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Collections News (page 2)

Collections News (page 2)

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Cataloging is complete for the private library of Saʻīd Shāmāyā in Alqūsh, Iraq (PLA SSh). Shāmāyā (born 1929) is a contemporary poet and author working in both Arabic and Neo-Aramaic. The collection includes drafts of his poems, short stories, plays, and other works, including works composed under a pseudonym during the decade he spent in hiding under the rule of Saddam Hussein. View now

Cataloging is complete for the collection of the Dominican Fathers of Baghdad (DFB). Along with recent scholarly works in French and Arabic, the collection includes a manuscript containing two sacred texts from Iraq's minority Mandaean community. View now

Cataloging is complete for the Kfarbo parish of the Greek Orthodox Church in Ḥamāh, Syria (KFARBO). The collection includes the parish's full complement of liturgical books, primarily in Arabic with small portions in Greek, and dates from the 17th to the 19th century. The oldest dated item in the collection is a Horologion printed in Bucharest in 1702 by Antim Ivireanul, a famous early printer of Georgian origin. View now

Cataloging is complete for the private library of ʻAzīz Qāshā in Karamlīs, Iraq (PLK AQ). Qāshā was a poet working in both Neo-Aramaic and Arabic who died in 2013, and the collection includes drafts and copies of his poems. View now

Cataloging is complete for the collection of St. Peter's Chaldean Patriarchal Seminary (SPSCPI) in Baghdad, a collection of nine manuscripts photographed by HMML's partners at the Centre Numérique des Manuscrits Orientaux. The majority of the items in this small collection are homiletic or liturgical in nature, in Arabic or Syriac. The collection includes one of the first Arabic books printed in the Middle East, a devotional work by a Spanish Jesuit printed at the Lebanese monastery of Shuwayr in 1734. Less expected items include a 1910 geometry textbook in Ottoman Turkish and an 1893 collection of stories in Turkish Garshuni (Turkish written in Syriac script). View now

The manuscripts from the collection of Mar Sarkis and Bakhos Syrian Orthodox Church of Qarah Qūsh have now been fully cataloged and are available for viewing in HMML Reading Room. The church, named after the saints Sergius and Bacchus, is likely the oldest church in Qaraqosh, a village that is now known as Bakhdida, Iraq. This church of Mar Sarkis and Bakhos was badly damaged in attacks by ISIS between 2014 and 2016, making the preservation of these manuscripts in 2010 all the more significant.

The collection consists of 80 manuscripts, almost entirely in Syriac script. The majority of the manuscripts were copied in the 18th and 19th centuries, though some date earlier. MSBSOCQ 00058, for example, is a Fenqīthō (liturgical manuscript) dated to 1579 CE. Given that this collection comes from a church, it is not surprising that the contents of the manuscripts are primarily liturgical. Some of the manuscripts were copied in Qaraqosh, providing evidence of the local scribal culture among the Syriac Orthodox community there. View now

In the 10th century, a Benedictine community was established at the site of the hermitage (“Einsiedler” = hermit) of Saint Meinrad (797-861 CE). From 965 until 1806, the abbot of Einsiedeln was also a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. The reputation of the monastic library’s collection drew the attention of the early planners of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. Father Oliver Kapsner, OSB, visited Einsiedeln already in late 1964, hoping to obtain permission to photograph their manuscripts. Unfortunately for Father Oliver, the Swiss librarians had already agreed to refuse any such offer. Nevertheless, in this same period he was able to garner cooperation with monastic libraries in Austria and turned his attention to these. While no work could be done in the 1960s, three decades later (in 1997) HMML staff returned to Einsiedeln, where they microfilmed 580 manuscripts and collections of fragments. Many of these manuscripts date from the 8th to the 10th centuries, but the collection includes hundreds of manuscripts from throughout the Middle Ages.

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library has now added updated records for all of these manuscripts to its Reading Room ( In recent years, Swiss scholars have digitized almost 80 of these manuscripts and made them available at the e-codices website ( In such cases, HMML has added links in the Reading Room records to the digitized versions.

With the addition of the online records for the Abbey of Einsiedeln, the descriptions of approximately 1000 manuscripts microfilmed by HMML in Switzerland are now complete. View now

The Tribunal Armamentorum or Magistrato degli Armamenti was founded by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt on June 17, 1605. It was constituted by four knights of different langues and a secular judge nominated by the Grand Master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The Tribunal heard and judged all cases regarding corsairs with a second and final appeal to Rome. An index by Giuseppe Carbone was prepared in the late nineteenth century. The project began in 2022 and ended in 2023. View now

The collection of the library of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch is now cataloged and available in HMML Reading Room. Manuscripts from this collection date from as early as 1231 CE through the first half of the 20th century, with most originating in the 18th century (174 manuscripts). One significant feature of this collection is its provenance. Manuscript pages show seals, signatures, and gift and ownership notes that bear witness to several collectors and the transition of manuscripts from hand to hand. For example, several people gave their manuscripts, while living or posthumously, to the famous beloved Melkite Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Gregory IV Ḥaddād, who later deposited his entire collection with the patriarchate. Many manuscripts came from the library of another famous donor, the historian ʻĪsá Iskandar Maʻlūf, and his children. Some manuscripts moved through multiple hands as a part of their rich history.

The collection offers new texts available in Reading Room for the first time, showcasing many traditions.

Many of the manuscripts underwent conservation, which included rebinding old and fragile manuscripts, in the first decade of this century. This process was led by the curator of the collection, Dr. Jūzīf Zaytūn, and restoration expert Rajāʼ Rājiḥah. View now

Cataloging is complete for two new collections from Yemen: the libraries of the al-Sirājī (Maktabat al-Ḥasan ibn Qāsim al-Sirājī) and al-ʻAntharī (Maktabat al-ʻAntharī) families. Images were provided by the Zaydi Manuscript Tradition project at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

The al-Sirājī library includes 62 manuscripts on a variety of topics such as Zaydī law, hadith, and theology, along with numerous examples of poetry. The oldest dated manuscript in the collection is a commentary on the Qurʼan from 1426 (ZMT 02999), but there are several undated manuscripts that are likely significantly older. On the other hand, some manuscripts in the collection were produced as recently as 2002 (ZMT 02973), generally containing texts by members of the al-Sirājī family themselves. The al-Sirājī family originates from the town of Ḥūth, and several manuscripts contain important genealogical information on the notable families of Ḥūth, accompanied by complex family tree diagrams. View now

The al-ʻAntharī collection includes 13 manuscripts of important texts on law, hadith, and theology, with dates ranging from 1588 (ZMT 03062) to 1862 (ZMT 03059). Both collections are entirely Arabic, with the exception of one manuscript in the al-Sirājī library (ZMT 02965) that contains a small amount of Ottoman Turkish.  View now

Cataloging has been updated and completed for the collections of two Syriac Orthodox churches in Mosul, both known as al-Ṭāhirah. 16 manuscripts were digitized from Kanīsat al-Ṭāhirah al-Khārijīyah (SOCTM), which is the older of the two churches, often referred to as the Upper al-Ṭāhirah or the Outer al-Ṭāhirah.  Kanīsat al-Ṭāhirah al-Dākhilīyah (SOCTQM) is located in the al-Qalʻah district, and 57 manuscripts from its collections have also been cataloged. The manuscripts of both collections are overwhelmingly liturgical in nature, reflecting the books most commonly used for liturgical services (Fenqithos, Lectionaries, etc.). Most of the manuscripts are written in Syriac, though some are in Arabic Garshuni.

The manuscripts from the SOCTQM collection tend to be more modern (18th-20th centuries), although there is at least one manuscript dated to 1607 (SOCTQM 00034 – a collection of prayers), while the SOCTM collection has several older manuscripts, including four from the 13th century, all likely copied by the same scribe. Several of the manuscripts originated from nearby villages (such as Qaraqosh) or from the famous Dayr Mār Mattā, a monastery outside of Mosul. These important manuscript collections attest to the significance and longevity of the Syriac Orthodox community in and around Mosul. View now , View now

The Benedictine abbey of Engelberg was founded in 1120 by Count Conrad of Sellenbüren, with the support from Muri Abbey and Saint Blaise’s Abbey in the Black Forest. During the abbacy of Frowin (1143/1147 to 1178), the monastery’s scriptorium was founded and flourished over the next few decades.

In 1995, HMML’s field director, Father Aelred Tegels, OSB, led the project to film approximately 290 manuscripts and collections of fragments, dating from the 7th to the 17th century. The collection covers many areas of monastic studies, including theology, liturgy, and prayer books. View now

Cataloging for the collection of Mar Thoma Theological Seminary in Kottayam, India (HMML project code APSTCH MTS) has been completed. This small collection of manuscripts belongs to the library of the seminary for the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and it is primarily composed of biblical and liturgical literature. In particular, there are a number of copies of the Anaphora, used for the liturgy of the mass in the Syriac tradition. Given the number of these manuscripts in the collection, it is likely that they were used, studied, and perhaps even copied by students at the seminary over the years. View now

All the Syriac manuscripts from the collection of the Major Archbishop’s house in Ernakulam, Kerala, India have now been cataloged and made available in HMML Reading Room (project code APSTCH EMAP). This collection is primarily composed of liturgical materials for use by the Syro Malabar Church.

Of particular note are nine copies of the Psalter according to the East Syriac rite, complete with canons of Mar Aba I and other paratextual features added by Theodore of Mopsuestia. These Psalter manuscripts also each contain a copy of an East Syriac liturgical work known as the “Before and After” (Ktābā da-qdām wa-d-bātar), a collection of readings and prayers for the daily office. In addition to these liturgical manuscripts, there are also a number of grammatical manuscripts that demonstrate the bilingual nature of the Syro Malabar liturgical tradition (employing both Syriac and Malayalam). The most significant manuscript in this collection is a 16th-century copy of the Nomocanon of ʻAbdīshōʻ bar Brīkā. It is remarkable that this manuscript survived because the Nomocanon was formally banned by the Synod of Diamper in 1599. View now

Housed in a former Carmelite monastery (built in 1628-1631) in Graz, the Provincial Archives of Styria (Steiermärkisches Landesarchiv) was established in 1868 with collections from the Landesmuseum Joanneum and elsewhere. It is the official state archive for Styria. While HMML microfilmed many manuscripts here, the primary preservation work was with archival collections from monasteries closed in the 1770s and 1780s.

These include records from the Cistercian abbey of Neuberg, (near Judenburg, Austria), the Augustinian houses at Seckau, Rottenmann, and Stainz, and a Benedictine house at Göss. In addition, two smaller collections from Carthusian houses in present-day Slovenia (Kloster Jurklošter and Kartuzija Žiče) were also filmed. Finally, a very large collection of approximately 15,000 late medieval and early modern documents (13th to 16th centuries) were preserved, as well. Records for all microfilms from the Steiermärkisches Landesarchiv are now available in Reading Room. View now

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