The digital edition of the diaries of Reformed Prince Christian II will throw a spotlight, in both quantitative and qualitative terms, not only on German and European history but also on the wide range of discourse during the era of the Thirty Years’ War. The diary, which is now kept in the Dessau branch of the Saxony-Anhalt state archive, was written almost without a break from 1621 through to 1656 and comprises 23 volumes and some 17,400 pages, mostly in the prince’s own hand. Written against the backdrop of the Thirty Years’ War, the diary eclipses all other German first-hand accounts we know of from that period due to its wide-ranging subject matter, self-reflection, subtle, cultivated rhetoric and expressiveness. This enormous repository of multifaceted historical information can provide inspiration for every aspect of early modern research (autobiographical writing; political and military history; social and everyday history; gender history; history of the aristocracy; cultural, linguistic and literary history; confessionalisation; the history of emotions and dreams).

The project is being carried out by HAB in cooperation with Prof. Ronald Asch and Dr Arndt Schreiber (Universität Freiburg) and takes the structure of a long-term Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) project lasting 12 years.

The digital edition consists of an XML-coded transcription that will be suitable for use on a screen or as a printout. Colour scans of the source text can be shown synoptically adjacent to the online display. The transcription text will be supplemented by short summaries, references to the year, comments, translations from numerous passages in foreign languages, several registers and a glossary of incomprehensible words used by Christian II. A web portal provides introductory information, images and maps as well as chronological and geographical visualisations of the content. The project is being advised by a board of scholars.

Further information about the project can be found on the research portal.

In cooperation with Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg


Funding: DFG
Duration: November 2013 – October 2022
Project participants: Dr Arndt Schreiber (team member, Freiburg), Dr Alexander Zirr (team member, Wolfenbüttel), Maximilian Görmar (digital humanities staff), Anna-Maria Blank (research assistant, Freiburg), Anna Lisa Sonnenberg (research assistant, Wolfenbüttel), Prof. Ulrike Gleixner (HAB project group), Dr Andreas Herz (HAB project group; former team member: 11/2016–11/2020), Torsten Schaßan (HAB project group), Prof. Ronald Asch (project lead/applicant, Freiburg), Prof. Peter Burschel (project lead/applicant, Wolfenbüttel), Antoine Odier (former team member: 11/2013–12/2015)