Catalogues of Syriac manuscripts online

In Syriac studies, even a beginner will find himself consulting lists of manuscripts, as so much has never been published.  William Wright’s Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum (1870) remains a fundamental reference.  From the Yahoo Hugoye-list I find that this is now online at vol. 1; vol. 2; vol. 3

The enormous BM (now British Library) collection mainly derives from the monastery of St. Mary Deipara (=Deir al-Suryani, Monastery of the Syrians) in the Nitrian desert.  An account of how Archdeacon Henry Tattam bought most of them is here.  Sadly the British Library is determined to keep its manuscripts offline; let’s hope a change of management will occur and we can see these treasures ourselves.

Kristian Heal has placed online further important catalogues:


E. Sachau, Verzeichniss der syrischen Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin (Die Handschriften-Verzeichnisse der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin. 23) Berlin: A. Asher & co, 1899. 2 vols. xvi + viii + 943pp. + 3 pl.



S.E. Assemanus, Bibliothecae Mediceae Laurentianae et Palatinae Codicum MMS. Orientalium catalogus … S.E. Assemanus recensuit, digessit, notis illustravit, Antonio Francisco Gorio curante. Florence, 1742. pp. lxxii. 492. pl. XXVI.


[LONDON British Museum]

G. Margoliouth, Descriptive List of Syriac and Karshunic Manuscripts in the British Museum acquired since 1873. London : British Museum [etc.], 1899 iv, 64 p.



J.S. Assemanus, Bibliotheca orientalis Clementino-Vaticana, in qua manuscriptos codices Syriacos, Arabicos, Persicos, Turcicos, Hebraicos, Samaritanos, Armenicos, AEthiopicos, Graecos, AEgyptiacos, Ibericos & Malabaricos … Bibliothecae Vaticanae addictos recensuit, digessit, et genuina  scripta a spuriis secrevit, addita singulorum auctorum vita, Joseph Simonius Assemanus.  3 tom. [t. 1. De scriptoribus syris orthodoxis — t. 2. De scriptoribus syris monophysitis — t. 3. pars prima. De scriptoribus syris Nestorianis — t. 3. pars secunda. De Syris Nestorianis] Rome, 1719-28.


J.S. Assemanus, Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae codicum manuscriptorum catalogus, in tres partes distributus, in quarum prima orientales, in altera Graeci, in tertia Latini, Italici aliorumque Europaeorum idiomatum codices Stephanus Evodius Assemanus … et Joseph Simonius Assemanus … recensuerunt digesserunt animadversionibusque illustrarunt. pt. 1. tom. 2-3. [vol. 2: Codices chaldaicos sive syriacos.–vol. 3: Reliquos codices chaldaicos sive syriacos.] Rome, 1758-59. xxiv + 556pp.; 587pp.


 A. Mai, Scriptorum veterum nova collectio e Vaticanis codicibus edita ab Angelo Maio, vol. 5. Rome 1831. pp.1-82, 243-248.


Let’s take the opportunity to thank him for this marvellous piece of work, and marvel at what the web is beginning to offer us all.


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