George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

German manuscript with early Gaelic: acquired in 2000

In 2000, the National Library of Scotland bought an 11th-century manuscript written in Germany.

'Marianus Scotus' is of interest because it contains the earliest writing in Gaelic in any manuscript now in Scotland.

The manuscript was written mostly by Marianus, founder of the Irish community at Regensburg in Germany. Dating from 1080-1083, it is written in handwriting called 'Caroline minuscule', but has little decoration. Its interest lies in the notes containing invocations of saints which were entered on their feast days. Some of these notes are in Gaelic.

Most of the manuscript's history is written on the first page. For 800 years, the item remained in the possession of the monastery in which it had been written. When the monastery closed in 1862, it was brought to Scotland by Father Anselm Robertson, one of the last two Benedictine monks at Regensburg. Fort Augustus Abbey acquired the manuscript around 1870. That monastery closed in 1998.

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