Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts preserved by the Bodleian Libraries

Around 25,000 images selected mostly from Western Illuminated Manuscripts Collection (with a few from early printed books collection) of the Bodleian's older image library of 35mm slides and filmstrips. The manuscripts are mostly archives and manuscript volumes in western languages from the Byzantine Empire, mostly on parchment or paper and in codex form and are written both in Latin and Greek and in the European vernaculars.

Amongst the manuscripts of monastic provenance are treasures such as the only one of the four major sources of Old English poetry to be illustrated – the so-called ‘Caedmon manuscript'. The Collection also shows administrative documents from several religious houses such as the 13th-century exemplars of Magna Carta.

Amongst the English medieval manuscripts are masterpieces such as the early Gothic Douce Apocalypse. There are also Irish manuscripts providing mportant sources for the early and medieval history of Ireland, e.g. Annals of Inisfallen.

Second in number are those manuscripts from Italy, but the Collection is also strong on manuscripts from continental Europe north of the Alps. Medieval Germany is also well represented, above all by the manuscripts rescued after the depredations of German ecclesiastical libraries during the Thirty Years’ War. Finally, the strengths of the rare books holdings are in theology, law, the classical tradition, mathematics and English Drama and Literature.

  • Item Type

    Documents, Manuscripts

  • Spatial Coverage

    Western Europe

  • Time Coverage

    Medieval, Early Modern

Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford