Biblioteca Vaticana
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The Vatican Apostolic Library ( la, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, it, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat, is the
library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

library
of the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
, located in
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
. Formally established in 1475, although it is much older—it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It has 75,000
codices The codex (plural codices () was the historical ancestor of the modern book. Instead of being composed of sheets of paper, it used sheets of vellum, papyrus, or other materials. The term ''codex'' is often used for ancient manuscript books, wit ...

codices
from throughout history,Vatican Film Library informational pamphlet as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500
incunabula File:Prohemium..JPG, Illumination with doodles and drawings (marginalia), including an open-mouthed human profile, with multiple tongues sticking out. Copulata, "De Anima", f. 2a. HMD Collection, WZ 230 M772c 1485 An incunable or incunabulum (p ...

incunabula
. The Vatican Library is a
research library A research library is a library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs o ...
for history, law, philosophy, science, and theology. The Vatican Library is open to anyone who can document their qualifications and research needs. Photocopies for private study of pages from books published between 1801 and 1990 can be requested in person or by mail. Pope Nicholas V (1447–1455) envisioned a new Rome with extensive public works to lure pilgrims and scholars to the city to begin its transformation. Nicolas wanted to create a "public library" for Rome that was meant to be seen as an institution for humanist scholarship. His death prevented him from carrying out his plan, but his successor Pope Sixtus IV (1471–1484) established what is now known as the Vatican Library. In March 2014, the Vatican Library began an initial four-year project of
digitising DigitizationDefinition of digitization
at WhatIs.com
is the process of converting ...
its collection of manuscripts, to be made available online. The
Vatican Apostolic Archive it, Archivio Apostolico Vaticano , seal = Seal of the Vatican Secret Archives.svg , seal_width = 200px , seal_caption = Former seal of the Vatican Apostolic Archive , logo = , formed = , jurisdiction = , headquarters = Cortile del Belve ...
was separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century; it contains another 150,000 items.


Historical periods

Scholars have traditionally divided the history of the library into five periods, Pre-Lateran, Lateran, Avignon, Pre-Vatican and Vatican.


Pre-Lateran

The Pre-Lateran period, comprising the initial days of the library, dating from the earliest days of the
Church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is usually used to refer to the p ...

Church
. Only a handful of volumes survive from this period, though some are very significant.


Lateran

The Lateran era began when the library moved to the
Lateran Palace The Lateran Palace ( la, Palatium Lateranense), formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran ( la, Palatium Apostolicum Lateranense), is an ancient palace A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of sta ...
and lasted until the end of the 13th century and the reign of
Pope Boniface VIII Pope Boniface VIII ( la, Bonifatius PP. VIII; born Benedetto Caetani, c. 1230 – 11 October 1303) was the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations ...

Pope Boniface VIII
, who died in 1303, by which time he possessed one of the most notable collections of
illuminated manuscript An illuminated manuscript is a formally prepared document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fictional, as well as fictional, con ...
s in Europe. However, in that year, the Lateran Palace was burnt and the collection plundered by
Philip IV of France Philip IV (April–June 1268 – 29 November 1314), called Philip the Fair (french: Philippe le Bel), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french ...

Philip IV of France
.


Avignon

The Avignon period was during the
Avignon Papacy The Avignon Papacy, also known as the Babylonian Captivity, was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () o ...
, when seven successive popes resided in
Avignon Avignon (, ; ; oc, Avinhon, label= Provençal or , ; la, Avenio) is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...

Avignon
,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
. This period saw great growth in book collection and record-keeping by the popes in Avignon, between the death of Boniface and the 1370s when the Papacy returned to
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
.


Pre-Vatican

The Pre-Vatican period ranged from about 1370 to 1447. The library was scattered during this time, with parts in Rome, Avignon, and elsewhere. Pope Eugenius IV possessed 340 books by the time of his death.


Vatican

In 1451,
bibliophile Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books, and a bibliophile or bookworm is an individual who loves and frequently reads books. Profile The classic bibliophile is one who loves to read, admire and collect books, often amassing a larg ...
Pope Nicholas V Pope Nicholas V ( la, Nicholaus V; 13 November 1397 – 24 March 1455), born Tommaso Parentucelli, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 ...

Pope Nicholas V
sought to establish a public library at the Vatican, in part to re-establish Rome as a destination for scholarship. Nicholas combined some 350 Greek, Latin and Hebrew codices inherited from his predecessors with his own collection and extensive acquisitions, among them manuscripts from the imperial
Library of ConstantinopleThe Imperial Library of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsarigrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qustantiniya (Arabic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cit ...
. Pope Nicholas also expanded his collection by employing Italian and Byzantine scholars to translate the
Greek classics Ancient Greek literature is literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In ...
into Latin for his library. The knowledgeable Pope already encouraged the inclusion of
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...

pagan
classics. Nicolas was important in saving many of the Greek works and writings during this time period that he had collected while traveling and acquired from others. In 1455, the collection had grown to 1200 books, of which 400 were in Greek. Nicholas died in 1455. In 1475 his successor
Pope Sixtus IV Pope Sixtus IV (21 July 1414 – 12 August 1484), born Francesco della Rovere, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of memb ...

Pope Sixtus IV
founded the ''Palatine Library''. During his papacy, acquisitions were made in "theology, philosophy and artistic literature". The number of
manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter A typewriter is a or machine for characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array ...

manuscript
s is variously counted as 3,500 in 1475 or 2,527 in 1481, when
librarian A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information i ...

librarian
Bartolomeo Platina Image:Melozzo da Forlì 001.jpg, 250px, ''Sixtus IV Appointing Platina as Prefect of the Vatican Library, Pope Sixtus IV Appoints Platina Prefect of the Vatican Library'', fresco by Melozzo da Forlì, c. 1477 (Vatican Museums) Bartolomeo Sacchi (; ...

Bartolomeo Platina
produced a signed listing. At the time it was the largest collection of books in the Western world.
Pope Julius II Pope Julius II ( it, Papa Giulio II; la, Iulius II; born Giuliano della Rovere; 5 December 144321 February 1513) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian c ...

Pope Julius II
commissioned the expansion of the building. Around 1587,
Pope Sixtus V Pope Sixtus V (13 December 1521 – 27 August 1590), born Felice Piergentile, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion Catholics . As the world's old ...

Pope Sixtus V
commissioned the architect
Domenico Fontana Image:Federico Zuccari, Ritratto di Domenico Fontana.jpg, 200px, Domenico Fontana by Federico Zuccari Domenico Fontana (154328 June 1607) was an Italians, Italian architect of the late Renaissance, born in today's Ticino. He worked primarily in It ...

Domenico Fontana
to construct a new building for the library, which is still used today. After this, it became known as the Vatican Library. During the
Counter-Reformation The Counter-Reformation (), also called the Catholic Reformation () or the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic Church, Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation, also known as the Protestant Revo ...
, access to the library's collections was limited following the introduction of the Index of banned books. Scholars' access to the library was restricted, particularly
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
scholars. Restrictions were lifted during the course of the 17th century, and
Pope Leo XIII Pope Leo XIII ( it, Leone XIII; born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci; 2 March 1810 – 20 July 1903) was the head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death in 1903. He was the oldest pope (living till the age of 93), w ...

Pope Leo XIII
formally reopened the library to scholars in 1883. In 1756, Abbot Piaggio conserver of ancient manuscripts in the Vatican Library used a machine he also invented, to unroll the first
Herculaneum papyri The Herculaneum papyri are more than 1,800 papyri Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poac ...
, which took him months. In 1809,
Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) r ...

Napoleon Bonaparte
arrested
Pope Pius VII Pope Pius VII (14 August 1742 – 20 August 1823), born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 March 1800 to his death in 1823. Chiaramonti was also a monk of the Order of Sa ...

Pope Pius VII
and removed the contents of the library to
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
. The contents were returned in 1817, three years after the defeat of Napoleon. In 1992 the library had almost 2 million catalogued items. In 1995 art history teacher Anthony Melnikas from
Ohio State University The Ohio State University, commonly Ohio State or OSU, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization ...
stole three
leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together form the shoot system. Leaves are ...
from a medieval manuscript once owned by
Francesco Petrarch Francesco Petrarca (; 20 July 1304 – 18/19 July 1374), commonly anglicized as Petrarch (), was a scholar and poet of early Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ...
. One of the stolen leaves contains an exquisite miniature of a farmer threshing grain. A fourth leaf from an unknown source was also discovered in his possession by U.S. Customs agents. Melnikas was trying to sell the pages to an art dealer, who then alerted the librarian director.


Location and building

The Library is located inside the
Vatican Palace The Apostolic Palace ( la, Palatium Apostolicum; it, Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church, located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, the Palace of the Vatican and the Va ...

Vatican Palace
, and the entrance is through the
Belvedere Courtyard has exaggerated the vertical dimensions, but Bramante's sequence of monumental axially-planned stairs is visible. The (Belvedere Courtyard or Belvedere Court) was a major architectural work of the High Renaissance at the Vatican Palace in Rome. Des ...
. When
Pope Sixtus V Pope Sixtus V (13 December 1521 – 27 August 1590), born Felice Piergentile, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion Catholics . As the world's old ...

Pope Sixtus V
(1585-1590) commissioned the expansion and the new building of the Vatican Library, he had a three-story wing built right across Bramante's Cortile del Belvedere, thus bisecting it and changing Bramante's work significantly. At the bottom of a grand staircase a large statue of decorates the La Galea entrance hall.''The Pope’s Visit to the Vatican Library''
19 December 2010 In:
L'Osservatore Romano ''L'Osservatore Romano'' (, 'The Roman Observer') is the daily newspaper of Vatican City State Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vati ...
. Retrieved 2 August 2014
In the first semi-basement there is a
papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, ''Cyperus papyrus'', a wetland sedge. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a do ...

papyrus
room and a storage area for manuscripts. The first floor houses the
restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
laboratory, and the photographic archives are on the second floor. The Library has of shelving. The Library closed for renovations on 17 July 2007 and reopened on 20 September 2010. The three year, 9 million euro renovation involved the complete shut down of the library to install climate controlled rooms.


Architecture and art

In the ''Sala di Consultazione'' or main reference room of the Vatican Library looms a statue of
St Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...
(c. 1910), sculpted by
Cesare AureliCesare Aureli (1844 in Rome – 1923) was an Italian sculptor and writer. Aureli was born in Rome, Italy. He began his studies at the Accademia di San Luca in that same city. Aureli began his career as a sculptor working on the Torlonia Museum, and ...
. A second version of this statue (c. 1930) stands under the entrance
portico A portico is a porch A porch (from Old French ''porche'', from Latin ''porticus'' "colonnade", from ''porta'' "passage") is a room or gallery located in front of an entrance of a building. A porch is placed in front of the facade of a bu ...

portico
of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, ''Angelicum''. File:The Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library (2994335291).jpg, The Sistine Hall of the Vatican Library. File:Golden rose Biblioteca apostolica.jpg, Golden Rose stored in the Vatican Library. File:Plafond_Sale_Sistine_-_Salle_des_Archives_pontificales_(2).jpg, Ceiling fresco of the Sistine Hall, photograph by Jean-Pol Grandmont


Library organization


Catalogue

The collection was originally organized through notebooks used to index the manuscripts. As the collection grew to more than a few thousand, shelf lists were used. The first modern catalogue system was put in place under Father Franz Ehrle between 1927 and 1939, using the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
card catalogue system. Ehrle also set up the first program to take photographs of important works or rare works. The library catalogue was further updated by Rev. Leonard E. Boyle when it was computerized in the early 1990s.


Reading and lending

Historically, during the
Renaissance era The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. was a period in European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th ...
, most books were not shelved but stored in wooden benches, which had tables attached to them. Each bench was dedicated to a specific topic. The books were chained to these benches, and if a reader took out a book, the chain remained attached to it. Until the early 17th century, academics were also allowed to borrow books. For important books, the pope himself would issue a reminder slip. Privileges to use the library could be withdrawn for breaking the house rules, for instance by climbing over the tables. Most famously
Pico Della Mirandola Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (, ; ; 24 February 1463 – 17 November 1494) was an Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance ( it, Rinascimento ) was a period in Italian history The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the M ...

Pico Della Mirandola
lost the right to use the library when he published a book on theology that the
Papal curia The Roman Curia ( la, Romana Curia ministerium suum implent) comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdict ...
did not approve of. In the 1760s, a bill issued by
Clement XIII Pope Clement XIII ( la, Clemens XIII; 7 March 1693 – 2 February 1769), born Carlo della Torre di Rezzonico, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christia ...
heavily restricted access to the library's holdings. The Vatican Library can be accessed by 200 scholars at a time, and it sees 4,000 to 5,000 scholars a year, mostly academics doing
post-graduate Postgraduate education (graduate education in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of th ...
research.


Collections

While the Vatican Library has always included Bibles, canon law texts, and theological works, it specialized in secular books from the beginning. Its collection of Greek and Latin classics was at the center of the revival of classical culture during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
age. The oldest documents in the library date back to the first century. The library was founded primarily as a manuscript library, a fact reflected in the comparatively high ratio of manuscripts to printed works in its collection. Such printed books as have made their way into the collection are intended solely to facilitate the study of the much larger collection of manuscripts. The collection also includes 330,000 Greek, Roman, and papal coins and medals. Every year about 6,000 new books are acquired. The library was enriched by several bequests and acquisitions over the centuries. In 1623, the hereditary
Palatine Library The Bibliotheca Palatina ("Electoral Palatinate, Palatinate library") of Heidelberg was the most important library of the German Renaissance, numbering approximately 5,000 printed books and 3,524 manuscripts. The Bibliotheca was a prominent priz ...
of
Heidelberg Heidelberg () is a university town in the German state The Federal Republic of Germany, as a federal state, consists of sixteen partly sovereign federated states (german: Land (state), plural (states); commonly informally / federated s ...

Heidelberg
containing about 3,500 manuscripts were given to the Vatican by Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria (who had just acquired it as loot in the
Thirty Years' War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Europe, Weste ...
) in thanks for the adroit political maneuvers of
Pope Gregory XV Pope Gregory XV ( la, Gregorius XV; 9 January 15548 July 1623), born Alessandro Ludovisi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 9 February 1621 to his death in 1623. Biography Early life Alessandro Ludovisi was bor ...

Pope Gregory XV
that had sustained him in his contests with Protestant candidates for the electoral seat. A token 39 of the Heidelberg manuscripts were sent to
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
in 1797 and were returned to Heidelberg at the Peace of Paris in 1815, and a gift from
Pope Pius VII Pope Pius VII (14 August 1742 – 20 August 1823), born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 March 1800 to his death in 1823. Chiaramonti was also a monk of the Order of Sa ...

Pope Pius VII
of 852 others was made in 1816 to the
University of Heidelberg } Heidelberg University, officially the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, (german: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg; la, Universitas Ruperto Carola Heidelbergensis) is a public university, public research university in Heidelberg, B ...
, including the
Codex Manesse The Codex Manesse (also Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift or Pariser Handschrift) is a ''Liederhandschrift ''Liederhandschrift'', German for ''Manuscript of the Songs'', is the German term for a manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS f ...

Codex Manesse
. Aside from that, the Palatine Library remains in the Vatican Library to this day. In 1657, the manuscripts of the Dukes of
Urbino Urbino ( ; ; Romagnol: ''Urbìn'') is a walled city in the Marche Marche ( , ) is one of the Regions of Italy, twenty regions of Italy. In English, the region is referred to as The Marches ( ). The region is located in the Central Italy, ...

Urbino
were acquired. In 1661, the Greek scholar
Leo Allatius Leo Allatius (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million ...
was made librarian. Queen
Christina of Sweden Christina ( sv, Kristina; 18 December 1626 – 19 April 1689), a member of the House of Vasa, was Queen of Sweden from 1632 until her abdication in 1654. She succeeded her father Gustavus Adolphus upon his death at the Battle of Lützen, bu ...
's important library (mostly amassed by her generals as loot from Habsburg
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
and German cities during the
Thirty Years War The Thirty Years' War was a conflict fought largely within the Holy Roman Empire from 1618 to 1648. Considered one of the most destructive wars in European history, estimates of total deaths caused by the conflict range from 4.5 to 8 million ...

Thirty Years War
) was bought by
Pope Alexander VIII Pope Alexander VIII (22 April 1610 – 1 February 1691), born Pietro Vito Ottoboni, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 6 October 1689 to his death in 1691. He is to date the last pope to take the pontifical na ...

Pope Alexander VIII
on her death in 1689. It represented, for all practical purposes, the entire royal library of Sweden at the time. If it had remained where it was in
Stockholm Stockholm (; ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smalle ...

Stockholm
, it would all have been lost in the destruction of the royal palace by fire in 1697. Among the most famous holdings of the library is the
Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 The Codex Vaticanus ( The Vatican, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209; no. B or 03 Gregory-Aland A biblical manuscript is any handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the Bible. Biblical manuscripts vary in size from tiny scrolls containing individua ...
, the oldest known nearly complete manuscript of the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
. The ''Secret History'' of
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
was discovered in the library and published in 1623.
Pope Clement XI Pope Clement XI ( la, Clemens XI; 23 July 1649 – 19 March 1721), born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 23 November 1700 to his death in 1721. Clement XI was a patron of the arts ...

Pope Clement XI
sent scholars into
the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belongs to the Eastern world Eastern world, also known as the East or the Orient The Orient is a term for the East, traditionally comprising anything that belong ...
to bring back manuscripts, and is generally accepted as the founder of the Oriental section. A School of
library science Library science (often termed library studies, bibliothecography, library economy, and informatics) is an interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one ...
is associated with the Vatican Library. In 1959, a Film Library was established. This is not to be confused with the
Vatican Film LibraryThe Vatican Film Library is a film archive established in 1959 by Pope John XXIII. The collection comprises over 7,000 films including historic films, Church events, commercial films and documentaries. It is to be distinguished from the Knights of C ...
, which was established in 1953 at
Saint Louis University Saint Louis University (SLU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of ...
in
St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. With more than six million residents, it is the List of U.S. states and territor ...

St. Louis, Missouri
. The Library has a large collection of texts related to Hinduism, with the oldest editions dating to 1819. During the library's restoration between 2007 and 2010, all of the 70,000 volumes in the library were tagged with electronic chips to prevent theft.


Manuscripts

Notable manuscripts in the Library include:
Illuminated manuscript An illuminated manuscript is a formally prepared document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation of nonfiction, non-fictional, as well as fictional, con ...
s:


Manuscripts relating to Christianity

*
Barberini Gospels 250px, Folio 125r from the Barberini Gospels: ''The incipit to John''. The Barberini Gospels is an illuminated Hiberno-Saxon manuscript Gospel Book (Rome, Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica, Barberini Lat. 570, also known as the Wigbald Gospels), a ...
*
Gelasian Sacramentary The so-called Gelasian Sacramentary (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throug ...
, one of the oldest books on Christian
liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal response to and participation in the sacred through activities reflecting praise, thanksgiving, remembrance ...
*
Joshua Roll The Joshua Roll is a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capita ...

Joshua Roll
*
Lorsch Gospels File:Lorsch Gospels Cover.JPG, The ivory panels from the back cover The ''Codex Aureus of Lorsch'' or Lorsch Gospels (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 50, and Alba Iulia, Biblioteca Documenta Batthyaneum, s.n.) is an illuminated manuscript ...
, an illuminated gospel book written and illustrated from 778 to 820, which is spread up between various museums. The carved ivory rear cover and the Gospels of Luke and John are kept in the Vatican Library. *''
Menologion of Basil II The ''Menologion of Basil II'' (also called ''Menologium of Basil II'', ''Menology of Basil II'') is an illuminated manuscript designed as a church calendar or Eastern Orthodox Church service book (''menologion'') that was compiled c. 1000 AD, f ...
'' * *
Vergilius Vaticanus The Vergilius Vaticanus, also known as Vatican Virgil (Vatican City, Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Cod. Vat. lat. 3225), is a Late Antique illuminated manuscript containing fragments of Virgil's ''Aeneid'' and ''Georgics''. It was made in Rome in ...


Classic Greek and Latin texts

*
Vergilius Romanus . Image:VergiliusRomanusFolio100v.gif, Folio 100 verso. Dido (Queen of Carthage), Dido and Aeneas at the banquet The Vergilius Romanus (Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica, Cod. Vat. lat. 3867), also known as the Roman Vergil, is a 5th-century ill ...
, Virgil's ''Aeneid'' * Codex Vaticanus Ottobonianus Latinus 1829, an important 14th-century manuscript of Catullus' poems * Codex Vaticanus Latinus 3868, a 9th-century
facsimile '', a famous illuminated manuscript An illuminated manuscript is a formally prepared document A document is a written Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the a ...
of
Terence Publius Terentius Afer (; – ), better known in English as Terence (), was a Roman African playwright A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * P ...
's comedies *Parts of Euclid's ''Elements'', most notable Book I, Proposition 47, one of the oldest Greek texts on the
Pythagorean Theorem In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no ...

Pythagorean Theorem


Alternative

*
Codex BorgiaImage:Codex Borgia page 71.jpg, 330px, Page 71 of the Codex Borgia, depicting the sun god, Tonatiuh. The Codex Borgia (Vatican Library, The Vatican, Vatican Library, Bibl. Vat., Borg.mess.1), also known as ''Codex Borgianus'', ''Manuscrit de Veletri' ...
, an extensive
mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
n manuscript that depicts mythology and foundational rituals in the hieroglyphic texts and iconography made of animal skins. *Codex Vat. Arabo 368, the sole manuscript of the '' Hadith Bayad wa Riyad'', an Arabic love story * Codex Vaticanus 3738, the Codex Ríos, an accordion folded Italian translation of a Spanish colonial-era manuscript, with copies of the Aztec paintings from the original Codex Telleriano-Remensis, believed to be written by the Dominican friar Ríos in 1566. *''De arte venandi cum avibus'', a Latin treatise on falconry in the format of a two-column parchment codex of 111 folios written in the 1240s. Texts: *Codex Vaticanus Latinus 3256, four
leaves A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves, stem, flower and fruit together form the shoot system. Leaves are ...
of the Vergilius Augusteus *Codex Vaticano Rossi 215, fragments of the Rossi Codex *
Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 The Codex Vaticanus ( The Vatican, Bibl. Vat., Vat. gr. 1209; no. B or 03 Gregory-Aland A biblical manuscript is any handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the Bible. Biblical manuscripts vary in size from tiny scrolls containing individua ...
, one of the oldest extant Bibles in Greek language *''Libri Carolini'' *Vaticanus Graecus 1001, the original manuscript of the ''Procopius#Secret History, Secret History'' *One Literary fragment, fragment of ''Heliand'' and three fragments of the Old Saxon Genesis, Old Saxon ''Genesis'' comprise the ''Palatinus Latinus'' 1447.


Qurans

The Library contains over 100 Quran manuscripts from various collections, cataloged by the Italian Jewish linguist, Giorgio Levi Della Vida: ''Vaticani arabi'' 73; ''Borgiani arabi'' 25; ''Barberiniani orientali'' 11; ''Rossiani'' 2. The largest manuscript in the library, ''Vat. Ar. 1484'', measures 540x420mm. The smallest, ''Vat. Ar. 924,'' is a circle of 45mm diameter preserved in an octagonal case.


Digitization projects

In 2012, plans were announced to digitize, in collaboration with the Bodleian Library, a million pages of material from the Vatican Library. On 20 March 2014, the Holy See announced that NTT Data, NTT Data Corporation and the Library concluded an agreement to digitize approximately 3,000 of the Library's manuscripts within four years. NTT is donating the equipment and technicians, estimated to be worth 18 million Euros. It noted that there is the possibility of subsequently digitizing another 79,000 of the Library's holdings. These will be high-definition images available on the Library's Internet site. Storage for the holdings will be on a three petabyte server provided by EMC Corporation, EMC. It is expected that the initial phase will take 4 years. DigiVatLib is the name of the Vatican Library's digital library service. It provides free access to the Vatican Library's digitized collections of manuscripts and incunabula. The scanning of documents is impacted by the material used to produce the texts. Books using gold and silver in the illuminations require special scanning equipment. Digital copies are being served using the CIFS protocol, from network-attached storage hardware by Dell EMC.


Gallery of holdings

File:Bible Persian Manuscript (14th century).jpg, Gospel of Matthew in Persian language, Persian, the first Persian manuscript to enter the Vatican Library File:Barbireau illum.jpg, Manuscript page with the five-voice "Kyrie" of the Missa Virgo Parens Christi by Jacques Barbireau File:Tavola di Velletri.jpg, Borgia map, Mappamondo Borgiano, also known as "Tavola di Velletri", consisting of two copper tablets (1430) File:Chronography of 354 Mensis Maius.png, Month of May from in the ''Chronography of 354'' by the 4th century kalligrapher Filocalus File:Anton Raphael Mengs, The Triumph of History over Time (Allegory of the Museum Clementinum), ceiling fresco in the Camera dei Papiri, Vatican Library, 1772 - M0tty.jpg, Anton Raphael Mengs, ''The Triumph of History over Time (Allegory of the Museum Clementinum)'', ceiling fresco in the Camera dei Papiri, Vatican Library File:Szent Imre legenda02.jpg, Illumination from the legend of Sain Emerich of Hungary's, c. 1335 File:DavidGoliathBAVVatGr752Fol448v.jpg, Battle between David and Goliath, Book of Psalms, c. 1059 File:Codexaureus 02.jpg , The ivory panels from the back cover of Codex Aureus of Lorsch


Related libraries


Vatican Apostolic Archive

The
Vatican Apostolic Archive it, Archivio Apostolico Vaticano , seal = Seal of the Vatican Secret Archives.svg , seal_width = 200px , seal_caption = Former seal of the Vatican Apostolic Archive , logo = , formed = , jurisdiction = , headquarters = Cortile del Belve ...
, located in
Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vatica ...

Vatican City
, is the central archive for all of the acts promulgated by the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian ...
, as well as the state papers, correspondence, pope, papal account books, and many other documents which the church has accumulated over the centuries. In the 17th century, under the orders of Pope Paul V, the Archives were separated from the Vatican Library, where scholars had some very limited access to them, and remained absolutely closed to outsiders until 1881, when
Pope Leo XIII Pope Leo XIII ( it, Leone XIII; born Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci; 2 March 1810 – 20 July 1903) was the head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death in 1903. He was the oldest pope (living till the age of 93), w ...

Pope Leo XIII
opened them to researchers, more than a thousand of whom now examine its documents each year.


Vatican Film Library

The
Vatican Film LibraryThe Vatican Film Library is a film archive established in 1959 by Pope John XXIII. The collection comprises over 7,000 films including historic films, Church events, commercial films and documentaries. It is to be distinguished from the Knights of C ...
in
St. Louis, Missouri St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. With more than six million residents, it is the List of U.S. states and territor ...

St. Louis, Missouri
is the only collection, outside the Vatican itself, of microfilms of more than 37,000 works from the ''Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana'', the Vatican Library in Europe. It is located in the Pius XII Library on the campus of
Saint Louis University Saint Louis University (SLU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of ...
. The Library was created by Lowrie J. Daly (1914–2000), with funding from the Knights of Columbus. The goal was to make Vatican and other documents more available to researchers in North America. Microfilming of Vatican manuscripts began in 1951, and according to the Library's website, was the largest microfilming project that had been undertaken up to that date. The Library opened in 1953, and moved to the St. Louis University campus, in the Pius XII Memorial Library, in 1959. The first librarian was Charles J. Ermatinger, who served until 2000. , the Library has microfilmed versions of over 37,000 manuscripts, with material in Greek language, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Hebrew and Ge'ez language, Ethiopic, as well as several more common Western European languages. There are reproductions of many works from the Biblioteca Palatina and Biblioteca Cicognara at the Vatican, as well as Papal letter registers from the ''Archivio Segreto Vaticano'' (Vatican Secret Archives) from the 9th to 16th centuries, in the series ''Registra Vaticana'' and ''Registra Supplicationium''.


Staff

The director of the library was made a Cardinal (Catholicism), cardinal and given the title Cardinal Librarian. Individual library staff were called "Custodians". After the reopening of the library in 1883, Pope Leo XIII changed the title to Prefect. The library currently has 80 staff who work in five departments: manuscripts and archival collections, printed books/drawings, acquisitions/cataloguing, coin collections/museums and restoration/photography.


List of librarians

(P) Indicates time spent as Pro-Librarian. This is the role of acting librarian, often a librarian who is not a Cardinal.


See also

* Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith * Index of Vatican City-related articles * The Vatican Splendors


Notes


References


Works cited

* Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church -


Further reading

*Hanson, James Christian Meinich. “Cataloguing Rules of the Vatican Library.” ''Library Quarterly'' 1 (January 3, 1931): 340–46.
Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture
an online exhibition from the
Library of Congress The Library of Congress (LC) is the research library A library is a collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order ...

Library of Congress
.
Vatican to digitize Apostolic Library of 1.6 million volumes for general perusal, ''PCWorld.com'', 29 October 2002
A joint effort between the Vatican and Hewlett-Packard.


External links


Official website

Vatican Library old home page
with online catalog search
History of the Vatican Library, from the Library's site


Exposed via The European Library
Toward On-line, worldwide access to Vatican Library materials (1996)
A collaborative effort (pioneered by Fr. Leonard Boyle OP Prefect of the Vatican Library) between the Vatican Library and IBM, the primary goal of which is to "provide access via the Internet to some of the Library's most valuable manuscripts, printed books, and other sources to a scholarly community around the world."
Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library
Saint Louis University Saint Louis University (SLU) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of ...
library that focuses on the collection of the Vatican Library.
The Secret History of Art by Noah Charney on the Vatican Library and Procopius
An article by art historian Noah Charney about the Vatican Library and its famous manuscript, ''Historia Arcana'' by
Procopius Procopius of Caesarea ( grc-gre, Προκόπιος ὁ Καισαρεύς ''Prokópios ho Kaisareús''; la, Procopius Caesariensis; – after 565) was a prominent late antique Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, fr ...
.
''The Vatican: spirit and art of Christian Rome''
a book from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on the library (p. 280-290) {{Authority control Vatican Library, 1448 establishments in Europe Libraries established in 1475