Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

The Scriptorium of Acre


Acre became a center for manuscript and artistic production in the last years of Latin domination of the Kingdom, as early as 1225 and until the late thirteenth century. The scriptorium was most acitve as a center for artistic output from 1250 until the fall of the Kingdom in 1291. Among the French works copied into manuscripts in Acre are four extensively illustrated copies of the Histoire Universelle, seven illustrated copies of William of Tyre's History of Outremer, and a manuscript containing the Faits des Romains. The presence of a center for such luxurious book production in Acre attests to the importance of books for the Latin leaders of the time.

Acre was also an important locale for administration, particularly after Christians re-took the city from Muslim hands in 1191. After this time, the royal court relocated from Jerusalem to Acre, along with several other ecclesiastical groups seeking refuge from territories that remained in Muslim hands. From the end of the twelfth until the end of the thirteenth century, Acre was the political and ecclesiastical center of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Click on the following links to view French language texts from the Scriptorium at Acre:

Eracles: Acre Continuation  

French Biblical Texts from Acre

French Translation of Cicero's Rhetorica

Faits des Romains

Histoire Universelle

De Rei Militari

Image du Monde



Buchtal, Hugo. Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Oxford: Clarenden Press, 1957.

Folda, Jaraslow.Crusader Manuscript Illumination at Saint-Jean d'Acre. Princeton:University Press, 1976.

Weiss, Daniel H. The Pictoral language of the Aresenal old Testament: Gothic and Byzantine contributions and the meaning of crusader art (Paris, Bibliotheque de lAresenal, MS 5211) PhD. Thesis, Johns Hopkins University, 1993.

Culture in Acre:

Jacoby, David. "Society, Culture, and the Arts in Crusader Acre," in France and the Holy Land. Frankish Culture at the End of the Crusades. Edited by Daniel Weiss and Lisa Mahoney, 97-137. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.

Manuscripts from the Scriptorium at Acre

MSS:Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Fr. 20125

Contents: Histoire ancienne jusqu'à césar

Edition of this ms: n/a

Secondary Literature:

The Heard Word: A Moralized History. The Genesis Section of the Histoire ancienne in a Text from Saint-Jean d'Acre. Edited by. Mary Coker Joslin. Lafayette, University of Mississipi Press (1986).

Rebecca W. Corrie. "Angevin Ambitions: The Conradin Bible Atelier and a Neopolitan Localization for Chantilly's Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César," in France and the Holy Land, 230-252.

See also Arlima

back to top

MSS:Dijon, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 562

Contents: Histoire universelle

Edition: n/a

Secondary Literature:

Anne Derbes and Marc Sandona. "Amazons and Crusaders: the Histoire Universelle in Flanders and the Holy Land," in France and the Holy Land,(op. cit), 187-229.

back to top

MSS:Paris, Bibliothèque D'Arsenal, ms. 5211

Contents: Excerpts from a French translation of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha. May have been comissioned by St Louis in his stay in the Latin Kingdom between the years of 1250 and 1254.

Edition: n/a

Secondary Literature:

Click here for image, description, and summary of current scholarship

Back to top


Site  | Directories
Submit Search Request