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Armenian language collections

The British Library's collection of Armenian manuscripts covers the different branches of Armenian literature, and includes a considerable number of ancient and rare works. The printed book collection is one of the strongest in western European libraries.


Rare works include:

  • specimens of palaeography from the 10th century, comprising Biblical works and service-books of all kinds
  • Patristic theology
  • philosophy
  • poems and tales
  • history
  • geography
  • philology
  • astronomy
  • medicine
  • astrology
  • magic

Many of the manuscripts are also finely illustrated or illuminated. The India Office Records also contain some documents in Armenian, such as wills from Bengal.

The modern printed book collection overwhelmingly consists of 19th and 20th century works. It covers classical and modern western and eastern Armenian. It also includes works in Russian and western languages. Early publications from Tzarist Russia, Tbilisi, Constantinople, Venice, and Vienna are well represented. 

More recently, we have systematically collected titles published in the Soviet Republic of Armenia between 1975 and 1990. These were obtained through exchange from bodies such as the Academy of Sciences, Erevan State University, and their acquisition makes the holdings comprehensive and wide ranging.

All the major academic journals published in Tzarist and Soviet Armenia, and by the major communities in the Armenian diaspora (Constantinople, Venice, Vienna, Jerusalem, etc.), are present.

The collection also includes 15 early printed maps, one from the 17th century, 12 from the 18th and two from the 19th.


To access the Armenian language collections, see the separate catalogues and guides page.


Ilana Tahan, M.Phil., Lead Curator, Hebrew and Christian Orient Studies
Asian and African Studies
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7646
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7641