About the collection


The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds one of the world's largest and most important collections on classical studies, with historically grown holdings.

Historical development

The holdings at the time of the foundation of the princely library of Duke Albrecht V, the private libraries of the humanist Johann Albrecht Widmanstetter (1506 – 1557) and of the bibliophile Johann Jakob Fugger (1516 – 1575), already encompassed around 650 Latin and 220 Greek manuscripts, as well as numerous incunabula, containing early editions of antique authors.

In the course of the centuries, the collection was continuously increased by numerous purchases and finally expanded enormously within the framework of the secularisation.

After the foundation of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences by Maximilian III Joseph in the year 1789 and the move of the university to Munich in the year 1826, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek became a modern-era research library for classical studies in Munich – associated with names such as Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer, Friedrich Wilhelm von Thiersch, Karl Felix Halm, Iwan von Müller, Ludwig Traube or Robert von Pöhlmann.

Further information: Collection history
Further information: Occidental manuscripts
Further information: Classification of the manuscripts
Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände in Deutschland, Österreich und Europa
(Handbook of historical book collections in Germany, Austria and Europe)

Areas of collection emphasis 1949 to 2015

From 1949 to 2015, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek managed the areas of collection emphasis "prehistory and early history" (6.11), "classical studies, including ancient history, medieval and new Latin philology" (6.12) and "Byzantium" (6.15) within the framework of the programme of supraregional literature provision funded by the German Research Foundation. With regard to these fields of specialisation, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek endeavoured to acquire, catalogue and provide the scholarly relevant literature as comprehensively as possible, fulfilling the function of a reference library for classical studies.

Specialised information service for scholarship and science since 2016

Within the framework of the DFG programme "Fachinformationsdienste für die Wissenschaft" ("specialised information services for scholarship and science"), the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has been developing its existing services into a joint specialised information service for classical studies in cooperation with the University Library of Heidelberg. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek continues to be in charge of the subject areas of Byzantine studies, ancient history, classical philology, medieval and new Latin philology and prehistory and early history.