The Rooklooster Register is one of the most puzzling and intensely debated manuscripts originating from the Low Countries. Attempts to publish this late-mediaeval manuscript, now preserved in the Vienna National Library, have been numerous, but they all failed.
Because of its incalculable importance for the study of the libraries of charterhouses (and monasteries of other orders) in the Low Countries and the Rhineland, the Belgian-Dutch network of Carthusian researchers "Cartusiana" has decided to publish the 400+ folio's of the Rooklooster Register electronically.
The manuscript historically
When emperor Joseph II, ruler of the Austrian Netherlands, decreed the suppression of the monasteries of most contemplative monastic orders in 1783-1874, the Rooklooster Register and many other manuscripts ended up in the Chambre Héraldique ("Heraldic Chamber") of Brussels.
When French revolutionaries occupied the Netherlands in 1792/94, the chairman of the Chambre Héraldique, Ch. J. Beydaels de Zittaert (†1811), took the codices of his society with him as he roamed around the Northern Netherlands and Germany. After his peregrination, he eventually offered them to emperor Franz I of Austria in 1803. Parts of the manuscripts ended up in the so-called Familien-Fideikommiss-Bibliothek, the personal library of the emperor.
Being a bibliophile himself, the emperor believed he had a right to the book collection. After Franz' death in 1835, the manuscripts remained in the possession of the imperial family.
The Rooklooster Register was kept in the library as reference number 9373. A year after the Imperial and Royal Court Library of Vienna was transformed into the National Library in 1920, the manuscripts formed a Series nova, in which the Rooklooster Register was given the book number 12694.
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