Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Baron Joseph Maria Christoph von Lassberg

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 9
Baron Joseph Maria Christoph von Lassberg

by Arthur Frank Joseph Remy


A distinguished German antiquary, born at Donaueschingen, 10 April, 1770; died 15 March, 1855. He was descended from a pious Catholic family. His father was chief forester in the service of Prince von Fürstenberg. After a brief service in the army, he entered the University of Strasburg and later that of Freiburg im Br. to study law and economics, especially forestry. From 1789 he was in the service of Prince von Fürstenberg, becoming chief warden of the forests in 1804. Princess Elizabeth, who ruled the principality during the minority of her son Karl Egon, showed him marked favour. He became privy councillor in 1806, and accompanied her on her travels through Switzerland, Italy, and England. When the regency ended in 1817, Lassberg resigned his position and retired to privite life, residing first on his estate at Eppishusen in Thurgau, and from 1838 at Castle Meersburg on Lake Constance. He now devoted himself zealously to the study of German literature, and in the pursuit of these studies he collected a superb library of upwards of 12,000 books and 273 valuable manuscripts, among which was the codex of the "Nibelungenlied" (known as the Hohenems manuscript and commonly designated as C). After his death this library was presented to the town of Donasueschingen.

Lassberg was very hospitably inclined and many visitors were entertained at Castle Meersburg. Uhland, Lachmann, Gustav Schwab, and other distinguished men of letters were among his friends. He was twice married, his second wife being Maria Anna von Droste-Hülshoff, a sister of the famous poetess Annette (q.v.). His literary work consisted chiefly in editing medieval German poems, many of which were published under the pseudonym of Meister Sepp von Eppishusen. Especially noteworthy is the "Liedersaal", a collection of medieval German poems, chiefly of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, of miscellaneous content. It appeared at St. Gall in four volumes. In the fourth volume the above-mentioned Nibelungen manuscript was printed for the first time.

ARTHUR F.J. REMY