Manuscripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Historically speaking, Ethiopia and Eritrea belong both to the “Christian Orient” and to the African continent. Their culture has been shaped by both Christianity and Islam, present in the region since shortly after their inception, but also by Judaism and the many animistic religions. The area is unique in sub-Saharan Africa for its rich written heritage that goes back to the first millennium BCE.


  • A systematic study of the Christian manuscript tradition of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Project Description

The Long-term Project will produce for the first time a complex and multi-layered virtual research environment in which the detailed descriptions of the manuscripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea will be linked to information about the scribes and owners, the literary works transmitted and their authors and places of origin.

For the future, the Long-term Project will produce a systematic overview of all known texts of Ethiopic literature and their creators. The most important texts will be edited in digital form and translated, to provide a broader public with access to this important part of Africa’s cultural heritage.

The modular development of the research environment will be completed by 2040. Since 2017 select manuscript descriptions and text editions have already gone online.


The Long-term Project is funded in the framework of the Academies Programme, which is coordinated by the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities.

The Long-term Project is carried out in cooperation with the Universität Hamburg at the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures.

Key facts
Complete title of the Long-term Project:

Beta masaheft. Manuscripts of Ethopia and Eritrea (Schriftkultur des christlichen Äthiopiens: eine multimediale Forschungsumgebung)


Prof. Dr. Alessandro Bausi


01.02.2016 bis 31.12.2040

For more information:

Project flyer

Project website

Project film

Project film with German Sign Language synchronisation

The AGATE-Portal (research information system of the Academies of Sciences and Humanities)


Project Beta masaheft

Hiob Ludolf Zentrum für Äthiopistik
Universität Hamburg
Alsterterasse 1
20354 Hamburg

Eugenia Sokolinski, M.A.
Email: eugenia.sokolinski(at)
Tel.: +49 40 42838 7777