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The earliest acquisitions of African manuscripts go back to the year 1571 (i.a. Cod.aethiop. 1). Since then, the collection has been complemented and expanded continuously. It includes a total of four languages: Ethiopian, Coptic, Punic or Carthaginian and the Vai language. The classification of the first two as African needs to be put into perspective, though, given that the regions of Ethiopia and Egypt can be allocated to the Middle East as well.