Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg


The collection of Oriental manuscripts at Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg consists of three parts: Firstly, the Bossert Collection, which comprises 199 mostly Arabic as well as Persian and Turkish manuscripts. In addition, the library owns 32 Oriental manuscripts of various provenance, mainly Arabic, but also Ottoman, Hebrew, Coptic and South Indian. OMAR database forms the third part of the collection, presenting microfilms of around 2,500 Arabic and Ḥassānīyah manuscripts.

Collection history

Bossert Collection

The Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg received this collection of Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts as a gift from professor for ancient Near Eastern studies Helmut Theodor Bossert (1889−1961). In 1958, Bossert settled in Freiburg for his retirement after many years as a professor in Istanbul. When was appointed honorary professor, he donated his collection of manuscripts, which he had acquired in Turkey, to the Oriental Seminar of the university.

In the 1960s, makeshift efforts were made to restore individual manuscripts and a first handlist was compiled. Both undertakings, however, were discontinued. For about thirty years, the manuscripts were largely forgotten before they were "rediscovered". In 2017, the manuscripts became the property of the University Library. The collection was catalogued by Renate Würsch and Gudrun Schubert in a handlist which was completed in 2001 and published online in 2005.

Around two thirds of the manuscripts are dated. The 11th/17th and 12th/18th centuries are most frequently represented, followed by the 13th/19th, 10th/16th and 9th/15th centuries in decreasing order of frequency, with 11 manuscripts belonging to the latter. Two manuscripts date from the 8th/14th century; one (no. 189) from the year 752/1351 shows a discrepancy between the date of the scribe and the presumed author, the other (no. 23) is dated to the year 761/1359−60.

Oriental manuscripts of various provenance

This is not a coherent collection, but contains manuscripts that stem from various sources. Some of the items reached the library as part of the estate of the Old Testament scholar and Orientalist Johann Leonhard Hugs (1765−1846), to whom the Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg also owes many Western manuscripts.


Detailed information on the database can be found here .