Volumes of the Acta Sanctorum online

Lately I’ve found myself looking for Saints’ Acta. I’m not sure how one finds translations.  In fact it’s really not that easy to find even the original texts.   But I believe that the “go to” source for the texts is the monster 17-19th century compilation, made by the Bollandists, the Acta Sanctorum.

If you want editable text…

Editions

Here is the Bollandists’ own overview of the series.  The most important part is the Synopsis of the three editions of Acta Sanctorum (PDF).

  • The original series, published at Antwerp, consisted of 68 volumes.  See Brepols list here, and links to those I could find below.
  • A Venice reprint from 1734-1760 is basically the same, except that it combined May vol. 7 and the propylaeum, and it didn’t include September vols.6-8, October 7-13, or any of November or December.  A Brussels supplement to this (ed. Greuse) provided Sept. 5 and 8, and October 1-6.
  • A Paris reprint of 1863-1870 (edited by Palmé) assigned a number to each volume.  But it also divided the two January volumes into three, and stopped with October vol. 12; after which Palme was printing the original series as it appeared.  Links to these follow.
  • Finally there is a 1966-71 reprint of vols.1-60 of the original series.  The 60 volumes printed may be found at the DCO site here.

I doubt that this list of versions is complete.

I have found, by experience, that the page numbers in the Paris edition are not the same as those in the original.

Volume numbers and referencing

The original volumes did not have an overall series volume number, although the 19th century Paris reprint 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.

A reference to a page in the Acta Sanctorum will typically look like this: AS Mai 23, 412; i.e. May 23rd, page 412.  But you may also get ASS Mai III 412; which would indicate May vol. 3, page 412.

Other collections of links

See also:

Online volumes – The 19th century Paris edition

Here are the 60 volumes of the Paris-Palmé edition, courtesy of Villanova University; followed by the other original volumes which Palmé then issued.  We’re still missing two volumes.  Lots are on Archive.org, or try a search for Acta Sanctorum ed. novissima.

At this point things get rather confused.  Palme’s numbering of 60 volumes of reprints is 1 more than the original series, because he divided January into 3 volumes.  So the “official” number is only 59 to this point.

There are three further volumes, listed at Brepols here as 69, 70, and 71; and then the “Acta Sanctorum Tables Generales” (1900), listed as 72.

Online volumes – Original Antwerp Edition

Since I compiled the list above, volumes of the original printing have started to come online.  I give those I could find here (which often meant searching for “acta sanctorvm septembris”!).  The Greek text in these is frankly very hard to read.

For November and December, the Paris/Palme volumes are the original edition.

Online volumes – Venice Edition

The Venice reprints start in the 18th century.  They do not reprint everything, however.  Here are some volumes that I came across incidentally:

The Venice edition carried on as far as September vol. 5.

Studies

  • H. Delehaye, The work of the Bollandists Through Three Centuries, 1615-1915, (1922) online here.

Contributions of links to volumes where there are gaps are most welcome.  Add them in the comments.

54 thoughts on “Volumes of the Acta Sanctorum online

  1. The Nicephorus quotation can be found here http://www.dec25th.info/Ecclesiastical%20History%20Nicephorus.html

    It appears to be a quotation from the calendar of Philocalus made in 354. Where the calendar obtained its information for this notice, is not said.

    The figure of 20,000 killed for observing the Feast of the Nativity looks suspicious – perhaps the figure is a misreading of XX MM as XX MM MM ? Compare St Ursula and the 11,000 virgin-martyrs at Cologne, or St Acacius and his 15,000 companions.

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