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Auxiliary sciences of history: an introduction (I)

On this page you will find an overview of the auxiliary sciences of History (part I).

The University Library of Groningen owns a printed collection of sources, held in the closed stacks or on the open shelves in the reading rooms. Another part of the collection of historical sources is available online.

To help you find your way in the collection we have put together the auxiliary sciences for history here, accompanied by a short explanation and a list of the most important titles in each field of study.


Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time. Consider, for example, the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events"

In the University Library titles about chronology are placed in the General Reading Room in the section ALG 897: Chronology.


Codicology is the study of books as physical objects, especially manuscripts written on parchment (or paper) in codex form. It is often referred to as 'the archaeology of the book', concerning itself with the materials (parchment sometimes referred to as membrane or vellum, paper, pigments, inks and so on), and techniques used to make books, including their binding.

In the library book titles on codicology are placed in the General Reading Room, section UALG 735 Scripture Studies (codicology, manuscripts, old and rare books)


Diplomatic (or "Oorkondenleer", "Urkundenlehre") is the historical auxiliary science that studies the origin, history and form of charters.

In the library works on Diplomatic are, amongst others, in the General Reading Room in section UALG 896: Diplomacy, charters, edicts.


Epigraphy is the auxiliary science that contributes to the study of inscriptions, particularly from ancient and medieval history . In the UL you will find titles on epigraphy in different places:


  • In the General Reading Room, section UALG 895, Theory of palaeography and epigraphy.
  • In the Arts Collection, section 15, Ancient History:
    • 15.HW3 Greek epigraphy
    • 15.HW4  Latin epigraphy
    • ​15.HW5 Papyri and ostraca.

Historical Geography

Historical geography is concerned with the spatial environment being in change and thus the geographic foundations of historical processes and forms a connection between geography and historical science. It is involved in both the natural landscape and cultural landscape, covering both rural settlements (villages and towns).



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Subjects: Faculty of Arts