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Over 160,000 pages of medieval manuscripts are now available online

MEDIEVAL
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This free, downloadable, searchable database, will bring a smile to medieval scholars and enthusiasts alike.

Lovers of all things medieval, take note — a new downloadable, searchable collection of 160,000 high-resolution medieval manuscripts is now available for free online.

Lehigh University, along with 15 Philadelphia-area libraries, scanned and digitized 475 original manuscripts dating to the ninth century.  

The collection is called Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis: Toward a Comprehensive Online Library of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts, and is hosted by the PACSCL Libraries in Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. 

While the database includes many important historical documents of interest to scholars, you don’t have to have a doctorate to have a little fun with this database. Researchers can search the material by page, manuscript, collection or even by keyword.

The website, phys.org, has highlighted a few of the treasures in the collection:

  • a 1462 handwritten copy of Virgil’s Aeneid with penciled sketches in the margins
  • several richly illuminated Books of Hours
  • Christian prayer books popular in the Middle Ages

To begin your search of the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis, visit this website.