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Cambridge project to digitize medieval manuscripts held by Vatican and universities


University of Cambridge

John Burger - published on 04/01/19

Works include Greek versions of Plato and Aristotle, among others.

A treasure trove of ancient manuscripts is about to be accessible by anyone with an internet: hundreds of medieval Greek manuscripts held by the Vatican and the universities of Cambridge and Heidelberg are to be made available to the public online.

The £1.6m project will digitize more than 800 volumes featuring the works of Plato and Aristotle, among others, the BBC reported. The manuscripts date from the early Christian period to the early modern.

Cambridge said the two-year project would open up “some of the most important manuscripts” to the world.

Works set to be digitized include “classical texts and some of the most important treatises on religion, mathematics, history, drama and philosophy,” a university spokesman told the BBC:

Bindings on many of the medieval manuscripts are in a fragile state and little is known about the identities of some of the scribes and artists involved in their creation.

“Numerous discoveries await,” said Dr. Veit Probst, director of Heidelberg University Library. “[We] have yet to uncover how they were studied and used, both during the medieval period and in the centuries beyond.” Dr Jessica Gardner, Cambridge University librarian, said the project would “[open] up some of the most important Greek medieval manuscripts to not just scholars, but the widest possible audience.”

The Cambridge Digital Library, which was started in 2010,  already has made available online the works of Darwin, Newton, Stephen Hawking and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

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