110,000 pages of Middle Eastern manuscripts digitised

Leiden University Libraries (UBL) and Brill have joined forces to digitise almost 110,000 pages of Middle Eastern manuscripts to be found in three core collections.

Illustration of the phases of the Moon (Or. 133, Golius collection)

Illustration of the phases of the Moon (Or. 133, Golius collection)

The Leiden University has a world-famous research collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts. Its earliest collections consist of the volumes brought together by, among others, the Leiden Orientalists Joseph Justus Scaliger (1540-1609) and Jacobus Golius (1596-1667). Included in the Scaliger collection are about a dozen manuscripts which belonged to Franciscus Raphelengius (1539-1597). These three collections consist of extremely rare, sometimes unique, manuscripts.

The largest collection by far is that of Jacobus Golius, who acquired more than 200 manuscripts for the University during his stay in Aleppo and Istanbul between 1626 and 1629.  His selection reflects the interests of a scholar who combined his professorship of Arabic at Leiden with the chair of mathematics, with texts on astronomy, algebra, geometry and physics. His private manuscript collection is preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.


Digitisation project Pioneer Orientalists

Jacobus Golius (1596-1667), Professor of Arabic and Mathematics at Leiden (Collection Academisch Historisch Museum)

Jacobus Golius (1596-1667), Professor of Arabic and Mathematics at Leiden (Collection Academisch Historisch Museum)

The UBL and Brill have joined forces to digitise the manuscripts from three of the libraries' core Oriental collections, now published online under the title Pioneer Orientalists: The Manuscript Collections of Scaliger, Raphelengius and Golius from Leiden University Library. The publication consists of 267 manuscripts in 303 volumes with a total of 109,517 pages in full-colour, high-definition images. Most texts are in Arabic, with Ottoman Turkish and Persian as secondary languages.

As part of the project, thirty manuscripts were restored by the UBL. The digital images were made by Dr. Harald Fischer Verlag of Erlangen, Germany.


Access

Free access is provided to Leiden University campus users (ULCN account holders). Other users are requested to contact Brill for conditions and prices.

Read also

The press release by Brill on the Pioneer Orientalists
The Middle Eastern collections of the UBL

Last Modified: 17-02-2012