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Balthasar Behem Codex

The privileges and statutes of the city of Krakow and its guilds were collected in the 1505 Balthasar Behem Codex, named for the chancellor at the time. The book's text is in Latin, German, and Polish, and is now held at the Jagiellonian University of Krakow.

Illustrations in the codex depict both biblical subjects and the daily activities of the guild members. This kind of illustration - showing the practice of trades - was a tradition with an iconographical history going back to late Roman astronomical texts showing the "Labors of the Months[?]", pairing a characteristic activity of rural life with the astrological sign for that month. Historians of culture and art have shown that these illustrations sometimes reflect their iconographical traditions rather than actually depicting contemporary life with accuracy.



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