Medieval History

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Introducing Summon - which makes it possible to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.

However,  Summon doesn't search everything that the library owns or subscribes to so you will still need to search other resources to find everything that you need. Summon also doesn't let you do sophisticated searches that you may be used to doing in specific databases or the library catalogue.  

When to use Summon

  • When starting research on a topic
  • If you are not sure which databases to use

For assistance using Summon please contact the Research Help Desk.

Reference Materials: 

Use reference materials to get started on your research. These can be found in the Reference area of the library, main floor behind the Research Help Desk.

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the period being studied. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event.  Also included are works created later by an eyewitness or a participant in an event, e.g. memoirs/autobiographies.

Finding primary sources in the library collection

   1. Original documents can be found by consulting the Archives and Research Collections (ARC) website.
   2. Reproductions can be found by checking the library catalogue.

Use specific words to locate primary sources in the Library catalogue, such as: correspondence, sources, diaries, letters, personal naratives. KEYWORD search examples:

  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:correspondence
  • [KEYWORD] and s:diaries
  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:letters
  • [KEYWORD] and s:sources


Includes approximately 500,000 images covering art, architecture and archeology.

The Avalon Project mounts digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. Searchable.

The Bibliotheca Augustana is a digital library of e-texts of world literature in several languages​​.

Latin texts, 7th-16th centuries.

Digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.

Texts pertaining to Irish history and culture from the Middle Ages to the Modern period in various languages.

A collection of books published in England, from the earliest available to Shakespeare.

Provides links to Western European historical documents (mainly primary) that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated.

Index to PDFs of medieval texts, translations and commentaries from a wide variety of disciplines.

Varied collection of texts and links to primary sources dealing with the Middle Ages.

Critical editions of sources for medieval German history, c. 500-1500.

One of the largest and fastest growing digital collections in Germany, comprising more than 900,000 titles available online. The collections include manuscripts, old printings, maps and images etc.

Links to visual and textual primary sources for the Middle Ages.

Texts translated into English. Searchable.


The digital library of the Biblioteca Nacional de España. Provides access to 1000s of digitised documents, such as, books printed from the 15th to the 19th century, manuscripts, drawings, engravings, pamphlets, posters, photographs, maps, atlases, music scores, historic newspapers and magazines and audio recordings.

Digital library of medieval manuscripts from French libraries.

Electronic catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Western manuscriptions in the Bodleian Library with descriptions and some images.  Also available is a subject guide to the collections.

Fifty-one leaves from Medieval manuscripts. Western Europe: 12th - 16th centuries.

The purpose of the “Codices Electronici Sangallenses” (Digital Abbey Library of St. Gallen) is to provide access to the medieval codices in the Abbey Library of St. Gallen by creating a virtual library. At the moment, the virtual library contains 500 manuscripts. The virtual library will be continuously updated and extended. (Dec. 2013)

Gateway to one of the largest repositories of medieval images on the web with links to more than 15,000 digitized images.

This digital facsimile provides reproductions of all 157 miniatures (and facing text pages) from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. The original one-volume prayer book had been taken apart in the nineteenth century; the leaves were shuffled and then rebound into two confusing volumes. This presentation offers the miniatures in their original, fifteenth-century sequence.

Digital project containing 12th-16th C. illuminated manuscripts from several American universities. Full browsing and downloading.

Digital Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts representing a significant resource for the study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe. 

Clearing house of digitzed medieval and renaissance manuscripts.

This site provides access to over 80 early manuscripts now in institutions associated with the University of Oxford.

The manuscript collection includes most of the kinds of books used between 1000 and 1500 A.D.: prayer books and poetry, Bibles and political propaganda, philosophical works, and fantastic histories. Some are works of art; others are humble.

Provides a variety of research tools, publications and links for the study of French manuscripts from antiquity to the renaissance. Research categories include iconography, paleography, codicology, musicology and Byzantine sources. In French.

Includes an online, original manuscript of Chaucer's work.

Database of manuscripts in the Bibliotheque Nationale with extensive images. Searchable by keyword.

Database containing descriptions and digital images of manuscripts, private papers and archives held by Italian public, private and ecclesiastical libraries.

Manuscripta mediaevalia represents more than 75,000 documents to Western manuscripts available mainly in German libraries.

More than 14,000 manuscript illuminations.

Searchable database of images illustrating connections between the literature and visual culture of medieval England.

The collection is comprised of most types of manuscripts from the whole world spanning over 5000 years. It is the largest private manuscript collection formed in the 20th century. Many images with extensive annotation.

A digital archive of manuscript miscellanies and commonplace books from c. 1450-1720, including research and teaching resources for late medieval and early modern manuscript studies.


Access to 59 fully digitized medieval manuscripts from Austrian university collections.


Church and Religion

A source of classical French writings which consists of a number of searchable databases.

Website of the Vatican Library. Contains links to the Archivio Segreto Vaticano and other resources including the map, Forma Urbis Romae.

A digital library of hundreds of classic Christian books selected for edification and education.

The Codex Gigas contains 5 texts as well as a complete Bible. The manuscript contains the Old Testament, and 2 historical works by Flavius Josephus. These are The Antiquities and The Jewish War.

The complete works of Thomas Aquinas.

Medieval stained glass in England.

A large database of medieval art.

Contains medieval documents (literature and historical records of all kinds) collected from manuscripts and printed sources.

E-text library of the Church of Greece.

Cover the works of the Latin Fathers, from Tertullian in 200 A.D. to Pope Innocent III in 1216.

Texts of Latin prayers.

Text of the old Latin Bible.



In German.

Law and Legal History

Middle English


The Society for Medieval Military History.


Women in the Middle Ages

Contains medieval documents (literature and historical records of all kinds) collected from manuscripts and printed sources.



This tool makes freely available on the internet the best available materials for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approach to mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds.


A digital library of art images. Includes approximately 500,000 images covering art, architecture and archeology. 

  • CORSAIR (The Morgan Library and Museum)

Gateway to one of the largest repositories of medieval images on the web with links to more than 15,000 digitized images.

Searchable databaswe of more than 14,000 images of manuscript illuminations and decorative elements.


Collection of streaming educational videos that cover a wide spectrum of disciplines. Contains both clips and full-length videos.

For video material at the Carleton Univeristy library, do a KEYWORD search in the library catalogue and limit "Material Type" to FILM/VIDEO. If you cannot find what you need search the following database:

If you wish to borrow a video listed in Watmedia please fill out our Interfilm Video Request form - do not submit requests directly to Watmedia.

Understanding Medieval Manuscripts

This resource has been designed for students and scholars of early modern English letters, history, theology, and philosophy--for anyone whose research will embrace original English manuscript sources in this period.

Medievalists have always found it difficult to interact with primary sources from their period of study due to a lack of training in palaeography (and manuscript studies), that is to say, the reading and understanding of ancient documents. This course provides scholars and the general public interested in medieval books and documents with online training on the diverse areas found within palaeography. Topics covered include general palaeography, the history of medieval scripts, diplomatic, codicology and illumination.

An introduction to the structure of a book of hours based on several sources. Includes explanatory materials, Latin/English facing pages texts.

This web tutorial will help you learn to read the handwriting found in documents written in English between 1500 and 1800.

This tutorial is a beginners' guide to the Latin used in documents between 1086 and 1733. It is the first online tutorial to help you learn the Latin from this period.

A step-by-step online tutorial with 12 lessons to teach medieval Latin to an advanced level. You will have lots of opportunities to practise what you learn with a selection of activities, as well as extracts from original documents held at The National Archives.



Database which aims to provide structured information relating to all the recorded inhabitants of England from the late sixth to the late eleventh century. It is based on a systematic examination of the available written sources for the period, including chronicles, saints’ Lives, charters, libri vitae, inscriptions, Domesday Book and coins; and is intended to serve as a research tool suitable for a wide range of users with an interest in this period.

Calendars and Chronology

General Sites

The Labyrinth provides free, organized access to resources in medieval studies. It’s easy-to-use links provide connections to databases, services, texts, and images around the world.

Inventory of all charters and historiographic sources of Roman-German kings from the Carolingians to Maximilian I. and of the Popes of the early and high Middle Ages.


Database of Arthurian texts, images, bibliographies, and basic information.


Content last updated: August 23, 2018