with diplomatic records from around the middle of the 10th century. In Section I/B, edited documents issued since 1381/82 can be found. The caesura can be explained by the year of the death of Friedrich III “der Strenge” (“The Strict One"), Landgrave of Thuringia and Margrave of Meissen (†1381), and with the division of his heritage among his three sons in the Treaty of Chemnitz (1382). Since then, the territory of the Wettins had been divided for almost a century. Up to now, the volumes dealing with the years from 948 to 1264 (CDS I/A 1-5) and from 1381 to 1427 (CDS I/B 1-4) have been edited. In future, Main part I will cover the charter texts up to the Leipzig division of 1485, when Saxony was divided into the Ernestine Electorate and the Albertine Duchy of Saxony.

In Main part II, the diplomatic records of the towns and of the clerical institutions are being collected. The publications of this Main part are institutionally organized according to the editorial principle of pertinence. Up to now, altogether 11 critical editions have been issued in 21 volumes (CDS II/1-21), among others

  • in three volumes the corpus of charters of the Bishopric Meißen (CDS II/1-3, ed. Ernst Gotthelf Gersdorf, 1864-1867),
  • the charters of, among others, the towns of Chemnitz, Freiberg, Kamenz, Leipzig, Löbau, Meißen and Zwickau, partly including their monasteries (Meißen: CDS II/4, ed. Ernst Gotthelf Gersdorf, 1873; Chemnitz: CDS II/6, ed. Hubert Ermisch, 1879; Kamenz/Löbau: CDS II/7, ed. Hermann Knothe, 1883; Leipzig: CDS II/8-10, ed. Karl- Friedrich von Posern-Klett / Joseph Förstemann, 1868-1894; Freiberg: CDS II/12-14, ed. Hubert Ermisch, 1883-1891; Zwickau: CDS II/21, ed. Henning Steinführer, 2014),
  • the charters and the matrikel of the University of Leipzig (CDS II/11, ed. Bruno Stübel, 1879; CDS II/16-18, ed. Georg Erler, 1895-1902) as well as
  • the first part of the charters (up to 1249) of the Cistercian Monastery Altzelle (CDS II/19, ed. Tom Graber, 2006).

In Main part III, papal bulls and letters, in case they were transmitted within Saxony, are edited in full text according to the editorial principle of archive group. This Main part received its purpose in the late 1990s, when the work with the “Codex” was newly defined. It was then aligned to two major international projects: the “Göttinger Papsturkundenwerk” (Regesta pontificum Romanorum: corpus of all papal charters), initiated by Paul Fridolin Kehr, and to the “Censimento Bartoloni”, named after the Italien Diplomatic scholar Franco Bartoloni, recording the original papal documents with complete rendition of the extra sigillum notes of the chancery, for the period from Pope Innocence III (ruled 1198-1216) to the end of the Great Occidental Schism (1417). The first volume of the third Main part has already been published; Tom Graber edited the papal charters, as long as preserved in original form, up to 1303 from the present Saxon State Archive - Main State Archive Dresden (CDS III/1, 2009).

The “Codex” then …

Wachssiegel Kaiser Friedrichs I. Barbarossa (regierte 1152-1190)
Wachssiegel Kaiser Friedrichs I.
Barbarossa (regierte 1152-1190)

During the first half century of its existence, until 1909, no less than 24 volumes were published in the “Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae regiae”. In the early time of the undertaking, there were a number of outstanding editors, to whom we owe several record books each, like the historian and Leipzig librarian ERNST GOTTHELF GERSDORF (1804–1874), OTTO POSSE (1847–1921), who became famous for his sigillographic research, and HUBERT ERMISCH (1850–1932), who, like Posse, received his doctorate in Göttingen from Georg Waitz. Then, the editing activity came to a halt without having been abandoned completely. During the Second World War, another volume could be published in 1941 (CDS I/B 4); for the first time, it appeared without the “regiae” in the headline.

... and now

In the 1990s, the long-standing edition project of the “Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae” was put on a new institutional basis. Since 2002, the work was continued as a cooperation project of the Institute for Saxon History and Cultural Anthropology (ISGV) and the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig. The Academy, with a department in Dresden, edits the sovereign charter texts of Main part I, while the ISGV is responsible for the continuation of the Main parts II and III. Since 2006, seven volumes have been published; two more are short of being completed. Presently, all three Main parts of the “Codex” are being worked on.

The “Codex” online

The ISGV is also responsible for the digital presentation of the “Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae”. All older volumes, up to a publishing date of 1941, as well as those of the younger editions that have been published until 2009, are accessible online through the web portal. Access is given per volume either through the numbers of the documents or through the page numbers of the printed volumes. The book pages can be printed directly through the browser. There are plans to include the other volumes of the edition into the web portal as well.

Link to the web site:

Current work projects at ISGV

While the “Codex”-department of the Saxon Academy closes the gap between the sections A and B in Main part I, the collection of charter texts of the city of Dresden in Main part II is newly edited (Ulrike Siewert, Stefan Petersen, Philipp Wollmann) at ISGV, and in Main part III, the edition of the papal bulls and letters of the Saxon State Archive - Main State Archive Dresden, is being continued (Christian Schuffels).
The critical edition of the cities of Dresden and Pirna was started by Karl Friedrich von Posern-Klett and, after his death 1875, edited by Otto Posse (CDS II/5). It is, however, incomplete. Numerous charter texts have not been considered and were only included into the new critical edition which was compiled since 2010. It contains records about the Dresden and Altendresden parish churches until the introduction and implementation of the Reformation in the city (1539/41). The Frauenkirche, the Nikolaikirche resp. Kreuzkirche, and the Dreikönigskirche are being considered as well.

Since 2017, the critical edition of the original papal bulls and letters of the 15th century from the Main State Archive Dresden is being continued. A recent volume starts with the pontificate of Pope Martin V (ruled 1417-1431). The charters issued by the Council of Basel are also being taken into account. All items are supposed to be edited in full text and under inclusion of the partly considerable extra sigillum notes of the chancery resp. curia, and provided with extensive summaries.

Selected recommendations of introductive literature

  • Matthias Werner, „Zur Ehre Sachsens“. Geschichte, Stand und Perspektiven des Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae, in: Tom Graber (Hg.), Diplomatische Forschungen in Mitteldeutschland (Schriften zur sächsischen Geschichte und Volkskunde 12), Leipzig 2005, S. 261-302 (essential work on the history of the “Codex”). Link:
  • Enno Bünz, Ostmitteldeutsche Urkundenüberlieferung. Zum Editionsstand der mittelalterlichen Urkunden in Sachsen, in: Luise Czajkowski / Corinna Hoffmann / Hans Ulrich Schmid (Hgg.), Ostmitteldeutsche Schreibsprachen im Spätmittelalter (Studia Linguistica Germanica 89), Berlin 2007, S. 125-153 (with an overview of the critical editions and documentary records on the history of Saxony).
  • Tom Graber / Mathias Kälble, Der Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae. Mediävistische Grundlagenforschung an der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, in: Denkströme. Journal der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 5 (2010), S. 169-176 (among others, on the editorial work with the Main part I). Link:
  • Enno Bünz, Die Römische Kurie und Sachsen im späten Mittelalter. Mit einer Zusammenstellung der Benefizien des Bistums Meißen in den päpstlichen Registern 1417–1471, in: Wolfgang Huschner / Enno Bünz / Christian Lübke (Hgg.), Italien, Mitteldeutschland, Polen. Geschichte und Kultur im europäischen Kontext vom 10. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert (Schriften zur sächsischen Geschichte und Volkskunde 42), Leipzig 2013, S. 403-530.
  • Christian Schuffels, Der Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae – das Urkundenwerk zur Geschichte Sachsens, in: Winfried Müller / Daniel Geissler (Bearb.), Das Institut für Sächsische Geschichte und Volkskunde 1997–2017 (Spurensuche. Geschichte und Kultur Sachsens 7), Dresden 2017, S. 84-91 (short overview on the current state of work.
  • Information on the project at the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities may be found on:

updated: February, 2019

Name und Titel Papst Eugens IV. (regierte 1431–1447) in einer Urkunde für Herzog Sigismund von Sachsen

Name und Titel Papst Eugens IV. (regierte 1431–1447) in einer Urkunde für Herzog Sigismund von Sachsen vom 26. April 1432. Sächsisches Staatsarchiv, Hauptstaatsarchiv Dresden, 10001, Ältere Urkunden, Nr. 6224 (olim OU. 6224); Aufnahme: Petra Weickert.

Der Name „Eugenius“ (Papst Eugen IV.) und der päpstlichen Titels (episcopus servus servorum dei: Bischof [von Rom], Diener der Diener Gottes) wird in dieser Urkunde besonders hervorgehoben. Die Urkunde auf kalziniertem Pergament gehört zu der Gruppe der „Litterae“, die von der päpstlichen Kanzlei im späten Mittelalter bevorzugt wurde. Der Name des Papstes besteht aus einer verzierten Initiale, einem geschwärzten Rund-E mit weißen ornamentalen Aussparungen, und aus geschwärzten unzialen (gerundeten)