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Medieval Manuscripts from Würzburg in the Bodleian Library: a descriptive catalogue

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Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

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The Bodleian Library possesses a significant collection of Latin medieval manuscripts from Germany, most of them acquired and donated by Archbishop Laud in the 1630s. They are precious survivals from the period of the Thirty Years' War. Their significance arises not just from the number of individual manuscripts but from the fact that they represent substantial portions of the libraries of ecclesiastical houses in Würzburg, Mainz, and Eberbach.

This book presents a detailed description of the fifty-six manuscripts from Würzburg in the Bodleian, most of them from the cathedral chapter (the Domstift St. Kilian). The majority date from the ninth century, and are extremely important from a textual and palaeographical point of view: they constitute the most important single library of Carolingian manuscripts in the British Isles. Würzburg was one of the leading Anglo-Saxon foundations on the continent of Europe, planting cultural roots which are manifested in almost every aspect of the manuscripts themselves.

The catalogue provides authoritative and superbly detailed descriptions of these manuscripts in all their aspects, especially their texts — there are many important early copies of the texts of the Church Fathers — and their scripts, some of whose forms are unique to Würzburg. Detailed attention is also paid to the physical characteristics of the manuscripts, their decoration, binding and provenance. Each of the manuscripts is illustrated.