Carolingian Text Culture in Septimania and Catalonia

Matthias M. Tischler (Barcelona)


This electronic presentation offers the results of our research project “From Carolingian Periphery to European Central Region: The Written Genesis of Catalonia” (http://pagines.uab.cat/unup/) which formed part of the HERA-project “After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past in the Crisis of the Carolingian World, c. 900 ‒ c. 1050 (UNUP)”, 2016–2019 (ERC Horizon 2020, project no 649307).

The main goal of our Barcelona-based individual project was the identification and evaluation of the Carolingian text culture of Septimania and Catalonia seizable in medieval manuscripts, fragments, inventories, catalogues and further testimonies of text transmission and reception. Since our groundwork confirmed just weekly the unexplored richness and dissipation of this legacy, we decided to develop a first orientating manuscript list which allows for showing the current state-of-the-art of national and international exploration of this specific Carolingian culture of the south-western Mediterranean world. We decided to focus on what we would call the core Carolingian text culture of the various fields of early medieval knowledge with some important restrictions: we excluded the rich biblical legacy of Septimania and Catalonia, reserved for another overview, since even recent research has shown our poor knowledge of the text versions they transport so that further investigation is needed to uncover the participation of Septimania and Catalonia in the edition activities of the Carolingian reform church. In addition, we excluded also those older classical and patristic texts which were rediscovered, glossed and commented by Carolingian scholars and thus belonged to the preferred textual patrimony of Carolingian culture as well.

Our manuscript list offers the following structure of information: for a quick grasp of all most important information, we have organized the overview alphabetically, mentioning first the Carolingian author and/or work and then delivering all important data on the existing or traceable manuscripts transmission. For a dense presentation in the table all further mentions and descriptions in medieval and modern inventories and catalogues and their use for critical editions are given in footnotes. In addition to this section, the presentation will also document in the near future the whole bibliography on each individual manuscripts. Furthermore, we contrast the manuscripts which really prove to be ninth-century products with the entries in Bernhard Bischoff’s four-volume Katalog der festländischen Handschriften des neunten Jahrhunderts, in order to update this repertory with new data, especially on the case of missing entries. The final data is of special importance, since it documents the links of ongoing partial or complete digitization of our manuscript material. The overview tries to be as complete as possible. However, our research in the last three years has evidenced that many manuscripts from Septimania and Catalonia are not stored in the regional collections, but scattered since premodern times around the world in Spanish, European and American collections which calls for more in-depth research in the future. Since we still have no census of the manuscript legacy of medieval Catalonia and Spain and since the majority of the Catalan and Spanish manuscript inventories and catalogues need professional revision and update, we certainly will find more relevant items in the (near) future. We therefore highly welcome further specification and information on the already-mentioned and new items.


Prof. Dr. Matthias M. Tischler
ICREA Research Professor
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Institut d’Estudis Medievals (IEM)
Edifici B – Campus de la UAB –
Tel.: +34 935 868 390
E-Mail (ICREA): matthias.tischler@icrea.cat
E-Mail (UAB): matthias.tischler@uab.cat
E – 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)


Download database here!


Use the free Google Earth software and download it here:



Once you download the software and the folder, you can open the file with the kml extension from the folder in this software.

You will see a map with several green and yellow pins and violet polygons. These pins define a particular place with its coordinates (latitude and longitude) and the violet polygons include regions with manuscripts whose concrete place of origin/provenance is not precisely defined yet. The color of the pins represents regional difference: yellow pins refer to the items on French territory; green pins to those on Catalan territory. Every localization contains a field with the information concerning all Carolingian texts coming from there.

Clicking on a pin/polygon will show a table of manuscripts organized in chronological order and the time scale. The colors of the time scale refer to the color field of every item in the table: red refers to 8th-9th cc, yellow to 10th-11th, green to 12th-13th and blue to 14th-15th.

The table also contains hyperlinks to the websites of libraries/archives and to the pages of some of the manuscripts themselves.