Using polyglossia and biblatex together leads to an error:

! Package biblatex Error: Patching 'babel' package failed.

See the biblatex package documentation for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

l.4 \begin{document}

? h
This is an internal issue typically caused by a conflict
between biblatex and some other package. Modifying
the package loading order may fix the problem.

The minimal failing example is:


And despite the error message, reversing the order of the two packages doesn't help. I have updated files as of the last MiKTeX package update (June 3, 2013). The error occurs with both XeLaTeX and LuaLaTeX.

I'm not necessarily intending to use multiple languages in the bibliography; I just want to be able to use polyglossia for the main text of the document. How can I do this?

  • The MWE works for me if I specify a document language via \setmainlanguage{<lang>}
    – cgnieder
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


This is due to a polyglossia update in TL 2013 which broke the ability of biblatex to patch a babel compat macro which polyglossia uses. The development version of biblatex (2.7) fixes this and will be released soon. Bear in mind that biblatex doesn't fully support polyglossia anyway (only babel at the moment).

EDIT - Joseph Wright of the biblatex team has just found out why polyglossia never really worked properly and I have incorporated his fix into biblatex 2.8 DEV on SF. Please try it and add any comments to the enhancement request here - https://github.com/plk/biblatex/issues/69.

  • I'm having the same problem after updating to TL 2013. How do I install the development version of biblatex -- or do I have to wait for the release?
    – user9424
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 2:51
  • You can just get the dev version from SourceForge and unpack the TDS package into your texmf-local tree. We will release this soon officially and it will be available as a regular update.
    – PLK
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 6:19
  • I tried using the dev version (2.7) of biblatex, but it didn't work well with polyglossia, and not at all with babel. With babel, I had to define all bibliography strings manually for a given language -- not exactly a problem, but just some extra work when previous versions of polyglossia and biblatex worked fine. I guess I'll just go back to texlive 2012, and wait for a simpler solution in the future.
    – user9424
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 15:16
  • biblatex has never worked properly with polygossia - what broke was that you couldn't load biblatex at all with recent polyglossia. That is fixed in 2.7. What concerns me more is that you say it doesn't work with babel? Can you post a MWE?
    – PLK
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 19:00
  • 1
    I've tried to make it work for "brazil" as language, but gives the following error: line 454: Paragraph ended before \DeclareBibliographyStrings was complete File: brazilian.lbx 2013/05/01 v2.6 biblatex localization (PK/JW/AB) Runaway argument? {bibliography = {{Bibliografia}{Bibliografia}}, references = {{Refer\^\ETC. ! Paragraph ended before \DeclareBibliographyStrings was complete. <to be read again> \par l.454
    – user9424
    Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 21:07

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