The Enigma of the Sinaitic Glagolitic Tradition



Continuing the ASF-project The Sinaitic Glagolitic Sacramentary (Euchologium) Fragments (P19608), this project continues the interdisciplinary collaboration of the Institute of Slavic Studies (ISS), University of Vienna (humanities), the Computer Vision Lab, Vienna University of Technology (computer scientists) and the Institute of Science and Technology in Art (ISTA), Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (chemists).

It is devoted to the recording, investigation and critical and facsimile edition of several newly detected Glagolitic manuscripts from St. Catherine’s monastery on Mt. Sinai (Sin. slav. 1/N, 3/N-5/N) and the comparative analysis of the whole Sinaitic Old Church Slavonic collection (10th-11th/12th c.), on the one hand, and the further development and application of new technical means for the preservation, investigation and virtual restoration of (damaged) written cultural heritage and its access for the research community, on the other.

In this joint venture three complex results are to be expected:

1. editions and comparative data of the relevant documents (codicology, palaeography, graphemics, and material);

2. improved imaging devices and new computer-programmes for the preservation, analysis and restoration of (damaged) written sources; and

3. the solution of the “Sinaitic Glagolitic Enigma”, i.e. new insights in the literary, ecclesiastic and overall cultural history of the Slavs and their connections with the Christian Orient.


  • Languages: German, English, Russian, Bulgarian
  • Countries: Austria – and cooperations with Russia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, UK, Greece, Italy,
  • Duration: 2011/02/01-2014/01/31
  • Keywords: palaeoslavistics, paleography, codicology, graphematics, digital imaging, image enhancement, document analysis, multispectral imaging, toolbox for manuscript analysis, material analysis
  • Funding: Austrian Science Fund (project number: P23133)



Project Head: Heinz Miklas (ISS)

Robert Sablatnig (VUT), Manfred Schreiner (ISTA)

Melanie Gau (VUT), Fabian Hollaus (VUT), Dana Hürner (ISS), Gunn Pöllnitz (ISTA), Willi Vetter (ISTA)


Links and references

  • Publications [1]
  • Manuscript: Collections of ancient and medieval Slavonic and Russian texts [2]
  • NEWS: Publication announcement of 1st volume of the “Glagolitica Sinaitica” series (with special thanks to the Holzhausen Publishing House) [3]
  • Publication Announcement Faksimile Edition of Psalterium Demetrii Sinaitici [4]

Queste del saint Graal



Interactive online digital edition of La Queste del Saint Graal (Quest for the Holy Grail), manuscript Lyon, BM. p.a. 77.

This is a prototype edition based on the TXM platform. It allows visualizing manuscript images, several layers of transcription and translation into modern French. Integrated search engine makes it possible to build concordances of word forms and morphological categories. Editorial principles are explained in a detailed introduction.


  • Languages: Old French
  • Dates: 13th century

Links and references



École normale supérieure de Lyon and ICAR research laboratory


Alexei Lavrentiev

DMGH (digital Monumenta Germaniae Historica)

The digital Monumenta Germaniae Historica (dMGH) offer free online access to all MGH-editions published until 2000. The dMGH are a cooperative effort of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH) and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München (BSB) (Bavarian State Library), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (German Research Foundation).

Currently the web site consists of a preliminary application allowing access to the digitized images of the printed editions. Ultimately this version will be replaced by an application allowing access to the full texts via a search interface.

With this project the volumes of the MGH, which are usually kept as a non-lending collection within most libraries, will be accessible worldwide. The dMGH started on July 1, 2004 and will be continued after the expiration of the funding by the DFG. Newly published editions will be excluded from the dMGH for five years after their publication, during which time the volumes will be reserved exclusively for the book market (“moving wall” of five years).

The full texts complete with prefaces, notes, and indices will be prepared until 2010 in three phases:

  • 2004-2006: Diplomata and Epistolae
  • 2006-2008: Scriptores
  • 2008-2010: Antiquitates, Leges, other remaining series

The original plan of the MGH was to provide broad access to the works of the historians of the middle ages, which were seen as a part of the national cultural heritage. This perspective will be raised to a new level by the dMGH with the help of up-to-date technical means. As the MGH cover a broad variety of texts and as they are committed to the historical-critical method, they have developed many different ways of presenting texts during their 180 years of existence – unlike, for instance, the Migne editions, which were prepared in a comparatively short amount of time without the intention to produce critical texts. Consequently, it is of great importance to reproduce exactly the historically developed appearance of the MGH-editions within the dMGH and not just to offer ways to easily cite passages from the online texts so that they can be found in the printed books and vice versa. Thus the digital presentation will closely resemble the original printed editions
Source(s): Application solutions





The Charrette is a complex, scholarly, multi-media electronic archive of Chrétien de Troyes’s Le Chevalier de la Charrette (Lancelot, ca. 1180), which itself does not seek to interpret the romance, nor does it dictate to scholars how they should conduct their research. It makes available a critical edition, to which a fully searchable database of rhetorico-poetic figures and grammatical data will shortly be added, and the entire manuscript tradition (eight manuscripts) in images and diplomatic transcriptions. These materials are placed at the disposal of students and scholars for their personal use.


  • Languages: Old French
  • Dates: 12th century
  • Names (authors, historical figures…): Chrétien de Troyes




The project is no longer active since 2006.

CTP (Canterbury Tales Project)

CTP (Canterbury Tales Project)

The Canterbury Tales Project aims to transcribe, collate and analyse all the fifteen century witnesses of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Project uses specialized software to prepare the digital edition (Collate) and software originally developed for evolutionary biology (PAUP — Phylogenetic Analysis Using Parsimony and SplitTrees) to explore the relations among the witnesses.


The CTP is a continuation of the work initiated by Peter Robinson, Elizabeth Solopova and Norman Blake in the early 1990s. It was directed by Norman Blake at Sheffield until 1999, when it moved to De Montfort University, Leicester. It is now based at the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing at the University of Birmingham. The long-term aim of the Project is to determine as thoroughly as possible the textual history of the Canterbury Tales. This is problematic as there are 84 manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales, as well as four pre-1500 printed editions, and no scholarly consensus about which one of these witnesses best represents Chaucer’s text. Furthermore, key questions remain unresolved about the history of the text: how far did Chaucer complete the Tales? And to what extent do the differences between the manuscripts reflect Chaucer’s own revisions, additions, alterations, and cancellations? Some 600 years of scholarly effort have failed to reach a consensus about these questions, or even to indicate whether they can be answered.


The work of the Project proceeds through four stages. Firstly, there is transcription of each manuscript into computer-readable form, using a character set and conventions established by Robinson and Solopova. Secondly, there is a computer collation of the transcripts against each other. Powerful regularization facilities ensure that substantive variants in the text can be filtered out from variants in spelling, etc. Thirdly, there is analysis of the body of variation, using phylogenetic methods borrowed from evolutionary biology to give a preliminary account of manuscript relations and database searching to refine the analysis. These computer-assisted methods of analysis, in themselves, are revolutionary.

The fourth stage is to present all this in an attractive and usable form. Two types of publication are to be produced by the Project. Individual Tales are presented as CD-ROMs with all the witnesses to one tale transcribed and collated, for example, The Wife of Bath’s Prologue on CD-ROMThe General Prologue on CD-ROM and The Miller’s Tale on CD-ROM. CD-ROMs are also being produced which contain entire transcriptions of individual manuscripts, such as the Hengwrt Chaucer Chaucer Digital Facsimile.

Source(s): computer collation solutions


Over its ten-year history, the Project has received funding from a variety of sources. Initially funded by the Leverhulme Trust, a series of one-year grants from the British Academy allowed the Project to continue at Sheffield under the direction of Norman Blake from 1994 – 1999. In 1999 the project moved to De Montfort and received a large grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, which supported the Project until 2004. The Project has also received grants from the Exxon Corporation, News International, and private donors. Partners in the Project include Brigham Young University, Virginia Tech, the University of Munster, Germany, New York University and Keio University.


The Project materials can be used in various ways, not only for the textual history of the “Tales” themselves, but also in other fields such as dialectology, palaeography and textual analysis, amongst others. The publications also have the potential to be used as teaching tools at various levels, from schools to universities, for both undergraduates and postgraduates. The project staff are keen to hear ideas and opinions from anyone interested in using its materials. Questions, comments and suggestions are welcome, and should be addressed to the either Barbara Bordalejo ( or Peter Robinson (


Bordalejo, Barbara, ed. 2003. Caxton’s Canterbury Tales: the British Library copies. Leicester, Scholarly Digital Editions. Online version at

Lloyd Morgan, Ceridwen, ed. 2003. The Hengwrt Chaucer: standard edition on CD-ROM. Leicester, Scholarly Digital Editions.

Robinson, Peter, ed. 1996. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue on CD-ROM. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

───, ed. 2004. The Miller’s Tale on CD-ROM. Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions. Sample version online

Solopova, Elizabeth, ed. 2000. The General Prologue on CD-ROM. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Stubbs, Estelle, ed. 2000. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile. Leicester, Scholarly Digital Editions. Sample version online

The text of many sections of these publications, and of many other project publications (including all articles published in the Project’s Occasional Papers series) is available at