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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 However, both the search and browse functions are outdated given current search engines.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.

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 *

Saints in Scottish Place-Names

Saints in Scottish Place-Names is a research project published by the University of Glasgow that seeks to catalog all the place names in Scotland derived from saints. The majority of the over 13,000 place names cataloged derive from the medieval period and from the many historical languages of Scotland, including Norse, Scots, Latin, and Gaelic. Users are able to search by either place name or saint’s name in addition to a more robust advanced search. Further, users may view a list of places and saints. Individual entries include the place-name, saint, and the source that first lists the place-name. The project also provides a map on which users may see the hagiotoponyms overlaid.

All information on the site is provided free of charge with citation.

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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St. Gall Project

Provides a digital reconstruction of the 9th-century libraries of the monasteries of Reichenau and St. Gall, including manuscript images, codicological descriptions bibliography, and virtual exhibitions of selections from the library. Also includes a high-resolution image of the Plan of St. Gall (Codex Sangallensis 1092) a detailed plan of the monastery complex, along with a modern diagram and a number of modern 2D and 3D models. [note: this site is no longer updated and has been archived]

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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 *

The Community of the Realm in Scotland 1249-1424

The Community of the Realm in Scotland 1249-1424 is an ongoing project hosted by King’s College, London that seeks to provide digital editions of important Scottish documents from the middle and later medieval period. The creators of the project have begun with the Declaration of Arbroath, a seminal document in the foundation of a community of the realm of Scotland, and Regiam Majestatem, the foundational legal document for the realm. Rather than privileging stemmatic editing and its search for an archetypal version of a text, the Community of the Realm’s edition of the Declaration allows a user to compare versions of the document as it appears in different manuscript witnesses. When in comparison mode, a user can view others’ annotations or make their own. Likewise, users can view the document in Latin or in an English translation for comparison.

The project does not limit itself to just its viewer. The creators envision the platform as providing a space for discussion of Scotland in the high Middle Ages and beyond. The site provides a biweekly podcast, an active blog, multimedia videos on the history of Scotland, and the XML data they have used to create the editions. The site is free to use for non-commercial purposes.

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.

The Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity, 325-600

The Migration of Faith project presents over 400 cases and 1100 people who experienced clerical exile in late antiquity. The project draws upon a wide range of sources to present the cases in a database, an interactive map, and a network map. The project also makes its data freely downloadable and usable under a Creative Commons license.

The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales

The Open Access Companion to the Canterbury Tales is a free resource for the study of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales written and curated by professional scholars of medieval literature. The project is imagined as a resource for undergraduate and graduate students encountering the Tales early in their academic careers. Teachers of Middle English literature may find the essays particularly useful and approachable for classroom use. Articles comprise essays and reference chapters. Essays cover a topic of import to Chaucer’s work, for example “Sisterhood and Brotherhood in the Knight’s Tale,” whereas reference chapters treat foundational cultural topics, like manuscripts and everyday life.

All of the texts on the Companion’s site are freely available and peer reviewed by scholars of Middle English literature.

The Public Medievalist

The Public Medievalist is a volunteer, scholar-run online magazine that treats topics on the Middle Ages that may be of interest to the general public. Taking no particular political or disciplinary stance, the magazine invites articles on a wide array of topics, all of which touch upon the ways the Middle Ages resonate in our cultures today. Recently, the magazine has run special series on gender and sexuality, race, and games in the Middle Ages. All articles are peer reviewed by at least two scholars with an advanced degree. The magazine also publishes a podcast that treats topical intersections of contemporary culture and their intersections with the medieval period.

Rulers of Venice, 1332-1524

A searchable database of noble officeholders in the city of Venice from 1332-1524, drawn from the nine registers of the Segretario alle Voci, and elections to the Senate, the Council of Ten, and the Great Council, and originally published as Rulers of Venice, 1332-1524: Interpretations, Methods, Database (Renaissance Society of America, 2007).

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Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum

The Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum is a database of digitized medieval Latin texts on the topic of music, broadly imagined. Housed at the University of Indiana, the project transcribes and digitizes texts on all topics related to medieval music from the 5th to 17th centuries and provides a database to house them. A user may search by title, author, topic, century, and numerous other qualities. Each text entry offers a brief synopsis and bibliography, including manuscripts in which the text appears.

The TML clearly outlines their transcription policies and provides all their material for free via a Creative Commons license.

Thesaurus of Old English

Published by the University of Glasgow, the Thesaurus of Old English Project is an online resource that thematically arranges definitions of terms. Drawing from standard dictionaries of Old English, the project has created thematic entries that are cross referenced with one another. The project is fully searchable; while searching, a user may go directly to the thesaurus’ data or be directed off-site to one of the major dictionaries of Old English. The project has well over 40,000 entries.

Though free to use for individual users, the project makes explicit that large-scale use of data from the project is not allowed. Should users wish to analyze the Thesaurus’ corpus data, they should contact the creators.

Treasures of Heaven

Based on the Treasures of Heaven exhibit (2011) at the Cleveland Museum of Art, this website offers a multimedia exploration of medieval art, architecture, and the cult of saints including high resolution images, explanatory essays, video, and links to related primary and secondary sources. Additional support by the British Museum and the Walters Art Museum.

* National History Day Selected Resource *

Vocabulaire Codicologique

French-language site that provides a glossary of French codicological terms cross-referenced with their equivalents in English, Spanish, Italian, and German, based upon Denis Muzerelle’s print Vocabulaire Codicologique: répertoire méthodique des termes français relatifs au manuscrits (Paris, 1985). The English parts of the site are incomplete, but provide a (French) definition of terms and illustrations where applicable.

Published in 1985, Denis Muzarelle, Vocabulaire codicologique : répertoire méthodique des termes français relatifs aux manuscrits, Paris : Editions CEMI, 1985. (Rubricae, 1.), has proved to be a useful tool for anyone working with medieval manuscripts. This hypertext version reproduces an enhanced version of Muzerelle’s printed text, with the accompanying figures, accompanied by translations of the terms into Italian, Spanish, English, and German, the latter two still in progress. The nomenclature of script is not addressed, and the definitions are in French (although the terms are translated).

Wren Digital Library

The Wren Digital Library is the digital archive of the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge. The Wren is home to over 1,000 medieval manuscripts from the 10th century onwards, of which the digital archive has published over 800 in addition to many early printed books and modern manuscripts. The ongoing project of the digital platform is to digitally publish all manuscripts in M.R. James’ 1901-1903 print catalog of the library’s holdings.

As of 2020, the library has no search function, but one can filter manuscripts by title, shelfmark, and date. Each entry includes catalog information in addition to a bibliography. Images are available in IIIF format and can be downloaded free of charge, though high-resolution images can only be obtained by contacting the repository.