Collection Items

  • Book/Printed Material
    Codex Colombino.
    Códice Colombino
    This document was created to record the 11th-century military and political feats of the Mixtec Lord Eight-Deer (also known as Tiger Claw) as well as those of another ruler, Four-Wind, along with the religious ceremonies marking these feats. The codex, thought to have been created in the 12th century, was acquired by the National Museum around 1891 and was reproduced in 1892. The life...
    • Date: 1100

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  • Map
    Codex Totomixtlahuaca.
    Códice Totomixtlahuaca
    This indigenous pictographic document is a colonial-era map from the Mixtecan, Tlapaneca, and Nahua cultural area in the present-day state of Guerrero, Mexico. It refers, principally, to the settlement called Totomixtlahuacan and states that the document was written in 1584. It is an indigenous colonial map that makes abundant use of Mesoamerican pictorial conventions and includes many texts written in Nahuatl, the most widespread...
    • Date: 1584
  • Book/Printed Material
    Codex of Huamantla.
    Códice de Huamantla
    The context in which this codex was created is unknown, but its purpose clearly is to tell the story of the Otomi people of Huamantla. The center of the painting depicts the migration of a group of Otomi from Chiapan, in the present-day state of Mexico, to Huamantla, which is located in present-day Tlaxcala state. The migration, which took place in the Post-Classical period,...
    • Date: 1592

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  • Book/Printed Material
    Techialoyan Codex of Cuajimalpa.
    Códice Techialoyan de Cuajimalpa
    The Techialoyan Codex of Cuajimalpa is one of the Techialoyan codices, the generic name for a group of documents produced by the same team of people in a wide area of central Mexico, mostly from 1685 to 1703. The codex describes a meeting of the notables of the town of San Pedro Cuajimalpa, held to confirm the territorial limits of the town, the places...
    • Date: 1685

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  • Book/Printed Material
    Chavero Codex of Huexotzingo.
    Códice Chavero de Huexotzingo
    The Chavero Codex concerns economics and taxation. It is written in Latin characters and contains 18 plates of glyphs and numerical counts using the Mesoamerican system of numbers and measurement, with variations that originated in the region of Huexotzingo (in present-day Puebla, Mexico). The codex is a part of the documentation of a judicial proceeding in the royal court, initiated by the community of...
    • Date: 1578
  • Book/Printed Material
    Marquesado del Valle Codex.
    Códice del Marquesado del Valle
    This exceptionally valuable file contains 28 separate petitions from different leaders and towns of the Marquesado del Valle, protesting seizures of lands and sugar mills by Hernán Cortés, the first marquess. The Marquesado comprised the present-day Mexican state of Morelos as well as parts of the states of Puebla, Oaxaca, and Mexico. The great sugar plantations that Cortés created were organized by renting, buying,...
    • Contributor: Indian Nobles and Towns of the Marquesado Del Valle
    • Date: 1550

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  • Book/Printed Material
    Codex on the Flight of Birds.
    Codice sul volo degli uccelli
    In addition to creating masterpieces of Renaissance art, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was interested in technology. He developed plans for a number of inventions, some with potential military uses, including a kind of armored tank and a deep-sea diving suit. Of the many subjects that Leonardo studied, he was particularly fascinated by the possibility of human mechanical flight. He produced more than 35,000 words...
    • Contributor: Leonardo, Da Vinci
    • Date: 1505

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  • Book/Printed Material
    Beato of Liébana: The Codex of Fernando I and Doña Sancha.
    Beato de Liébana: códice de Fernando I y Dña. Sancha
    Around the year 776, a monk by the name of Beato or Beatus, possibly the abbot of the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, wrote a work entitled Comentarios al Apocalipsis (Commentary on the apocalypse), which had an extraordinary success in the following five centuries. Thanks to his great erudition, Beato combined in this text, as a summa, many commentaries on the topic of...
    • Contributor: Facundo - Beatus, Saint, Presbyter of Liebana, Died 798
    • Date: 1047

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  • Book/Printed Material
    The Waymarks to Benefits. This manuscript, dated AH 1294 (AD 1877), contains a copy of a very famous prayer book by the Moroccan Sufi, Muḥammad al-Jazūlī (died 1465), with the title Dalā'il al-Khayrāt (The Waymarks to Benefits). The work exists in many manuscripts and is one of the most widely copied Islamic texts. The opening section consists of the 99 names of Allah, followed by prayers and blessings...
    • Contributor: Jazūlī, Muḥammad Ibn Sulaymān, 1465 - Efendi, Kayishzade Hafiz Osman Nuri, 1894
    • Date: 1877
  • Book/Printed Material
    Antiphonarium Bratislaviense. This illuminated folio with Metz Gothic musical notation comes from the liturgical codex of Canon Jan Han, who was a client of the Bratislava Chapter and the purchaser of this antiphonary. The illuminated initial "S" (Sanctum) with the first two martyrs of the Christian Church, Saint Stephen and Saint Lawrence, accompanied by Saint Vitus, is supplemented by the label Illorum effusus nos in patientia...
    • Contributor: Schreier, Ulrich, Active
    • Date: 1487
  • Book/Printed Material
    Glagolitic Leaves in Hlohovec. These two fragments are among the oldest artifacts in the manuscript collections of the Slovak National Library. They are parchment folios, written on both sides, and are of Croatian provenance. It is believed that they came to the territory of Slovakia through the Franciscan friars or by the exchange of codices and printed books among Franciscan libraries or archives. They were discovered at the...
    • Date: 1275
  • Book/Printed Material
    Codex Azcatitlan. This manuscript, known as the Codex Azcatitlan, most likely dates from only a few years after the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico. It recounts the history of the Aztecs (also known as the Mexica), including their migration to Tenochtitlan (forerunner of present-day Mexico City) from Aztlán, the ancient or mythical birthplace of Aztec civilization. The codex depicts the succession of Aztec rulers, the...
    • Date: 1530
  • Book/Printed Material
    The Dresden Codex.
    Codex Dresdensis
    Only four Mayan manuscripts still exist worldwide, of which the oldest and best preserved is the Dresden Codex, held in the collections of the Saxon State and University Library. The manuscript was purchased for the Dresden court library in 1739 in Vienna, as a "Mexican book." In 1853 it was identified as a Mayan manuscript. Consisting of 39 leaves, inscribed on both sides, and...
    • Date: 1200
  • Book/Printed Material
    The Song of the Nibelungs (Codex A).
    Das Nibelungenlied und die Klage (Leithandschrift A)
    The Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs) is the most famous heroic poem in Middle High German. It tells the story of the dragon-slayer Siegfried from his childhood and his marriage to Kriemhild to his murder by the evil Hagen and Kriemhild's subsequent revenge, culminating in the annihilation of the Burgundians or Nibelungs at the court of the Huns. Originally based upon an older...
    • Date: 1275
  • Book/Printed Material
    The Consolation of Philosophy.
    De consolatione philosophiæ
    Consolatio Philosophiae (The consolation of philosophy) is a philosophical work written by Boethius, the scion of an influential Roman family, around the year 524. It is regarded as one of the most important and influential works in the Western world. The book was composed during a yearlong period of imprisonment that Boethius served while he was awaiting trial for the crime of treason under...
    • Contributor: Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus, Circa 480-524
    • Date: 1000
  • Book/Printed Material
    Saint Jerome's "Against Jovinianus" and "Apologetical Work to Pammachius".
    Adversus Jovinianum. Apologeticum ad Pammachium
    This codex contains two works by Saint Jerome, Adversus Jovinianus (Against Jovinianus) and Apologeticum ad Pammachium (Apologetical work for Pammachius). The latter consists of two letters that refer to Adversus Jovinianus. Written in 393, the main work is a polemical diatribe against the monk Jovinianus, who had asserted the equality of virginity and marriage. Following a treatise on marriage by the Roman author Seneca...
    • Contributor: Jerome, Saint, Died 419 or 420
    • Date: 0950
  • Book/Printed Material
    A Sequence of Sermons for Sundays and Saints' Days in Nahuatl.
    Siguense unos sermones de dominicas y de santos en lengua mexicana
    Fray Bernardino de Sahagún was a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico from Spain in 1529 and stayed until his death in 1590. He worked with the indigenous peoples of the area to document their cultures and religions, in large part motivated by the conviction that better understanding of their beliefs and practices would improve the efforts to convert them to Christianity. His methods...
    • Contributor: Sahagún, Bernardino De
    • Date: 1540
  • Book/Printed Material
    Canticles of Saint Mary.
    Cantigas de Santa María
    There are four manuscripts of the Cantigas de Santa María (Canticles of Saint Mary): this copy from the National Library of Spain that formerly belonged to the Biblioteca Capitular in Toledo, two copies in the Escorial, and one in Florence, similar to the Toledan copy, but unfortunately missing some content. Written during the rule of Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon (also known...
    • Date: 1275
  • Book/Printed Material
    Gospels for the Year.
    Evangelia per annum
    This lavishly illuminated manuscript represents a fine example of a gospel lectionary, a liturgical book that-in contrast to the usual gospel books containing the full texts of the gospels-comprises only those parts of the gospels that are used for the liturgical readings during the ecclesiastical year, presented in chronological order. The manuscript's miniatures display the main events in the life of Jesus Christ, which...
    • Date: 1100
  • Book/Printed Material
    Gospel. This Gospel book contains decorated canon tables, extending over 16 pages, and portraits of the evangelists, positioned at the beginning of the respective Gospels. It is decorated with five full-page framed miniatures on gilt ground, the first of which depicts Christ enthroned, with a book in his left hand and blessing with his right. Eight pen-drawn initials mark the beginnings of the argumenta (short...
    • Date: 1165
  • Book/Printed Material
    Codex Vergara. Codex Vergara is an Aztec cadastral document, drawn up in 1539 by the Spanish conquerors of Mexico, on behalf of the king of Spain, in order to facilitate the collection of taxes from the native population. The document records the landholdings of the Aztec villages of Calcantloxiuco, Topotitlan, Patlachiuca, Teocatitla, and Texcalticpac. These villages and their locations and sizes are represented on the document....
    • Date: 1539
  • Book/Printed Material
    Book of the Crosses.
    Libro De Las Cruzes
    Libro De Las Cruzes (Book of the crosses) is one of the codices produced in the royal chamber of Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon, also known as Alfonso el Sabio (Alfonso the Wise). This book is one of the very few publications in which Alfonso officially refers to himself as the king of Spain. The work shows the king's interest in astrology....
    • Contributor: Istiyi, 'Ubayd Allāh B. Jalaf - Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon - Cohen, Judah Ben Moses - Daspa, Johan
    • Date: 1259
  • Book/Printed Material
    History of Byzantium. This Greek manuscript on parchment dating from the 12th to the 13th centuries is one of the most valuable codices in the National Library of Spain, treasured for the richness of its illumination. The work, by Ioannes Scylitza (flourished 1081), is a history of the Byzantine emperors from 811 to 1057, covering events from the proclamation of Michael I Rangabe in 811 to the...
    • Contributor: Scylitzes, John, Flourished 1081
    • Date: 1100
  • Book/Printed Material
    "Ma'aseh Hoshev". This manuscript of Ma'aseh ḥoshev (The art of calculation), one of the most valuable Hebrew codices in the Bavarian State Library, is arranged in 24 separate works or grouped fragments of texts on mathematics, geometry and astronomy, together with a great number of explanatory notes, glosses, and additions. It is hard to do justice in a few words to the very broad range of...
    • Contributor: Comtino, Mordecai Ben Eliezer, Active 15th Century - Fārābī - Alhazen, 965 - Ibn Tibon, Mosheh, Active 13th Century - Ibn Ezra, Abraham Ben Meïr - Ben David, Moses - Euclid - Levi Ben Gershom - Abraham Bar Hiyya Savasorda, Approximately 1065-Approximately 1136 - Moṭoṭ, Shimʻon Ben Mosheh Ben Shimʻon, Active 15th Century
    • Date: 1450
  • Book/Printed Material
    Gospel Book from the Bamberg Cathedral (Reichenau Gospel).
    Evangeliar aus dem Bamberger Dom
    The gospel from the cathedral of Bamberg is one of the most important masterpieces of book painting from the Benedictine abbey on the island of Reichenau in Lake Constance in southern Germany. In the 10th and 11th centuries, this abbey was the site of what was probably Europe's largest and most influential school of book illumination. Book production reached its artistic peak between around...
    • Date: 1000