Navigation on Burgerbibliothek of Berne - English

Personal tools

Content navigation

Bongarsiana / Codices

Image caption:
Portrait of Jacques Bongars. Reference: Bongars J Neg.-No. 4714 E

The Bongarsiana/Codices section consists of the internationally important collection of French humanist and diplomat Jacques Bongars (1554—1612), including 650 mediaeval and Early Modern manuscripts and about 150 fragments which come largely from monasteries in and around Orleans and Strasbourg. There are also a further 3000 printed items which are in the care of the Centre for Historic Collections of the University Library of Berne. After Bongars’ death, the book collection went to his heir, the Strasbourg son of a banker Jakob Graviseth, who married the daughter of Berne’s mayor, Salome von Erlach. That was how the Bongarsiana collection went first from Strasbourg to Basel and then in 1632 came to Berne’s library.

The old Bernese collection includes 125 manuscripts from monasteries that were dissolved during the Reformation and from the private libraries of scholars and members of the clergy. Donations and acquisitions added about 200 European manuscripts to the collection, mostly from the Early Modern period, as well as 60 Oriental, 40 Greek and 30 Hebrew manuscripts. Today the Bongarsiana/Codices section comprises over 1100 manuscripts. Please book in advance to use the collection. 118 digitised manuscripts can be viewed via the virtual manuscripts library e-codices.

Manuscripts catalogues

Image caption:
Guillaume de Machaut: Oeuvres, 1371. Reference : Cod. 218, f. 27r

The manuscripts in the Bongarsiana/Codices section can be searched using the Online Archive Catalogue. Important additional information is available in the various printed catalogues about the complete holding or about particular collections.

Hermann Hagen
Catalogus codicum Bernensium (Bibliotheca Bongarsiana), edidit et praefatus est Hermannus Hagen, Bern 1875. Reprint: Hildesheim 1974. Contains descriptions of the codices numbers 1—722 in the manuscript collection known as the Bongarsiana (incl. those also marked with the letters A, AA, etc. up to F, a total of 1000 codices, two thirds of them mediaeval); various indices included in the Appendix. Online version of the catalogue

The numbers 723—870 that were not described by Hagen are listed in the Online Archive Catalogue or in the short description of Martin Germann.

Otto Homburger
Die illustrierten Handschriften der Burgerbibliothek Bern, die vorkarolingischen und karolingischen Handschriften. Berne 1962. Contains descriptions of 57 illuminated manuscripts up to the end of the 9th century. 

Olivia Franz-Klauser
Die hebräischen Handschriften. Verzeichnis mit Einleitung. Special edition from: Judaica. Beiträge zum Verstehen des Judentums 55 (1999), Vol. 4, p. 247—271. Contains a description of 30 manuscripts.

Renate Würsch
Die orientalischen Handschriften der Burgerbibliothek Bern. Katalog, unter Verwendung der Vorarbeiten von Sven Bretfeld, Glen Dudbridge, Andreas Kaplony, Suishû Tomoko Klopfenstein-Arii, Heike Moser, Gudrun Schubert und Veronika Six. Wiesbaden 2007. 193 pages, with illustrations. Contains an introduction and the first description of 84 manuscripts, 1 manuscript fragment and one Chinese woodblock print in Arabic, Ethiopian, Turkish and Persian.

Patrick Andrist
Les manuscrits grecs conservés à la Bibliothèque de la Bourgeoisie de Berne. Catalogue et histoire de la collection. Dietikon-Zurich 2007. 349 pages, with illustrations; 1 CD-ROM. Contains a description of 39 manuscripts.

Further informations

Online-Archivkatalog colored