Monumenta Vitruvii


Stiftung Monumenta Vitruvii preserves approximately 2500 African, Asian and European manuscripts, incunables and early prints. Since the 1990s, a special focus of continuous collection development has been on Ethiopan holdings, currently comprising approximately 300 Ethiopian manuscripts and scrolls in Ge'ez (Old Ethiopic), Amharic, Arabic and Harari from the 15th to 21st centuries.

Collection history

The Ethiopian manuscripts gathered by Dr. Kai Beermann for 30 years represent the entire range of Ethiopian Christian literature. The two oldest manuscripts, a Tetraevangelion and a psalter (Mazmura Dāwit), date to the first half of the 15th century. In addition to theological and liturgical works such as the Bible, the lifes of Saints, Mary legends (e.g. the Miracles of Mary, Taʾāmra Māryām), homilies (e.g. Dersān Rāguʾēl), anaphoras and prayer books, rare exegetical works by famous religious teachers form part of the collection, in particular the sole surviving objects Maṣḥafa Tergwāmē and Andemtā (commentaries on the Bible and liturgy). Illuminated prayer scrolls (magic scrolls), royal chronicles and Ethiopian-Islamic manuscripts including Qurʾān exegesis and hadith further complement the holdings. The manuscripts of the Monumenta Vitruvii collection in Stützerbach are made accessible for research purposes and with the aim of illustrating and preserving Ethiopia's cultural heritage.


A catalogue is not available yet. Initial cataloguing of manuscripts is taking place in Qalamos.