Skip to main content
Michigan State University

Medieval West - Additional Web Resources: General and History

Last updated: 12-17-2009

General and History

Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Medieval and Renaissance Web.  Access to free, scholarly resources in all aspects of the Western Middle Ages and Renaissance. This is a section of WESSWEB.

Medieval Academy of America--Medieval Digital Resources

These web resources are offered through the web site of the Medieval Academy of America, the largest organization in the United States promoting excellence in the field of medieval studies. The Medieval Academy supports research, publication, and teaching in medieval art, archaeology, history, law, literature, music, philosophy, religion, science, social and economic institutions, and all other aspects of the Middle Ages.

What Every Medievalist Should Know

This list is based on a privatissimum given many years ago by Prof. James W. Marchand, Prof. Emeritus of German, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign titled A Casual Taxonomy of Things a Medievalist Should Know.  He gave answers to students' questions viva voce, and the answers were taken down by Wayne Kraft. These lists are meant for the beginning-to-semi-advanced graduate student to get started working in a new field (see Handout on Getting Started in a New Field). Includes good books and some web sites.  It's bibliographies of things to read in various subject areas.

Monumenta Germaniae Historica Digital 

The Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH) is an extensive series of carefully edited sources for the study of German history (broadly construed) from the end of the Roman Empire in the West to 1500 CE. The collection consists of five main areas: Antiquitates, Diplomata, Epistolae, Leges, and Scriptores, as well as Necrologia. The search interface is in German. MSU Libraries owns many volumes in print form, as a search for the title: Monumenta Germaniae Historica reveals.

Manuscripts Online

Manuscripts Online enables you to search a diverse body of online primary resources relating to written and early printed culture in Britain during the period 1000 to 1500. The resources include literary manuscripts, historical documents and early printed books which are located on websites owned by libraries, archives, universities and publishers.

Includes topical introductions with links to full-text research articles, news, images, videos, and interviews.  Helpful for understanding medievalism in popular culture via films, fiction, video games, and TV.

History Highway: a 21st Century Guide to Internet Resources Reference and DMC 4 West (CD) D 16.117 .H55 2006

An annotated bibliography of web sites.

British Isles Online Primary Resources

This is a guide to the major electronic resources M.S.U. Libraries has bought or is subscribing to about/from the British Isles.

Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts

Welcome to the Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts, from University of California, Los Angeles. This site was designed to enable users to find fully digitized manuscripts currently available on the web from collections in Europe, Australia, North America, and Japan. It links to almost 1,000 manuscripts by nearly 200 authors, in 20 languages. You can use the search box to search quickly on specific terms, or use the 'Search Manuscripts' link to search on particular fields, such as date, or provenance information. You can also browse the Catalogue by the Location of an archive or library, the shelfmark of an item, by the author of a text (where that information is available), or by the language of a text (again, where available).

CORSAIR, the Online Collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library

Provides searchable records for 15,000 plus digitized images from the Pierpont Morgan Library's rich collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscript books, with links to each. 

Digital Medieval Manuscripts at the Houghton Library

The Houghton Library's distinguished collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts represents a significant resource for the study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe. Assembled through gifts and purchase over the past two centuries, this collection includes works in Latin, Greek, and most of the vernacular languages of Europe that are the primary sources for the study of the literature, art, history, music, philosophy, and theology of the periods. This Web site provides strategies for searching Houghton's medieval manuscripts as well as links to bibliographies related to these materials that were compiled by the Library.

E-Codices, Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland

Goal "is to provide free online access to medieval and early modern manuscripts from public, private, and church-owned collections" in Switzerland.  1,500 digitized manuscripts with scholarly commentary. Side by side viewing allows comparison of pages.  Index by person.  Index of annotations.  Broad searches can be refined by a facets such as library/Collection, country of origin, and whether a manuscript is illuminated or not.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University

This site provides access to over 80 early manuscripts now in institutions associated with the University of Oxford (Balliol College, Bodleian Library, Corpus Christi College, Jesus College, Magdalen College, Merton College, St. John's College), to create wider availability for fragile materials. The site is now in the care of Oxford Digital Library.

English Historical Documents

Provides modernized English language texts for major primary sources in English history from 500 to 1914, including American Colonial era documents. Browse by subjects (technology, foreign affairs, etc.), chronological timeline, or by original published volume order. Search by keyword or use advanced search for specific document title, personal name, or place name. Based on the print series (Main DA 26 .E55) edited by David C. Douglas.

EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents from Western Europe  see link at bottom of this section.

European History Primary Sources. 

Provides links to free scholarly websites of digitized primary documents and online digital archives on European history.  Browse by country, language, period, subject, or type of source.

Daily Life Through History in Primary Documents

Explore the daily lives of people from major world cultures throughout history, as presented in their own words. Bringing useful and engaging material into world history classrooms, this rich collection of historical documents and illustrations provides insight into major cultures from all continents. Hundreds of thematically organized, annotated primary documents, and over 100 images introduce aspects of daily life throughout the world, including domestic life, economics, intellectual life, material life, politics, religion, and recreation, from antiquity to the present.

MEMS: Michigan Consortium for Medieval and Early Modern Studies

University of Michigan plus other great universities.  Many links to web sites medieval to be found here.

Humbul Humanities Hub

Hosted by University of Oxford to provide high quality links to humanities web resources for the U.K. scholarly and educational community. Relevant subject categories: history, manuscript studies, English studies, French studies, etc. History can be searched by period.

History On-Line (U.K)

U.K. emphasis. 40,000 records provide details of books and articles, U.K. university lecturers, U.K. current and past research and evaluated links to web sites and on-line resources. Links to archives, museums, libraries in U.K. and Ireland. Some developing topical sections.

Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts

From University of Pennsylvania.  Has data on medieval manuscript books drawn from over 300 years of auction and sale catalogues, inventories, and catalogues from institutional and private collections to facilite research in manuscript studies and provenance history.  Those included have more than 5 folios produced prior to 1600.

British Library London England

The catalog of the British Library illuminated manuscripts collection includes hundreds of photos of sample leaves.

Bodleian Library Oxford England

Some images of 15th-century books.

ISTC Incumabula Short Title Catalog. 

Has information on libraries and other institutions that own copies of 15th-century printed books, the catalog records of the books.

Leeds University Medieval Resources Online, an Annotated List

Organized by chronological period with sub-arrangement in a table for geographic location, topic, and text.  Places cover from Portugal in the West to Russia in the East, from Scandinavia south to North Africa.  Broad topic areas, such as archaeology, medicine, drama, military science, etc.  Links also to archives, resources about funding, bibliographies, associations, blogs, teaching resources, libraries, etc. Paragraph length entries with URLs.

Manchester Medieval Portal.

From Manchester University Press. Offers links to websites on medieval women, the Black Death, Dark Age Scotland, Anglo-Saxons, the Crusades, medieval warfare, Charlemagne and the Carolingian dynasty, monasticism, the Hundred Years War, Magna Carta and King John, the Norman Conquest, the Vikings.

British Manuscripts Project Database.

Lists the contents of 2,652 reels of microfilm containing reproductions of manuscripts and some rare printed materials found in the libraries in England and Wales, covering from medieval times to the 18th century. Based on: British manuscripts project : a checklist of the microfilms prepared in England and Wales for the American Council of Learned Societies, 1941-1945 / compiled by Lester K. Born, coordinator of microreproduction projects. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1955. xvii, 179 p. ; 29 cm. Includes bibliographical references. During WWII manuscripts removed from London for safe-keeping were microfilmed. University of Michigan Libraries owns copies of the microfilms that were made. The 179 page bibliography shows which mss were filmed. University of Michigan Libraries' Humanities Text Initiative digitized the print bibliography and made it searchable by words in the entry, title, author, repository, and shelfmark. What does MSU Libraries own? Our copy of the print bibliography is in the Microform Guides section, outside the Copy Center, 2nd floor west, Z 6620 .G7 U5 1968. We have some of the microfilms, call number #27736: ALN 40/3,ALN 50/4,ALN 56/2,ALN 67/2,ALN 69/2.

Irish Resources in the Humanities.

Developed at University College, Dublin. Has sections on various humanities disciplines, within which links and online resources may be found. Has CELT, Corpus of Electronic Texts, which includes full text of documents from the Middle Ages and other historical periods in Irish, Latin, Anglo-Norman French, French, and English. Has an advanced search permitting searching across the various disciplines, too.

Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 

This is a catalogue of markets and fairs in medieval England and Wales, the first such comprehensive national survey. Access is by county, place name, person, or institution. The full introduction explains the primary and secondary sources used to build the database. Primary sources include charter rolls, close rolls, printed collections of grants and royal acts, letters, chancery and exchequer materials, pipe rolls, patent rolls.

Directory of Royal Genealogical Data

This is a searchable database on European royalty from ancient times to the present. Find monarchs’ birth and death dates, dates of accession, places of burial, significant accomplishments, parents’ names, marriages, names of children.

Digital Scriptorium

The Digital Scriptorium is an image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts, intended to unite scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. Medieval and renaissance manuscripts lie at the core of the work of scholars in a great number of fields: medievalists from many disciplines, classicists for the transmission of classical texts, art historians, musicologists, codicologists, paleographers, diplomatists, to begin to name the categories. Special emphasis is placed on dated manuscripts, to provide ready access to these touchstone materials that will ultimately advance the entire field. It fosters public viewing of materials otherwise available only within libraries. Four search methods: manuscript search terms: library, shelfmark, binding, provenance; part search terms: country, date, scribe, artist, etc.; text search terms: author, title, language, incipit, etc.; and by shelfmark. Includes mss from many U.S. academic libraries.

Hill Monastic Manuscript Library 

Founded in 1965 at St. John’s University in Minnesota, this is a library of 25 million pages from 90,000 volumes of medieval and Renaissance sources, on microfilm, from libraries in Europe used for scholarly research. Now they are digitizing....

Online Catalogues of Archives and Manuscripts 

From the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.  These represent only a part of the manuscript holdings in the Bodleian Library. Here you will find descriptions of archives and manuscripts which have been catalogued after 2001; some retrospective digital conversions of earlier unpublished catalogues; and collection-level descriptions of most of the collections catalogued in our published hardcopy catalogues.

Vatican Film Library St. Louis, Missouri

The research collections of the Vatican Film Library offer a wide selection of primary source manuscript materials in a variety of formats, ranging in date from the fourth to the nineteenth centuries. These collections center around the microfilmed manuscripts of the Vatican Library in Vatican City (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana). The VFL holds copies of approximately three-quarters of its Greek, Latin, and Western European vernacular manuscripts, as well as a sizeable number of its Hebrew, Ethiopic, and Arabic manuscripts. Furthermore, in support of manuscript studies we maintain a comprehensive reference collection of manuscript catalogues, monographs, facsimile reproductions, and periodical literature. This includes a complete set of all the printed catalogues and handwritten inventories for Vatican Library manuscripts, as well as the printed catalogues for a great many other major manuscript collections. 

Center for Research Libraries Medieval Studies Topic Guide

A guide online informing users about the medieval studies materials available at the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago.  Materials desired may be borrowed in interlibrary loan.

APICES Association Paleographique Internationale: Culture, Ecriture, Societe

has a developing database called Nouvelles Cotes-New Shelfmarks, International Index of Medieval Books Recently Acquired by Public Libraries [in The United States, United Kingdom, Israel, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, and Australia]. Public libraries here includes university libraries. Has a list of newest acquisitions. Two indexes: holding institution and a general index (authors and titles). APICES members study the history of writing (ancient and medieval scripts), books and documents, both in their physical aspects and in their content, and the persons and institutions connected with making, using and keeping them.

Robin Hood Project

Contains a database of texts, images, bibliographies, and basic information about the Robin Hood legend and other outlaw tales. From University of Rochester.

Secrets of the Norman Invasion 

Essays, primary sources, and aerial photographs relating to the landing of the Normans in England in 1066. Includes photos of the Bayeaux Tapestry. Author, Nick Austin. Scroll down past the advertisement for his book.

Medieval and Renaissance Food: Sources, Recipes, and Articles 

Provides articles and recipes for recreation of period dishes dating prior to 1600, including texts of several Renaissance cookery books.

Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke

An ongoing project to catalog all 15th-century printed books from Europe.  Very useful for specific data, but not an image service.  Provides links back to the ISTC, for which see above.

Bavarian State Library (Munich. Germany)--Digital Collections

Has a very extensive digital collection of 15th-century material.  Search the "Digital Collections" not the "OPAC" for materials available online.  Complete books can be downloaded as Adobe Reader files.

Verteilte Digitale Inkunabelbibliothek Cologne, Wofenbuttel, et. al

Some support for English users, but primarily in German.


Web site from Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris, france).  Includes manuscripts and printed editions from medieval and modern works.  Some are digitized from microfilm.

Bibliotheque Municipale (Lille, France).   

Has some medieval manuscripts concerning Lille's history.

Medieval Manuscript Leaves.

Fifty-one Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts from 12th-16th centuries in Western Europe. These manuscript leaves were selected to illustrate the art of the manuscript during the period of its greatest development and influence. They have been taken from books written in various European scriptoria by Benedictine, Franciscan, Carthusian, Dominican, and other orders of monks. Many are enriched with handsome borders, initial letters, and line-endings rendered in color, and twenty-five are illuminated with burnished gold or silver. The texts include the Bible, various church service books, the writings of the Church fathers, and some of the Classics.

Year 1000:  Apocalyptic Year Extraordinaire? or a Year Like any Other

Offers articles and essays discussing the history and historiography of the Year 1000 and the end of the First Millenium. The primary focus is on the question of how widespread were the apocalyptic expectations frequently associated with that year. A bibliography is also included.

Iter Italicum.  See link at the bottom of this page.

Mirabile Digital Archives for Medieval Latin Culture

Iinterface in Italian language.  Look in the lower right corner of screen for U.K. flag.  Click there to access English language interface.  This is the knowledge management system for study and research on medieval culture developed by by the Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino and the Fondazione Ezio Franceschini ONLUS of Florence, in partnership with other Italian institutions.  Some of its resources are freely available, but not all.  The Romance and Hagiographic databases are freely available.  Also free are the manuscripts related bibliography for years 2009-2011 and the index of medieval authors, texts, and manuscripts based on MEL, BISLAM, and CALMA (medieval Latin databases that are part of Mirabile).  Bibliography of 70,000 manuscripts. 

History of Parliament

The History of Parliament is a research project creating a comprehensive account of parliamentary politics in England, then Britain, from their origins in the thirteenth century. It consists of detailed studies of elections and electoral politics in each constituency, and of closely researched accounts of the lives of everyone who was elected to Parliament in the period, together with surveys drawing out the themes and discoveries of the research and adding information on the operation of Parliament as an institution.  Has some content for the High Middle Ages.

In the Bigynnyng: Manchester Middle English Manuscripts

The University of Manchester Library's Middle English manuscripts are of paramount importance to key subject areas, including literature, history, theology, linguistics and art history. The manuscripts include key works of medieval literature, such as the Canterbury Tales and John Lydgate's two major poems, the Troy Book and Fall of Princes. There are also numerous copies of the New Testament, translated into English by John Wycliffe, the fourteenth-century radical and church reformer. Other notable works include several copies of the Brut, the medieval history of England, meditations on the life of Christ, a legal commonplace book and medical recipes.

Internet Global History Sourcebook

The Global History Sourcebook is dedicated to exploration of interaction between world cultures. It does not, then, look at ''world history''as the history of the various separate cultures (for that see the linked pages, which do take that approach), but at ways in which the "world" has a history in its own right. Specifically this means looking at the ways in which cultures contact each other, the ways they influence each other, and the ways new cultural forms emerge.

Parker Library on the Web

Matthew Parker (1504-75) was a powerful figure of the English Reformation who was largely responsible for the Church of England as a national institution. Parker's talents were sought by both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. He served as chaplain to Anne Boleyn and proved himself a capable administrator, becoming Master of Corpus Christi College (1544-53), Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, and Archbishop of Canterbury (1559-75). A benefactor to the University of Cambridge, Parker's greatest tangible legacy is his library of manuscripts and early printed books entrusted to Corpus Christi College in 1574. He was an avid book collector, salvaging medieval manuscripts dispersed at the dissolution of the monasteries; he was particularly keen to preserve materials relating to Anglo-Saxon England, motivated by his search for evidence of an ancient English-speaking Church independent of Rome. The extraordinary collection of documents that resulted from his efforts is still housed at Corpus Christi College, and consists of items spanning from the sixth-century Gospels of St. Augustine to sixteenth century records relating to the English Reformation. The Parker Library's holdings of Old English texts accounts for nearly a quarter of all extant manuscripts in Anglo-Saxon, including the earliest copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c. 890), the Old English Bede and King Alfred´s translation of Gregory the Great´s Pastoral Care. The Parker Library also contains key Anglo-Norman and Middle English texts ranging from the Ancrene Wisse and the Brut Chronicle to one of the finest copies of Chaucer´s Troilus and Criseyde. Other subjects represented in the collection are music, medieval travelogues and maps, bestiaries, royal ceremonies, historical chronicles and Bibles. The Parker Library holds a magnificent collection of English illuminated manuscripts, such as the Bury and Dover Bibles (c. 1135 and c. 1150) and the Chronica maiora by Matthew Paris (c. 1230-50). Scholars in a variety of disciplines - including historians of art, music, science, literature, politics and religion - find invaluable resources in the Library´s collection.

Regesta Imperii

This is a resource in German on European medieval and renaissance period history. The Regesta Imperii are one of the great source works of German and European History. They produce an inventory of all documentary and historiographical sources of the Romano-German kingship from the Carolingians to Maximilian I (751-1519), as well as of the Popes of the early and high middle ages. The full-texts of the regests offered here were printed from the mid 19th c. onwards. This website also contains a database of citations for research, called RI-Opac, of primary and secondary material (1500-) from archaeology, history, art, literature, music, philosophy, languages, and theology. Search by place, historical period and subject. There is also a link to the Monumenta Germaniae Historica.

Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

Annotated database of online and printed sources for the study of the Middle Ages, by Maryanne Kowaleski, Fordham University.

French of England Website

Facilitates access to material on the French documents of England, including bibliography, syllabi, translations, lists of scholars in the field, by Maryanne Kowaleski, Fordham University.

French of Italy Website

To increase awareness of French-language texts composed and copied in medieval Italy, by Maryanne Kowaleski, Fordham University.

French of Outremer Website

Covers French-language texts composed in the medieval Latin kingdoms of the Middle East, by Mryanne Kowaleski, Fordham University.

MESA, Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance

MESA is a federated international community of scholars, projects, institutions, and organizations engaged in digital scholarship within the field of medieval studies.  MESA has adopted tools and infrastructure utilized by our sister organizations, NINES and 18thConnect.  It  operates on the Collex platform, which has been developed and updated by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Using the Collex interface, MESA aggregates the best scholarly resources in medieval studies and makes them fully searchable and interoperable. This interface also provides a collection and authoring space in which researchers can create and publish their own work.

Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts

From University of Pennsylvania.  Gives info about medieval mss drawn from over 300 years of auction and sales catalogues, inventories, and catalogues of institutional and private collections.  These records aid in locating and identifying manuscripts of five or more folios produced before 1600, establishing provenance and collecting descriptions about specific classes or types of manuscripts.  Comprehensive browse lists, transaction and bibliographic data for auction, etc.

Hidden Collections Registry

Provides access to previously hidden or unprocessed library, archives, and museum collections whose owners have received grants to catalog and make the contents accessible online from the Council on Library and Information Resources.  You can search the database by broad topic, such as British studies, medieval studies, etc., or by keyword.  You can limit results by collection name, by institution type, by format. 


  • Call MSU: (517) 355-1855
  • Visit:
  • MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.
Michigan State University