A Coptic Psalter, 13th century

Scope and Content

A Coptic Psalter with marginal Arabic annotations, containing early prayers in Coptic and portions of the Psalms [incomplete] together with prayers in Arabic. Marginal and some capital letter illuminations.

Administrative / Biographical History

Books of the Psalms were known as psalters, often also containing calendars, canticles, prayers and creeds. They were popularly used for private devotions but could also be used for liturgical purposes where all 150 psalms were to be recited each week. Depictions of King David, supposed author of many of the Psalms, frequently introduce the psalter; many of the surviving examples are richly ornamented. Psalms were also important elements of prayer books and later in books of hours.


Single item

Access Information

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Purchased in 1946 for ten guineas.


Call number used to be ms781

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: crushed brown morocco (modern). In crushed brown morocco bound slip case with title 'Fragments de Liturge Copte. Siecle XIII' on the spine.Paper: ff.1 and 2 9x13cm; ff.3-12 12x17.5 cm; ff.13-37 13x18.2 cm approx; ff.38-45 12.4x16.8cm.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

An anonymous note in French says that the manuscript was a gift from a friar of the 'Couvent des Syriens' in the valley of the salt lakes of Natroun (Natron), 27 January 1798. A French hand notes that the volume was found in the convent.