Volumes of the Acta Sanctorum online

Lately I’ve found myself looking for Saints’ Acta. I’m not sure how one finds translations.  And it’s really not that easy to find even the texts.   But I believe that the “go to” source for texts is the monster 18th century compilation, made by the Bollandists, the Acta Sanctorum.

Today I went  through Archive.org and Google Books to find what volumes exist.  Again I found Google Books nearly useless, as a way to find books. (UPDATE: there are also volumes at the Documenta Catholica Omnia site).

The original volumes did not have an overall series volume number, although the 19th century reprint on Archive.org assigned one.  Instead the material is organised by Saint’s day; if the Saint is commemorated on 1st June, then that is where the material will be found.  In turn that means that we need to know which volume contains which days.

Here is a first cut effort.  Additions are very welcome.

UPDATE: See also this site with links to the French Bibliotheque Nationale copies.

42 thoughts on “Volumes of the Acta Sanctorum online

  1. Thanks for all that. A few years back I had downloaded the vol with Jerome from Documenta Omnia Cath… Out of curiosity I checked back (that site has had so many reformations!) and they are still listed (under Societe’ des Bollandistes on the home-page). After much groaning my laptop delivered the last vol for August (all 900+pp!) – a good clean copy. (No guarantee that all are of same quality – nor that they will still be there tomorrow!!!) The Acta needs a volume of “How to Use…” and each entry must be read against the background of the bitter quarrels of the time of writing. D.Knowles (I think) has a good essay somewhere on the whole (unfinished) project.

  2. Thank you — I had forgotten that the Documenta Catholica Omnia might have such things. I will update the post.

    I agree about a “how to use” guide. I haven’t worked out what the trick is, yet.

  3. Dom Knowles’s book is ‘Great Historical Enterprises’ (London, 1963) – worth reading. Some ‘Acta Sanctorum’ volumes used to be on Gallica, but I’ve not been able to find them recently. Still, this would be worth checking.
    The Bollandists themselves have a website (http://www.kbr.be/~socboll/), with much useful information, in particular about about manuscripts.
    The Bollandists’ ‘Bibliothecae Hagiograhicae’ series are the key instrument for accessing saints’ lives in the Acta and elsewhere. They only exist in print volumes, but I’m sure the next iteration will be electronic.

  4. vols. 62.63.64 has in archive.org links like the other volumes listed above. You onliy must chance the number of the volume. I jope this was your question.
    Best wishes
    J. Schmnidt

  5. I searched, and found three volumes labelled 62, 63 and 64. The first two are what they seem to be, the opening volumes of November. “vol. 64” seems to be a supplement to October.

    I wish I had a proper list of volumes and numbers. I’m having to guess, and assemble stuff from various sources, which is very risky.

  6. Dass man in der Bayerischen Staatsbibliotek unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen (Wohnsitz in Deutschland?) eine “Nationallizenz” bekommen und danach auf die digitalisierte Fassung aller Bändce der Acta Sanctorum zugreifen kann, hatte ich wohl schon mitgeteilt?Best wishes

  7. Just to let you know, the Omnia Catholica site has some gaps, not many but a few. List: Jan, vol 5; March vol 3; April vol 2; July vol 5; October vol 7,1; October auctaria; November vol 1; November vol 2,1. It pays to go to Archive and find the Villanova scans, the ones that use the ascending number. You can get the volumes listed above from there to supplement the Omnia Catholica scans–but there’s really no way to do it but to open each archive volume and see which it is and whether you already have it. My impression is that after doing this there is only 1 volume missing–if 68 volumes is really the right number of volumes.


  8. Many thanks for the great info. I’m glad I found this blog/website early in a search. Golden site! Thanks, Dr. Pearse, et. al., again! jill

  9. Thanks so much for this. I’m working on a dissertation in slightly unusual circumstances and this is a huge help.

  10. Hi Roger, this account from Nicephorus is usually dated to AD 303. Some sources say early Roman martyrologies and Greek menologies placed the event on Dec.25th. Can you help me corroborate this or point me where this account occurs in Roman martyrologies and Greek menologies? Thanks – Kurt
    “At Nicomedia (a city of Bethenia) when the festival of Christ’s birth-day came, and a multitude of Christians in all ages had assembled together in the temple to celebrate that birth-day. Diocletian the tyrant, having gotten an advantageous occasion whereby he might accomplish his madness and fury, sent men thither to enclose the temple, and to set it on fire round about, and so consumed them all to ashes, even twenty thousand persons.” Ecc. Hist. 7.6

  11. Thanks so much for collecting!

    November is a tricky thing in AASS… Volume 2 is split in two parts: Pt. 1 contains the Martyrologium Hieronymianum. Ed. Giovanni Battista de Rossi / Louis Duchsne, Brussels 1894, while pt. 2 (so, November II.2) is Hippolyte Delehaye’s Commentarius perpetuus on this same text – edited in Brussels only in 1931!

    Both are two different books (obviously), and I only find II.2 on the internet — it’s your #63. Delehaye’s commentary then would be a “63 bis” on your list (to be so oldfashioned). Interestingly, someone put it on one single html page here: https://www.heiligenlexikon.de/ActaSanctorum/November_II2.html

    Maybe you like to add the link between #63 and #64 (it is not 64!).

    Generally speaking, the numbers from 1 to 65 are really unsual… volumes have not been counted by the Bollandist.

  12. Le Martyrologium Hieronymianum, ed. Rossi-Duchesne (1894) peut être trouvé de 2 façons sur le Web :
    1 Dans le Google américain. Search : « Acta sanctorum novembris: qua dies tertius partim et quartus… 1894 ».
    2 Sur Archive.org. Search : « 63 Acta sanctorum ».
    Yours sincerely

  13. Thank you for the fabulous resource. I am interested in working on English translations of Latin hymns that have none, bad ones, or very loose ones. If anyone here has some favorites, whether from the Acta or elsewhere, suggestions would be welcome, et posse mittantur ad vdicarlo in loco dicarlolaw iota com. I am especially looking for neglected gems in honor of our Lady, any Saint James, and our Lady’s mother, for which I would like to make translations for three of my grandchildren, who are named after them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *