Treasures of the Library
Knowing that I loved my books, he furnished me from mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom"
— Prospero, The Tempest (Act 1, Scene 2)
An important goal of the Cambridge Digital Library is to make available substantial collections, so that researchers, teachers and life-long learners can explore a wide range of resources and uncover their own treasures. We expect the digitisation of our collections to enable interesting discoveries to be made and to open up new avenues for research. As we develop the digital library infrastructure we will look for ways of capturing and publicising new information about items held within the digital library.
However, there are many items within the Library’s collections that already deserve highlighting. This may be because of their historical importance, uniqueness, beauty, fascinating content, or perhaps their personal associations. In this special collection within the Cambridge Digital Library we will draw together books, manuscripts and other items from across our collections that are especially significant. Many of them have been displayed in Library exhibitions in the past – now they can be accessed at any time, from anywhere in the world, and browsed cover to cover.
Nash Papyrus (MS Or.233)The Nash Papyrus is a second-century BCE fragment containing the text of the Ten Commandments followed by the Šemaʿ. Prior ... more
Mishnah (MS Add.470.1)The text of the Mishnah describes the first written account of the early Jewish oral tradition and the earliest significant ... more
Codex Bezae (MS Nn.2.41)There are half-a-dozen ancient manuscripts which are the foundation of our understanding of the text of the New Testament ... more
Book of Deer (MS Ii.6.32)The Book of Deer (Evangelia) is a Gospel Book written in a hand that was current in the period c. 850-1000 and generally ... more
Life of St Edward the Confessor (MS Ee.3.59)The only copy of an illustrated Anglo-Norman verse Life of St Edward the Confessor, written in England probably in the later ... more
Benedictional of Robert de Clercq (MS Nn.4.1)A Benedictional contains blessings, prayers, and rites intended for the personal use of a bishop. This one was commissioned ... more
Nuremberg Chronicle (Inc.0.A.7.2)The Liber Chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel printed in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger in 1493, or Nuremberg Chronicle as it is ... more
Titi Lucretii Cari De rerum natura libri sex (Montaigne.1.4.4)This copy of Lucretius' poem De rerum natura (On the nature of things), edited by Denis Lambin and printed in Paris in 1563, ... more
al-Qurʼān (MS Nn.3.75)Illuminated Qurʾān from the library of Tipu Sultan, presented to the University of Cambridge by the Court of Directors of ... more
al-Qurʼān (ajzāʼ) (MS Or.770)Fragments of an Abbasid Qurʼān, probably written in the third century A.H / ninth century C.E., containing verses from the ... more
ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt (MS Nn.3.74)A richly illuminated 16th Century [CE] copy of the Persian version of Qazwini's ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharāʼib al-mawjūdāt, ... more
Shāhnāmah (MS Add.269)A richly illuminated and almost complete copy of the Shahnamah with less than a page missing of its prose introduction, probably ... more
Pañcarakṣā (MS Add.1688)"The Pañcarakṣā is a collection of dhāraṇīs addressed to goddesses for protection against evil spirits (Sāhasrapramardinī), ... more
Kalpasūtra (MS Add.1765)Traditionally attributed to Bhadrabāhu, the Kalpasūtra is a major canonical text of the Śvetāmbara Jains, composed in Ardhamāgadhī ... more
Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica (Adv.b.39.1)Newton's monumental Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, often shortened to Principia, was published in July 1687 ... more
Newton's Waste Book (MS Add.4004)Much of Newton's important work on calculus is developed in this large notebook, which he began using in 1664 when he was ... more
Trinity College Notebook (MS Add.3996)This is a notebook Newton acquired while he was an undergraduate at Trinity College and used from about 1661 to 1665 (see ... more
Laboratory Notebook (MS Add.3975)Newton's notes on optics, precious stones, colours, temperatures, salts, medical matters, alchemy and other subjects, in ... more
De discrimine adulatorio et amici (MS Add.6858)In 1513, while he was at Cambridge, Erasmus dedicated to Henry VIII his translation from Greek into Latin of Plutarch's ... more