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Medieval Bestiary

This web site deals with any and all aspects of the general topic “animals in the Middle Ages”, though there is an emphasis on the manuscript tradition, particularly of the bestiaries, and mostly in western Europe. The subject is vast, so this a large site, with well over 3000 pages, and perhaps the best way to explore it is to just wander around. The various pages making up the site are extensively linked; any text appearing in this blue color is a link (except for that one!). You can also click the green arrows at the top and bottom of each page; these will take you from one section to the next, or to the next page in a series. If you get lost, click the  button on any page to return to the table of contents. If you are interested in bestiary manuscripts, start wil the section on the manuscript families, which will link you to various other pages of interest. If you want to learn about a particular animal, start with the Beasts pages. If you are looking for something in particular, try the site search. For more help in navigating the site, click the green  on any page.

Informal articles, opinionated reviews, and irreverent comments on the bestiary genre can be found in the bestiary blog, Chimaera.

 

(Please note: this resource has not been updated since 2011, including the bibliography)

Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database: A Visual Resource of Historical Sites c. 1100 – c. 1450

This database and website is a virtual museum of images produced between the late 15th through mid-20th century that document the architectural monuments of South Italy (the medieval Kingdom of Sicily) and their decoration (pulpits, mosaics, pavements) prior to destruction and restoration. The images, often produced during the Grand Tour or by artists and architects of a study journey to South Italy, are vital sources of information about the siting and character of the highly significant architecture sponsored by the Norman, Hohenstaufen, and Angevin rulers prior to the devastation of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and particularly the Allied bombardment of World War II.

Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections

This database contains descriptions of all medieval western manuscripts up to c. 1550 written in Latin script and preserved in public and semi-public collections in the Netherlands. These include the collections of libraries, museums, archives, collections of monastic orders and some private institutions open to researchers. No censorship has been carried out: all literary, historiographical, academic, hagiographical, and (para-)liturgical texts, artes texts, ego-documents etc. written in Latin or one of the Western European vernacular languages qualify for inclusion. However, fragments of manuscripts are only included when possible and useful: the texts must be identifiable or the fragments should have already been catalogued as an object. Archival documents and letters are not recorded, except when already part of another included manuscript.

Medieval Welsh Law

The project has two aims. Firstly, to present a guide to Cyfraith Hywel, medieval Welsh law, by explaining what Welsh law was, how the law worked, and suggesting further reading by listing subject-specific academic publications for several fields within this broad topic.

The second aim is to look at the law manuscripts, the starting point for working on Cyfraith Hywel. A short description of each manuscript is presented, along with a detailed list of contents for the individual manuscripts. It will be possible for anyone who is keen to learn more about the laws to turn to these tables to see exactly what is in the manuscripts, and also to see where else those sections may occur.

It is possible to use the explanatory sections together with the detailed work on the manuscripts to offer a fuller picture of what the texts of Cyfraith Hywel contain.

Medium

A survey of microfilms and other images of medieval manuscripts kept at the Institute de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes. Many of these reproductions are now available online, and accessible via the database. 

Mittelalterliche Handschriften in Österreich / Medieval Manuscripts in Austria

Der Relaunch von manuscripta.at 2014 bietet neue Daten und Funktionalitäten, darunter:

  • einen Viewer für Digitalisate (Handschriften, ungedruckte Verzeichnisse und Materialien, Printpublikationen). Optional können die Digitalisate auch im DFG-Viewer betrachtet werden. Auf dislozierte Digitalisate wird verlinkt.
  • die direkte Verknüpfung der Handschrifteneinträge mit der “Bibliographie zu österreichischen Handschriften” (über den Link “Literatur zur Handschrift” oder “Weitere Literatur zur Handschrift”). Der direkte Zugang zur Bibliographie erfolgt über das Menü links (“Bibliographie”). Der Menüpunkt “Kataloge” erstellt eine gesonderte Liste der Handschriftenkataloge, geordnet nach Bibliotheksorten.
  • verbesserte Suchfunktionen, etwa die Schnellsuche nach einer bestimmten Handschrift über Ort/Bibliothek und Signatur (Teil von Signatur).

manuscripta.at soll nach und nach zum zentralen Nachweis- und Rechercheinstrument für mittelalterliche Handschriften in Österreich ausgebaut werden.


The relaunch of manuscripta.at in 2014 offers new data and functionality, including:

  • a viewer for digital images (manuscripts, unpublished directories and materials, print publications).
  • the direct linking of manuscript entries to the “Bibliography on Austrian Manuscripts” (via the link “Literatur zur Handschrift” or “Weitere Literatur zur Handschrift”). Direct access to the bibliography is via the menu on the left (“Bibliography”). The menu item “Catalogs” creates a separate list of manuscript catalogs, sorted by library type.
  • improved search functions, such as the quick search for a specific manuscripts by location / library and signature (part of signature).

manuscripta.at will continue to be developed into the central evidence- and research-tool for medieval manuscripts in Austria.

Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH)

A database of the volumes of the Monumenta Germaniae Historia (MGH), a collection of meticulously edited primary sources for the study of the Middle Ages with an emphasis on the German lands. The database may be searched or browsed by the department, and the volumes (published 1826-2010) may be read online or downloaded as .pdfs.

Narrative Sources

Narrative Sources aims to offer an exhaustive and critical survey of all the narrative sources originating from the medieval Low Countries. The database is intended to inventory all texts which describe the past in a narrative way: annals, chronicles, letters, diaries, poems, saint’s lives, genealogies etc. Narrative Sources covers present day Belgium and the Netherlands as well as those areas which belonged historically to the Low Countries but are part now of France (French Flanders, French Hainault) or Germany (East Frisia, the northern Rhineland). The texts inventoried in Narrative Sources date from the sixth to the first half of the sixteenth century.

Ogham in 3D

The ultimate aim of the Ogham in 3D project is to digitise and record in 3d as many as possible of the approximately four hundred surviving Ogham stones and to make the resulting 3D models freely available on this website as part of a multi-disciplinary archive of Ogham stones.

* National History Day Selected Resource *

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg, first begun in the 1970s, aims to provide free access to reading materials via the internet. The project currently includes over 50,000 open-access works, covering multiple subjects and representative of many time periods. Some of the works will be of interest to medievalists; editions of the Divine Comedy can be found in Italian on the site, for example, and other works of potential interest, both primary and secondary, are certainly to be found within the large collection. However, both the search and browse functions are outdated given current search engines. Even given the large number of volumes included, medieval works are more sparse than one might desire for inclusion in the MDR.

REFRAIN

A searchable database of medieval refrains, or fragments of music or text that circulated between songs of various types during the thirteenth century.

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RELMIN : Le statut légal des minorités religieuses dans l’espace euro-méditerranéen (Vème –XVème siècles)

RELMIN recueille, étudie et publie des textes juridiques définissant le statut des minorités religieuses dans l’Europe médiévale. Riche et varié, le corpus couvre dix siècles et s’étend sur une large zone géographique ; écrits en latin, arabe, grec, hébreu et araméen (ainsi qu’en espagnol, portugais, et en d’autres langues vernaculaires européennes), ces textes sont actuellement dispersés dans les bibliothèques et les dépôts d’archives de toute l’Europe. Ils sont maintenant recueillis dans la base de données RELMIN dans leur langue originale et accompagnés de traductions, ainsi que de commentaires. Ces textes sont ainsi mis à disposition de la communauté scientifique, des étudiants et des citoyens partout dans le monde, librement et de manière pérenne.

RELMIN collects, studies and publishes legal texts defining the status of religious minorities in medieval Europe. Rich and varied, the corpus covers ten centuries and extends over a wide geographical area; Written in Latin, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (as well as Spanish, Portuguese, and other European vernacular languages), these texts are currently scattered in libraries and archives throughout Europe. They are now collected in the RELMIN database in their original language and accompanied by translations and comments. These texts are thus made available to the scientific community, students and citizens around the world, freely and permanently.

Roman de la Rose Digital Library

A searchable catalog of digitized manuscripts containing the Roman de la Rose, an allegorical love poem in the form of a dream vision composed in Old French in the 13th century. The current collection of 130 manuscripts (of an estimated 320 total) may be browsed by repository, shelf mark, date, origin, or illustrations, allowing cross-manuscript comparison of illustrations and sections of text.  Much of the data downloadable in .csv format.

* National History Day Selected Resource *

Rusian Genealogy

Genealogies have been constructed and used for hundreds of years to help families understand their ancestry and more recently to help scholars understand the relationships between medieval people and families. The Rusian genealogical database offers an update on this traditional discipline. The research underlying this database is new and is built on the primary sources in Old East Slavic, Latin, Greek, and Old Norse, as well as a thorough reading and understanding of the modern secondary literature. That information is then accessed through an XML database that allows the user to search through the variety of information presented here, including parentage, regnal dates, place of rule, and other data points. The end result is the most accurate genealogy of Rus′ yet developed, presented in an accessible and intuitive way for use by scholars, students, and others.

Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts

The SDBM continuously aggregates and updates observations of pre-modern manuscripts drawn from over 13,000 auction and sales catalogs, inventories, catalogs from institutional and private collections, and other sources that document sales and locations of these books from around the world.  It may be searched or browsed by author, title, seller, provenance, date, and others, and the datasets may also be downloaded in .xlsx or .csv format. Members of our user community are invited to log in and help us to build, maintain, and improve this resource.

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Syri.ac

This site aims to be a comprehensive annotated bibliography of open-access resources related to the study of Syriac. The primary goal of Syri.ac is to make research on Syriac literature, history, and culture as painless and direct as possible. The annotated bibliographies can be accessed through the list of authors and themes at the top right of the page (or through a dropdown menu on mobile devices). Each page offers direct links to editions and translations of the texts referenced. Our intention is to collate in one place a world-class scholarly library that can be accessed completely through the web.

Other tools for Syriac research are also available through the menu at the top of the page. The most significant is our database of Syriac manuscripts available in digitized form. The database is searchable and offers direct links to manuscripts, even specific folios of manuscripts, so that students and scholars can quickly consult high-quality images of physical Syriac texts online.

Middle English Text Series (METS)

The TEAMS Middle English Texts are published for TEAMS (The Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages) in association with the University of Rochester by Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan. The General Editor of the series is Russell Peck of the University of Rochester. The texts are made available here by permission of the Executive Committee of TEAMS and The Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University.

The goal of the TEAMS Middle English text series is to make available to teachers and students texts which occupy an important place in the literary and cultural canon but which have not been readily available in student editions.

The focus is upon literature adjacent to that normally in print, which teachers need in compiling the syllabi they wish to teach. The editions maintain the linguistic integrity of the original works but within the parameters of modern reading conventions.

We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for its generous support in creating and maintaining this site.

* National History Day Selected Resource *

TELMA – Traitement electronique des manuscrits et des archives

L’objectif de TELMA est de mettre en ligne à la disposition de la communauté scientifique des corpus de sources primaires et les instruments de recherche nécessaires à leur exploitation. De ce fait, TELMA intègre deux types de corpus : des répertoires de ressources et des éditions critiques de sources manuscrites associées ou non à des images numérisées des documents.

The objective of TELMA is to make available to the scientific community a corpus of primary sources and research tools necessary for their exploitation. As a result, TELMA integrates two types of resources: databases and critical editions of handwritten sources with or without digitized images of documents.

 

European Library

Provides access to the contents of 48 European national libraries as well as a number of research libraries such as Oxford University’s Bodleian Library, including catalog entries and some full-text content. The European Library also provides the basis for the Europeana portal, which provides links to digitized books, including many early printed books.

Making of Charlemagne’s Europe

The aim of the project is two-fold:

The first aim is to offer a single, unified database framework for the extraction of prosopographical and socio-economic data found in early medieval legal documents. Legal documents contain an extraordinary wealth of information for the political, social and economic history of this period, but they present significant challenges: practical ones, because they are scattered across many repositories, as well as methodological ones, because they can vary enormously across geographical regions, documentary types and traditions, and modes of transmission – all of which makes it hard to compare like with like. The aim of this project is to offer a common framework capable of extracting and comparing the data contained within legal documents, while still, at the same time, allowing users to identify and control for the most significant distortions typically affecting this material (such as modes of transmission, e.g. via an original or a later copy).

The second aim is to apply this framework to legal documents surviving from the reign of Charlemagne (25 September 768 to 28 January 814 AD). The reign of Charlemagne offers a particularly good case study, since it was a period of unprecedented expansion, leading to the absorption by the Frankish empire of many diverse regions within a short period of time. Over four thousand charters survive from the reign of Charlemagne (more than for the reign of any other early medieval European ruler); the database includes almost a thousand of them, selected for maximum variety in types of repository, modes of transmission, geographical area, recipients and issuers, etc.