Archives, Bibliographies and Manuscripts

Archives

Archives de littérature du Moyen Âge (ARLIMA)
This is a bibliographic website on medieval texts and authors, mostly in French but Latin and other western European languages are not excluded.

The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland
The aim of the project – still in progress – is to photograph and record all surviving Romanesque sculpture. To do this, volunteer fieldworkers describe, measure and photograph Romanesque sites. The project editors convert the raw materials of their research into an electronic archive. Church plans, generously made available by the Church Plans Online project, are included where available as an additional visual aid.

Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music
An online resource for the study of fragments and complete manuscripts of European Medieval Polyphonic Music.

English Monastic Archives
The English Monastic Archives Databases comprise a systematic guide to the types and current locations of documents generated by medieval English monasteries, but not, as a rule, to the information contained within those documents.

The Internet Classics Archive
Searchable database of 441 texts in English translation (mostly Greco-Roman authors, but also some Chinese and Persian).

Mediaevum
Primary portal for German medieval studies online. Primary texts, teaching tools, bibliographic information, and links to specific websites on a range of disciplines.

MIRABILE, Digital Archives for Medieval Latin Culture
Mirabile is an online content aggregator for medieval resources that enables users to search in the highly specialized databases promoted during the last three decades, by the Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino. In addition, Mirabile lets you get access the online digital versions of the scientific publications from Edizioni del Galluzzo. Users can browse for periodicals and articles, as well as search in the vast amount of records coming from: Medioevo latino (MEL), the well known bibliographical bulletin; Bibliotheca Scriptorum Latinorum Medii recentiorisque Aevi (BISLAM), the most influential authority list for names of latin medieval authors; and Compendium Auctorum Medii Aevi (CALMA), the authoritative index of medieval authors and works.

Monasterium
This online archive enables time- and space-independent research. With more than 500,000 medieval and early modern documents from more than 60 institutions in 10 European countries, Monasterium makes available historical documents that demonstrate the political, economic and cultural development in Europe of the Middle Ages and offers free access to digital copies.

Monastic Manuscript Project
The Monastic Manuscript Project is a database of descriptions of manuscripts that contain texts relevant for the study of early medieval monasticism, especially monastic rules, ascetic treatises, vitae patrum-texts and texts related to monastic reforms. The Project provides lists of manuscripts for each of these texts, which are linked to manuscript descriptions. The purpose is to offer a tool for reconstructing not only the manuscript dissemination of early medieval monastic texts but also to give access to the specific contexts in which a text appears.

UK National Archives
Britain’s historical records.

Bibliographies

Archives de littérature du Moyen Âge (ARLIMA)
This is a bibliographic website on medieval texts and authors, mostly in French, but Latin and other western European languages are not excluded.

Bibliography. Race and Medieval Studies: A Partial Bibliography 
Jonathan Hsy and Julie Orlemanski have facilitated this bibliography, which was crowdsourced online before publication. It is published in Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, but Springer has agreed to keep the bibliography permanently available outside of any paywall in recognition of its open-access, collaborative, and anti-racist origins. Suggestions for additions or changes are still open. The first part of the bibliography consists of scholarly sources, ordered alphabetically by author; the second, shorter section gathers selected blog posts and journalism, also ordered alphabetically by author.

Online Medieval Sources Bibliography
An annotated bibliography of printed and online primary sources for the Middle Ages.

Manuscripts

The Aberdeen Bestiary
The Aberdeen Bestiary was written and illuminated in England around 1200. The website includes access to the Bestiary as well as notes, sketches and other evidence of how it was designed and executed. The entire manuscript has been digitised using Photo-CD technology, thus creating a surrogate, while allowing greater access to the text itself. The digitised version, offering a display of full-page images and detailed views of illustrations and other significant features, is complemented by a series of commentaries, and a transcription and translation of the original Latin.

St Alban’s Psalter
Contains commentaries on each page that explain aspects of the iconography and codicology, as well as essays exploring selected aspects of the book and its historical context in greater detail.

The Archimedes Palimpset Project
The subject of this website is a manuscript of extraordinary importance to the history of science, the Archimedes Palimpsest. This thirteenth-century prayer book contains erased texts that were written several centuries earlier. These erased texts include two treatises by Archimedes that can be found nowhere else, The Method and Stomachion. The manuscript sold at auction to a private collector on the 29th of October 1998. The owner deposited the manuscript at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, a few months later. Since that date the manuscript has been the subject of conservation, imaging and scholarship, in order to better read the texts. The Archimedes Palimpsest project, as it is called, has shed new light on Archimedes and revealed new texts from the ancient world. These new texts include speeches by an Athenian orator from the fourth century B.C. called Hyperides, and a third century A.D. commentary on Aristotle’s Categories.

Armenian Manuscripts [UCLA Collection]
Armenian manuscripts, gifted to the UCLA Library in 1968 by Dr. Garo Owen Minasian of Isfahan, Iran. The collection includes manuscripts of ecclesiastical character such as gospels, psalters, menologia, and ritual books, as well as theological and philosophical works, medical treatises, and anthologies of poetry.

Bess of Hardwick’s Letters: The Complete Correspondence c.1550-1608
This site focuses on the letters of Bess of Hardwick to her servants, and vice-versa. It deals particularly with the italic and secretary scripts. The site provides practical tips, links to other online palaeography tutorials, its own palaeography tutorials of varying degrees of difficulty, links to a wealth of other information relating to palaeography and transcription in other areas of the site, and a reference list for further reading.

Biblioteca Medicea-Laurenziana, Florence
Sample images (low resolution) and manuscript descriptions from the library. The site is relatively easy to navigate and provides a decent amount of information about each manuscript. Note that the entire site is in Italian.

Bound Manuscripts Collection [UCLA Collection]
Collection consists of bound manuscripts of varying contents most notable for its early material which includes a papyrus fragment from the 7th century, a vellum Breviary (French, 15th century), a North French or Flemish Book of hours (late 15th or early 16th century), Persian and Arabic manuscripts, manuscript books from the 16th through 18th century, commonplace books, Friendship albums, and personal journals.

The Calendar and the Cloister: Oxford – St John’s College MS17
A scholarly resource devoted to a single medieval manuscript. St John’s MS17 is a compilation of texts, tables, maps and diagrams organised around the central theme of time-reckoning and calendar constructions – what in the Middle Ages was called computus. The core of computus material is surrounded by a halo of subjects which were intimately connected with time, such as astronomy, cosmology, geography, medicine, history, mathematics, and prognostication.

The City and the Book, International Congresses
Website with links for proceedings of international congresses entitled, ‘The City and the Book’, held in Florence in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2008.

Centro Nazionale per lo Studio del Manoscritto
The National Center for the Study of the Manuscript was established at the National Central Library of Rome at the end of 1989 with the aim of gathering in one place the microfilms of the manuscripts of Italian libraries. The collection includes microfilms reproduced from the late fifties to 1989, and about 28,000 colour slides of miniatures, once kept at the Central Institute for Book Pathology. Currently microfilmed manuscripts amount to about 108,500. The catalogue is accessible online.

Codices Electronici Sangallenses (CESG)
The purpose of the Codices Electronici Sangallenses (Digital Abbey Library of St. Gallen) is to provide access to the medieval codices in the Abbey Library of St. Gallen by creating a virtual library. The project reproduces a selection of the finest illuminated codices at such a high resolution that researchers cannot only work with the manuscripts but also perform detailed (art historical or otherwise) analyses of the miniatures in the codices. Codex metadata (primarily scholarly descriptions of the codices) will be managed in a database system and referenced with the digitalised items through various access mechanisms. So far 610 manuscripts have been digitised. When the manuscript pages are maximised, the photographs are so detailed that score marks and even the texture of the pages are clearly visible.

Consulting Medieval Manuscripts Online
A list of links to manuscript collections and archives, individual manuscripts and even selected pages from manuscripts, all available online.

Digital Mishnah
This site accompanies and hosts the development of a born-digital critical edition of the Mishnah. When fully implemented, the project will provide a dynamic edition of the Mishnah that takes advantage of its medium to provide multiple and customizable presentations of the text, as well as analytical tools that will allow the user to study variability between witnesses as well as other features. The site also hosts a demo of the online Mishnah and a blog tracing the ongoing development of the project.

The Digital Scriptorium
The Digital Scriptorium, a searchable image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts.

DMMaps – Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App
The Digitized Medieval Manuscripts app link to thousands of medieval manuscripts and hundreds of libraries all over the world. The site also includes a blog with updates about manuscript libraries and archives.

DVCTVS: National Papyrological Funds 
DVCTVS is the result of the co-operation of four institutions which in June 2009 signed an agreement with the purpose of promoting the study of the two most important papyrological collections in Spain. At this site, users will find information about papyrological finds in the form of a digital catalogue. Users can also access digital images and texts of papyri that have already been published. DCVTVS is an ongoing project.

e-codices: Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland
This is follow-up project of CESG – Codices electronici Sangallenses (Digital Abbey Library of Saint Gall). It provides a single point of access for Swiss manuscripts on the internet, with high resolution digital images and over 140,000 facsimile pages. The site is being continually updated. There are manuscript descriptions, browse and search functions, and the site is accessible in German, French, Italian and English. The site is easy to use and understand, and the level of magnification is impressive.

Erik Kwakkel Tumblr
Images of and information about medieval books, run by Erik Kwakkel, medieval book historian at Leiden University.

Fragmentary Texts 
Quotations and text re-uses of lost authors and works. This is a really helpful site for anyone interested in the appropriation of classical texts.

St Gall Manuscripts [UCLA Collection]
The monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland was founded in 719 and still exists today. This collection is a group of manuscripts known to have been held in the St. Gall Library in the ninth century. Also included in this collection are manuscripts from the same period held in the nearby monastery of Reichenau. Analysis of extant monastic library catalogues and study of the hands of known scribes has made it possible to identify approximately seventy extant manuscripts that can be placed with certainty at these two monasteries in the course of the ninth century. By selecting one of the St. Gallen or Reichenau manuscripts from the list you can examine digital images of these manuscripts, codicological descriptions, bibliographies, as well as the texts that they contain. Currently, several manuscripts are available and more are being added continuously.

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin
An online database for the Ransom Center’s medieval and early modern manuscripts collection. The collection itself contains 215 items dating from the 11th to the 17th centuries. It comprises items from various collections, including those of George Atherton Aitken, W. H. Crain, Carlton Lake, Edward A. Parsons, Sir Thomas Phillipps, Walter Emile Van Wijk, Evelyn Waugh, John Henry Wrenn and others. The Ransom Center is digitizing all of the collection items, which will be added to the database as they are completed. The database contains item-level descriptions for all 215 items, and the collection is searchable by keyword and any combination of the following categories: name, country of origin, century, language, format (such as charters or diaries), subject and physical features (such as musical notation or wax seals). High-resolution press images from the collection are available.

Hathaway Manuscripts [UCLA Collections]
Music manuscript fragments used in bindings. Copied in Switzerland, Germany and the Low Countries. Contents from Missal, Gradual, Hymnal, Breviary and Antiphonal.

Hill Museum and Manuscript Library
The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) preserves manuscripts, printed books and art and makes them available to students, researchers, and visitors. HMML is the home of the world’s largest collection of manuscript images and of The Saint John’s Bible, a handwritten, illuminated Bible in modern English.

Index of Medieval Medical Images
The IMMI is a collection of 13 manuscripts that have been digitized and are accessible through the UCLA library. Along with a digital copy of the manuscript, each entry also includes the repository, date of creation and place of origin. Despite being called medical images, most are primarily pages of text with images in the margins.

Latin Manuscript Books Before 1600
An online (searchable) version of the Kristeller List of the Printed Catalogues and Unpublished Inventories of Extant Collections of Latin Manuscripts before 1600.

Lawrence J. Scheoenberg Collection, University of Pennsylvania
This website catalogues all the manuscripts in the Schoenberg collection (around 500 MSS), and includes links to publicly available digitized versions of several MSS in this private collection.

Le Manuscrit Médiéval – The Medieval Manuscript
This blog is dedicated to the great manuscript scholar Léopold Delisle (1826-1910), and to François Duine, clericus dolensis (1870-1924), and (almost exclusively) to medieval manuscripts, up to and including their relationships with early printing.

Littera Carolina: The Network for the Study of Caroline Miniscule
Scholars, especially students, have few resources or tools available to study Caroline miniscule beyond several seminal but increasingly out-of-date and out-of print works. Dialogue between the historians, art historians and linguists working with this script is impeded by distance and language barriers. There is no means of knowing the current state of research. In view of this, the Network for the Study of Caroline Miniscule aims to bring together an international body of scholars to address all aspects of the script. Annual colloquia will be held to act as a springboard for a more permanent network of research students and established scholars directly interested in the joint study of Caroline miniscule and in developing new tools and approaches for working with the script.

MarineLives
MarineLives is a collaborative volunteer driven project dedicated to the collaborative transcription, linkage and enrichment of primary manuscripts from the English High Court of Admiralty, 1627-1677, together with thematically related manuscripts from international manuscript and printed document collections. Non-university based volunteers from all occupations are also welcome, and will receive the same training and facilitation as graduate and undergraduate volunteers.

‘Manuscripts on my Mind’
Newsletter of the Vatican Film Library at Saint Louis University.

The Medieval Bestiary
Animals and the imagery of beasts in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Manuscripts at the Pierpont Morgan Library
The Morgan’s collection is made up primarily of Western manuscripts, with French being the largest single national group. The majority of these books are of a religious nature, but the collection also includes important classical works, scientific manuscripts dealing with astronomy and medicine, and practical works on agriculture, hunting, and warfare. Notable are the ninth-century bejewelled Lindau Gospels, the tenth-century Beatus, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, and the celebrated Hours of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the best-known Italian Renaissance manuscript.

Medieval Manuscripts on the Web
The list is intended to offer quick access to various digitization projects on the web. Listings are alphabetical by country, then city, and then by originating institution.

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts [UCLA Collection]
This collection includes manuscripts and manuscript leaves, in scripts of the Latin alphabet, ranging from Carolingian minuscule to Burgundian letter and humanist script, written across Europe before 1600 and representing the Latin, Italian, German, Dutch, English, French, Spanish, and Czech languages. Types of manuscripts include liturgical works, collections of sermons and the florilegia used for sermon composition, confessionals and penitentials for pastoral care, vernacular literature such as romances and verse, business and administrative records, including Italian and French land records – charters, cartularies, terriers, and rent rolls dating from the late thirteenth century to the seventeenth.

The Medingen Manuscripts
This project will virtually bring together the scattered late medieval library of the Cistercian nunnery of Medingen. Between the internal reform of the convent in 1477 and the advent of the Lutheran Reformation in the neighbouring town Lüneburg in 1526, the Medingen scriptorium developed into a major source of Latin and Middle Low German prayer-books. The nuns produced an astonishing wealth of illuminated manuscripts in which they expanded the Latin liturgy with vernacular prayers, lay-songs and meditations – for themselves as well as for the noblewomen of the neighbouring town. Features of the database include an introduction, bibliography, list of sigla, and short descriptions of the manuscripts.

The Roman de la Rose
The goal of the Roman de la Rose Digital Library is to create an online library of all manuscripts containing the 13th-century poem Roman de la Rose. The Digital Library offers a research environment in which the 13th-century narrative of the Rose and the works of the late 14th/early 15th-century author, Christine de Pizan, can be explored in their manuscript context.

Shakespeare’s World
This project transcribes manuscripts from Skakespeare’s lifetime (1564-1616) through crowdsourcing. The Folger Shakespeare Library collection has a wealth of manuscripts, but much of the handwriting is in secretary hand, which is difficult for most people to read. Using a new online platform where images of manuscripts have been uploaded, anyone around the world can assist in transcribing these documents. All contributions are welcome and transcribers can go at their own pace. Once manuscript images are fully transcribed and vetted, they will be entered into the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) database. Once you have registered, the database and available manuscripts are accessible.

Virtual Manuscript Room
This site is the first phase of The Virtual Manuscript Room (VMR) project. In this phase, we present full digitized manuscripts from The Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts held at Special Collections in the University of Birmingham. This collection, previously unavailable on the web, has been designated as of national and international importance. As well as high-resolution images of each page, the VMR provides descriptions from the printed catalogue and from Special Collections’ own records. The next phase of the VMR will provide a framework to bring together digital resources related to manuscript materials (digital images, descriptions and other metadata, transcripts) in an environment which will permit libraries to add images, scholars to add and edit metadata and transcripts online, and users to access material. Two other groups of content, amounting to over 50,000 digital images of manuscripts, 500 manuscript descriptions and around 1000 pages of transcripts, will be added in the next phase of the VMR: materials relating to the New Testament and to medieval vernacular texts (Dante, Chaucer, and others).

Wives, Widows and Wimples: Women in the University of Nottingham’s medieval collections
This resource draws on the University of Nottingham’s rich medieval collections. The collections include stories of knights and their quest; works of learning and instruction in moral conduct; records of saints and of religious practice; and legal documents relating to landholding and marriage. They use the contemporary languages of English, French and Anglo-Norman as well as Latin. The evidence of the Church (medieval Roman Catholic) is evident throughout. The resource is divided into twelve subject areas. Each area includes images, transcripts and translations of original material, with explanatory commentary placing the items in context.

Palaeography

Abbreviations Online – Medieval Abbreviations on the Web
This site is designed for use in both learning and teaching medieval Latin palaeography. It is also a highly useful reference and research tool, with over 70,000 entries containing 80,098 references to manuscripts. The site shows really helpful examples of common abbreviations and includes guidance on how to search the database effectively.

Álbum de copistas de manuscritos griegos en España
The project by the Seminario para el estudio de los manuscritos griegos en España (SEMGE) at the Department of Greek Philology and Indoeuropean Linguistics of the Complutense University, Madrid, offers high resolution samples for identified scribes of Greek manuscripts in Spain. This collection is intended as a resource for palaeographers, codicologists, and text critics, as well as an aid to identify scribes of insigned Greek manuscripts.

Bibliographie de paleographie 
This French site, created by Marc Smith, introduces the history of handwriting in Latin characters from ancient to modern times. The site breaks down the study of palaeography into various categories, such as ‘Objects, Methods, Problems’ and ‘Materials and Techniques’, and includes detailed bibliographies of essential sources for each section.

DigiPal: Digital Resource and Database of Palaeography, Manuscripts and Diplomatic
The Digital Resource for Palaeography (DigiPal) is a project funded by the European Research Council that brings digital technology to bear on scholarly discussion of medieval handwriting. At its heart will be hundreds of newly-commissioned photographs of eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon script from the major manuscript collections in the world, with detailed descriptions of the handwriting, the textual content, and the wider manuscript or documentary context. DigiPal will be more than just an online annotated catalogue of manuscript images, however. Taking advantage of recent advancements in digital research, as well as developing new technologies, DigiPal will offer innovative ways of interrogating and interacting with the material. It is our intention that DigiPal will showcase the benefits of digitally-assisted palaeography, opening up new possibilities for the study of scripts, scribes, and manuscripts.

English Handwriting 1500-1700: An Online Course
A CERES COPIA project based at the University of Cambridge, this free course is a resource designed for students and scholars of early modern English letters, history, theology, and philosophy – for anyone whose research will embrace original English manuscript sources in this period. It provides an extensive archive of manuscript images, and pedagogical materials such as transcription conventions, tips on dating, a bibliography, and a list of links.

Enigma – Unpuzzling difficult Latin readings in medieval manuscripts
Enigma helps scholars to decipher Latin words which are difficult to read in medieval manuscripts. It is sometimes impossible to decipher all the letters in a word, for various reasons (difficult palaeography, unclear writing, damage to the document etc.). If you type the letters you can read and add wild cards; Enigma will list the possible Latin forms, drawing from its database of more than 400,000 forms.

French Renaissance Paleography
This site presents over 100 carefully selected French manuscripts written between 1300 and 1700, with tools for deciphering them and learning about their social, cultural, and institutional settings. Resources include information about historical maps, French scripts and hands, transcribing & editing conventions, and more. Reading difficulty is divided into Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced categories.

InScribe: Palaeography Learning Materials 
This free course, offered by the Institute of Historical Research at the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, offers very helpful modules on medieval palaeography, designed for scholars or the general public. Topics covered include general palaeography and the history of medieval scripts. The purpose of the course is to provide the necessary training required by non-specialists to allow them to explore and interact with medieval manuscripts and documents.

Interactive Album of Mediaeval Palaeography
This site is composed of a collection of transcription exercises on Mediaeval documents. It includes a user manual, examples from the 9th century to Early Modern, and examples of multiple languages (Latin, French, Italian, and Arabic). The purpose of this album is to allow students or amateurs to train themselves in the practical aspect of palaeography, that is reading manuscript texts.

Learn to Read Tudor & Stuart Handwriting
This short tutorial, part of the Rediscovering Rycote project, is a free interactive beginner’s guide to a form of Tudor and Stuart handwriting known as Secretary Hand. Although not comprehensive, the course will provide basic skills. Exercises are included after a series of skills modules.

Medieval Handwriting App
For Apple
For Amazon
For Android
The origins of this app lie in online exercises in palaeography developed for postgraduate students in the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds in West Yorkshire, U.K. The aim is to provide practice in the transcription of a wide range of medieval hands, from the twelfth to the late fifteenth century. Please note that it is not a tutorial on the development of handwriting in medieval western Europe.

Users can examine 26 selected manuscripts, zoom in on individual words, attempt transcription and receive immediate feedback. They can optionally compare their transcription with a full transcript. The user’s transcripts can be saved and reopened. The saved transcripts are accessible via File Manager apps.

Medieval Writing: History, Heritage and Data Source
This site, produced by Diane Tillotson (freelance researcher with medieval connections), is an introduction to the history of medieval writing, including the origins of our written culture, palaeography and the history of scripts, and the nature of literacy and the written word in the Middle Ages. The site provides in-depth palaeography transcription help, and is designed to be interesting and fun, based around interactive exercises in a variety of languages. The site includes examples of Old Roman scripts, New Roman scripts, Pre-Carolingian scripts, Caroline miniscule, Gothic scripts, and Humanistic scripts. A wealth of other information about language, manuscripts, and palaeography is also available.

Palaeography: Reading Old Handwriting 1500-1800. A Practical Online Tutorial. 
The National Archives has designed this free web tutorial to help you learn to read the handwriting found in documents written in English between 1500 and 1800. The tutorial includes practical tips given as you work through progressively harder documents, as well as more documents to practice your new skills with.

Script Tutorial: Making Sense of Old Handwriting
These tutorials, designed by Brigham Young University, are meant to help a variety of people – students, researchers, historians, geneologists, and indexers – learn more about old scripts and how to make use of that knowledge to analyse and interpret the past. The concentration is on western European scripts, particularly those in use between 1500 and 1800. There is a tutorial of general introductory material about palaeography, as well as extensive, and interactive, language-specific materials. Tutorials on documents in English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese are all available.

Scottish Handwriting.com
This website offers free online tuition in palaeography for historians, genealogists and other researchers who have problems reading manuscript historical records written in Scotland in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The emphasis is on practical help to improve palaeographical skills, rather than on the academic study of Scottish handwriting.

Theleme: Techniques pour l’Historien en Ligne: Études, Manuels, Exercices
The National School of Charters offers online teaching materials, and an introduction to various sciences and historical methodologies. A dictionary of French abbreviations, bibliographies, and files of facsimiles with various comments are available.