Codices Latini Antiquiores

Codices Latini Antiquiores (CLA ) are a catalog of all known today Latin manuscripts (books and rolls) before the 9th century. Elias Avery Lowe suggested this project in 1929 and directed it from 1936 itself

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Content and expenditure

The catalog contains only books of literary content, so that legal texts, but no letters or documents. It consists of eleven countries classified according to storage volumes, an update of 1971 and two additions of 1985 and 1992. Basis of this work is solely the paleography ( stylistics of the manuscripts ). Each Codex or titles into a codex, a black-and- white photography is available ( scale 1:1), and a description of the contents of the conservation status of the font and the likely creation of place and age.

Sister companies and reprint of the 1988

For the certificate writings the sister company of Chartae Latinae Antiquiores has been launched.

The emphasis of the C.L.A. 1988 is significantly smaller than the original. This change, however, is neither mentioned nor seen since the original edition dispenses with the pictures on length scales.

Author and co-author

The CLA is the most important work of palaeography and the lifework of Elias Avery Lowe at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. As a graduate student at Cornell Lowe visited Germany in 1903 and became a student of Ludwig Traube in Munich. On Traube's proposal, he wrote his dissertation entitled The oldest calendars from Monte Cassino (1908 ), which gave impetus to the Codices Latini Antiquiores later.

The German paleograph Bernhard Bischoff began work on the CLA 1933, as an unknown student. He took over the time limit by 800, which includes a large number of codices.


The results were expected differently than before, because Lowe had more books evaluated for its Dissertation as used previously on this issue. The problem was obvious: the old books were scattered everywhere. When nearly all of them were sighted, one could expect to reliably detect what was when and where written. And just so you could estimate the importance of individual places for their time and their activities, particularly in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages quantify.

Statistics and historical data

With all the additions to the catalog today contains 1,884 books, the number of titles, so the actual manuscripts, is well over 2,000, mostly they are fragments. Before the middle of the 4th century dating exclusively archaeological finds, then, to 800, reign title before theological absolute. In the 6th and 7th centuries, copying or creation of secular texts went out almost completely.

Amazingly, the data from Italy: the period before 350, the loss is total, but bearing in mind that until the 3rd century not the code but the papyrus roll was the normal form of a book. Then, between 400 and 800, shows a practically constant production of books, a linear increase in the amount tradition. The extreme turmoil of the Migration Period and the devastating war with Byzantium in the 6th century seem to have significantly affected neither the production nor the loss rate of the Italian monasteries.

The Italian codices ( and it almost only theological ) were exported to the whole of Christian Europe until there myself started off production. In France, this was done from about 650 in England and Ireland from about 730 in Germany and Switzerland only against 800 for the 5th to the mid-7th century, we see a strong flow from Italy to France. For the 8th century a significant flow of codices of France and England / Ireland to Germany is striking. These were mainly theological works. A movement of pagan classics can for the entire geographic and temporal range of the CLA not be statistically proven. The data collected in movement patterns 14 classics are likely to migrate later or as a palimpsest.


CLA statistics of production: By country

CLA statistics of the hike: Storage by origin

CLA statistics of the walk: production and movement patterns by content