On Monday, UNSA will be holding Medieval Mayday – music, cosplay, sword craft and a free lunch at Park on The Hill. The Library will be there to help and we will showcase our vast array of historical resources, both physical and online.

Did you know that Special Collections is home to a variety of rare and beautiful books which date back to the Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern periods?

We took a peak at some of the offerings to be discovered in the treasure trove. These are rare books, and are not available for loan. However, they can be accessed by visiting Special Collections in person (Level 2, Auchmuty Library). Currently, a new Special Collections Reading Room is under construction.

Some of these special books include:

Tractatus de herbis

An illustrated treatise of medicinal plants painted in 1440. This edition of 1000 copies has been bound in full goatskin leather, with leather onlays … with handmade laid-paper endleaves from the Fabriano mill. More information can be found via the library catalogue resource page.


De arte venandi cum avibus

Illustrated manual of Falconry by Frederick II the Holy Roman Emperor. More information can be found via the library catalogue resource page.


Divina Commedia (Dante’s Divine Comedy)

Replica of the oldest extant manuscript of this text. The production date might be between 1333 and 1345, or 1350. It’s considered to be the first illustrated Divine Comedy ever produced and it’s the only surviving manuscript of its kind before 1350 of “The Divine Comedy”. More information can be found via the library catalogue resource page.


The Book of Kells

Reproductions from the manuscript in Trinity College, Dublin. View The Book of Kells reproduction details.


The Kelmscott Chaucer

A facsimile with work by William Morris and with the original Kelmscott Chaucer Book of Kells facsimile details



For renaissance resources check out these databases (you’ll need to be signed in):


Need help? Ask the Library

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