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Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Schatzkammer
Ludwigstraße 16
Munich
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Hartmann Schedel's library was unequalled in fifteenth-century Germany. The Nuremberg physician was interested in virtually all areas of knowledge of the late Middle Ages: rhetoric, astronomy, philosophy, classical and humanist literature, historiography, geography and cosmography, medicine, law, theology. Already during his studies at the universities of Leipzig and Padua in the 1450s and 1460s, he transcribed many works in his own hand. Schedel was able to avail himself of a growing supply of printed books in Nuremberg, a centre of European trade and publishing. He also made use of his international network to acquire new publications from other places. At the end of his long life, Schedel's library comprised nearly 700 volumes, including many composite volumes with several items. Today, more than 370 manuscripts and 460 printed items from his collection are preserved in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

Even though Schedel stipulated in his last will that the book collection should remain in his family, Schedel's grandson Melchior sold his grandfather's books to the Augsburg merchant Johann Jakob Fugger in 1552. Scarcely 20 years later, Fugger sold his book collection to the Bavarian Duke Albrecht V, who integrated it into the Court Library at Munich.

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Hartmann Schedel's death, about 40 volumes from his comprehensive collection of books are on display in a great exhibition at the Bavarian State Library. The selection comprises a representative range of works from all disciplines of late mediaeval literature and science including all five editions of the Nuremberg Chronicle which was first published by Anton Koberger in 1493 and is famous in particular for its numerous views of cities.