Our newest acquisition!

sciviasSpecial Collections’ newest acquisition — just in time for Women’s History Month — is a facsimile of the Rupertsberg copy of Hildegard of Bingen’s Scivias.

Hildegard was a German abbess, one of the most famous and prolific women authors of the medieval period. Besides authoring religious, mystical, scientific, and philosophic texts, she was also a composer and a playwright. Hildegard founded the convent at Rupertsberg in 1150. Scivias is one of her most important works, detailing 26 visions on religious topics like the creation, the Trinity, and the way to salvation. It also includes religious lyrics.

The Rupertsberg manuscript was completed at Hildegard’s abbey in 1151 or 1152, though scholars disagree as to how involved she was in the making of the manuscript. An illumination in the introduction of the text shows Hildegard writing on a wax tablet while receiving a vision and dictating to her mentor, Volmar, a Benedictine monk.

The Rupertsberg manuscript was faithfully copied by nuns in the abbey in the late 1920s, including the illustrations. Their work would prove prescient, as the original manuscript was moved to Dresden during World War II and subsequently lost. The facsimile is Special Collections is a photographic reproduction of the 1920s copy.

The Scivias facsimile is now available to researchers in accordance with Special Collections policies and procedures.

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