The manuscript database you can access here has been planned as the main output of the Innovating Knowledge project. It contains structured information on all surviving and identified early medieval codices transmitting Isidore’s Etymologiae. It has a threefold ambition:

  • to serve as a digital tool for querying and studying manuscripts, and accessing their digital facsimiles;
  • to provide a valuable dataset of manuscript metadata that can be downloaded and reused by other researchers; and
  • to supersede older printed manuscript catalogues of the Etymologiae (we hope that a print-friendly e-catalogue will be eventually added in the future).

This database is, in many ways, a digital heir of the printed handlist of the manuscripts of the Etymologiae published in 1966 by José María Fernández Catón from the notes left behind by the German philologist August Eduard Anspach. Anspach was tasked with producing a new critical edition of the Etymologiae by the Corpus scriptorum ecclesiasticorum latinorum in 1912. For the next thirty years, Anspach collected information on surviving manuscripts and collated them, if he deemed them good witnesses. At the end of his life, he could account for almost 1,200 manuscripts transmitting Isidore’s magnum opus, including almost 300 that he assigned to the early Middle Ages. This database can now update this number to 478 manuscripts. This is almost certainly not the final count as some early medieval witnesses of the Etymologiae remain to be identified and accounted for. Since a digital database can be updated, expanded, and corrected, the hope is that it will continue to grow and serve as a platform to accommodate new discoveries!

Learn more about various aspects of the database: