Abbildung einer Seite aus einer alten HandschriftOne would not expect to find medieval manuscripts in a library that has only been established in the middle of the 18th century. The University Library of Erlangen-Nürnberg, however, houses a large collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts. It holds 2,400 manuscripts in total, 700 of which are from the Middle Ages. These manuscripts originate from the Cistercian Monastery of Heilsbronn, the Franciscan Monastery St. Jobst (near Bayreuth), the palace library of Ansbach, and the University Library of Altdorf. They were transferred to Erlangen in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Although the bulk of them is religious writing serving practical needs, there are quite a few valuable, unique books among them. The most outstanding pieces are the following: the so-called Fulda Evangeliar (H62/MS 9), which was written in a scriptorium in Fulda (850/70). It came to Erlangen with the palace library of Ansbach; a second Carolingian bible manuscript (H62/MS 10[1 bzw. H62/MS 10[2); and the famous Gumbertus bible (H62/MS 1), one of the rare Romanesque giant bibles from the late 11th century.

Most medieval manuscripts were in Latin, but the library owns manuscripts in German and Greek as well, like the “Hieratikon mikron”, a collection of liturgical texts of the Eastern church dating from the beginning of the 11th century (H62/MS.A 2), or several German manuscripts such as the famous didactic poem “Der Renner” (Hugo von Trimberg, H62/MS.B 4) and “Die Jagd” (Hadamar von Laber, H62/MS.B 9). Amongst other notable manuscripts from the 15th century are the Book of Hours (H62/MS 144), of Northern French provenance, of Wilhelmine of Prussia, Margravine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, and the splendid “Epître d′Othéa” by Christine de Pizan (H62/MS 2361), a book illuminated in grisaille.

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