The Benedictine Abbey of Engelberg was founded in 1120; its library’s collection of manuscripts, incunabula, and historical and modern books has continually grown since that time. The library holds a total of about 135,000 volumes; of its 1,000 manuscripts, about 270 are medieval. The cornerstone for the library was laid under Abbot Frowin (1147-1178) and his successors Berchtold (1178-1197) and Heinrich (1197-1223). Frowin commissioned at least 34 manuscripts. In addition to the obligatory Church Fathers, then-modern authors such as Hugh of Saint Victor and Bernard of Clairvaux were also included. In the 14th century, the manuscript library experienced a late blossoming with texts about prayer and mysticism. The library’s earliest printed works are a two volume German Bible printed by Heinrich Eggestein in Strasbourg in 1470 at the latest, and the Mammotrectus super bibliam by Johannes Marchenius, printed by Helyas Helyae in Beromünster in 1470.
An Engelberg copy of the historical work Historiarum adversum paganos libri VII by the ecclesiastical author Orosius. The Engelberg exemplar was commissioned under Abbot Frowin (1143-1178). It contains, among other items, noteworthy initials in the Engelberg book decoration style of the time and a large number of glosses. The manuscript is a meticulous copy from the St. Gall exemplar, Cod. 621 (9th century). This Engelberg manuscript later served as the master text for yet another copy, Cod. 60 of the Schaffhausen City Library (Schaffhauser Stadtbibliothek).
Online Since: 07/31/2007