Late-Mediaeval Manuscripts from Saint Gumbertus Abbey

The 165 Latin manuscripts that belong to the present inventory of the Staatliche Bibliothek (Schlossbibliothek) Ansbach (State Library Ansbach) were created in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They hail from monastic libraries dissolved during the first part of the sixteenth century at Riedfeld, Heidenheim and Wülzburg as well as to a large part from the former Benedictine monastery, founded in 748, and later collegiate church of Saint Gumbertus. The collection of manuscripts of the then collegiate monks comprised historical, juridical, astronomical and in particular theological works from pre-Reformation period as far as they have a relevant connection to Bavaria.

The latter, destined for the appropriate teaching and educational operation, were supposed to base the scholarliness of theology on reason. As a group, the 57 manuscripts with a provenance from Saint Gumbertus (of which 41 with explicit notes of provenance) amount to over one third of the inventory of Latin manuscripts at the Staatliche Bibliothek Ansbach and provide a good insight into the book holdings of the Franconian clergy at the end of the Middle Ages.

In 1528, the Margravate Ansbach converted to the Evangelical-Lutheran confession. In 1563, the collegiate monastery was secularised. Most of the books were eventually taken together with the monastic manuscripts to the consistorial library erected in 1590 and in 1733 finally to the Ansbach Schlossbibliothek. With the transfer of the Ansbach holdings to Erlangen in 1806, the book inventory from Saint Gumbertus was divided: while today the Gumbertusbibel (Ms. 1) is at the University Library Erlangen, and thus a main work of Romanesque book illumination probably not created there but acquired in 1195 at the latest, in Ansbach remained the more textually important manuscripts. One of these, for example, is the collected volume Ms. lat. 65 which is particular important for the Franconian regional history.

>> This collection is part of the holdings of the Staatliche Bibliothek Ansbach (State Library Ansbach).