Heritage funds and collections

Heritage Collection documents

This collection contains a large number of unique documents of considerable historical importance. For example, there are the 532 manuscripts, of which the Hebrew collection from a synagogue in Tortosa is of particular value.

There are also texts in various languages, including Catalan, Latin, Tamil, Coptic, and Gue’ez.

The collection also includes 342 parchments, 42 sets of papers, 41 incunabula, 1,127 rare and valuable books and 20,252 volumes of documents dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

Parchment roll, 14th Century: The Book of Esther

  • The roll is 2.50 metres long. It comprises five pieces of sewn parchment, each 30 centimetres high.
  • There are three columns in each parchment. It is written in Hebrew and includes musical notations for the text to be sung.
  • It forms part of a single collection comprising manuscripts and ancient prints in Hebrew, which entered the library at some unidentified point in the past.
  • It may have belonged to a vanished synagogue in Tortosa or in Tarragona. In any event, given the importance of this Hebrew collection, it was micro-filmed by The Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, from the Jewish National and University Library of Jerusalem.

Holy Book, India

  • Holy Book, written in Tamil.
  • Codex comprising 144 palm leaves, written on both sides and bound in the centre with two cords.
  • The full piece is 36 centimetres long, 4 centimetres and 6 centimetres thick.
  • The work belonged to the library of Father Enric Heras (Barcelona, 1888 - Bombay, 1955). Father Heras was a Jesuit missionary and an internationally-famed historian. He founded the Institute for Historical Research at Bombay’s Saint Xavier's College. He was a key figure in the historiography of India and his works can also be found under the anglicised version of his name — Henry Heras. His publication enrich The Borja Library.

Gradual, first half of the 15th Century

  • From Monestir de Bellpuig de les Avellanes (monastery).
  • Manuscript, on parchment, with miniatures.
  • It formed part of the monastery’s library, which comprised over 3,000 books from the 15th to 18th centuries. It was acquired by The Borja Library from the Franciscan monks of Balaguer.
  • There are some very rare works among the volumes from Monestir de les Avellanes (monastery). There are also works from the private collections of two 18th Century Catalan humanists Jaume Caresmar and Jaume Pasqual. Both belonged to the so-called Escola de les Avellanes.

Sidi Khalil ibn Ishaq al-Maliki, al Mukhtasar

  • Book of prayers and rules for the pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a Malakide compendium (al Mukhtasar) of unknown date.
  • Manuscrit on paper. Text in Arabic in Moroccan script. 214 f., 12 x 17 cm.
  • This was probably part of the private library of the renowned Orientalist, Father Félix María Pareja, S.J. (1890-1983), with was incorporated in The Borja Library. Father Pareja founded the Spanish Association of Orientalists (AEO) in 1963.

Torah (Pentateuch) with Haftarah (fragment of the Books of the Prophets)

  • Probably 15th Century. Written in two columns of 26 lines on vellum, with some miniatures. 222 f., 13 x 16 cm.
  • As with the Book of Esther, it forms part of documents from the synagogue of Tortosa or of Tarragona.

Bible, early 13th Century

  • Well-conserved manuscript on vellum, with miniatures.
  • It is not known how the work ended up in the library. It may have been part of a lot of books donated by the Bishop of Tortosa, Benet Vilamitjana, around 1864.
  • In any event, it belonged to the Archbishop and Viceroy of Valencia, Joan de Ribera (Seville, 1532 - Valencia, 1611), named ‘Patriarch’ in an annotation on the back of the last sheet. This is because he was also Patriarch of Antioch.

Llibre d'Hores del Duc de l'Infantat [Duke of Infantats Book of Hours], 15th Century.

  • Manuscript on parchment with rich miniatures. Missing sheets. Restored around 1985.
  • The Duchy of Infantat was established by the Catholic King and Queen (Ferdinand II and Isabella I) in 1475 for the House of Mendoza.
  • This item, which forms part of the museum books collection created by the librarian Josep M. Valls in 1926, is one of the jewels of The Borja Library.

Ethiopian liturgical book Falasha

  • 18th - 19th centuries. Manuscript written in Ge'ez. Parchment. It was acquired by Father Sebastià Bartrina i Gassiot, S.J.
  • It was acquired by Father Sebastià Bartrina i Gassiot, S.J.
  • The work is an Ethiopian Church prayer book. The Falashas, also known as Beta Israel (the House of Israel), are Jews of Ethiopian origin, some of whom are Christians. Nowadays, Ge’ez is solely a liturgical language.

Llibre de les dones [Womens Book], by Francesc Eiximenis, 14th Century.

  • Well-conserved manuscript on paper. 30 x 22 cm.
  • Francesc Eiximenis (Girona, 1327? - Perpignan 1409) wrote this moralising work which gives an overview of women’s life at the time.

Missale Romanum, 1484

  • Printed on paper in two inks. Gothic font, two columns per page. Ornate capitals and marginal notes. 154 f.
  • This incunable, a gift from the family of Father Eusebi Colomer, S.J., was printed in Nuremberg by Georgius Stuchs. There are very few copies of this edition in the world.

Civitatis Orbis Terrarum, by Georg Braun, 1572

  • The first two volumes of the First Edition of this work, comprising engravings with panoramic views of the main cities of the period, including Barcelona.
  • [14] p., 69 double pages, [12] p.; [18] p., 59 double pages, [12] p.; 40 cm.

Complutense Polyglot Bible, 1517

  • This edition is by Cardenal Francisco Giménez de Cisneros. It comprises parallel texts in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean. It was the first polyglot Bible.
  • This is a first edition. It comprises 6 volumes, each 36 centimetres high.
  • It is signed by Andreu Capella, founder of the Col·legi de Sant Andreu [St. Andrew’s College], Seu d'Urgell. It was donated by the Bishop of Seu d’Urgell, who thus returned it to the Society of Jesus.

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