Liberating the Arlberg “Viennese Manuscript”

A couple of months ago I posted about extracting Vigil Raber’s sixteenth-century Wappenbuch der Arlberg-Bruderschaft from the “click to pan and zoom” web interface in which it is hosted, but as it turns out, this is not the only armorial manuscript created by this brotherhood.

For a bit of context, the Brotherhood of St. Christopher was established in the fourteenth century to shelter and assist travelers who were crossing the Alps using the Arlberg pass between Italy and Austria. For hundreds of years, they recorded the identities of armigerous travelers (and donors to the brotherhood) by painting the arms in a series of manuscript guest books.

In addition to Vigil Raber’s manuscript (circa 1548), several other copies of these books have survived to the present, although it appears that others were lost over the centuries.

Among the survivors is the so-called Viennese Manuscript, which dates to the fourteenth century. The online version uses the same hosting service as the Vigil Raber manuscript, so I was able to use the same technique to extract the images.

You’ll need to install the ImageMagick toolkit, and grab my little exa_extract.pl Perl script, and run the below command:

perl exa_extract.pl http://bilderserver.at/wappenbuecher/WienerHandschriftEXAv2_52z3/img 324

You can keep these as separate high-resolution JPEG files, but I find it convenient to combine them into a PDF for ease of browsing.

As with the other armorials I’ve processed in recent months, I am making available a lower-quality version of this PDF file (compressed down to just 49 MB rather than the full 844 MB size) for use by those who are not able to run the above script themselves.

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