Miscellaneous Ethiopic manuscripts in the Bodleian Library

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Aeth. b. 1-2, c. 1-5, 7-13, d. 1-15, e. 1-28, f. 1-22, g. 1-23
  • Dates of Creation
      15th-early 20th century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      Amharic, and Geez.
  • Physical Description
      102 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Ethiopic and Amharic manuscripts, mainly service books, prayers, hymns and magic scrolls, 15th-early-20th century. Includes an unusual 17th-century manuscript of a Marian text Arganona weddase ('Harp of Praise') which was acquired in 2002 (MS. Aeth. e. 28), and a finely illustrated 15th-century Gospels (MS. Aeth. c. 2).

Administrative / Biographical History

Ethiopic manuscripts from various sources.

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk).

Acquisition Information

The manuscripts were acquired between 1822 and 2002.


Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Some of the manuscripts are briefly described in Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series, with references to the oriental and other manuscripts (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vols. V-VI, nos. 28165-6, 29169, 29376, 29680, 29771, 29897, 30139, 30840, 31596-7, 31723, 32588, 32780, 33014, 33165-6, 35230-1, 36981.

The manuscripts are also summarily described in the card catalogue, arranged by language, located in the Oriental Reading Room.

Several manuscripts are described in Edward Ullendorff Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts in the Bodleian library, vol. ii, (Oxford, 1951).

Two further manuscripts are described in A. Dillmann Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Bodleianae, pars vii. Codices Aethiopici (Oxford, 1848).

Related Material

The manuscripts of James Bruce (MSS. Bruce) contain 25 Ethiopic manuscripts.