• Clavis Bibliothecarum

    By Luana Giurgevich & Henrique Leitão

    BOOK 2016

  • A Site on Portuguese Ecclesiastical Libraries

    ca. 30 different Religious Congregations

    ca. 400 Religious Institutions with own Library/Libraries

    10 Libraries with more than 20 000 volumes

    Books everywhere

    (library, rooms, pharmacies, refectories, other common spaces, etc.)

  • Noël Golvers (KU Leuven) about Clavis

    «But now we are at the end of this 6-year old project, and the results are not only materialized in a huge book volume of more than 900 pages, but its main contribution is, (first) to reveal for the learned public in and outside Portugal a ‘lost’ world, that of Portugal’s ecclesiastical library treasures – of which more than 400, small and large ones are ‘described’ here for the very first time on the basis of ca. 1,000 catalogues and inventories – and (second) to offer a ‘key’ to unlock this enormous and submerged universe and reconstruct by this a major part of Portuguese cultural heritage, so far overlooked or purposely minimalized.» [...]

    «the entire sum must amount to several 100,000s of volumes, together constituting an enormous cultural heritage, but at the same time a ‘Trümmerfeld’ or ruinous cemetery, due to mainly two factors: I mean (1) the (intentional) destruction of particular collections in the almost one century of ‘secularization’, starting with the suppression of the Jesuit scholarly and educational institutes, with their libraries; (2) the great dispersion of the holdings of other libraries throughout the country, by which these books lost the organic relation with their original ‘context’. In all these cases, it are only the extant archival inventories and catalogues, together with other related materials which preserve a reminiscence of the original, destroyed library units; the collection and critical presentation of these inventories was, by consequence, the only way to ‘reconstruct’ this entire galaxy of libraries and book collections, and the intellectual life in Portugal from which they were the instrument and the expression.» [...]

    «Let me conclude this all too quick overview by expressing – carefully but firmly – my conviction that after the publication of these materials, which by this edition receive a maximal accessibility, many aspects of the cultural history of Portugal in the Early Modern period should be re-visited and re-written, as it brings the religious institutes (again) in the center of the perspective, where their historical position was, and one should look from now on to history of reading and science, and the Ideeengeschichte in Portugal through the prism of these libraries’ holdings. This is the highest thinkable legitimation of the investment of energy and money behind this project, and at the same time is the best possible argument for the decision to continue and for the further intensifying of this project, as part of an international, European ‘renouveau’ of the study of national book heritage. This is my most sincere wish for this enterprise, to which I should add nothing else anymore, I think.»

  • Book reviews

    Last book review | By Paulo Barata | Cadernos BAD 1 (2016) 201-204

  • Material informations

    The book is available at the Online Shop of the Secretariado Nacional para os Bens Culturais da Igreja: https://www.bensculturais.com/loja.

    Item description

    Clavis bibliothecarum: Catálogos e inventários de livrarias de instituições religiosas em Portugal até 1834

    Authors: Luana Giurgevich e Henrique Leitão.
    Editor: Lisboa: Secretariado Nacional para os Bens Culturais da Igreja, 2016.
    Col.: Fontes para o Estudo dos Bens Culturais da Igreja, Nº 1.
    Desc.: 944 p. il; 27 cm.
    ISBN: 978-989-97257-7-5.

  • BNP Website

    Catalogues & inventories are now available in the BNP website (full-text digitalization): http://clavisbibliothecarum.bnportugal.pt/.

    The Portuguese National Library with the support of other Portuguese archives and institutions is coordinating the digitalization of the documents described in Clavis bibliothecarum.

    The BPMP has recently jointed this project.

  • Our Blog

    Thoughts, musings, and ruminations.

  • Diffundens libro Clavis bibliothecarum


    Évora | 16th December 2016 | Biblioteca Pública de Évora

    Second conference of the series: Clavis Bibliothecarum: novas chaves de investigação

    Rio the Janeiro | 6th October | PUC-Rio

    ​With Henrique Leitão

    Coimbra | 29th June 2016 | Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra

    First conference of the series: Clavis Bibliothecarum: novas chaves de investigação

    Lisbon | 14th June 2016 | University of Lisbon (FC|UL)

    Book Presentation with the Authors​

    Fátima | 8th April 2016 | Conferência Episcopal

    Book Presentation with the Authors

    Oporto | 22nd March 2016 | Biblioteca do Seminário Episcopal

    Book Presentation with Saul Gomes​, Sandra Costa Saldanha & the Authors

    Lisbon | 3rd March 2016 | Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal

    Book Presentation with​ Noel Golvers, Sandra Costa Saldanha & the Authors

  • Coming soon

    3rd conference of the series:

    Clavis Bibliothecarum: novas chaves de investigação

  • About the Authors

    Luana Giurgevich & Henrique Leitão


    CIUHCT, University of Lisbon

    I received my phd diploma in 2008 from the University of Trieste in Italy. Between 2009-2016 I was a post-doc researcher at CIUHCT group of Lisbon and the focus of my research included Portuguese old libraries. The objective was to map in sufficient detail the most important ancient collections of (scientific) books in Portugal and the way those books were used. The results of this project were edited in the book Clavis Bibliothecarum.

    Currently, I am a post-doctor researcher in the same group with a new project investigating the role of religious orders in teaching sciences in Early Modern Portugal.


    CIUHCT, University of Lisbon

    I have long been interested in Libraries and Books on scientific matters. I maintain a collaboration with the National Library in Lisbon since 2001. My research is centered around the sixteenth century and is mostly related to the exact sciences. I am interested in book history, in the study of material culture, and in the more theoretical aspects of the historiography of science. I have been also engaged in the translation of ancient scientific texts.

    I am always interested in examining old scientific manuscripts. If you own any and want to have my opinion on it, or my assistance to help you with any problems (subject, author, date, etc), do get in touch with me.

    Book Presentation at FC|UL

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