Arabic Manuscripts

The holdings of Arabic manuscripts at the Staatsbibliothek amount to about 11,100 volumes. From early Koran fragments to illuminated magnificent manuscripts to utility literature from Islamic educational institutions, the collection represents the diversity of literary production in the Arab world over many centuries.

History of the collection

Arabic manuscripts have already been collected in the Electoral Library. However, the collection received its decisive influence in the course of the 19th century, in which the stock grew from several hundred to about 7,000 volumes, often through the purchase of large private collections, financed by the Prussian rulers. In particular, Frederick William IV (reigned from 1854-1861) supported Oriental studies and the purchase of manuscripts on a large scale. During his reign, for example, he purchased the manuscript collections Wetzstein, Sprenger and Petermann. But even in the 20th century to the present day, the collection has been continuously expanded and systematically supplemented.


Outstanding Objects

Kitab Suwar al-kawakib of as-Sufi,
Copy in 1233
(Landberg 71)


Tracts of al-Qasim Ibn-Ibrahim ar-Rassi, Yemen, 12th century
(Glaser 101)


Abbasid Quranic Commentary, Iraq,
Copy in 1203
(Landberg 822)

History of King Dschaliad and his Vizier Shimas, Egypt, 16th/17th century
(Ms. or. fol. 2564)

Pharmacist's Book of Sabur Ibn-Sahl,
Early 10th century
(Ms. or. oct. 1839)