The codex at hand contains two major parts separated by the calendar. Part one is a pseudo-historical compilation based, as the incipit states, on various sources (“ausgezogen von vil andern puchern“). Beginning with the Creation it gives a short account of major Old Testament episodes. From the biblical kings it then turns into a chronicle of worldly rulers from Antiquity who are seen as the direct ancestors of the Holy Roman emperors listed subsequently. A survey of the papacy demonstrates the struggle between secular and ecclesiastic rulers. The final point is marked by the death of Urban VI in 1389, whose election in 1378 had started the Great Schism.
The last pages of part one are dedicated to the eschatological texts of the Antichrist and the 15 signs announcing the end of the world. The Antichrist (the German title “Endkrist“ emphasizes even more the medieval belief that his appearance announces the end of the world), the false prophet and corrupter of Christian faith, who is defeated in the end, is a parody of Christ, as can be seen by the account of his miracles, his feigned death and resurrection.
Part two is of an entirely different nature but is equally of high textual interest. It contains advice on everyday life, the calculation of feast days, weather forecast and on medical questions, especially bloodletting. Appended to this practical guide is a text in the tradition of the mirror of princes, i.e. a didactic treatise on the life and duties of a nobleman. In its combination of two different parts it fulfils the function of a medieval housebook, containing texts on a wide range of subjects from biblical and secular history to pseudo-science and private devotion.
The manuscript is richly illustrated with dramatic and often charming drawings, executed in brown ink and coloured with light washes in blue, pink, red, brown, green and yellow. While part two is only sparsely decorated with penwork initials, the first part could justly be called a picture book in which the lively drawings constitute the backbone, whereas the brief text passages are little more than commentaries. Outlined in ink in a swift but experienced hand they are coloured with light washes in a palette of blue, pink, red, brown, green and yellow.
This work is now in the collection of the Staatsbibliothek Berlin.