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  • Anaïs WION, 30 July 2013

    In Germany, certainly because of the administrative organization of the country, the Ethiopian manuscripts collections are extremely scattered throughout the country: 43 institutions have been counted so far and there are certainly other museums or libraries holding manuscripts that are not yet identified. Thanks to the works of Silvio Zanutto followed by Robert Beylot in association with Maxime Rodinson, and those initiated by Ernst Hammerschmidt and patiently realised by Veronika Six, the resources of these institutions are well known and are described. In their index of Ethiopian manuscripts published in 1995, R. Beylot and M. Rodison sorted catalogues according to location, and paid attentionto resources previously described but not mentioned by the KOHD project (Katalogisierung der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland). Their index remains up to date although this work could not have taken into consideration the great changes brought by the reunification of the country from 1990 onward, changes that we have noted here below.

    Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland (VOHD)

    Under the project on the cataloging of oriental manuscripts preserved in Germany (KOHD project), Veronika Six and Ernst Hammerschmidt have carried out a long descriptive work of the library and museum collections. They did not mean to be limited to public collections although the only private collections that are in their index are indeed those of the Benedictine writers and monasteries of Andechs and Maria Laach. The result of this work is published in the Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland (VOHD) collection. Apart from few exceptions, the authors do not take up on the previous cataloging work, nor do they mention them, sometimes making the overall understanding of a collection uneasy.

    And indeed, there is a need of tracing the German collections’ history, fot the VOHD catalogues is quite brief about this topic. One needs to refer to Silvio Zanutto (1932) to find elements of the history of the collections, at least until this date.
    Upon the reading of the catalogues, we can however take note of a few of their characteristics.

    Firstly, many institutions preserve papers of Hiob Ludolf who is often considered as the first western scholar working on Ethiopian studies. Working during the 17th century with an Ethiopian monk exiled in Europe, Abba Gregorius, he wrote the first tools for the study of Ethiopian languages, such as grammars and some Ge’ez-Latin and Amharic-Latin dictionaries, as well as a book on the History of Ethiopia. Copies of Ethiopian manuscripts or the working documents of Ludolf himself or his collaborators can shed light on the beginning of Ethiopian studies in the Western world and the transmission of knowledge about Ethiopia. These papers date back to the 17th century and even though frequently enough they are not Ethiopian manuscripts, they are considered as such within the resources.

    Among the resources constituted from the 19th century onward by researchers and travelers renowned for their travel accounts, we can particularly note the manuscripts brought by Eduard Rüppel (Reise in Abyssinien, Frankfurt am Main, 1838-1840, 3 tomes, see the 2nd tome on the manuscripts he has acquired or had copies made of); Gerhard Rohlfs (Meine Mission nach Abessinien auf Befehl SR. Maj. des deutschen Kaisers im Winter 1880-1, Leipzig, 1883) or by members of the Deutsche Aksum Expedition.

    Amongst the manuscripts that have come into the possession of the institutions these last decades, Psalms as well as magic scrolls are important in number; this can be explained by the fact that they often are personal properties that individual owners can sell to passer-by buyers. (see Veronika Six, 1994, VOHD, XX, 3, pp. 8-9).

    In the collections detailed hereunder, we counted approximately 950 pieces.

    The first three out of six volumes of the Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland on Ethiopian manuscripts are dedicated to the minute descriptions of microfilms made in Ethiopia at the beginning of the 1970’s by Ernst Hammerschmidt (VOHD XX, 1 to 3, confer the full mention of it at the entry entitled « Berlin, Staatsbibliothek »). In Germany, these microfilms are kept at the Berlin Staatsbibliothek while in Ethiopia, they are partly held at the library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and partly at the Patriarchate in Addis Ababa.

    The third volume of the VOHD is however of mixed content and accounts for the evolution of the German collections posterior to 1994. It thus includes the description of the latest discovered collections - the scope of work having been enlarged by the new possibilities offered by the reunification of Germany- and the update of those formerly described (the VOHD XX, 3 is in fact the last volume published in the XX series, 1 to 6). For example, since the catalogue dedicated to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek of Münich (VOHD XX, 5), the library had acquired forty five supplementary manuscripts.
    The other three volumes (VOHD XX, 4 à 6) are respectively dedicated to the Berlin Staatsbibliothek, the Münich Bayerische Staatsbibliothek – these being the two largest German collections – and the last volume contains information on updates and on all other collections, which for most of them do not consist of more than one or two manuscripts.

    - SIX, Veronika
    1999: Äthiopische Handschriften vom Tanasee. Teil 3. Nebst einem Nachtrag zum Katalog der äthiopischen Handschriften deutscher Bibliotheken und Museen, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner (VOHD XX, 3).

    This volume contains the cataloging of the following collections: :
    - microfilms Tanasee (Daga Estifanos, Qwärata ,Gondär), kept in the Staatsbibliothek Berlin.
    - Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz
    - Emden, Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek
    - Göttingen, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universtitätsbibliothek
    - Iena, Thüringische Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek
    - Kiel, Universitätsbibliothek
    - Münich, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum
    - Münich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
    - Münich, Museum für Völkerkunde
    - Münsterschwarzach Abtei
    - Schleswig, Archäologisches Landesmuseum der Christian-Albrecht-Universität Witzenhausen, Völkerkundliches Museum

    Book reviews: Ricci, Rassegna di Studi Etiopici, 43, 1999, 244-45 ; Bausi, Aethiopica, 3, 2000, 267-276 ; Kropp, Oriens Christianus, 86, 2002, 270-272.

    - HAMMERSCHMIDT, Ernst & SIX, Veronika
    1983: Äthiopische Handschriften 1: Die Handschriften der Staatsbibliothek preussischer Kulturbesitz, Wiesbaden, Franz Steiner (VOHD XX, 4).

    Book reviews: Irvine, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 48/3, 1985, 616-617

    - SIX, Veronika (rédactrice) & HAMMERSCHMIDT Ernst (éd.)
    1989: Äthiopische Handschriften 2. Die Handschriften der bayerischen Staatsbibliothek, Wiesbaden, Franz Steiner (VOHD XX, 5).

    - SIX, Veronika (rédactrice) & HAMMERSCHMIDT Ernst (éd.)
    1994: Äthiopische Handschriften. Teil 3: Handschriften deutscher Bibliotheken, Museen und aus Privatbesitz, Stuttgart, Franz Steiner (VOHD XX, 6).

    Ce catalogue comprend la description des collections suivantes:
    - Andechs, Kloster Andechs
    - Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum
    - Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek
    - Berlin, Museum für Völkerkunde
    - Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz
    - Bonn, Universitätsbibliothek
    - Bremen-Vegesack, Heimatmuseum
    - Dillingen sur la Donau, Stadt- und Hochstiftmuseum
    - Dresde, Sächsische Landesbibliothek
    - Frankfurt am Main, Museum für Völkerkunde
    - Frankfurt am Main, Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek
    - Göttingen, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek
    - Halle, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek
    - Hamburg, Private collection of Ernst Hammerschmidt (depuis versée à la Staatsbibliothek de Berlin)
    - Hamburg, Private collection of Veronika Six
    - Hamburg, Museum für Völkerkunde
    - Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek
    - Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek
    - Kassel, Gesamthochschul-Bibliothek
    - Mannheim, Völkerkundliche Sammlungen der Stadt Mannheim im Reiss-Museum
    - Maria Laach, Kloster Maria Laach
    - Münich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
    - Münich, Deutsches Museum
    - Münich, Museum für Völkerkunde
    - Münich, Universitätsbibliothek
    - Münster en Westphalie, Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung
    - Reinbek, Museum Rade am Schloss Reinbek
    - Rostock, Universitätsbibliothek
    - Sankt Augustin, Haus Völker und Kulturen
    - Stuttgart, Linden Museum
    - Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek
    - Weinheim, Hauptamt-Archiv

    Book review: Ricci, Rassegna di Studi Etiopici 43, 1999, 244-45 ; Kropp, Oriens Christianus, 86, 2002, 269-270.

    Ernst Hammerschmidt published two catalogues of illustrated manuscripts preserved in the German collections. Albeit not being updated, these publications are indispensable complements:

    - HAMMERSCHMIDT, Ernst & JÄGER, Otto
    1968: Illuminierte äthiopische Handschriften, Wiesbaden, Franz Steiner (VOHD XV).

    The authors describe 122 manuscripts (including magic scrolls) having painted elements, including those solely with ornaments. Illustrated manuscripts are 36 in number. They come from the following libraries :
    - Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek (manuscripts today kept at the Staatsbibliothek Berlin), pp. 198-202, 204-206, 219-225, 227, 232.
    - Berlin, Museum für Völkerkunde, pp. 120-121, 156-158, 161-162, 190-191, 194-195, 202-203, 209-215, 231-232.
    - Berlin, private collection of Otto Jäger, pp. 65-67, 109-119, 175-181, 193.
    - Berlin, private collection of H. Krenz, pp. 164-175.
    - Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek (E 415a, 415b, 415e 1 et 2), pp. 191, 202, 70-85.
    - Frankfurt am Main, Stadts- und Universitätsbibliothek, pp. 56-64, 87-100, 160 (including manuscripts Rüppel IV, 1 and 2 and ms. or. oct. 9).
    - Halle an der Saale, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen, pp. 54-56, 122-123.
    - Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, pp. 123, 154-155, 159, 162-164.
    - Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, pp. 218-219.
    - Mannheim, Städtisches Reiss-Museum, pp. 203-204, 216-218.
    - Marburg, Staatsbibliothek (from 1939 up to the 1970s’, the collections of the Staatsbibliothek Berlin were in Marburg, see Beylot & Rodinson, 1995, p. 77), pp. 45-54, 85-86, 100-108, 120, 123-124, 155-156, 161, 183-185, 189-190, 194, 198, 200-209, 227-231 (mss. or. fol. 3074 et 3075, or. quart. 994, 1015, 1018 (1 à 9), or. oct. 59, 199, 220, 554, 555, 992, 1264, 1266, 1270, 1275, 1300, 1302, 2886, 2910, 2911, 3029, 3739, 3989.
    - Münich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, pp. 121, 124-154, 185-189, 191-193, 215-216.
    - Rostock, Universitätsbibliothek, p. 186.
    - Stuttgart, Linden Museum, pp. 69-70, 86-87, 160, 193-195, 203, 225-228, 231.
    - Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, pp. 119-122.
    Tübingen, Depot der Staatsbibliothek-Universitätsbibliothek (il could be the collections of the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz of Berlin, see Beylot & Rodinson, 1995, p. 77), pp. 67-69 (ms. or. quart. 1167, 217 fol. 29 x 34 x 7 cm, 18 images)

    1977: Illuminierte Handschriften der Staatsbibliothek Preußicher Kulturbesitz und Handschriften vom Tanasee, Graz, Akademische Druck und Verlagsanstalt (Codices Athiopici I).

    Illustrated manuscripts of the Berlin Staatsbibliothek and microfilmed manuscripts from the islands of Lake Tana.

    As the project of cataloguing Ethiopian manuscripts in the VOHD is now finished, Veronica Six regularly publishes, from the year 2000 onward, updates of the catalogues that she had formerly written in Aethiopica.

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