The Matenadaran

Adoration of the Magi

Well, yesterday it was a success! We launched the Digitized Medieval Manuscripts Maps one hour ahead of schedule (it leaked through Twitter… eheh…), but we like to believe it was a lucky event, since what followed on Twitter was a feast of re-tweets and new followers.

In just 48 hours, the website was visited around 3’000 times. We would like to thank all of you who have shared, liked, re-tweeted, re-tumbled, +1ed, etc. It really helped a lot and it certainly got the message out there.

This blog is going to be about digitized special collections only. The Sexy Codicology Blog, instead, covers all the aspects of medieval manuscripts. As of today, there are 246 libraries and institutions on the DMMmaps. Same are very famous; others are a bit less traveled by but are, nonetheless,  the keepers of fantastic treasures that are available online for everyone to be discovered.

The Matenadaran and the Armenian Treasures

In this first post we are going to focus on the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, possibly better known with the name of Matenadaran. Quoting from Wikipedia:

The Matenadaran is in possession of a collection of nearly 17,000 manuscripts and 30,000 other documents which cover a wide array of subjects such as historiography, geography, philosophy, grammar, art history, medicine and science.

It is also home to the Echmiadzin Gospel, made in 989 CE; and the Mugni Gospels, 1060 CE.

The website is currently home to 65 (partially) digitized medieval manuscripts; it is in English and easy to navigate. The images are not in the highest resolution possible, but they are big enough to be admired on-screen.

A big plus is that every manuscript has at least an image explaining the importance of the manuscript itself, or of the presented miniature.

Copyright-wise, nothing is specified on the Matenadaran website. In cases like these, it is always better to presume that the images, and the content of the website in general, is copyrighted

It is difficult to choose specific miniatures to use an example of the contents of the Matenadaran, we are chose three miniatures by Toros Roslin, the most prominent Armenian manuscript illuminator in the High Middle Ages, coming from MS10675, dated 1268 CE.

Testament Prophet - Matenadaran
Testament Prophet, MS10675
Adoration of the Magi - Matenadaran
Adoration of the Magi, MS10675
Deposition of Christ - Matenadaran
Deposition of Christ, MS10675