Herrad of Landsberg

By Student William Clark


Herrad of Landsberg (also known as Herrad von Hohenbourg) was best known for compiling the Hortus Deliciarum, or Garden of Delights, during the 12th century (Herrad began her work on the Hortus before 1175). “As its title [Garden of Delights] implies, Herrad intended that her work should be a garden of delights in which the women would find refreshment and repose, both for their souls and their minds”[2]The work was not only the first work of its kind to be written or compiled by a woman, but it “comprised a rich selection of texts and images, skillfully woven together into a coherent and carefully structured presentation of salvation history.”[3] In other words, Herrad structured her work as a chronological presentation of Jesus and the salvation of humanity. To do so, she strategically and elaborately used a combination of awe inspiring images and words to convey her message. The Hortus Deliciarum was “designed by Herrad in the wake of Hohenbourg’s restoration at the mid-twelfth century, the Hortus was profoundly engaged with the project of religious renewal: its goal was to provide and orthodox theological education for the newly converted Augustinian canonesses and to direct them in their religious life.”[4]

If you want to learn more about the Augustinian rule, you can learn much about its development from Wikipedia by clicking here (and any text in red is a link to a certain webpage for the highlighted topic). The Augustinian rule branched off of the Benedictine way of life. The Hortus was extremely coherent “which was a result of continuous attention to revisions over the many long years that work on it required”[5] Elizabeth Bailey, who will be referenced more in terms of the art of the Hortus, claims that the book was composed between 1159 and 1195.[6] This ambition and willingness to edit shows how great Herrad’s editorial skills were and how much perseverance she had. “The sophisticated interplay of text and image within the Hortus suggests that, in addition to editor of the manuscript, Herrad should also be recognized as the architect of its visual cycle.”[7]

Tragically, a large portion of the Hortus Deliciarum was destroyed during the Prussian siege of August 1870. Here you can learn more about the  Prussian siege of Strasbourg.This siege was part of the Franco-Prussian War.

Despite the major loss of Herrad’s famous work, scholars who had studied the Hortus Deliciarum before its destruction in 1870 helped to preserve the work through their knowledge of it and the sections that survived the siege. Their notes and tracings of some of the images that didn’t survive “form the basis for a reconstruction of the Hortus, published by the Warburg Institute in 1979;” the team of scholars that worked on this reconstruction was led by Rosalie Green.[9]

The reconstructed Hortus Deliciarum provides a way to see into the Hohenbourg Monastic community and its culture. In fact, Herrad of Landsberg was the Abbess of Hohenbourg. Here you can learn more about the Monastery of Hohenbourg before the time of Herrad of Landsberg.

A famous passage in the Hortus that was written by Herrad as a prose prologue that appeared after the only poem in the Hortus that is certainly written by Herrad is translated into English by Fiona Griffiths as, “Herrad, by the grace of God, abbess, although unworthy, of the church of Hohenbourg, to the sweet virgins of Christ faithfully working at Hohenbourg as though in the vineyard of the Lord, grace and glory, which the Lord will give. I make it known to your holiness, that, like a bee inspired by God, I collected from the diverse flowers of sacred scripture and philosophic writings this book, which is called the Hortus deliciarum, and I brought it together to the praise and honor of Christ and the church and for the sake of your love as if into a single sweet honeycomb. Therefore, in this very book, you ought diligently to seek pleasing food and to refresh your exhausted soul with its honeyed dewdrops, so that, always occupied with the caresses of the Bridegroom and fattened on spiritual delights, you may cheerfully hurry over ephemeral things to possess the things that last forever in happiness and pleasure. And now as I pass dangerously through the various pathways of the sea, I ask that you may redeem me with your fruitful prayers from earthly passions and draw me upward, together with you, into the affection of your beloved. Amen.”[10] This passage shows that Herrad spent years compiling the Hortus to be read by her fellow women of Christ that lived and worked at Hohenbourg. It was not only rare for a women to compile and write such a work during the 12th century, but also to write a book so complex just to be read by the members of Herrad’s own community was even rarer. The goal of the Hortus “was to provide an orthodox theological education for the newly converted Augustinian canonesses and to direct them in their religious life.”[11]

There are also many reformist concerns in the Hortus that deal with females and their role in the monastic society (and even society in general). To learn more about the feminist aspects of Herrad and the Hortus Deliciarum in relation to the 12th century when it was written (and the issues of reform), [go to page 2.] Although most of the Hortus Deliciarum was a compilation of other writers, such as “Honorius Augustodunensis, Rupert of Deutz, and Peter Lombard as well as such contemportary scholastic writers as the chancellor of Notre Dame, Peter Comester,” Herrad of Landsberg wrote some poetry that was included in the text and according to Fiona Griffiths, in “Herrad of Hohenbourg and the Poetry of the Hortus Deliciarum: Cantat tibi cantica,” these poems reveal “her deep love for God and her desire that the nuns of her house would share in her devotion.”[12]

If you wish to learn about the poetry, and music, that was contained within the Hortus Deliciarum [go to page 3.] As it was said earlier, the Hortus Deliciarum was an encyclopedia styled book that included a large number of amazing pieces of art along with commentary on the artwork. If you want to learn more about the artwork contained in the Hortus [go to page 4.]


Last Apparition of Jesus to his Apostles After the Resurrection- His Ascension to Heaven [13]

1. Herrad of Lansberg-Head.JPG From Wikimedia Commons: Wikimedia.Org Accessed 4/26/14

2. Griffiths, Fiona. “Herrad of Hohenbourg and the Poetry of the Hortus deliciarum: Cantat tibi      cantica.” Women Writing Latin: From Roman Antiquity to Early Modern Europe Volume 2 Medieval Women Writing Latin. Ed. Laurie J. Churchill, Phyllis R. Brown, and Jane E. Jeffrey. New York: Routledge,2002. 231-263 Print. 232

3.Griffiths, Fiona. The Garden of Delights: Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Web. Texas State Ebrary.  1

4.Ibid., 20

5.Ibid., 19

6. Bailey, Elizabeth. “Succumbing to Gravity in the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Hohenbourg.” Gravity in Art: Essays on Weight and Weightlessness in Painting, Sculpture and Photography. Ed. Mary D. Edwards and Elizabeth Bailey. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2012. 35-49 Print. 35

7. Griffiths, Fiona. The Garden of Delights. 19

8. “Prussian Siege of August 1870” Strasboug. Familypedia. Accessed 4/22/14

9. Griffiths, Fiona. The Garden of Delights. 1.

10. Griffiths, Fiona. “Herrad of Hohenbourg and the Poetry of the Hortus deliciarum: Cantat tibi      cantica.” 256

11. Griffiths, Fiona. The Garden of Delights. 20.

12. Griffiths, Fiona.  “Herrad of Hohenbourg and the Poetry of the Hortus deliciarum: Cantat tibi      cantica.” 231.

13. Herrad of Landsberg, Hortus Deliciarum. Ed. and Translated by Aristide D. Caratzvas; Commentary and Notes by A. Straub and G. Keller. New Rochelle, New York: Caratzas Brothers, 1977. Print. 157

Feminist Aspects and Reform in Herrad’s Work


File:Herrad von landsberg.jpg
Herrad of Landsberg in the Hortus Deliciarum [1]
There are many aspects of Herrad of Landsberg and her work that make it unique in terms of feminism during the 12th century. During the time that Herrad was writing the Hortus, “women still required spiritual instruction and the consistent presence and pastoral care of a local priest. The provision of pastoral care, the cura monialium or care of nuns, was evidently the source of some concern at Hohenbourg: documents from the period reflect the women’s dissatisfaction with the chaplains who served their community,”[2] The Hortus, written by the Abbess of Hohenbourg, for the women of Hohenbourg, was designed to meet the communities need for instruction and direction. It provided “its female audience with a wide-ranging theological education while at the same time equipping them with the ability to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ pastors. In its breadth and theological complexity, the Hortus could supplement, and perhaps even displace, the teaching of Hohenbourg’s male priests.”[3] Not only that, but “by incorporating texts written for priests and students of theology into a work designed for women, Herrad claimed a body of knowledge from which scholars have argued that women, since they could not study within the university, were excluded.”[4] Herrad showed them that women shouldn’t be excluded from education.

The Hortus wasn’t the only work of the time that was either written for, or by, women. A good example of a text written for women was the Speculum virginum. It called for women’s chastity and was directed towards virgins. Besides the fact that Herrad was a woman who wrote her work, the Hortus Deliciarum, Herrad’s work “embraced theology broadly speaking and was designed for an immediate female audience, while the Speculum pursued a more limited spiritual goal and was to be mediated for women by their male teachers.”[6]

The works, however, did have many similarities in that they were both a response to women’s desire for a spiritual life and both combined different arts such as word, poetry, image, and song. One difference was that the author of the Speculum avoided discussing theological issues that could distract a female audience and contemporary works were not found in it; the Hortus, on the other hand, was filled with difficult theological issues and was written to teach a female audience and not only to make sure they stay virgins. Herrad truly cared about the women of Hohenbourg who her work was written for; this shows in the writings because she is seen as a mother to to them that will lead them on the right path.

Due to the large number of women that wanted to follow the religious path during the 11th and, especially, the 12th centuries, there was a reform movement. Some say that this reform movement segregated women and “excluded or opposed” them.[8] Herrad was writing the Hortus during this period, and some of her writings show it. Much of her writings urge for reform or are radically different than the views not long before. The reform she urges for isn’t always feminist; Herrad had an “interest in the broader concerns of church reform, notably the need for pastoral care and for adequate training of the pastorate, the concern with incipient materialism, the desire to embrace a life of apostolic poverty according to the example of the early church, and, most importantly, the effort to improve the moral standing of the clergy.”[9] These concerns were not only concerns for women but for everyone.

“The twelfth century is typically seen by historians as an era of declining female influence,” but Herrad and her work shows that there were still intelligent, artistic, and dedicated women out there willing to make a difference. Hildegard of Bingen was also writing during the 12th century and adds to the feminist work that must not be forgotten during that time period because it tells us so much about the life of the religious woman. However, there is one thing that makes Herrad much different than Hildegard. “While Hildegard depicted herself as a prophetess and sought a public, male audience for her visions, Herrad wrote only for the education and edification of the women of her own community.”[10] Herrad was brave to admit to being educated instead of hiding behind the belief that she was a visionary or mystic. This certainly influenced women of the time, and could influence women of today, to see education as important no matter what you want to do with your life. Herrad was very educated; this is seen by the enormous amount of work that is compiled in the Hortus deliciarum. Herrad can certainly be seen as a model for women to get an education.

This is a picture of what Hohenbourg looks like today:

Hohenbourg Depth of Focus
 1. “Herrad von Landsberg.JPG” from Wikipedia

2. Griffiths, Fiona. The Garden of Delights: Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Web. Texas State Ebrary. 3.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid., 4.

5. Diren, Palya. “Feminism.” From Science Penguin, 2013.

6. Griffiths, Fiona. The Garden of Delights. 5.

7. “Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” From “The Feminist Threat to the Roman Catholic Church in the UK.” Catholic-Feminism. Accessed 4/27/14

8. Griffiths, Fiona. The Garden of Delights. 11.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid., 15.

11. “Hohenbourg Depth of Focus.” Points of Interest: Christek. Accessed 4/26/14


The Poetry and Music of Herrad of Landsberg and the “Hortus Deliciarum”

The Sacrifice of The Cross [1]

 Like much of the Hortus Deliciarum, much of the poetry came from other authors including “Hildebert of Lavardin, Walter of Chatillon, Aime of Monte-Cassino, and Peter the Painter.”[2] In fact, there is only one poem that has survived that can be declared with certainty to be written by Herrad of Landsberg herself; however, others could certainly have been written by her as well, and it is certain that she chose all of the poetry that was contained in the Hortus for a reason regardless of whether she wrote it herself or not. There were a total of 67 poems in the Hortus.[3] The poem that can be, for certain, declared as being written by Herrad is “the dedication poem Salve cohors virginum.”[4] The English translation of this poem by Fioina Griffiths will be posted, in its entirety, after some explanation of it.

This poem was followed by the prose prologue that is found on page one. Both the poem and the text that followed it have aspects of Herrad as being the mother and caregiver of the women in Hohenbourg. Herrad was the Abbess, but these texts seem to give a more meaningful message to her fellow women. “Herrad introduced several of the key themes of the Hortus deliciarum in Salva cohors virginum. She writes to encourage the women of Hohenbourg as they pass through the snares of the world, with, she prays, their eyes fixed on Christ.”[5] She also warns of demons and temptations which she calls “terrible enemies.” The poem depicts the actuality that the Hortus  “was designed first and foremost as a teaching tool.” [6] Herrad wanted to teach the members of her monastery about Christ, temptation, and knowledge without making them fear hell. She also directly addresses virginity. Lastly, she hopes that the book that follows it, the Hortus deliciarum will be useful to them. The poem was quite simple and contains 25 stanzas. Each stanza had four lines which each had seven syllables. The rhyme pattern is simple as well with each stanza being aaaa or aabb (before it was translated into English).[7] The structure and content of this poem can help people guess at what other poems in the Hortus were also written by Herrad herself, but since there are no citations nor signature of any kind, guesses can only be made about all the poems except this one.

Salva cohors virginum                                                                                                           By Herrad von Hohenbourg (Herrad of Landsberg)

 Greetings, virgin band                                                                                                                     Of Hohenbourg

Who, white as the lily,                                                                                                                       Love the Son of God

Herrad,                                                                                                                                             Your most devoted mother                                                                                                             And faithful little handmaid                                                                                                             Sing songs for you.

She greets you and prays                                                                                                                   A thousand times each day                                                                                                           That, with happy victory,                                                                                                                  You shall overcome those things that pass.

O mirror of many,                                                                                                                             Scorn, scorn the world!                                                                                                                     Pile up virtues,                                                                                                                                   Little troop  of the true Bridegroom.

Stand firm in the struggle                                                                                                               To overthrow the terrible enemies                                                                                                    The King of kings encourages you                                                                                                       Since he longs for you.

He himself strengthens your soul                                                                                                       Against Zabulon                                                                                                                             After death, which is our victory,                                                                                                   He will give you the glory of his kingdom.

The delights of the celestial kingdom become you                                                                             The riches of eternity are owed to you                                                                                               For you, the heavenly court                                                                                                               Reserves many blessings.

Christ prepares a wedding                                                                                                                 Wonderful in delights,                                                                                                                        May you await this prince                                                                                                                  By keeping yourself a virgin.

Meanwhile, gird yourself                                                                                                                    With noble necklaces                                                                                                                        And let Christ adorn each face                                                                                                          Cleansing it from the gaze of the mind,

For he hates the blemishes of sin                                                                                                     And scorns the aged wrinkles of a guilty soul,                                                                                   His desire if for beautiful little maidens                                                                                             Ugly women he drives away.

With faith like a dove                                                                                                                       Turn back to that Bridegroom of yours                                                                                              So that you beauty                                                                                                                            May become an everlasting brightness,

You who are living without deceit                                                                                                      Be admonished by my praises                                                                                                            That you may complete the excellent works                                                                                       Of your order.

But lest you should waver with uncertain faith                                                                                 Amidst the streams of this world                                                                                                     A truthful God pledges rewards                                                                                                          After the dangers are past.

Suffer bitterness now                                                                                                                        Despising the fortunes of the world                                                                                                   Be now a partner in Christ’s cross, suffering hardship,                                                                     And thereafter consort of the King.

Navigate through this sea                                                                                                                  Pregnant with holiness                                                                                                                      Until you leave this mortal vessel                                                                                                      And attain holy Syon.

Syon of the celestial battlements                                                                                                     With its beautiful courts                                                                                                                    May it be your station, your rest,                                                                                                      When life’s course has been run.

There in Syon, may the Virgin King,                                                                                                    Christ, the Son of Mary,                                                                                                                    Return your love and, embracing you,                                                                                                Comfort you from the grief of this world.

Then counting as little                                                                                                                        All the darts of the tempter the Devil                                                                                                You will be filled with delight                                                                                                             In sweet jubilation of the song of the Lamb.

Then may Mary, the sea’s shining star,                                                                                              The only virgin mother,                                                                                                                       Join you to her Son                                                                                                                           With a perpetual pledge of love.

And may you never cease to pull me with you                                                                                    By your prayers                                                                                                                                  To Christ, the most sweet Bridegroom                                                                                               The Son of the virgin.

That I may be rescued from earthly dangers                                                                                      And be found in heaven                                                                                                                    Sharing in your victory                                                                                                                      In your great glory.

Farewell chaste assembly                                                                                                                    My joy                                                                                                                                                May you live without reproach in this life                                                                                          And always cherish Christ.

May this book be useful                                                                                                                     And delightful to you                                                                                                                         May you never cease to study it                                                                                                         In your thoughts and memory.

Lest like an ostrich                                                                                                                           Forgetfulness should steal upon you                                                                                                   And you should forsake the way                                                                                                         Before you have reached Christ.


Sun Shining on Cross [9]

 The website that this image came from discusses the stations of the cross. These relate to the way that the Hortus is organized in a way. The stages of the cross are the different parts of the horrible torture that Jesus Christ went through before his Crucifixion. If you want to learn about the stages of the cross, click here.


Now to move on to music. Although there was not a whole lot of music that suvived the Hortus, some did. The youtube video at the bottom of this page will let you listen to one of the songs from the Hortus.

This is a musical notation found in the Hortus deliciarum:

Musical Notation [10]
As you can see on the left side of the image, there are horizontal lines with marks on them; this is very similar to the staff that we still use in music today.

If you want to hear a song from the Hortus Deliciarum, the music in this YouTube video is a song from Herrad’s masterpiece.


Hell [11]

1. Wilhelm, P. “Hortus Deliciarum.” Wilhelms Space, 2011. Kwaweber. Accessed 4/28/14

2. Griffiths, Fiona. “Herrad of Hohenbourg and the Poetry of the Hortus deliciarum: Cantat tibi      cantica.” Women Writing Latin: From Roman Antiquity to Early Modern Europe Volume 2 Medieval Women Writing Latin. Ed. Laurie J. Churchill, Phyllis R. Brown, and Jane E. Jeffrey. New York: Routledge,2002. 231-263 Print. 231.

3. Ibid., 232.

4. Ibib.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid., 233.

7. Ibid., 232-233.

8. Ibid., 253-256

9. Storrs, Daniel. Unnamed Picture from “Stations of the Cross for Progressive Christians: Grow in Love as You Journey with Christ.” (2013) On ProgressiveChristianity.org

10. Herrad of Landsberg, Hortus Deliciarum. Ed. and Translated by Aristide D. Caratzvas; Commentary and Notes by A. Straub and G. Keller. New Rochelle, New York: Caratzas Brothers, 1977. Print. 245.

11. “Hortus Deliciarum – Hell.jpg” From Wikipedia. Added 2005. Accessed 4/28/14


The Artwork of the “Hortus Deliciarum” William Clark


Woman of the Apocalypse (Hortus deliciarum)
Woman of the Apocalypse (Hortus deliciarum) [1]
Elizabeth Bailey, in “Succumbing to Gravity in the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Hohenbourg,” says that Herrad’s masterpiece was “comprised of 255 unbound folios of images and texts.”[2] This, however, was before the original copy was partly destroyed. Bailey says, “Luckily, over half of the illustrations…survived as nineteenth-century copies, making possible a reconstruction.”[3] It is unknown who the artist was of all the amazing images, but Bailey thinks that it is likely that Herrad of Landsberg herself was the actual artist. Bailey says, “Herrad was the creative force behind the illustrations and very likely the actual artist. The copies of the compositions, originally illuminated with lines, colors, and gold leaf, still reflect a talented, brilliant, pious, and pragmatic leader. They reveal a learned educator-artist, knowledgeable of contemporary as well as ancient artistic traditions, both Eastern and Western. The paintings bespeak of an original, forward looking, energetic spirit, and of a woman well aware of the worlds around her, both inside and outside of the convent.”[4] This makes sense because Herrad, in compiling and creating the Hortus, would be knowledgeable of all of the theological themes and stories that are reflected in the artwork; she would also, since she was studying both contemporary and traditional theologians, artists, and philosophers in order to create her masterpiece, be knowledgeable of different artistic traditions. Although this isn’t proof that she created the artwork herself, it shows that it is possible, and according to Bailey likely, that Herrad was a talented artist and used her art in the Hortus Deliciarum.

One of the most fascinating images from the Hortus Deliciarum is the Wheel of Fortune:


Wheel of Fortune [5]
This image was common during the 12th century, although drawn and depicted in different ways, and serves as a metaphor for life.[6] The woman who turns the crank is Fortune and she “sets the wheel in motion.”[7] The king at the top is luxuriously clothed and holds bags of gold while the person at the bottom suffers in poverty. The two men on the right of the wheel are heading into the direction, due to Fortune, of being poor; the one that is closer to the top still has his crown, showing he still has some amount of fortune, while the one that is lower has his crown falling off which shows that he has lost his riches and is on the way down to the bottom. On the other side, however, there are the two people who were at the bottom that are now on the way up to the top; you can see that their clothing gets more luxurious when the men are closer to the top of the wheel and less luxurious when they are near the bottom. Next to the figure of Fortune read “‘This circle which turns like a wheel clearly shows that fortune never remains faithful.”[8] As Elizabeth Bailey says, “The kings on the Wheel rise and fall according to the whims of earthly fortune.”[9] She also says that “Herrad teaches the canonesses of Hohenbourg, laypeople, and even queens and emperors to spurn earthly Fortune and seek heavenly peace.”[10]

Basically the wheel is used as a symbol to show that fortune and riches do not always last; one day you may be rich, but you may soon lose the riches due to fortune. This is a valuable lesson for all to learn and Herrad, since she seems to have written the Hortus for her canonesses, obviously wanted them to learn this lesson. She may have thought it was her job as the Abbess of Hohenbourg to teach them lessons like this one.

Another interesting image that was found in the Hortus Deliciarum was the image of The Ladder of Virtues:

The Ladder of Virtues [11]
 “Like the Wheel of Fortune, the Ladder of Virtues was widely illustrated in medieval art, and, as noted, Herrad of Hohenbourg’s Ladder of Virtues incorporates many of the usual features, such as devils, a dragon, an angel, and people climbing and falling from the ladder. However, while the mortals of other versions are often male monks, Herrad’s humans are religious and lay people of both genders [which ties into her fight for feminist rights and reform]. Also different from most illuminations, Herrad’s sinners fall not into the jaws of the awaiting monster but toward the worldly objects of their desires.”[12] The ladder represents the acceptance and practice of virtues and religious aspects of ones life; as you go up the ladder you get closer to the Crown of Life. This basically represents the way to live virtuous; however, there are also demons and temptations, like worldly objects that one desires over virtue and religion, that try to make you fall down the ladder. The temptations are represented by the demons that are shooting arrows at the people climbing the ladder, and the material goods, that are also tempting the people away from the top of the Ladder of Virtue, are represented by the images in the bottom right corner.

Each of the people on the ladder represent different heights of virtue and show different things that keep them from reaching the top. “The inscriptions visible in some copies provide explanations as to the meanings of the motifs. That at the upper right reads: ‘This ladder signifies the ascension of virtues and the religious exercises of sanctity, by which one seeks to attain the Crown of Eternal Life. Many attempt to climb this ladder, but then, wounded by devilish arrows, they stop, and, tempted and lured to the opposite way by earthly preoccupations and desires, fall miserably.’ Thus, Herrad again assumes her role as abbess-teacher, providing guidance for those who wish to rise to God in Heaven.”[13] Yet Herrad does not want to discourage her canonesses from attempting to reach Heaven, or the Crown of Eternal Life. Herrad addresses this in some of the writing on the image. “The sight of these numerous falls could have discouraged those who desired to climb, if the prudent Abbess had not taken care to write on one the ladder’s steps a sentence filled with consolation: ‘All those who fall thus dangerously, the Lord, with the remedy of penitence, can make them remount to the summit of Virtues.”[14] Again, this shows Herrad’s care for her canonesses, or anyone who would read the Hortus, and her willingness to teach them what she thought was right; Herrad surely wanted to teach her canonesses, through the Ladder of Virtues, the temptation that can lead you astray, yet she did not want to discourage them from attempting the journey to heaven. This shows her leadership, knowledge, and care for her canonesses and others.


The next two pictures are the last two the “graced the Hortus Deliciarum.” [15]

The first is a picture of Duke Etichom, the man who founded the monastery on Mount Hohenbourg. [16]:

Duke Eticho Founds the Monastery of Hohenbourg [17]
At the top is the Jesus Christ, holding a scroll with his left hand that says “‘Oh! you who are like prisoners on this sad earth, broken by toil, afflicted by exile, exhausted by grief and destroyed by the violence of passions, seek me, hope in me, learn to know me, to love me and to call upon me. In heaven, I will be your light, your repose, your true country, your healing and your refreshment.” [18] Some of the people in the the picture are Saint John-Baptist, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Peter. The past three links are very interesting, have tons of information,  have videos, great pictures, and one of them has a little cartoon about the famous Christian figure. At the bottom of the image above, you can see the branches growing off of the mountain that the monastery was built on. Also, the man at the left side of the middle of the image is Duke Eticho, the founder of the monastery, and he is passing on the key to his daughter Saint Odile who was the first Abbess.[19]


The second of the last two pictures has a title that perfectly explains the image: “‘Religious congregation united in charity for the service of God, at the monastery of Hohenbourg, at the time of Abbesses Rilindis [Herrad’s good friend] and Herrad.'” [20]

The Congregation of the Nuns of Hohenbourg [21]

These are only a few of the dozens of gorgeous, religiously themed images that are found in the Hortus.


1. “Woman of the Apocalypse (Hortus deliciarum).jpg” From Wikipedia. Added 2009. Accessed 4/22/14

2. Bailey, Elizabeth. “Succumbing to Gravity in the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Hohenbourg.” Gravity in Art: Essays on Weight and Weightlessness in Painting, Sculpture and Photography. Ed. Mary D. Edwards and Elizabeth Bailey. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, 2012. 35-49 Print. 35.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. “Wheel of Fortune.” Google Images. From msuweb.montclair.edu

6. Bailey, Elizabeth. “Succumbing to Gravity in the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Hohenbourg.” 38-39

7. Herrad of Landsberg, Hortus Deliciarum. Ed. and Translated by Aristide D. Caratzvas; Commentary and Notes by A. Straub and G. Keller. New Rochelle, New York: Caratzas Brothers, 1977. Print. 192.

8. Ibid.

9. Bailey, Elizabeth. “Succumbing to Gravity in the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Hohenbourg.” 35.

10. Ibid., 41.

11. Image of the “Ladder of Virtue” on Oberlin.edu

12. Bailey, Elizabeth. “Succumbing to Gravity in the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Hohenbourg.” 42.

13. Ibid.

14. Herrad of Landsberg, Hortus Deliciarum. Ed. and Translated by Aristide D. Caratzvas, 196.

15. Ibid., 248.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid., 249.

18. Ibid., 248

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid. 250.

21. Ibid. 251.

By William Clark