Ancient books inherited in private family libraries could change our knowledge of late mediaeval arab culture, but most are hidden in private libraries. Gripping article about the unknown treasures that may be lurking in Mauritanian family libraries, considering the little that has already been found, resistance to cataloguing and problematic future if the region continues to be destabilised. How the manuscripts are famous in the muslim world.More on the open libraries and archive efforts. Some years back on bbc i saw an explorer track down some ancient ethiopian christian manuscripts to an ethiopian monastery, only to be shown some burnt remains from a fire a few months back. What treasures must lurk in this continent, and with digital cameras, how easy to document them without damage or intruding on their owners! Being christians, there are pictures and some history.
A Mediaeval Burglary (alternate formats, wikipedia) is a 24-page lecture transcript from 1915 about a little known burglary of King Edward I's treasure room in 1303. It is a real-life medieval mystery with interesting characters, scandal, cover-up, and an accurate feel of the times from a ground-up perspective, as told in a smoky Victorian library about 100 years ago. Entertaining, includes a hand-drawn map and two relevant manuscript pages.