Medieval Treasures from the Digital.Bodleian

Medieval Treasures from the Digital.Bodleian

Last month the Bodleian Library launched its Digital.Bodleian collection, which aims to make freely available more than 100,000 images from its collection, ranging from medieval manuscripts to drawings from 18th century Burma to 20th century political posters. Here are just ten of the medieval items you can now see in the collection

Le Roman de la Rose

MS. Douce 195 – Le Roman de la Rose, in a manuscript made for Louise of Savoy, mother of Francis I, with many miniatures in the style of Robinet Testard, French, late 15th century.


Latin Gospels

MS. Auct. D. 2.16  – Latin Gospels with beast-headed evangelist portraits made at Landévennec, Brittany, late 9th or early 10th century, supplemented in the 11th century with conventional portraits in the style of Northern France or Flanders; given by bishop Leofric, d. 1072, to Exeter Cathedral

The Annals of Inisfallen

MS. Rawl. B. 503 – ‘The Annals of Inisfallen’, a chronicle in Latin and Irish of world and Irish history from a Munster viewpoint, first transcribed in the late 11th century (to 1092) perhaps at Emly, Co. Tipperary, but supplemented by many later hands up to the 15th century, probably at the island monastery of Inisfallen, Killarney.

Astronomical texts

MS. Digby 93 – Astronomical texts, in Latin but including translations from the Arabic, primarily an English compilation of the 15th century.


Hebrew Bible

MS. Bodl. Or. 804 – Hebrew Bible and other Jewish religious writings, created between 1275 and 1325.

Map of the north coast of France

MS. Ashmole 1352, fol. 2r – 15th century French map of the Channel coast, printed on parchment with wood blocks

Map of the British Isles

Auct. K 1.17 – Map of Great Britain and Ireland made in 1462, part of the first printed atlas, from Ptolemy’s Cosmographia.



MS. Gr. th. f. 1 – A small church calendar with little text, containing images which commemorate feasts and saints for every day of the year; made for Demetrios I Palaeologos, despot of Thessalonike 1322-c.1365

Euclid’s Elementa

MS. D’Orville 301  – The oldest surviving manuscript of the commoner version of Euclid’s text, as edited by Theon of Alexandria in the 4th century AD. It was bought for 14 gold coins (nomismata) by Arethas of Patrae (bishop of Caesarea, 902-c. 939), who added many notes in his small uncial hand. Arethas’s note stating that the scribe Stephanos finished the transcription in September AD 888 makes it the oldest manuscript of a classical Greek author to carry a precise date.

St. Dunstan’s Classbook

MS. Auct. F. 4. 32 – This manuscript includes ‘St. Dunstan’s Classbook’: Eutyches, with Old Breton glosses, 9th century; Homily on the Invention of the Cross in Old English, 11th century; ‘Liber Commonei’ and Ovid’s Ars amatoria, Bk. I, Wales, 9th century; additions related to St. Dunstan, Glastonbury, 10th century.


Last month, the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford officially launched their Digital.Bodleian online resource, which allows users to view, download and share over 100,000 images going back to the Middle Ages. These include the Gough Map, the oldest map of Great Britain, images of Victorian board games, and even a collection of 20th century political posters.

“Digital.Bodleian will bring together the riches of the Bodleian’s digitization programme over the last 20 years and will allow people to discover our unique collections through a single, innovative interface,” said Lucie Burgess, Associate Director for Digital Libraries at the Bodleian Libraries. “It’s a dynamic project so the site will continue to grow as we add 1.5 million images from previous digitization projects, and from digital projects going forwards.”

Click here to visit the Digital.Bodleian

Image from the Menologion, a 14th century Byzantine work, now online courtesy Digital.Bodleian
Image from the Menologion, a 14th century Byzantine work, now online courtesy Digital.Bodleian


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