Armenian

Overview

The Armenian collection encompasses 28 manuscripts and around 10,000 printed volumes of original-script literature.

Geographic focus

Armenian monographs and periodicals are currently acquired from Armenia and the Armenian diaspora, particularly from Turkey, Iran and the Arab states.

Main focuses of content

A broad variety of secondary literature on Armenology is collected in western European languages. The main focus of the content is on humanities – philosophy, religion, history (here in particular literature on the Armenian genocide), politics, archaeology, linguistics and literature, ethnic studies, architecture and art and classic text editions.

Manuscripts

The Oriental and Asia Department manages the Armenian manuscripts technically (acquisition, subject information, guided tours, exhibitions), while the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books administrates them and is in charge of their use. The Armenian manuscripts can be consulted in the Reading Room for Manuscripts and Rare Books.

At present, the acquisition policy for Armenian manuscripts is determined by the scholarly relevance of texts and their aesthetic-museological aspect.

Manuscript catalogues

  • Coulie, Bernard: Répertoire des bibliothèques et des catalogues de manuscrits arméniens.
    Turnhourt: Brepols, 1992.
  • [Cod.armen. 22 – 23]
    Assfalg, Julius; Molitor, Joseph: Armenische Handschriften.
    Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1962. p. 124-130.
    Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland. 4.
  • [Cod.armen. 1,6 und 8]
    Sighart, Joachim: Über armenische Miniaturgemälde in München.
    In: Sitzungsberichte der königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 2 (1866), p. 555-561.

    Gratzl, Emil: Drei armenische Miniatur-Handschriften.
    München, 1913.

Rare printed works

In addition to the first imprint of an Armenian alphabet in Breydenbach's "Peregrinatio in terram sanctam", Mainz, 1486 (2 Inc.c.a. 1725),  the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the oldest Armenian printed work in Germany. Those five books which were printed in Venice between 1511 and 1513 are considered the first Armenian imprints. Among these first imprints, there is a calendar, the "Parzaytowmar" (Rar. 1756) of 1512.

Peregrinatio in terram sanctam  (2 Inc.c.a. 1725)
Parzaytowmar  (Rar. 1756)

The collection consists of a total of 85 Armenian printed works published up to 1800, which have been digitized, and further 46 works printed up to 1850. Encompassing several titles from each of the printing locations of Venice, Rome, Constantinople, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Vienna and Ejmiacin, the collection mirrors the beginnings of Armenian printing history.

The Armenian prints can be searched in the OPACplus/ BSB catalogue. The original script has been implemented as well for some years.

History of the Armenian collection

Outset in the 16th century

The beginnings of the Armenian collection go back to the foundation of the Munich court library in the year 1558 by Duke Albrecht V. The founding act of the Munich Court Library was constituted by the purchase of the private library of the highly educated and polyglot diplomat and Orientalist Johann Albrecht Widmanstetter (1506 – 1557), who is regarded as one of the pioneers of Oriental studies.

Collection at the time of foundation

Three Armenian manuscripts from Widmanstetter's library formed part of the collection at the time of foundation: Cod.armen. 3, Cod.armen. 5 and Cod.armen. 6. Special attention is merited by Cod.armen. 6. This two-part manuscript, whose two parts were written in two different monasteries during the first half of the 15th century, consists of the breviary and mass liturgies.

The doubtlessly most beautiful Armenian manuscript – Cod.armen. 1 – came to the court library through the acquisition of the library of Johann Jakob Fugger in 1571. This manuscript was completed in the Lesser-Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which equals the center and the most thriving period of Armenian book illumination.

Armenian four gospels  (Cod.armen. 1)

19th century

Nine more manuscripts and 34 rare printed works came to the Munich court library through the purchase of the library of the French Orientalist Etienne-Marc Quatremère in 1858.

In the 19th century, scholars and professors of the university of Munich, such as Carl Friedrich Neumann (1795 – 1870) and Friedrich Windischmann (1811 – 1861), placed their interest in the Armenian language and culture, which was still unusual at the time, at the service of the court library, seeking to create a systematic structure of the Armenian collection.

Literature

Grönbold, Günter: Die orientalischen Handschriften der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek. In: Bibliotheksforum Bayern 9 (1981), p. 68-84.

Reupke, Ulrike; Tafferner, Lioba; Wurm, Heidi: Einiges über armenische Buchbestände in deutschen Bibliotheken. In: Armenisch-deutsche Korrespondenz 75 (1992), p. 33-47.

Rebhan, Helga: Ausstellungen orientalischer und asiatischer Bestände der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek. In: Griebel, Rolf; Ceynowa, Klaus (ed.): Information, Innovation, Inspiration: 450 Jahre Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. München: Saur, 2008. p. 639-665.

Rebhan, Helga: Die Bibliothek Johann Albrecht Widmanstetters. In: Schmid, Alois (ed.): Die Anfänge der Münchener Hofbibliothek unter Albrecht V. München: Beck, 2009. p. 112-131.

Exihibitions

Dachs, Karl (ed.): Das Buch im Orient: Handschriften und kostbare Drucke aus zwei Jahrtausenden: Ausstellung, 16. November 1982 – 5. Februar 1983. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1982.

Kreiser, Klaus: The beginnings of printing in the Near and Middle East: Jews, Christians and Muslims [Exhibition: Der Frühdruck im Orient: Juden, Christen und Muslime, 25.03. – 12.04.2001]. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2001.

Rebhan, Helga (ed.): Wertvolle orientalische Handschriften und seltene Drucke der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek = Precious Oriental manuscripts and rare printed books of the Bavarian State Library: 26th MELCOM International Conference, 24 – 26 May 2004: Ausstellung 24.05. – 18.06.2004. München: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, 2004.

Fabian, Claudia (ed.): Kulturkosmos der Renaissance: die Gründung der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek: Katalog der Ausstellung zum 450-jährigen Jubiläum 7. März bis 1. Juni 2008 ... Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008.

Drost-Abgarjan, Armenuhi; Pehlivanian, Meliné: Schriftkunst und Bilderzauber: eine deutsch-armenische Festgabe zum 500. Jubiläum des armenischen Buchdrucks: [anlässlich der Ausstellung „Schriftkunst und Bilderzauber“, vom 17. April bis 20. Mai 2012 im Kunstforum Halle, vom 8. Dezember 2012 bis 17. März 2013 im Gutenberg-Museum, Mainz]. Jerewan: Woskan Jerewantzi, 2012.

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