The Art of Falconry by Frederick II

Pal. Lat. 1071 - Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)

Alternate Titles:

De Arte Venandi cum avibus, Arte de cetrería de Federico II, Falkenbuch Friedrichs II., Die Kunst mit Falken zu Jagen von Kaiser Friedrich II., Falkenbuch Kaiser Friedrichs II. - De arte venandi cum avibus, Emperor Frederick II – The Art of Falconry

Facsimile edition
Different Facsimile
Editions Available
Info / Order
Please log in!
Add to compare list
Please log in!
Add to wish list
Please log in!
Add to my stock


Alternate Titles

De Arte Venandi cum avibus
Arte de cetrería de Federico II
Falkenbuch Friedrichs II.
Die Kunst mit Falken zu Jagen von Kaiser Friedrich II.
Falkenbuch Kaiser Friedrichs II. - De arte venandi cum avibus
Emperor Frederick II – The Art of Falconry

Extent / Format

222 pages / 36.0 x 25.0 cm

Around 1258-1266

Treatise on hunting with birds of prey and a zoology of birds


Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen (1194 - 1250) and his son Manfred

Artist / School

Author: Frederick II von Hohenstaufen (1194 - 1250)


170 human figures, more than 900 species of birds, 12 horses and 36 other animals plus all the paraphenalia needed for falconry

Former owners

Frederic's Son Manfred
Jean II de Dampierre
Joachim Camerarius the Younger and his son Ludwig

Short description

The falcon book of Emperor Frederick II originates from Italy from somewhere between 1258 and 1266. It was composed by the enthusiastic falconer Frederick from Arabic sources and his own experiments and observations. The special manuscript remained into modern times a standard work of ornithology and impressed it’s readers with unbelievably realistic and precise scenes from nature.

Facsimile editions available


Emperor Frederick II’s Falcon Book

One of the most important textbooks about falconry and ornithology of the middle ages was composed by Emperor Frederick II. The manuscript with the Latin title “De arte vanandi cum avibus” was written by Frederick II with comments from his son Manfred between 1241 and 1248. One hundred and seventy depictions of human figures illustrate the work. Additionally the book includes pictures from more than 900 bird types, of twelve horses and thirty-six other animals as well as equipment that is necessary for falconry.

The Historical Background

Fredrick II from the noble Staufer family was the king of Sicily from 1198, the roman-German king from 1212 and from 1220 until his death emperor of the roman-German empire. He was one of the greatest rulers of the middle ages. His court developed as an important centre of literature and science. The keen ornithologist composed his falcon book using Arabic sources and his own observations. The text is illustrated with more than nine hundred pictures of over eighty different types of birds. They show the different attitudes of the birds but also falcons and their activities and their tools are depicted. It also provides information on the operation of a falconry.

Attractive Book Decoration

The falcon book has remained until well into modern times the standard work of falconry. This can above all be traced back to Frederick’s scientific accuracy and systematic approach, in which he used empirical methods and therefore his contemporaries were ahead. Several experiments on his study of admired birds make his work unique. But also his wonderful illustrations contribute to the extraordinary fame of the book. The consistently illustrated manuscript shows portrayals of unrivalled closeness to nature and precision. Though landscape and architectural scenery meet a contemporary style, the inclusion of over nine hundred pictures of birds is a novelty. A previously unknown realism is achieved in the pictures – from the appearance to the specific attitudes of the various bird types. The original issue of the falcon book can be found today in the apostolic library in the Vatican.

Quick Search
Show all options