Syrian Manuscripts

The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin owns about 390 Syrian manuscripts. The majority of the collection was acquired and catalogued by Eduard Sachau (1845-1930). The acquisitions after the publication of his catalogue in 1899 were described by Julius Assfalg in 1963.

A particular strength of the collection are the old Bible manuscripts on parchment (e.g. Phillipp's codex 1388, which contains the canons of Eusebius and must have been written before 677), the large collections of ecclesiastical poetry from Tur Abdin (e.g. codex Sachau 349, 355), patristic codices (e.g. Sachau 220), a magnificent gospel book from the 13th century (Sachau 304), but also valuable materials for the study of Syrian dialects (catalogue numbers 117-137 and 278-292).

Eduard Sachau himself commissioned copies on his travels to the Orient, these copies are today valuable sources, for example for Fellihi and Torani (Turoyo), both dialect forms of Neo-Aramaic.


Outstanding Objects

Sachau 304, Magnificent Gospels

The magnificent manuscript from the 11th-13th centuries comes from Tur Abdin in southeastern Turkey. 

As a scribe the name Emmanuel is included. The manuscript contains the Gospel text after the Peschitta, arranged as a lectionary. 

Sachau 322 - Gospels in Estrangelo Scripture

The manuscript comes from southeastern Turkey. It was written in 1241, the scribes are the monk Isaac and the priest Sahda. The Estrangelo font is very nicely executed.

Phillipps 1388 - Syrian gospel manuscript from the 6th/7th century

Composite manuscript of ecclesiastical poetry from the Tur Abdin