Europeana Regia, a digital collaborative library of royal manuscripts
The principal objective of Europeana Regia is to reconstruct, in the form of a virtual library, the most important European royal collections of documents from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. This project will provide a means for researchers and the general public to access these rare and precious documents, through platforms such as Gallica, Belgica, Manuscripta Mediaevalia and Europeana, by 2012.
Managed by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Europeana Regia unites five European libraries - the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich (BSB), the Universitat de València Biblioteca Històrica (BHUV), the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuttel (HAB) and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België – Bibliothèque royale de Belgique (KBR) - and concerns almost nine hundred manuscripts that are representative of the political, cultural and artistic history of Europe.
This project focuses on three sets of manuscripts which are currently dispersed among different member States: Carolingian manuscripts, the manuscripts of the library at the Louvre in the time of Charles V and Charles VI, and the library of the Aragonese Kings of Naples. In addition, the project covers a number of complementary actions, such as the definition of procedures to be followed by the partner libraries (digitisation, organisation of metadata, multilingualism), the compilation of metadata through cataloguing and indexation, and the digitisation process itself.
Among the 426 manuscripts selected for this collection are masterworks of the main abbeys and bishop's schools of the Carolingian Empire (8th and 9th Centuries), including Reichenau, Saint-Denis, Corbie, Reims, Saint-Amand, Freising and Wissembourg. These manuscripts show the intellectual and artistic activity of these centres of religious life, ecclesiastical and imperial power, and their numerous exchanges of texts and patterns.
The Library of Charles V and Family reunites 163 manuscripts which once belonged to the king's collection, and also includes a number of manuscripts from the libraries of his brothers, Jean, duc de Berry, and Louis d'Orléans, both renowned bibliophiles. It represents one of the most extraordinary collections of illuminated manuscripts of the 14th Century and shows the diffusion of the texts which were at the heart of aristocratic culture, through the circulation of copies in the courts of France, England, Flanders and Burgundy.
A true State library, this stupendous collection of 282 manuscripts is a unique concentration of masterworks of French, Venetian, Neapolitan, Lombard and Spanish illumination. It is the symbol, beyond political borders, of the cultural unity of Europe.
Europeana Regia project brochure: