The Arnamagnæan Institute – University of Copenhagen

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The Arnamagnæan Institute

Manuscript Studies is the broad and interdisciplinary research area of the Arnamagnæan Institute. The institute is an international centre for research in Nordic medieval and post-medieval manuscripts and texts. The research includes the humanistic core disciplines philology and history of literature.

The aim of the Arnamagnæan Institute is to:

  • maintain, develop and disseminate studies in the Arnamagnæan manuscripts and the transmitted texts
  • publish scholarly editions of the manuscripts
  • facilitate research-based education in manuscript studies and scholarly editing

The chief function of the Arnamagnæan Institute remains to preserve and further the study of the manuscripts in the collection, in accordance with the terms of the original Bequest from 1760. In addition to the academic members of staff, there is a conservation workshop and a photographic atelier.

The scholarly use of manuscripts

The Arnamagnæan Institute was established in 1956 in order to provide a research environment that would ensure that the Arnamagnæan manuscript collection would be put to the scholarly use for which it was intended. This is done by conducting research into:

  • Manuscript studies and philology (including digital philology)
  • Scholarly editing: history and methodologies
  • Language and literature (including Latin) in medieval and early-modern Scandinavia

International Cooperation

The Arnamagnæan Institute works closely with its sister institute, the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík as well as the National Library of Iceland. In addition to cooperation on the database handrit.org, which contains descriptions and images of Icelandic and Norse manuscripts in Denmark and Iceland, the three institutions also arrange an annual summer school in manuscript studies, which is held alternately in Copenhagen and Reykjavík.

The Arnamagnæan Institute is also a partner in the Nordic Master's Programme Viking and Medieval Norse Studies, which offers an interdisciplinary approach to Viking and Medieval Scandinavia at four different Nordic universities and associated research institutes.

Furthermore the Institute hosts a biennial interdisciplinary seminar on the Care and Conservation of Manuscripts. In recent years between 100 and 200 scholars, conservators, photographers and students from all around the world have gathered in Copenhagen every other year to discuss their work with each other.