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Manuscripts

A travel through history
The University Library has a large collection of manuscripts, everything from complete collections named after their former owners or contents, to manuscripts arranged by subject.

Pedigree book
An autograph book that once belonged to the German humanist Daniel Hermann (1543–1601).

 

Some examples of what you can find in our manuscript collections:

Greek papyruses

Among the oldest manuscripts is a collection of approximately 800 papyruses from Egypt, written in Greek during the centuries around the birth of Christ. The content of the fragments is varied: a passage from the Iliad, private letters, an astronomic calendar, receipts, tenancy documents, etc.

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A papyrus fragment describing a magic formula for curing illnesses.

Medieval manuscripts

The oldest preserved Nordic manuscript, Necrologium Lundense, Lund’s registry of deaths, is also in the University Library. It is part of a collection of medieval manuscripts covering approximately 70 volumes, of which several come from the old library of Lund Cathedral. Most of the manuscripts are in Latin but there are also texts in other languages such as Syrian, Greek, Russian, Flemish, German, French, Danish and Swedish.

A sheet from Liber daticus vetustior
A sheet from Liber daticus vetustior – also known as the martyrologium of the Lund cathedral – from around 1135.

Manuscripts from East Turkestan

Oriental manuscripts have been incorporated in the University Library collections since the start of the 1700s. In the 1980s, language scholar and ambassador Gunnar Jarring donated his collection of manuscripts from East Turkestan to the library. It consists of approximately 600 manuscripts from the present-day province of Xinjiang in western China, which has been the home of the muslim Uyghur people of Central Asia for 1000 years. The Uyghur culture had no printed books until well into the 1900s so these manuscripts, mainly from the 1800s but also earlier, constitute its only written record. They cover everything from manuals for rain-making to pilgrim handbooks and cosmographic works. Parts of the collection were compiled by Jarring himself during his many trips to the region, while others came with the Swedish missionaries who were active there between 1894 and 1938. The University Library’s collection of Uyghur manuscripts is one of the most extensive in the world.

 

 

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