With about 1800 codices and over a thousand fragments Leiden’s collection of medieval manuscripts (up to ca. 1550) is the largest in the Netherlands.
- Manuscripts by origin
- Manuscripts by language
- Dated manuscripts
- Illuminated manuscripts
- Composite manuscripts
- Fragment collections
- Information retrieval: databases
- Information retrieval: printed catalogues
- Information retrieval: internet selections
Insofar as they can be localized, most manuscripts have been produced in the (medieval) Netherlands (its southern parts form today’s Belgium; ca. 520), followed by France (ca. 480), Italy (ca. 380) and the German countries (ca. 170). These numbers (and others below) are estimates; quite a few manuscripts can be localized or dated only roughly, consist of two of more separate production units or contain texts in more than one language.
- Latin manuscripts — In total ca. 1.140 items, with over a hundred dating from the ninth century. Among these Carolingian manuscripts are the Aratea (VLQ 79), the oldest manuscripts of Lucretius’ De rerum natura (VLF 30, VLQ 94) and of Cicero’s philosophical texts (VLF 84, VLF 86, BPL 118).
- Greek manuscripts — In total ca. 330 codices (among which one of the earliest bible manuscripts on parchment: VGQ 8)
- Dutch manuscripts — In total ca. 400 items (LTK: ca. 260).
- Manuscripts in other languages — French ca. 60 items, German ca. 40 items.
In total 190 dated manuscripts are included in CMD-NL: Manuscrits datés conservés dans les Pays-Bas. Catalogue paléographique des manuscrits en écriture latine portant des indications de date. Vol. 1. G.I. Lieftinck, Les manuscrits d’origine étrangère, 816-c.1550 (Amsterdam 1964); Vol. 2. J.P. Gumbert, Les manuscrits d’origine Néerlandaise (XIVe-XVIe siècles) et supplément au tome premier (Leiden 1988).
In total ca. 480 illuminated manuscripts are included in the Byvanck-database (Royal Library, The Hague). This database (which will be published on the internet in the near future) describes all miniatures, historiated initials, drawings, marginal decoration and decorated initials of manuscripts produced in the medieval Netherlands (kept worldwide), including those kept in Dutch institutions but produced elsewhere.
There are ca. 210 composite manuscripts, i.e. codices with a multiple genesis (consisting of two or more codicological units). On this subject see J.P. Gumbert, ‘Codicological Units. Towards a Terminology for the Stratigraphy of the Non-Homogeneous Codex’, in: Segno e Test 2 (2004).
Ever since the late nineteenth century medieval fragments have been taken from old library bindings, in the process of restoration. This has been the main ‘source’ for the fragment collections. These collections received various shelfmarks in the last century: BPL 2144, BPL 2454, BPL 2513, BPL 2514, BPL 2515, BPL 2552, BPL 2641, BPL 2705, BPL 2888, BPL 3001, BPL 3252, BPL 3254, BPL 3255, BPL 3327, BPL 3503, BPL 3504. Furthermore, important identified fragments have been described individually, using separate shelfmarks, (like a fragment with the oldest text in Breton language: VLF 96 A). Nearly all fragments are described in Gumbert 2009.
Digital Special Collections contains collection level descriptions, item descriptions as well as digital images of medieval manuscripts:
— The following collections contain medieval manuscripts (but not exclusively):
D’Ablaing. — In de Betouw. — Bibliotheca Publica Graeca. — Bibliotheca Publica Latina. — Burman. — Gronovius. — Hemsterhuis. — Lipsius. — Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde: Manuscripts (Society of Dutch Literature). — Marchand. — Meijers. — Perizonius. — Ruhnkenius. — Scaliger. — Vossius. — Vulcanius
- Item descriptions — All medieval codices are described separately in the database; the fragments are for the greater part not specified: D’Ablaing (42 items). — In de Betouw (4 items). — Bibliotheca Publica Graeca (ca. 90 items). — Bibliotheca Publica Latina (ca. 670 items). — Burman (5 items). — Gronovius (35 items). — Lipsius (25 items). — Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature) (ca. 290 items). — Marchand (1 items). — Meijers (9 items). — Perizonius (ca. 55 items). — Ruhnkenius (4 items). — Scaliger (ca. 35 items). — Vossius (ca. 480 items, of which codices latini: ca. 325, codices graeci: ca. 100, codices miscellanei: 15, codices germano-gallici: 14; codices chymici: ca. 30). — Vulcanius (ca. 50 items). The literature section of the short titles contains references to all relevant printed catalogues (listed below).
- Digital images — The database contains a growing number of digital images. Of nearly all medieval manuscripts some specimens have been included. Some manuscripts are completely digitized in colour, like an early medieval herbal (VLQ 9) and a Dutch manuscript from 1486 with Dirc Potter’s Der minnen loep (The course of love; LTK 205).
The following printed catalogues (links to the Catalogue) describe medieval manuscript (nearly always in greater detail than Digital Special Collections):
- Catalogus 1716 (& suppl. 1741) — Bibliotheca Publica Latina, Bibliotheca Publica Graeca, Vulcanius, Scaliger, Vossius, Perizonius
- Geel 1852 — Bibliotheca Publica Latina (new accessions), Bibliotheca Publica Graeca (new accessions), In de Betouw, Burmannus, Gronovius, Lipsius, Marchand, Oudendorp, Perizonius (new accessions), Ruhnkenius
- Rogge 1887 — Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch Literature)
- Molhuysen 1910a — Vulcanius
- Molhuysen 1910b — Scaliger
- Molhuysen 1912 — Bibliotheca Publica Latina (selection)
- De Meyier 1946 — Perizonius
- Lieftinck 1948 — Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde (Society of Dutch literature; selection)
- De Meyier 1955 — Vossius (graeci, miscellanei)
- De Meyier 1965 — Bibliotheca Publica Graeca
- Boeren 1970 — D’Ablaing, Meijers
- De Meyier 1973-1984 — Vossius (latini)
- Boeren 1975 — Vossius (chymici)
- Gumbert 1984 — Gronovius, Burman, In de Betouw, Marchand, Ruhnkenius (selection)
- Gumbert 1985 — Lipsius (selection)
- Gumbert 1994 (article) - French medieval manuscripts
- Gumbert 1996 (article) — Medieval Cicero manuscripts
- Gumbert 2009 — Bibliotheca Publica Latina (including fragments)
- Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections — manuscripts in Latin script kept in Dutch public institutions (fragments excluded)
- Bibliotheca Neerlandica Manuscripta — Dutch manuscripts kept worldwide
- Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts — illuminated manuscripts kept in the Royal Library and the Museum Meermanno, The Hague
- Interactieve presentatie handschriften — interactive presentation of the illuminated manuscripts kept in the Royal Library and the Museum Meermanno [in Dutch]
- Bibliotheekgids KB — guide to libraries and documentation services, in the Netherlands and worldwide
- Manuscripta Mediaevalia — manuscripts kept in German libraries; with rich collection of links to electronic catalogues, digitized manuscripts, research tools etc.
- Digital Scriptorium — manuscripts kept in libraries in the United States
- CERL Portal — for cross-file searching of several (international) manuscripts databases
- Kristeller: Latin manuscript books before 1600 — overview of printed catalogues covering manuscripts collections worldwide
- Repositories of Primary Sources — collections of links to special collections kept worldwide
- Digitized Medieval Manuscripts — overview of manuscripts digitized worldwide, compiled by Giulio Menna and Marjolein de Vos