Parchment is a document written on a specially
processed animal skin. Only the most important and significant documents
took the form of a parchment: royal privileges, donations, papal bulls,
international agreements etc. These documents serve as sources for
various sciences: history, art, sfragistics, paleography, history of
religion, diplomacy and others. They also contain valuable data for the
history of political and social life, history of social and legal family
relations, historical geography, toponymy, genealogy and linguistics.
At present the
Manuscripts Department of the Library of Lithuanian
Academy of Sciences (LLAS) preserve 1412 parchments covering the period
from the eleventh century to the beginning of the twentieth century.
This is one of the largest
collections of parchments
in the Baltic
States. Geographically, these parchments account for the objects in the
territories of Lithuania, Poland, Byelorussia, Latvia, Estonia, Russia,
Ukraine, Germany, Austria and Italy. Among them are examples of the
oldest written documents; some of them – privileges of Grand Dukes
Vytautas and Jogaila of Lithuania – are the only ones in Lithuania.
For a long time these documents were accessible only to a narrow circle
of scientists. However, the increased interest in the country’s history
proved the need to make these collections available to a wider public.
New technologies provide for a possibility to preserve original
documents and make high quality copies of them.
The aim of the
Parchments' Digital Images Archive is to make digital
images of parchment documents preserved in the depository of the
Manuscripts Department of LLAS available to everyone.
The present archive presents digital images of 121 parchments. The
selected documents cover the earliest period: from 1187 to 1500. Only
those in very good, good or satisfying condition are included; a number
of them have been restored or underwent repairs. The digital image
archive does not include fragments of documents of this period, neither
the remains of the fifteenth century code.
Documents are accompanied by short archival descriptions in Lithuanian
and English, arranged according to the Parchment Catalogue by Rimantas
Jasas (1980). Personal names, place names, dates, document authenticity
and bibliography have been revised.
For the more convenient search for the necessary documents, the list of
all digitized parchments is provided, the indices of personal and place
names have been prepared, and the documents are grouped according to
their origin and chronology.
High quality digital copies can be studied at the Manuscripts Department
of LLAS. Under special arrangement, readers and publishers may obtain
copies of these images.
We express our sincere gratitude to the consultants Edmundas Rimša (Lithuanian
Institute of History) and Marija Razmukaitė (Institute of Lithuanian
Language) for their kind assistance.
We expect to develop and expand the
Digital Images Archive
and our team is looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
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