General information about the Patrologia Latina Database
can be found below. More specific issues are covered in the following
The Patrologia Latina Database contains
221 volumes and represents a complete electronic version of the
first edition of Jacques-Paul Migne's Patrologia Latina
(1844-1855 and 1862-1865).
Migne's Patrologia Latina was originally printed in 217
volumes from 1844 to 1855. There were two series: the series
prima, volumes 1-73, (Tertullian to Gregory the Great),
1844 -1849; and the series secunda volumes 74-217,
(Gregory the Great to Pope Innocent 3rd), 1849-1855.
Migne himself reprinted volumes up to 1865, at which time he sold
the literary rights for the Patrologia Latina to the firm
of Garnier in Paris. In February of 1868, a fire destroyed Migne's
presses and his printing plates. Garnier had already begun reprinting
parts of the Patrologia Latina three years earlier and
proceeded to reprint the entire set by 1880. Unfortunately, these
reprintings - and all subsequent editions by Garnier - are inferior
in a number of respects to Migne's own first editions. Consequently,
the Patrologia Latina Database has been
based exclusively on the copies of the first edition of the texts
Migne originally intended the Patrologia Latina to span
the whole history of Latin Christianity up to the eve of the Reformation.
However, he eventually judged that it would be wiser to conclude
the series with the year 1216 as, after that year, the explosion
of philosophical and theological writing made it impossible for
any series to include even representative portions of the principal
The main chronological sequence of authors in the Patrologia
Latina therefore runs from about AD 200 to AD 1216. However,
Migne did incorporate medieval texts written after 1216 where these
were traditionally attached to an earlier work, often as a commentary
or an introduction to it.