1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Corvey

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CORVEY, a place in the Prussian province of Westphalia, on the Weser, a mile north of the town of Höxter, with which it communicates by an avenue of lime trees. During the middle ages it was famous for its great Benedictine abbey, which was founded and endowed by the emperor Louis the Pious about 820, and received its name from having been first occupied by a body of monks coming from Corbie in Picardy. The bones of St Vitus, the patron saint of Saxony, were removed thither according to legend in 836, but apart from this attraction, Corvey became the centre of Christianity in Saxony and a nursery of classical studies. The abbot was a prince of the Empire, and Corvey was made a bishopric in 1783. In 1803 the abbey was secularized, in 1815 its lands were given to Prussia, and in 1822 they were bestowed on Victor Amadeus, landgrave of Hesse-Rotenburg, by whom they were bequeathed, in 1834, to Prince Victor of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, duke of Ratibor. The abbey, which is now used as a residence, possesses a magnificent library of 150,000 volumes especially rich in old illustrated works, though the ancient collection due to the literary enthusiasm of the Benedictines is no longer extant. Here in 1517 the manuscript of the five first books of the Annals of Tacitus was discovered. Here Widukind wrote his Res gestae Saxonicae. Here, also, the librarian and poet Hoffmann von Fallersleben lived and worked. The Annales Corbejenses 648-1148 of the monks can be read in the Monumenta Germaniae historica, Band iii. The Chronicon Corbejense, published by A. C. Wedekind in 1823, has been declared by S. Hirsch and Waitz (Kritische Prüfung, Berlin, 1839) to be a forgery.

See P. Wigand, Geschichte der Abtei Korvey (Höxter, 1819); and M. Meyer, Zur ältern Geschichte Corveys und Höxters (Paderborn, 1893).