Medieval Manuscript Manual

Easy to navigate, this excellent site presents useful background information on several aspects of the Medieval manuscript: patronage, use, production, format, typology, and illumination. Included are clearly written explanations, an integrated glossary, and a bibliography of relevant sources.

Bibliotheca Palatina – Heidelberg University Library

This site provides access to the digitized version of the Bibliotheca Palatina: the library of the palatine duke electors and one of the most precious collections of Medieval and Early Modern manuscripts in the German language. The collection is presented according to codices (German, Greek, and Latin) and miniatures. Basic information is accessible in English, though descriptions and explanatory texts are mostly in German.

Bodleian Library – Images of Manuscripts (Oxford University)

Created by the Bodleian Library of Oxford University, this site offers access to over 1000 images of illuminated manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 17th century. The manuscripts are listed according to century and country of origin, allowing for easy navigation. Each manuscript page can be viewed in three sizes, which allows users to view details with very high resolution. This site should be particularly useful for those pursuing Medieval and Early Modern Art History, Literature, and Music.

Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis

The CEEC project presents the extensive Medieval manuscript holdings of the Episcopal and Cathedral Library of Cologne. The manuscripts span from the 6th to the 16th century. To access the English version of the static pages and browsing instructions, go to the “Optionen” tab at the top of the page.

Codices Electronici Sangallenses – Virtual Library

This virtual library provides access to over 250 Medieval codices held in the Abbey Library of St. Gall (Switzerland). The interface allows the user to view and zoom in on individual pages and bindings. The resolution is excellent. All codices date to before AD 1000.

CORSAIR – The Online Research Resource of the Pierpont Morgan Library

Providing access to more than 20,000 images from Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, this site spans ten centuries of Western illumination and contains manuscripts from all the major schools. Relevant and useful for both specialists and students, the site couples images with brief descriptions and detailed records.

Digital Scriptorium

The Digital Scriptorium is an image database of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts that unites resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. Special emphasis is placed on manuscripts signed and dated by their scribes. The site is very well organized and easy to navigate, and all images are of high resolution and are provided with detailed records.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University  

This great site provides access to over 80 manuscripts (ranging from the 9th to the 17th century) from seven collections. Users are able to view entire manuscripts; each page is photographed with very high resolution.


This French site presents more than 80,000 images (e.g. marginalia, initials, scenes) from illuminated Medieval manuscripts. Images can be browsed according to subject, title, author, and type of illumination. The site also offers “visites virtuelles,” which allow students to become familiar with various types of manuscript illumination.

Heidelberg Historic Literature – Heidelberg University Library

Created by the Heidelberg University Library, this site provides access to Heidelberg historic literature in digitized form. Included are manuscripts, incunabula, chronicles, histories, legal sources, and geological, archaeological and anatomical literature. As the sources are not strictly Medieval and Early Modern, users will have to browse to find relevant materials.

Heidelberg Incunabula – Heidelberg University Library

This site provides access to the Heidelberg University Library’s incunabula collection; the collection comprises about 1,800 printed books and fragments dated from between 1454 to 1500. Most materials were printed in the German-speaking Southwest and South, but some also come from book printing centres along the Rhine (e.g. Cologne, Mainz, and Speyer).

The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is a great resource for images of and information on the 14th-century prayer book of the French queen Jeanne d’Evreux.

Islamic Medical Manuscripts – U.S. National Library of Medicine

An excellent source of information and imagery related to Islamic medicine and science during the Middle Ages, this site includes biographies, extensive historical accounts of Medieval medicine and science, a glossary of medical, scientific, and book-production terminology, and a catalogue raisonné (including images) from the 300 or so Persian and Arabic manuscripts in the National Library of Medicine.

Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections (Exhibition)

This is the site for a 2001 exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art of more than 80 Medieval and Renaissance miniature paintings. The site provides basic information on and some images of Bibles, Books of Hours, Psalters, and liturgical and literary manuscripts.  It may be useful as a survey of different types of illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval and Early Modern periods.

Liber Floridus – Les Manuscrits Médiévaux Enluminés

Bringing together the collections of the Mazarine and Sainte-Geneviève Libraries, this French site presents more than 1,600 Medieval manuscripts. The site’s search options are easy to navigate and provide users with helpful indices; images are of a good quality and are accompanied with labels giving basic information.

The Life of King Edward the Confessor – Cambridge University Library

Devoted solely to a 13th-century, illuminated Anglo-Norman manuscript of The Life of King Edward the Confessor, this site presents digital images of each page, descriptions of the illuminations, and an introduction to the manuscript.


This is the search site for illuminated manuscripts held at the Bibliotheque nationale de France. The site, which is in French, offers images of the manuscripts as well related information.

Manuscript Collections and Catalogues – Yale University Library Research Guide

This is a link from the Yale University Medieval Studies Research Guide; it provides a list of Medieval manuscript collections and catalogues.

Manuscript Collections – Heidelberg University Library

The Heidelberg University Library presents digital access to the manuscript collections of the Bibliotheca Palatina, Codices Salemitani, and Heidelberger Handschriften. Though this page is in German, images from the manuscripts and their dates should help English users browse the site. The Bibliotheca Palatina collection offers an English option for basic information.

Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections

This database contains descriptions of all Medieval manuscripts (up to ca. 1550) written in Latin script and preserved in public and semi-public collections in the Netherlands. The site is extensive in scope, but the information offered is in-depth and well organized. First-time users may find it useful to read through the instructions on how to navigate the site. The site also includes some images of manuscripts as well as articles that present highlights of various Dutch collections.

Medieval Manuscripts – U.S. National Library of Medicine

The focus of this site is the medicine and medical literature in Medieval England, with particular emphasis on a 12th-century manuscript entitled Treatises on Medicine. Though not extensive in scope, the site does provide useful introductory information on the manuscript and its context (e.g. the Articella, Arabic influence, Salerno, and English Medieval medicinal practices).

The Murthly Hours – National Library of Scotland

This site provides complete access to the The Murthly Hours—a 13th-century manuscript containing full-page miniatures by English artists. One of the most richly decorated Scottish Medieval manuscripts, this tome also contains Medieval additions that include one of the oldest examples of Gaelic written in Scotland. Each leaf is presented with a brief description.

Princeton Digital Library of Islamic Manuscripts

This site provides access to the Islamic manuscripts in the collections of the Princeton University Library. The manuscripts are chiefly in Arabic but also include Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and other languages of the Islamic world; they date from the early centuries of Islam through to the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Subjects covered by the manuscripts include Theology, Law, History, Biography, Book Arts and Illustration, Language and Literature, Science, Magic, and the Occult.

Rare Book and Manuscript Library – Columbia University

This site presents 100 images from a variety of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Each image is accessible in three resolutions and is listed with date, author, title and country of origin. Though limited in terms of scope, this site provides an instructive survey of European manuscripts from the 8th to the 16th century.

Roman de la Rose

This site is dedicated to establishing a collection of all known manuscript copies of the 13th-century text, Roman de la Rose. Along with access to the manuscripts, the site provides a brief history and summary of the text. The site is easy to navigate and the user is able to zoom in to view the details.

Speculum Theologiae

The Speculum Theologiae is a Medieval collection (from a Cistercian abbey in Germany) of didactic diagrams that served as a mnemonic aid in the instruction of the principles of morality. The site includes the diagrams along with explanatory essays and useful English translations of the diagrams’ Latin headings.

St. Laurentius Digital Manuscript Library

This site makes accessible online the Medieval manuscript collection of the Lund University Library (Sweden). Users can browse manuscripts that span from the 10th to the 17th century, with high resolution images available for all manuscript pages.