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Western Libraries

English 307, English 317 and English 560: Medieval Seminar: Home

Guide to selected resources in Special Collections.

Original manuscripts

35 leaves from medieval manuscripts, 13th-16th centuries
Includes leaves from Bibles, books of hours, psalters, breviaries, and antiphoners

Leaf from a French book of hours, ca. 1490

Ethiopian codex
Undated (possibly ca. 1900) but made in the style of European medieval manuscripts. Vellum pages are pricked and ruled, gathered into quires, and bound in wooden boards.

English indenture on parchment, 1639

Two Persian miniatures (undated)

Persian miniature (undated, on blue paper)

Selected manuscript facsimiles

St. Gall Gospel
8th-century Insular manuscript made in Ireland or by Irish monks in Switzerland

Codex Runicus
Scandinavian law text written in runes, ca. 1300

Trinity Apocalypse
13th-century illustrated manuscript in Anglo-Norman, possibly made for Queen Eleanor of England

Book of Beasts: MS Bodley 764
13th-century English illuminated bestiary

Holkham Bible Picture Book
14th-century Anglo-Norman manuscript

The Vernon Manuscript
Late-14th-century English illustrated manuscript of religious and didactic texts

The Ellesmere Chaucer
Early-15th-century manuscript of the Canterbury Tales

Les Passages d'Outremer
15th-century French romance set during the Crusades

British Library Egerton MS 747
Italian herbal, ca. 1300

Dante, Divine Comedy
14th-century manuscript in the hand of Giovanni Boccaccio

John Lydgate, The Life of St. Edmund
Illustrated poem presented to King Henry VI in 1433 by the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds

The Macclesfield Alphabet Book
15th-century English calligraphy book showing 14 different decorative alphabet

Die Schriftmuster des Laurentius Autenrieth (1520, facsimile)
A model book of different scribal hands

Leonhard Wagner, Proba centum scriptuarum
German calligraphy model book, early 16th century

Lisbon Bible
Illuminated Bible in Hebrew, 1482

The Très Riches Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry
15th-century French book of hours

The Grandes Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry
15th-century French book of hours

The Rohan Hours
15th-century French book of hours

Book of Hours of Engelbert of Nassau
15th-century Flemish book of hours

Farnese Hours
Illuminated manuscript created by Giulio Clovio for cardinal Alessandro Farnese in 1546

Early European printing

23 leaves from European printed books, 15th-16th century

Leaf from a French prayer book in Latin, ca. 1500
Example of printing on vellum

Two leaves from a psalm book printed on vellum, ca 1500

Gutenberg Bible (1456, facsimile)

Nuremberg Chronicle (1493, facimile)

Francesco Colonna, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499, facsimile)
Landmark of early typography and book design

Biblia pauperum (facsimile)
Example of a fifteenth-century book in which each page of text and image were printed with a single wooden block

Petrarca, Il Canzoniere and I trionfi (1470, facsimile)
Example of a hand-illustrated printed book

Isaac Abravanel, Rosh amanah (1505)
Hebrew text printed in Constantinople; at present, the library's oldest complete original book

Jacob Köbel, Dialogus libertatis ecclesiastice defensorius (1516)

Melchior Pfintzing, Die Abenteuer des Ritters Theuerdank (1517, facsimile)

Leonhart Fuchs, The New Herbal (1543, facsimile)

Pliny, Historia Mundi (1545)
Excellent example of similarities and differences between medieval and Renaissance letterforms and book design

Cicero, Rhetoricorum ad C. Herrenium (1550)
Printed by the publishing house of Aldus Manutius, one of the most important early printers

Vergil, Aeneid (1575)
Includes numerous corrections made by hand; useful for debating whether textual errors declined with the advent of printing

Special Collections Librarian

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Michael Taylor
(360) 650-3097