Deeds of Wiprecht

“The Deeds of Wiprecht of Groitzsch” is the title we assign to the first half of a text otherwise known as the Annals of Pegau. Produced and preserved at the east Saxon monastery of Pegau, most of this larger text offers short annual accounts of events through 1215. But it does not begin in the typical format of an annal; instead the preface announces the work as a gesta, that is, a narrative of the deeds of a particular individual: Wiprecht, Pegau’s founder. From the preface through the description of his death in 1124, it focuses resolutely on Wiprecht’s career and the early years of the monastery with which he was so intimately involved and where he was buried. We therefore distinguish this text from the Annals by a separate designation.

The Deeds and Annals together survive in a single manuscript (Leipzig, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms 1325), viewable here.

The Latin edition published in the MGH is available here.

Our annotated English translation appears in Noble Society: Five Lives from Twelfth-Century Germany, trans. Jonathan R. Lyon (Manchester University Press, 2017), pp. 22-91.

This website includes the entirety of the Deeds but does not fully duplicate the version found in Noble Society; readers interested in a general introduction and annotations will not find them here.  Our aim instead is to mount an argument for—and dynamically represent—the composite nature of the text.

Because a number of different texts make up the core of the Deeds, and the marginal notations and insertions vary and were plainly made by different individuals, we made no effort to impose these distinctions on our published translation, meant for students as well as scholars. Nor do we believe a new Latin edition is necessary; the MGH faithfully reproduces the text as it appears in the manuscript. Instead we hope to utilize the advantages of digital presentation to demonstrate the existence of and interconnection between these many components. Composite texts are by no means unknown from the Middle Ages; however, the conventional practice of using smaller fonts and marginal indicators is likely to be more cumbersome than illuminating in the case of the Deeds. Since, in the twenty-first century, we are no longer bound by the limitations of print, we aim to take full advantage of the possibilities of digital media.