Ancient fund: manuscripts

The collection consisting of approximately 2.180 manuscripts reflecting a variety of periods and subjects. The vast majority comes from disentailed collections, while a small group comes from the former University of Cervera. The ancient cathedral of Girona has also contributed 54 manuscripts, which were purchased in 1857 by Marià Aguiló and are now the oldest and most valuable in the collection. In general, the collection contains medieval manuscripts that date from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries, with a clear predominance of religious subject matter. Many of the manuscripts feature beautiful miniatures. The oldest manuscript, which dates from the tenth century, contains a commentary on St Matthew by St Jerome and a commentary on St Mark by the Venerable Bede
The most valuable nucleus corresponds to the manuscripts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with important pieces for history and Catalan, Spanish and Latin literature. The Crònica del rei Jaume of 1343 stands out, the first version in Catalan preserved.
Regarding the manuscripts from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, Catalan chronicles and chronicles of religious orders stand out, such as the Annals del convent de Santa Caterina de Barcelona. Special mention must also go to El Livro de Duarte Barbosa of 1524, a description of geography and trade along the coastline of the Indian Ocean, and a celebrated cookbook known as the Book of Sent Soví, accompanied by a treatise on perfume, a treatise on confectionary, and two treatises on veterinary medicine in Catalan by Manuel Dies de Calatayud which are all included in the Miscel·lània catalana: Ms. 68.
The Rare Book and Manuscript CRAI Library houses a small collection of manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Coptic, Ottoman Turkish and Armenian. You can also find a Chinese grammar, books of sermons in Filipino Tagalog and in Cebuano. And, in Ms. 1808, a glossary and a conversation guide for some indigenous languages in the Guyana area still being spoken in the eighteenth century.
The collection also preserves 59 volumes, often in large format, of catalogues from convent libraries that have come to the University of Barcelona.
A large number of manuscripts have the added value of containing miniatures, initials, borders and other decorations. More than a hundred are considered to be of major artistic value, including the previously mentioned  The Crònica del rei Jaume, several books of hours, a copy of The Rule of St Benedict from the scriptorium of Ripoll, manuscrits humanistes italians, bíblies, llibres jurídics, etc.

 F. Miquel Rosell. Inventario general de manuscritos de la biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona.  Madrid : Direcciones Generales de Enseñanza Universitaria y de Archivos y Bibliotecas, 1958-1969.


Contains descriptions of manuscripts 1 to 2030. PDF version in the University of Barcelona Digital Repositori

There is an inventory in the University of Barcelona Digital Repository for manuscripts 2031 to 2178. 

Various complementary indexes of the inventory of Miquel Rosell are also available:

 Provisional index of volumes 1-3 of the inventory of F. Miquel Rosell. Miquel Rosell.  

Ordered by subject and author. Indicates the volume and page number in the inventory.

PDF version available in the University of Barcelona Digital Repository

 Provisional index  of volume 4 of the inventory of F. Miquel Rosell.   Divided in two parts: by author and by subject. Indicates the manuscript number in the inventory. 

PDF version available in the University of Barcelona Digital Repository

 Chronological table  of manuscripts. 

 Table of correspondence between ancient and modern signatures.

More than 600 manuscripts are listed in the online catalogue, under the category Genre = manuscripts
Catàlegs manuscritsCatàlegs manuscrits

Catalogue of manuscripts in convent libraries


Manuscripts recovered by Marià Aguiló 
Literary Boards of the Royal College of Surgery of Barcelona 



Manuscripts on the Spanish War of SuccessionManuscripts in Arabic and in Oriental languages 
Manuscrits hebreus
Hebrew manuscripts and manuscripts in Aramaic 



We know the provenance of our books because of handwritten or printed marks of ownership (ex–libris, ex–donos, stamps, coats of arms, etc.) that are found in them. The former owners are documented and their marks of ownership are digitalized and appear in the database of former owners.
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MCEM Base de dades de manuscrits catalans de l’Època Moderna
 Memòria personal


If you want to know how to cite the old collection and use the images of the Rare Book and Manuscript CRAI Library in your academic work, access the resource The old collection of academic work: some recommendations (Catalan)