Bamberg manuscripts online

The library website does it’s best to conceal the fact, but there are a number of very interesting manuscripts online at the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg Kaiser-Heinrich-Bibliothek site in Munich.  The top-level site is here, but unless you can wade through oceans of PR waffle, you won’t find the manuscripts.  These are here.

The online viewer isn’t very good; not nearly as user-friendly as the one at the Bibliotheque Nationale Francais Gallica site, nor even the British Library.  But I’m finding my way around it, so I suppose it’s mainly a case of unfamiliarity.  There’s no PDF download either.  I haven’t managed to find the zoom facility either.

The texts are all Latin, as far as I can see.  Generally they are 9-10th c.

There is a 5th century ms. of Livy’s 4th decade (books 31-40).  It’s only strips, extracted from book bindings, tho.  There is also a 9th century copy of the 1st decade.

There’s a fair bit of Cicero, some of the Augustan History, a lot of Boethius, Jerome.  Aurelius Victor and Eutropius are there.  There’s some Augustine, some Ambrose, a Statius Thebais with the scholia of Lactantius Placidus.  There’s a bit of Seneca, a couple of Quintilians, a Pliny the Elder NH, a Priscian, unfortunately lacking the beginning.  There’s Origen on Judges, plus Rufinus’ translation of De Principiis. Martianus Capella is still at the wedding of Philology and Mercury, the first part of Macrobius’ Saturnalia is there.

Lucan is there.  Josephus likewise. Justinian’s Institutiones, interestingly.  There’s a Horace, and the usual dollop of Isidore of Seville.  There is a Eugippius, Thesaurus ex S. Augustini operibus, which is interesting to me if no-one else.

Worth knowing about.

The world of online manuscripts is still very immature.  In five years things will be very different.  At the moment the BNF in Paris are showing the way; but standards will certainly improve all round.

A few institutions are still in the Dark Ages – step forward Stanford University and Corpus Christi Cambridge, who have put the Parker collection of manuscripts into the hands of a commercial company, to sell access to pictures to institutions (and tough if you aren’t affiliated to one).  Shame on them both.  But this too will change, given time.

It’s an exciting time to be involved with mss.!


12 thoughts on “Bamberg manuscripts online

  1. seems to be an easier way to access the digitized stuff at I gather there’s other libraries there too, so it’s efficient.

    Not much patristic-y, or at least it’s mostly copies. But they do have Hierocles, “On the Curing of Horses,” as translated by Bartholomew of Messina. Apparently we have a fair bit of Byzantine horse veterinary texts in existence, including a fragment of something of Hippocrates on horses.

  2. Nope, it’s not easier at at all. Nice catalog and that’s it.

  3. I see the mss! They’ve got a bunch of Augustine mss. But paging through the 2,000 odd mss will take quite some time. I might do it, tho, just to get a list of important stuff! Thank you for highlighting this!

    Europeana is usually useless, but just occasionally I find something there that is nowhere else.

  4. Let’s not forget the the University of Chicago’s Goodspeed Collection showed the way for everyone else way back when!

    Also: I offered some analysis of that Gospels-MS over at the Textualcriticism Yahoo! discussion-list. Thanks for the news, Banshee and Roger!

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  5. Thank you very much – that is a marvellous resource. I’m just looking at the mss. of Montpellier; I had no idea those were online at all!

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