Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes

Centre Augustin-Thierry
3B avenue de la Recherche Scientifique CS 70062
Orléans 45071

François Bougard
Scientific Field

The IRHT is a CNRS research laboratory dedicatedto the history of texts, from Antiquity to the early Renaissance, in the main Mediterranean languages(Latin, Greek, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew, Roman). Its main mission is to study manuscripts and early printed works in their entirety: material aspects, textual and iconographic content, writing, distribution and circulation. Philological, lexicographical, palaeographical and codicological studiesin the various linguistic fields enable works to be identified, dated, located and published. Since its inception in 1937, the IRHT has built up an unparalleled documentation ofmanuscripts and their history throughout the world, as well as a specialised reference library and a film library.

Research themes:

Texts and their transmission up to the beginnings of the printed book:

  • Texts: identification, publication, philology, history
  • Libraries and ancient collections
  • Mediterranean multilingualism (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Roman)
  • Transcultural transmission and the history of science

Archaeology of the book and its text:

  • Lexicography, codicology, palaeography, illumination, musicology and liturgy


  • Files and dossiers on specialist areas (bibliography and descriptions of manuscripts, sermons, prosopography, ancient bookshops, etc.).
  • A large library dealing with manuscripts and works of art
  • A film and photo library, the only one of its kind in the world, containing almost 80,000 reproductions of manuscripts (listed in Medium); almost half of the manuscripts come from French libraries and can be consulted in part in the BVMM (Bibliothèque virtuelle des manuscrits médiévaux).
  • A digital centre: systems, networks and archiving; development and interoperability; images; publications