Logo of the MDZ: Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum, Digitale Bibliothek. Navigate to main page

Fragments of German and Latin Manuscripts

Besides important holdings of manuscript codices, the Bavarian State Library has a considerable collection of loose medieval manuscript fragments, namely, about 2,700 Latin and more than 470 in the German language. The core consists of loose binding waste from various copies transferred from early 19th-century secularized convent libraries. The collection grew quickly, especially in the scope of the extensive sales of duplicate copies during the time of library director Carl Halm in the mid-19th century. Before the sale of books, any fragments found were removed from the bindings. The librarian Friedrich Keinz (1865-1899) compiled the first full register in the form of a repertory, classified by discipline. It remained important until a thorough new cataloguing from the fall 1977. In date, the collection extends from Late Antiquity or the early Middle Ages to the beginning of the printing press. Provenance originates primarily from convents, the carriers of spiritual culture in the Middle Ages. The significance of the fragments derives from their value as important sources. Each one is the last witness of a no longer extant book and thereby complements our yet imperfect knowledge of the textual tradition of literary production in Late Antiquity and Middle Ages.