Liliencron, Rochus von (1820-1912)

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Rochus von Liliencron, b. 8 December 1820, d. 5 March 1912, was a theologian, scholar in Germanics and composer of music. He was a native of Plon, Holstein, Germany, and was introduced into Old German literature and research in folk music by Karl Simrock. His magnum opus, Die historischen Volkslieder der Deutschen vom 13. bis 16. Jahrhundert (five volumes), appeared in 1865-1869. In his study of the sources he chanced upon the manuscript copies of the Hutterian Brethren in Moravia in the library at Wolfenbüttel, and published a number of them under the title "Zur Liederdichtung der Wiedertaufer" in Mitteilungen aus dem Gebiet der öffentlichen Meinung in Deutschland während der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Abhandlungen der k. bayer. Akademie der W. III. CL, vol. 13, section I). In it he briefly characterizes the Anabaptist martyr hymns, in which the sanctification of men and its preservation in life and death is nearly the sole subject and content. "Love is the great and inexhaustible theme of these songs; for love alone is the distinguishing mark of the children of God" (p. 124). In conclusion he asserts: "The total of the songs reproduced here amounts to 65, a gruesome total of bloody inhumanity and religious aberration" (p. 140). This result of his research awakened his interest in Anabaptist history, which led to further publications. The great reference work, Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, 45 volumes of which appeared under his editorship with 23,273 biographical sketches, included sketches of outstanding personalities in Mennonitism, as Georg Blaurock, Matthias Servaes, Hans Denck, Conrad Grebel, Georg Grünwald, Melchior Hoffman, Balthasar Hubmaier, Hans Hut, Jakob Hutter, Thomas von Imbroich, David Joris, Jakob Kautz, Eitelhans Langenmantel, Felix Manz, Pilgram Marpeck, Michaei Sattler, Menno Simons, Hans Raiffer, Hermann von Beckerath, Balthasar Denner, Wilhelm Mannhardt, etc. Individual articles contain a few errors, since the author used material which has been outdated by later research. But the fact that Liliencron made an attempt to present objective pictures is shown by his co-operation with men who were recognized authorities on Anabaptist history. A considerable number of articles were furnished by Ludwig Keller.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 655.

Author(s) Christian Hege
Date Published 1957

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MLA style

Hege, Christian. "Liliencron, Rochus von (1820-1912)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 13 Aug 2022.,_Rochus_von_(1820-1912)&oldid=145250.

APA style

Hege, Christian. (1957). Liliencron, Rochus von (1820-1912). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 13 August 2022, from,_Rochus_von_(1820-1912)&oldid=145250.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 345. All rights reserved.

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