Fragment collection

The Royal Danish Library's fragment collection forms an independent unit in the manuscript collection. Find an overview and read more about the collection of fragments.

The fragment collection consists of more than 3,350 detached pages or parts of pages from medieval manuscripts. The fragment collection has been digitised in its entirety in digital collections. The Fragmenta Latina Hauniensia web pages, consisting of the selection below, contain digitisations in an older format with research-based introductions.

Most fragments contain pieces of text in Latin, but other languages, including Greek, Danish and German, also appear. Many fragments are remains of liturgical books, and some of them therefore also contain musical notation.

Among the fragments digitised in Fragmenta Latina Hauniensia are some of the collection's oldest. Collectively, the selection below illustrates the development of the writing from approximately year 600 to approximately year 1500.

Overview of digitised fragments in Fragmenta Latina Hauniensia

Per auctores & titulos

Fragmenta in CLA citata

Fragmenta a B. Bischoff citata

Fragmenta a B. Munk Olsen citata





The majority of the fragments are of parchment, a durable material that made them suitable for reuse.

A large part of the fragments have been used as covers for documents in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were transferred from the National Archives to the library in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Another group of fragments comes from bindings around books in the library's collections.

There are also fragments outside the actual fragment collection. This applies to, for instance, some fragments that belonged to Frederik Rostgaard and were later included in the Copenhagen University Library. These were numbered by Andersen & Raasted, but not included in the "Inventory over the Royal Library's Fragment Collection". This also applies to other fragments from the University Library, the manuscripts of which were collectively transferred to the Royal Library in 1938. Still other fragments have neither been numbered nor registered in the inventory.

Individual fragments have been transferred to the sub-collection New Royal Collection with the status of independent manuscripts due to their value as literary, historical or palaeographic sources, while other pieces in the collection have hardly been studied since they were pages in whole books in the Middle Ages.

Overall overview of the fragment collection

  • Merete Geert Andersen & Jørgen Raasted, Inventar over Det kongelige Biblioteks Fragmentsamling, Hafniæ 1983 (= Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Specialhjælpemidler 6)

Often used reference works

  • Bernhard Bischoff, Katalog der festländischen Handschriften des neunten Jahrhunderts (mit Ausnahme der wisigotischen). Teil I: Aachen - Lambach, ed. Birgit Ebersperger, Wiesbaden 1998
  • Hartmut Hoffmann, Bücher und Urkunden aus Helmarshausen und Corvey, Hannover 1992
  • Ellen Jørgensen, Catalogus codicum Latinorum medii ævi Bibliothecæ Regiæ Hafniensis, Hafniæ 1926
  • Paul Lehmann, Skandinavische Reisefrüchte, Neue Folge, 2. Nachlese 3, in: Nordisk Tidskrift för Bok- och Biblioteksväsen, 25, 1938
  • E. A. Lowe, Codices latini antiquiores. A palaeographical guide to latin manuscripts prior to the ninth century, part X, Oxford 1963
  • E. A. Lowe [Loew], The Beneventan Script. A History of the South Italian Minuscule. Second Edition prepared and enlarged by Virginia Brown, Roma 1980
  • Birger Munk Olsen, L'Étude des auteurs classiques latins aux XIe et XIIe siècles, T. 1-3.2, Paris 1982-89