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55,000 Pages of Medieval Manuscripts digitized in The Netherlands

Leiden University Libraries and Brill Publishers have launched Codices Vossiani Graeci et Miscellanei Online  – the digitized collection of famous Greek manuscripts and mixed Greek and Latin manuscripts of Isaac Vossius (1618-1689).

The collection has been held by Leiden University Libraries since 1690, when the heirs of Isaac Vossius sold his entire library of printed books and manuscripts to the library for 33,000 guilders. The Graeci series (containing manuscripts in Greek) and Miscellanei series (containing manuscripts in both Greek and Latin) comprise 216 manuscripts in total, counting over 55,000 pages, with the codices ranging in date from high medieval to early modern, and covering a variety of genres, including classical texts, religious writings, legal sources, historical material, and scientific, mathematical, and medical texts. The collection demonstrates in particular the transmission and reception of ancient Greek and Byzantine ideas and concepts on a wide range of subjects, from theology, to rhetoric, to engineering.

This collaboration marks the latest joint undertaking by Brill and Leiden University Libraries. Brill has previously published two collections from the extensive Middle Eastern manuscript holdings, and the archive of the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens held at the library. In 2015 the Latin-language manuscripts from the Isaac Vossius collection, comprising 363 codices and counting over 80,000 pages, were digitized and published in the Codices Vossiani Latini Online. The addition of the Greek-language manuscripts to the portfolio therefore means that over three-quarters of the internationally-renowned Isaac Vossius manuscript collection is now available in digital format.

9th century manuscript once owned by Isaac Vossius

Dr André Bouwman, Curator of Western Manuscripts at Leiden University Library, commented: “The Graeci and Miscellanei codices collected by Isaac Vossius open up interesting paths into the vast world of classical textual culture. These digital versions bring many important manuscripts directly to the desks of scholars and students who are interested in exploring the texts, as well as their materiality and history.”

Acquisitions Editor for Medieval Studies at Brill, Dr Kate Hammond, added: “This collection of manuscripts offers a wealth of material on a range of themes, reflecting the broad scholarly interests of Vossius himself, and we are delighted to collaborate once again with Leiden University Library in bringing this fascinating collection into the digital age.”

Click here to access the Codices Vossiani Graeci et Miscellanei Online 



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