Schøyen Collection

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The Schøyen Collection is the largest private manuscript collection in the world, mostly located in Oslo and London. Formed in the 20th century by Martin Schøyen, it comprises manuscripts of global provenance, spanning 5,000 years of history. It contains more than 13,000 manuscript items; the oldest is about 5,300 years old. There are manuscripts from 134 different countries and territories, representing 120 distinct languages.[1]

The variety of manuscripts—geographic, linguistic, textual and material—even more than its size makes the Schøyen Collection unique. The collection has a website with many items illustrated and described. The provenance of the various cuneiform materials held by the Schøyen Collection remains subject to controversy.[2]

Notable manuscripts[edit]

Among the most notable items of the collection are the following:

  • MS 1 (ca. 1300), a fragment from a codex of French sermons, in a binding produced by Manuale del Navarro, acquired in 1955
  • MS 035, Codex Sinaiticus Zosimi Rescriptus, a palimpsest on vellum from Mount Sinai[3]
  • MS 193 (3rd century AD), The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, biblical manuscript in the Coptic language; it contains: Jonah, 2 Maccabees, 1 Peter, "Peri Pascha" of Melito, and an unidentified Homily[4]
  • MS 1717 (31st century BC), The Kushim Tablet, a Sumerian cuneiform record of beer production, signed by possibly the first example of a person named in writing[5]
  • MS 2064 (21st century BC), Ur-Nammu's law-code, a Sumerian text.[6]
  • MS 2650 (4th century AD), Codex Schøyen, the oldest Gospel of Matthew in Coptic dialect[7]
  • MS 2781 (2000–1600 BC), a Babylonian calendar.[8]
  • MS 4457 (1865-1879 AD), Cheyenne Chief Little Shield's Ledger Book recording the Indian War of the Platte River in 1865.
  • MS 108 "The earliest Greek Alphabet” copper,, Cyprus, ca. 800 BC, 2 tablets, 21x13 cm, single column, (19x10 cm), 20-23 lines in archaic Greek capitals with some North Semitic (Phoenician) letter forms by 2 or more scribes.
  • MS 5236, an ancient Greek block print from the 6th century BC
  • Tutankhamun's signet ring
  • Some ancient Buddhist manuscripts taken from Afghanistan, allegedly to preserve them from the Taliban.
  • Since 1994, the Schøyen Collection has acquired 115 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments from 15 different scrolls.[9]


  1. ^ The Schøyen Collection
  2. ^ Robson, Eleanor (1 May 2017). "Review of: The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts, 2 vols". BMCR – via Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
  3. ^ Ms 035 at the Schøyen Collection
  4. ^ Ms 193 at the Schøyen Collection
  5. ^ Ms 1717 at the Schøyen Collection
  6. ^ Ms 2064 Archived 2018-01-29 at the Wayback Machine at the Schøyen Collection
  7. ^ Ms 2650 at the Schøyen Collection
  8. ^ The Middle Babylonian Almanac at the Schøyen Collection
  9. ^ Dead Sea Scrolls at the Schøyen Collection

External links[edit]

Media related to Schoyen Collection at Wikimedia Commons