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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > V > The Vatican Palace, as a Scientific Institute

The Vatican Palace, as a Scientific Institute

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Regarded from the point of view of scientific productivity, the Vatican is the busiest scientific workshop in Rome. Scientific materials of the highest order and in astonishing abundance are stored up in the palace, access to them is easily obtained, and the conditions for work are most favourable. Apart from the most modern scientific theories, for which of course the Vatican treasures offer no materials, information on all branches of human knowledge may be found there. The sources which the Vatican affords for the history of the sciences have heretofore suffered from a great, and to some extent absolute, neglect. This remark applies with special force to philosophy, theology, history, literature, philology in all its branches, jurisprudence, geography, ethnology, and art, for all of which categories the most important materials are to be found here. (Concerning the manner of handling these sources, see ROMAN HISTORICAL INSTITUTES.) Despite the depressed financial position of the Curia, the pope annually increases his appropriations for the cultivation of science within the walls of the Vatican; this offers clear testimony as to the attitude of the Church towards scientific pursuits. Over this research she exercises only remote supervision; the investigator is at perfect liberty to pursue his studies, all facilities and guidance being given him. One need only recall the names of Bethmann, Munch, Mommsen, Duchesne, Kehr, Lämmer, Sickel, Pastor, and dozens of others, turn to their works, and learn their views, to be convinced of the scientific liberality of the Vatican; (Cf. Walsh, "The Popes and Science. The History of the Papal Relations to Science during the Middle Ages and Down to our Time", New York, 1911.)

The Vatican Archives

The contents of the Archives

It was only natural that the Church from the first centuries of her existence should devote great care to the collection of all important documents and to preserving them in the manner then customary. There is very little information to be found concerning the manner and extent of these archival collections, since the documentary treasures of early Christianity have been lost. Extensive remains of documents antedating the thirteenth century no longer exist, and of the papal registers of the preceding period we retain only scanty, though valuable, remnants [cf. the interesting and comprehensive work of Wilhelm Peitz, "Das Original-register Gregors VII im Vatikanischen Archiv (Reg. Vat. 2) nebst Beiträgen zur Kenntnis der Original-register Innocenz' III. und Honorius' III. (Reg. Vat. 4-11)", Vienna, 1911 (Sitzungsberichte)].

The existence of the Vatican secret archives really began with Innocent III (1198), so that it possesses the documents of seven centuries. The abundance of the materials requires, in view of the prime importance of the institutions, a special, though quite summary treatment. A fairly reliable estimate of the arranged documents — an appraisal of their value can be only provisionally attempted as yet — has established the fact that there are in round numbers 60,000 volumes, cassettes, and bundles. In the cassettes are frequently many dozens of separate documents; in the bundles of Acts from 100 to 200 letters with their enclosures are occasionally found; while the huge folio volumes of the registers of the fourteenth century contain as many as 2000 documents and even more. It is thus impossible to furnish even an approximately accurate estimate of the number of letters, reports, documents, protocols, minutes, etc. in every stage of preparation, which are contained in the secret archives. Were there not every guidance to this vast collection of valuable materials scholars would find their task of research almost impossible. However, in the working-room of the assistant archivist is a whole library of Indices (681 in number), which have been compiled during the last 300 years for the convenience of the administration and, in individual cases, for the use of scholars. In 1901 a guide to this labyrinth of Indexes was issued under the title, "Inventarium indicum in secretiori Archivo Vaticano unica serie existentium". Gisbert Brom (Guide aux Archives du Vatican, 2nd ed., revised and augmented, Rome, 1911) also gives excellent notes on the contents of the various divisions of the Indices. Besides many others, Johannes de Pretis (1712-27), his brother Petrus Donninus de Pretis (1727-40), and Josephus Garampi (1749-72) did especially important work on the Indices. Garampi and his assistants wrote out 1,500,000 labels, which (pasted into 124 huge folio volumes) form an inexhaustible mine. Felix Contelori (1626-44), in addition to work on the Indices, arranged and copied the most imperilled documents of the archives. By the recent publication of his "Manuductio ad Vaticani Archivi Regesta", Gregorio Palmieri, O.S.B., has supplied a very useful help to the study of the "Regesta". The Indices are alphabetical or chronological repertories, which must be regarded exclusively as pure administrative helps, not as aids to scholarly investigation (see Brom, op. cit., 7-14).

Passing over the Guardaroba and Biblioteca Segreta, "which have none other than a nominal existence", and the still uninvestigated portions of the Archivi dei Memoriali, del Buon Governo, and dell' Uditore SSmo., the following are the chief groups of the archival materials:

(a) Archivio Segreto;
(b) Archive of Avignon;
(c) Archive of the Apostolic Chamber;
(d) Archive of Sant' Angelo;
(e) Archive of the Dataria;
(f) Consistorial Archive;
(g) Archive of the Secretariate of State;
(h) Various Collections.

(a) Archivio Segreto

The whole archive is called Archivio Segreto, from the name of its oldest portion, which, however, retains its specific name. It contains seventy-four armari, or presses, in which are:

(b) Archive of Avignon

The archival materials, collected by the Avignon obedience during the Avignon exile (1305-76) and the time of the Schism, together with the administrative acts of the County of Venaissin, form the Archive of Avignon, which was gradually (the last portion in 1783) transferred to Rome. The series of the "Introitus et Exitus" found in this section, of the "Obligationes et Solutiones" and of the "Collectoriæ Cameræ", together with the "Diversa Cameralia" and the "Introitus et Exitus" of the Archivo Segreto form today the Archive of the Apostolic Chamber.

(c) Archive of the Apostolic Chamber

The four chief portions of this archive have just been mentioned. These are by no means four complete series of volumes; on the contrary, very important and extensive portions of this archive are bound up with the volumes of the Avignon Registers, while other documents must be sought in other places. Consequently, the making of an exact inventory of all cameral acts is urgently called for. In the section "Obligationes et Solutiones" some of the volumes belong to the Apostolic Chamber and some to the Chamber of the College of Cardinals.

(d) Archive of Sant'Angelo

Sixtus IV, Leo X, and Clement VIII are the founders of this archive, since it was their opinion that the most important documents and titles of possession of the Roman Curia would be best preserved in Sant'Angelo, as the strongest bulwark of Rome. In 1798 the contents of the archive were transferred to the Vatican, where they received special quarters under the name of "Archivio di Castello", and are still kept separate. In the capsul and fasces of this archive a great variety of things are treated.

(e) Archive of the Dataria

The three great sections of this archive contain:

(i) the Register of Petitions (Register Supplicationum), which begin with 1342;
(ii) the Lateran Register of Bulls, which contains the Bulls sent out by the Dataria between 1389 and 1823;
(iii) the Briefs the Datania, a name which is not quite exact. These Briefs, as distinguished from those mentioned above (a, 4), were issued in answer to petitions.

(f) Consistorial Archive

Such of the archival materials as are found in the secret archives (the other portions are in the archives of the Consistorial Congregation in the library) consist of the "Acta Camerarii" (1489-1600), "Acta Cancellarii" (1517-64), "Acta Miscellanea" (1409-1692), and "Acta Consistorialia" (1592-1668; 1746-49).

(g) Archive of the Secretariate of State

Despite the great gaps to be found in this section, this archive possesses the greatest importance for the political and ecclesiastico-civil history of modern times. It includes the following subdivisions:

(i) Nunciatures and Legations — Germania (1515-1809), — Francia (1517-1809), — Spagna (1563-1796), — Polonia (1567-1783), — Portogallo (1535-1809), — Inghilterra (1565-1689; 1702-04), — Genova (1572-84; 1593-1604), — Venezia (1532-34; 1561, 1562, 1566-1798), — Napoli (1570-1809), — Colonia (1575-1799), — Monaco di Baviera (1786-1808), — Paci, that is negotiations for various treaties (1628-1715), — Svizzera (1532-1803), — Firenze (1572-1809), — Savoia (1586-1796), — Avignon (1564-1789), — Fiandra (1553-1796; to which section also belong five bundles of letters embracing the years 1800-09 and 1814 and 1815), — Malta (1572-1792), — Bologna (1553-1791), — Ferrara (1597-1740), — Romagna (1597-1740), — Urbino (1664-1740), — Diversi, that is copies of letters and other things, all of which refer to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From this list one may see both the richness and the great importance of this division.
(ii) Letters of Cardinals. — This contains the correspondence between the Secretariate of State and the various cardinals for the period from 1523 to 1803. Here are thus contained both the minutes of the letters dispatched and the originals of letters received from the cardinals. There are, besides, in this collection numerous letters from princes, legates, bishops, etc.
(iii) Letters of bishops and prelates. — The letters of the bishops and prelates contain not only ecclesiastico-political but also purely political information, so that they possess a high value for profane history. The original letters and the minutes of the answers dispatched extend from 1515 to 1797.
(iv) Letters of princes and titled persons. — Many distinguished personages (including bishops and prelates) are found among the writers of this collection of letters, which contains a large series of volumes with answers. The division extends over the years 1513-1815, and has been as yet little availed of.
(v) Letters of private individuals. — Most of the documents of this collection emanate from the pens of those who, while in communication with the Curia, do not belong to the above-named categories. To a great extent the writers are private people. There are, however, some letters from bishops, prelates, and nobles, which should have been included elsewhere. The letters extend from 1519 to 1803.
(vi) Letters of military men. — Here are collected all the documents connected with the history of the Curial wars between 1572 and 1713.
(vii) Varia Miscellanea (not to be confounded with other Vatican Miscellanea). — Besides numerous volumes containing transcripts of Acts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, there are here collected all those documents which could not well be included in the other divisions: instructions, travelling experiences, concordats, tractates of all kinds, diaries of conclaves, etc. The whole collection is of great importance.

(h) Various Collections

The "Varia Miscellanea" have absorbed the Biblioteca Ceva as well as the chief portion of the Biblioteca Ciampini. The Biblioteca Spada, in so far as it is yet in the archives, was embodied in the nunciature of France. The following, however, remain independent collections:

Statistics

The estimate of 60,000 volumes, cassettes, and bundles of Acts, contained in the archives, does not include such huge collections as that of the Buon Governo and other smaller collections. The following list, giving the number of volumes arranged according to the collections, conveys an idea of the extent of the archives:

The above-named collections thus include in the aggregate 35,000 volumes in round numbers. Of loose parchment and paper documents, letters, and similar papers there are 120,000 — a fairly trustworthy estimate. Consequently, although the collections already accessible by no means reach the expectations which have been entertained regarding the extent of the archives, it is yet evident that the supply of materials is extraordinarily great. A great proportion of the volumes are in the largest folio form and of unusual thickness. The contents of the volumes are of great importance, inasmuch as the questions treated are of vast interest. All these considerations render the Secret Archives of the Curia by far the most important archives in the world. Other collections not mentioned by Brom have been acquired in recent times. From the Santini effects 200 volumes of Acts of the Datania were purchased in 1909. On 13 April, 1910, a number of parchment documents were acquired from a family in Terni. The historically famous scheme of Curial reform from the pen of Cardinal Sala (under Pius VII) came into the possession of the archives on 18 June, 1910. On 15 December, 1910, the Holy Father presented three volumes which are registered under Malta 124 A, 124 B, and Arm. II, vol. 178. On the same date a certain Santarelli donated five volumes treating of the College of Writers of Briefs, and on 25 February, 1911, all the papers of Cardinal Mattei passed into the possession of the archives. In conclusion, it must be remarked that the Registers of Briefs, mentioned above (a, iv), have not passed definitively into the possession of the archives, but have only been deposited there; while the Indices, without which the use of the former is scarcely possible, have been again withdrawn. Those engaged in research must, therefore, apply to the archivist of Briefs, one of the officials in the Secretariate of State.

The administration of the Archives

The scientific management of the archives is entrusted to a cardinal with the title of archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives. All economical questions, such as the salaries of the officials and the expenditure necessary from time to time, are referred to the Prefecture of the Apostolic Palaces. The archives have, therefore, no regular budget for expenditure. The practical administration is entrusted to the assistant archivist, who issues all instructions to the other officials. He is assisted by a secretary, who, besides fulfilling other duties, supplies information concerning research work and other scientific qu sita. Five writers (scriptores) are engaged on the making of inventories and the superintendence of all transcripts to be dispatched to scholars dwelling outside Rome. To these officials is also entrusted the administration of certain important sections of the archives. The work-room is placed under the charge of two custodians (custodes), of whom one is the director of the Scuola Paleografica of the archives. Of the five bidelli, or servants, one is capo sala, that is, it is his special task to register the number of the manuscript required, to deliver it to the student, and to receive it back at the conclusion of the period of study. For the repair and rebinding of injured volumes and the restoration of documents two ristauratori have been appointed. A special clerk is employed exclusively with the pasting on of the number labels and with the pagination of all the codices which previously were without page or folio numbers. Finally, there is a porter who watches over the entrance door in the Torre dei Quattro Venti.

Besides the work-room, the office of the assistant archivist, and the old work-room, fifty rooms (including a large number of very extensive halls) are under the charge of the administration. The sixty places (usually all occupied) in the work-room can be increased to eighty to accommodate an unusually large body of investigators. In exceptional cases, women are permitted to study in the archives. The working year extends from 1 October to 27 June. During the working year 1909-10, 6018 application forms for volumes were received; during the year 1910-11 only 4800. The difference is due to the fact that since October, 1910, it has been allowed to apply for two or even three successive manuscripts on the same form — a privilege which was not previously allowed. The last inventory was made in July, 1910.

History

Concerning the earliest attempts to create archives in the Vatican, the reader is referred to the work of the present writer on the Camera Collegii Cardinalium (1898), which treats also of the creation of an archive of the Sacred College. In the years 1611-13 Paul V had the present archive buildings constructed by the cardinal librarian, Bartolomeo Cesi; these are situated at the western narrow side of the Salone Sistino, the hall of state built by Sixtus for the library. The same pontiff devoted large sums to the perfecting and repair of the materials. This Secret Archive of the Vatican was from the very beginning regarded as an administrative institution for the facilitation of Curial affairs. Consequently, it was so planned as to answer the needs it was intended to fill. When subsequently, during the heated literary warfare against the Protestant innovations, it became necessary to make the collected treasures accessible to the great historians of that age, it lost nothing of its original character. In his work, "Costituzione dell' archivio Vaticano e suo primo indice sotto il Pontificato di Paolo V, manoscritto inedito di Michele Lonigo" (Rome, 1887), Gasparolo gives an accurate description of the collections deposited in the archives at its foundation. Since that time the following important collections have been added: the Archive of the Secretary of State in 1660; Archive of Avignon, of which the last portion was added in 1783; Archive of Sant' Angelo, 1798; Archive of the Congregazione del Buon Governo, 1870; Archive of the Dataria, 1892; Borghese Archive, 1893; Archive of Memorials 1905; Archive "dell' Uditore Santissimo", 1906; Consistorial Archive, 1907; and the Archive of Briefs, 1909 (cf. Marini, "Memorie istoriche degli Archivi della Santa Sede', 1825). (Concerning the opening of the secret archives see ROMAN HISTORICAL INSTITUTES.)

By Motu Proprio of 1 May, 1894 (Fin dal principio), Leo XIII founded in the Vatican Archives an institute for palæography and diplomatics, his Decree being published on 15 May in a letter to Cardinal Hergenröther, the learned archivist of the Church ("Leonis papæ XIII allocutiones, epistolæ, etc.", Bruges, 1887, 76). In the "Studi e documenti di storia e di diritto", VI (1885), 106-08, the text of the "Ordinamenti per la Scuola di paleografia presso l'archivio Pontificio Vaticano" may be found. The first professor was Isidoro Carini, whose successor is (1912) Angelo Melampo. Lectures are delivered thrice weekly from November to June, and students who successfully compete in the written and oral examinations receive a diploma in archival research and diplomatics (cf. Carini, "Prolusione al corso di paleografia e critica storica, inaugurato nella pontificia scuola Vaticana il 16 Marzo, 1885", Rome, 1885; "Argomenti di Paleografia e Critica Storica trattati nella Pontificia Scuola Vaticana ne' tre corsi del 1885, 1886, 1887", Rome, 1888). For the extensive works of organization, the activity of the leading archivists in the preparation of the Indices, the nature and contents of the many hundreds of Indices, the reader is referred to Brom, op. cit.

Apart from the Secret Archives

There are in the Vatican Palace other archives, which may be divided into ecclesiastical, juridical, ecelesiastico-political, and purely administrative archives, according to the bodies to which they belong. Most important historically is that of the Apostolic penitentiary; the older collections, of which until recently scholars knew nothing, are kept in the Vatican. The large archive of the Sacra Rota Romana, which is of fundamental importance for juridical questions and the history of jurisprudence, is accommodated in a small annex in the Vatican Gardens, adjacent to the entrance to the museum. All the collections of the archive of the Secretariate of State antedating 1860 are included in the secret archives; later papers are preserved in a special archive on the third story of the palace, where is also the archive of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. This archive admits no investigator, and questions on particular points addressed to it by scholars have failed to receive pertinent answers. As may be deduced from the already published earlier Acts of the archive of the Papal Ceremoniare, the volumes of this archive contain very interesting information. The extremely valuable archive of the Cappella Sistina, the papal choir, is deposited in the Vatican Library, though only in the character of a loan. Special archives are possessed by the administrations of the majordomo, the maestro di camera, the master of the sacred palace, the administrations of the Peterspence, the Elemosineria, the Computesteria, the Floreria, the maestro di casa, the three corps of guards, and the gendarmes. Other archives are too unimportant for mention here. There is at present some thought of gradually uniting with the secret archives the most important of the above collections and other ecclesiastical archives existing in Rome outside the Vatican.

The Vatican Library

The Vatican Library is the first among the great libraries of the world in the importance of its materials, but in the number of its manuscripts a few libraries surpass it, and in the number of printed books it is surpassed by many. This condition but accords with its historical development: the Vatican was founded as a manuscript library, has always been regarded as such, and is today administered as such by those in charge. The printed books which have been acquired, either through inheritance, or gift or by purchase, are intended solely to facilitate and promote the study of the manuscripts. This fact must be borne in mind to understand the attitude of the administration of the library. (Consult Barbier de Montault, "La Bibliothèque Vaticane et ses annexes", Rome, 1867. A number of essays on the library are contained in: "Al Sommo Pontefice Leone XIII. Omaggio giubilare della Biblioteca Vaticana", Rome, 1889; "Nel Giubileo Episcopate di Leone XIII. Omaggio della Biblioteca Vaticana", Rome, 1893. The former contains the pertinent literature.)

The manuscripts

The whole fund of manuscripts may be divided into closed (historical) and open collections. The former are collections which came to the library complete, and are administered as one entity. As no additional manuscripts from the same sources can henceforth be obtained, these collections form a unit with a numerus clausus. The open collections are those to which are added new acquisitions made by the library (either separately or a few together), which do not form a complete collection in themselves. Separated according to the languages of the manuscripts, there are sixteen open, and thirty-six closed, divisions; the open all bear the name of "Codices Vaticani", while the closed are known according to their origin. Scientific access to these treasures is facilitated by the Indices, concerning which we shall speak below. The following details, based on information supplied by Father Ehrle, S.J., prefect of the library, are the most accurate that have ever been given of the Vatican collections. The figures for the open collections represent the state of the library on 1 December, 1911; owing to the acquisition of new manuscripts, these figures are gradually increasing, especially those for the first two categories-Latini and Græci.

The total of the collections reaches 40,658 manuscripts, to which must be added between 8000 and 10,000 manuscripts in the two Barberini archives, and still awaiting detailed examination and arrangement. There are, therefore in the Vatican Library some 50,000 manuscripts; the first sixteen sections are the above-mentioned open collections; the others are all closed. The collection of Manuscripta Zeladiana was given to Toledo, while the printed books of the same collection remained in the Vatican Library. The Codices Vaticani in various languages are traceable to the old collections of the library of the fifteenth century or to the growth of the library; to this collection new departments have been gradually added.

Printed books

No exact calculation of the number of printed books has been yet undertaken. Estimates conscientiously made yield the following figures:

The total of printed books is thus in round numbers 350,000, which may be said to constitute a very considerable library. The Consultation Library is, as its name suggests, composed of works which immediately promote or facilitate the study of the manuscripts. The Prima Raccolta is the collection of books which was formed in the Vatican between 1620 and 1630; in the Raccolta Generale are gathered all the works (arranged according to the various branches of knowledge) which have been secured by the Vatican at any period or will hereafter be secured, provided that they do not specially pertain to the Consultation Library. The name of the other collections are quickly explained: Barberini, because it emanated from the princely house of that name; Palatina, because it came to Rome from the Heidelberg library of the Elector Palatine (Palatinus elector); Zeladiana, because it belonged to the effects of Cardinal Zelada; Mai, part of the effects of Cardinal Mai. Among all these books are found a larger percentage of rarities than is usual in comprehensive libraries.

The accommodation of the manuscripts and books

The manuscripts are accommodated in their old, low-sized, painted wooden cases, which are distributed along the walls of the halls of the library. When removed from the cases the greatest care is necessary lest anything should be lost. As there are various ways in which damage might be done to the manuscripts, the library administration has prevailed on the Prefect of the Apostolic Palaces to establish eight fire-proof magazines into which they may be transferred. For these magazines have been utilized a portion of the old reading room, the room of the cardinal librarian, and two other rooms. This alteration was made possible only by the removal of the Vatican Printing Office into new quarters. As the halls of the printing office lay below the old reading-room, and right beside the rooms in which the Bibliotheca Barberini has been accommodated, these halls were easily annexed to the library. The new reading-room was then established on the ground floor, and fitted with a water-power elevator for the transferring of manuscripts from the magazines situated immediately overhead; this afforded greater security and convenience, the manuscripts being more promptly procured. All these innovations were of great importance for the promotion of studies. The reading-room is convenient to the Consultation Library, and contains almost twice as many desks as the old reading-room.

All the work in the new magazines was completed at the beginning of 1912, and the transference of the manuscripts begun. The two Barberini Archives now stand on the third floor of the new magazines. In consequence of this reconstruction work, the printed books will be arranged as follows: Among the smaller rooms of the former printing office is a cabinet for the Prefect of the Library, a hall for the Bibliotheca Mai and other rooms in which the Heidelberg books (Palatini) and portions of the Raccolta Generale are to be accommodated. Two halls will be devoted to the Biblioteca Barberini, a book collection of very high value. In the hall of the Consultation Library with its two antechambers will be placed, in addition to the Consultation Library proper, the Autori Classici and the two departments of biography and history (the Collezioni Generali). To the old presses for the manuscripts in the state-halls of the library, now vacated, will be transferred the collections on canon and civil law, the works on art and its history, and the remainder of the Raccolta Generale, in so far as it is not accommodated in the old printing offices.

Inventories and catalogues

Inventories and Catalogues which are essential for the guidance of the reader, are available for both manuscripts and printed books. They are either in manuscript or printed. Those for the manuscripts consist of 170 volumes of manuscript and 17 volumes of printed inventories. The preparation of the Latin inventories was begun in 1594. All the inventories are in the reading-room ; catalogues for the printed books are to be found partly in the reading-room, and partly in the Consultation Library.

The preparation of manuscript catalogues for special divisions of the manuscripts was begun at an early date. All of these are still retained in their manuscript form; their printing was commenced as early as the seventeenth century. For example, Anastasius Kirscher published a catalogue of the Coptica Vaticana in his "Prodromo Coptico" (1636); in the years 1675-93 appeared a detailed catalogue of the Hebraica by Giulio Bartolocci, in 1747 the catalogue of the Capponiana, and in 1821 that of the Cicognara collection. Apart from these and similar publications, there are in the reading-room fifteen volumes of printed inventories of manuscripts: (1) Mai, "Catalogus codicum Bibliothecæ Vaticanæ (Orientalia)" (1831). (2-4) Assemani S.E. and J.S., "Bibliothecæ apostolicæ Vaticanæ Codicum Manuscriptorum Catalogus": I, "Codices Ebraici et Samaritani" (1756); II, III, "Codices chaldaici sive syriaci" (1758, 1759). (5) Stevenson (sen.), "Codices Palatini græci" (1885). (Cf. Syllburgius, "Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum græcorum in Bibliotheca Palatina Electorali" in "Monumenta pietatis et literaria virorum . . . illustrium selecta", Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1702.) "Codices græci Reginæ Sueciæ et Pii II" (1888). (6) Feron and Battaglini, "Codices Ottoboniani græci" (1893). (7) Stornajolo, "Codices Urbinates græci" (1895). (8) Stevenson (jun.), "Codices Palatini latini", I (1886). (9) Salvo-Cozzo, "Codici Capponiani" (1897). (10) Vatasso and Franchi de' Cavalieri, "Codices Vaticani latini", I (codd. 1-678), 1902. (11-12) Stornajolo, "Codices Urbinates latini", I (1902), codd. 1-500; II (1912), 500-1000. (13-15) Marucchi, "Monumenta papyracea ægyptia" (1891). "Monumenta papyracea latina" (1895). "Il grande papiro egicio della Biblioteca Vaticana" (1889).

There are in addition six special catalogues, not compiled by the officials of the library: (1) Poncelet "Catalogus Codicum hagiographicorum latinorum" (1910). (2) "Hagiographi Bollandiani et Franchi de' Cavalieri, Pius. Catalogus codicum hagiographicorum græcorum" (1899). (3) Ehreneberger, "Libri liturgici manuscripti" (1897). (4) Forcella, "Catalogo dei manoscritti riguardanti la storia di Roma, che si conservano nella Biblioteca Vaticana" (4 vols., Rome, 1879-85). (5) Bertini, "Codici Vaticani riguardanti la Storia Nobiliare" (Rome, 1906). (6) Crispo-Moncada, "I Codici Arabi, nuovo fondo della Biblioteca Vaticana" (Palermo, 1900).

The volumes by Stevenson on the Codices Palatini have been revised by de Rossi, who prefixed his renowned treatise: "De Origine, Historia, Indicibus Scrinii et Bibliothecæ Sedis Apostolicæ Commentatio", pp. cxxxii (cf. also de Rossi, "La Biblioteca della Santa Sede Apostolica ed i Cataloghi dei suoi manoscritti", 1884). Four other inventories on the Codices latini, Urbinates græci, and Vaticani græci are in the press. A further volume on the Vaticani latini and one on the Borgiani arabici are also in preparation. For the books of the consultation library there is an exhaustive card catalogue according to the system of Staderini. For the collections of the Prima Raccolta there are seven folio volumes of Indices, and for these two volumes of inventories. A manuscript catalogue of the incunabula ("Editiones Sæculi XV Bibliothecæ Vaticanæ", in large folio), in three volumes with appendix, also stands in the consultation library. Of the exceedingly valuable Miscellanea bequeathed by de Rossi there is a bulky manuscript inventory of 1898 and an alphabetical index. The Biblioteca Barberini has its old excellent catalogue in imperial folio, ten of the volumes being accessible to the public. For the other departments there are also catalogues, e.g. twenty volumes for the Raccolta Generale, a catalogue of the Zeladiana in Cod. Vat. Lat. 9198, etc., which upon request is placed at the disposal of scholars in exceptional cases. Among the printed catalogues of books is that of Enrico Stevenson, Jun., "Inventario dei libri stampati Palatino-Vaticani" (1886-91). The authorities of the Vatican Library are preparing (1912) a "Catalogo dei cataloghi mss. della Biblioteca Vaticana", which will be of high scientific and practical interest. It will show that as early as the sixteenth century the Vatican Library possessed catalogues of such perfection that we admire them even today.

All readers who wish to use only printed literature are carefully excluded from the library. In view of the exclusively manuscript character of the Vatican as a scientific institution, this is readily comprehensible. The accommodations of the Vatican Library are entirely inadequate to meet the demands of the general public in search of printed books. Should the Vatican Library thus lose its unique position, the other large libraries of Rome instituted for the consultation of printed books, would suffer. Furthermore, the present conditions have been sanctioned by the past, and have been fully tested by experience. (Consult Ehrle, "Zur Gesch. der Katalogisierung der Vaticana" in "Historisches Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft", 1890, 718-27.)

Manuscript-repairing and bookbinding department

The Vatican has always possessed a bookbinding department, and also a department for renovating manuscripts as well as the skill of the period allowed. In the last decades special chemico-scientific attention has been devoted to the preservation and freshening of faded parchment manuscripts as well as to the preservation of paper manuscripts whose existence is wholly or partially threatened by a corroding ink. One of the most successful library boards in these investigations is that of the Vatican, which has since 1896 extensively employed every discovery that contributed to the preservation of its manuscript treasures. At the proposal of the prefect of the Vaticana an international conference to consider the question of the preservation of manuscripts assembled at St. Gall in the summer of 1898, and its consultations were attended with the greatest success (cf. Posee, "Handschriften-Konservierung. nach den Verhandlungen der St. Gallener Internationalen Konferenz zur Erhaltung und Ausbesserung alter Handschriften von 1898, sowie der Dresdener Konferenz deutscher Archivare von 1899", Dresden, 1899). A series of model restorations were made in the Vatican repair-shop, not only of its own valuable manuscripts, but also those of ecclesiastical possession elsewhere. In his "Note upon the Present State of the Vercelli Gospel" in the "Second Report of the Revision of the Vulgate" (Rome, 1911, pp. 20 sqq.), Abbot Gasquet describes a particularly difficult work of this kind. Besides these works, which are performed by specially trained and careful workers, the binding of the manuscripts is also undertaken, the arms of the reigning pope and of the present cardinal librarian being placed on the binding. The coats of arms are omitted from the covers of printed books. A fire, which broke out in this shop some years ago, caused little damage, but it led to the introduction throughout the whole library of mechanical appliances against fire. In this respect the Vatican surpasses every other library.

The publications of the Vatican Library

The administration of the Vatican Library makes it its aim, since the fundamental reorganization of the whole institution by the prefect, Father Ehrle, S.J. (who resigned his place voluntarily to Father Ratti of Milan in 1912), to employ officials with a view to their own literary productions. This policy, which in a comparatively short time has produced splendid results, has made possible six great undertakings of fundamental importance for science. The first collection bears the title: "Codices e Vaticanis selecti, phototypice expressi, jussu Pii Papæ X, consilio et opera procuratorum Bibliothecæ Vaticanæ. Series major". This work deals with the most important and beautiful manuscripts of the Vatican; by phototype reproduction, these become accessible to persons unable to visit Rome. Eleven volumes of this collection have appeared: (1) "Fragmenta et Picturæ Vergilianæ codicis Vaticani 3225" (60 francs; edition exhausted); (2) "Picturæ, Ornamenta, complura scripturæ Specimina codicis Vaticani 3867, qui codex Vergilii Romanus audit" (100 francs; edition exhausted); (3) "Miniature del Pontificale Ottoboniano: codex Vat. Ottobon. 501" (25 francs); (4) "Bibliorum SS. Græcorum codex Vaticanus 1209 (codex B) Pars prima: Vetus Testamentum", I, 1-394 (230 francs); II, 395-944 (320 francs); III, 945-1234 (150 francs); "Pars altera: Novum Testamentum" (170 francs); the scientific introduction to this work will appear in 1912; (5) "Il Rotulo di Giosue, codex Vatic. Palat. graecus 431" (160 francs); (6) "L'originale del Canzoniere di F. Petrarca, codex Vatic. 3195" (100 francs); (7) "Frontonis aliorumque fragmenta, quæ codice vaticano 5750 rescripto comprehenduntur" (300 francs); (8) "Il menologio greco dell' imperatore Basilio II (976-1025), cod. Vatic. græcus 1613" (400 francs); (9) "Cassii Dionis Cocceiani Historiarum Romanorum lib. LXXIX, LXXX, quæ supersunt, cod. Vatic. græc. 1288. Præfatus est Pius Franchi de' Cavaliere" (50 francs); (10) "Le Miniature della Topografia Cristiana di Cosma Indicopleuste, cod. Vatic. græc. 699. Con introduzione di Msgr. Cosimo Stornajolo" (120 francs); (11) "I disegni di Giuliano da Sangallo: Codex Vatic. Barber. lat. 4424. Con introduzione del Prof. Dott. C. Hulsen" (400 francs). Three volumes are already in the press and to be issued during 1912: (1) "Paleo-grafia Musicale Vaticana. Con introduzione di M. Bannister M.A."; (2) "Ciceronis Liber 'De Republica' rescriptus. Cod. Vatic. 5757"; (3) "Terentii Com diæ picturis illustratæ. Cod. Vatic. 3868".

With this Series major is associated as a second undertaking the Series minor, of which the following two volumes have appeared: (1) "Miniature delle Omilie di Giacomo Monaco (cod. Vatic. Urbin. græc. 1162) e dell' Evangelario Greco urbinate (cod. Vatic. Urbin. græc. 2). Con breve prefazione e sommaria descrizione di Msgr. Cosimo Stornajolo" (40 francs); (2) "Pagine scelte di due codici appartenenti alla Badia di S. Maria di Coupar-Angus in Scozia. Con una breve descrizione di H.M. Bannister M.A. Contributo alla storia della scrittura insulare" (5 francs). Of the third undertaking, the "Collezione Paleografica Vaticana", a single fascicle has appeared: "Le Miniature della Bibbia: Codex Vatic. Regin. græc. 1 e del Saltario: Codex Vatic. Palat. graec. 381" (55 francs). The fourth collection is called "Collezioni Archeologiche, Artistiche e Numismatiche dei Palazzi Apostolici, pubblicate per ordine di Sua Santità, a cura della Biblioteca Vaticana, dei Musei e delle Gallerie Pontificie". For this work the collaboration of the officials not alone of the library, but also of the museums and galleries, has been requisitioned. Four volumes have already appeared: (1) "Gli avori dei Musei Profano e Sacro della Biblioteca Vaticana, pubblicati per cura della medesima, con introduzione del Barone Rodolfo Kanzler" (edition exhausted); (2) "Le Nozze Aldobrandine, i paesaggi con scene dell' Odissea e le altre pitture murali antiche conservate nella Biblioteca Vaticana e nèi Musei Pontifici. Con introduzione del Comm. B. Nogara" (250 francs); (3) "Le Monete e le Bolle Plumbee Pontificale del Medagliere Vaticano, descritte ed illustrate dal Cav. C. Serafini. Tome I (615-1572)" (80 francs), with introduction by Le Grelle, "Saggio di storia delle collezioni numismatiche Vaticane"; (4) "I Mosaici antiehi conservati nei Palazzi Pontifici del Vaticano e del Laterno. Con introduzione del Comm. B. Nogara" (200 francs). In the press are (1) Nogara and Pinza, "La Tomba Regolini Galassi e gli altri materiali coevi dei Museo Gregoriano-Etrusco. Voll. 4 (3 di testo ed. 1 di tavole)"; (2) Nogara, "I vasi antichi del Museo Etrusco e della Biblioteca Vaticana".

The fifth collection, "Le Piante Maggiori di Roma nel Secolo XVI e XVII, riprodotte in fototipia a cura della Biblioteca Vaticana. Con introduzione di Francesco Ehrle, S.J.", is the result of the personal research of the prefect of the Vatican. It embraces six numbers and two supplements: (1) "Roma al tempo di Giulio III. La Lianta di Roma di Leonardo Bufalini del 1551, riprodotta per la prima volta dalla stampa originale" (20 francs); (2) "Roma prima di Sisto V. La Lianta di Roma Du Pérac-Lafréry del 1577. Contributo alla storia del commercio delle stampe a Roma nel secolo XVI e XVII" (15 francs); (3) "Roma al tempo di Urbano VIII (1623-1644). La Pianta di Roma Maggi-Maupin-Losi, di quaranta fogli, riprodotta da uno dei tre esemplari completi, fin adesso conosciuti" (in the press); (4) "Roma al tempo di Paolo V (1605-1621). La Pianta di Antonio Tempesta del 1606" (in preparation); (5) "Roma al tempo di Urbano VIII (1632-1644). La Pianta di Roma pubblicata da Goert van Schayck (Gottifredo Scaichi) nel 1630" (in preparation); (6) "Roma al tempo di Innocenzo XI (1676-1689). La Pianta di Roma di Giovanni Battista Falda del 1676" (in preparation). Supplements: (1) "La grande Veduta Maggi-Mascardi (1615) dei Tempio e del Palazzo Vaticano, stampata coi nomi originali. Con introduzione di Francesco Ehrle" (to appear shortly); (2) "La Pianta della Campagna Romana del 1547, in sei fogli, riprodotta in fototipia della copia Vaticana, unica finora. Con introduzione di Tommaso Ashby" (in preparation).

As the last and most comprehensive, and furthermore, on account of the smaller expense in preparation, the most accessible, collection is the "Studi e Testi". The twenty-three fascicles which have already appeared contain either the results of systematic research among the Vatican manuscripts with a definite purpose, or shavings and parings which fall from the work-table while more important works are being accomplished. From the following arrangement of the works according to authors this twofold distinction becomes apparent. Marco Vatasso has published fascicles 1, 2, 4, 10, 14, 16, 17, 18, and 20: (1) "Antonio Flaminio e le principali poesie dell' autografo Vaticano 2870"; (2) "Le due Bibbie di Bovino, ora codici Vaticani latini 10510, 10511, e le loro note storiche"; (3) "Aneddoti in dialet to romanesco del secolo XIV, tratti dal codice Vatic. 7654"; (4) "Per la storia del dramma sacro in Italia"; (5) "Del Petrarca e di alcuni suoi amici"; (6) "Initia Patrum aliorumque scriptorum ecclesiasticorum ex Mignei Patrologia et ex compluribus aliis libris conlecta" (2 vols.); (7) "Frammenti d'un Livio del quinto secolo recentemente scoperti: Codice Vaticano latino 10696"; (8) "I codici Petrarchesehi della Biblioteca Vaticana". Pio Franchi de' Cavalieri published fascicles 3, 6, 8, 9, 19, and 22: (1) "La Passio SS. Mariani et Jacobi"; (2) "I Martiri di S. Teodoto di Ancisa e di S. Ariadne di Prinnesso con un' appendice sul testo originale del Martirio di S. Eleutherio"; (3) "Note agiografiche: a. Ancora del martirio di S. Ariadne; b. Gli Atti di S. Giustino"; (4) "Nuove Note agiografiche: c. Il testo originale del martirio di Agape, Irene e Chione; d. Gli Atti di S. Crispina. e. I Martiri della Massa Candida. f. Di una probabile fonte della leggenda dei SS. Giovanni e Paolo"; (5) "Hagiographica: a. Osservazioni sulle leggende dei SS. Martiri Mena e Trifone. b. Della legenda di S. Pancrazio Romano. c. Intorno ad alcune reminiscenze classiche nelle leggende agiografiche del secolo IV"; (6) "Note agiografiche, fascicolo terzo".

Giovanni Mercati published the fascicles 5, 7, 11, 12, and 15: (1) "Note di letteratura biblica e cristiana antica"; (2) "Antiche reliquie ambrosiano-romane, con un excursus sui frammenti dogmatici ariani del Mai"; (3) "Varia Sacra: Fasc. 1. a. Anonymi Chiliastæ in Matthæum Fragmenta. b. Alcuni supplementi agli scritti dei Dottori Cappadoci e di S. Cirillo Alessandrino"; (4) a. "Un frammento delle ipotiposi di Clemente Alessandrino. b. Paralipomena Ambrosiana con alcuni appunti sulle benedizioni del Cereo pasquale"; (5) "Opuscoli inediti del Beato Cardinal Giuseppe Tommasi tratti in luce". Enrico Carusi published fascicle 21: "Dispacci e lettere di Giacomo Gherardi, nunzio Pontificio a Firenze e Milano 1487-1490". Eugene Tisserant published fascicle 23: "Codex Zugninensis rescriptus Veteris Testamenti. Texte grec des manuscrits Vatican Syriaque 162 et. Mus. Brit." Additionel 14665, édité avec introduction et notes. Of the published fascicles there still remains: "Catalogo sommario della Esposizione Gregoriana aperta nella Biblioteca Vaticana dal 7 all' 11 Aprile, 1904, a cura della Direzione della medesima Biblioteca. Ediz. seconda." In the press is: Mercati and Ferrini, "Basilicorum paratitla". The following are in preparation: (1) Mercati, "Psalmorum hexaplorum reliquiæ e codice rescripto Ambrosiano"; (2) Vatasso, "Cronache Forlivesi di Maestro Giovanni de Pedrino (1411-1464). Una versione in dialetto del secolo XIV delle Armonie evangeliche d'Ammonio"; (3) Carusi, "Diario di Fiorenza dall'anno 1482, di Giusto d'Anghiari"; (4) Nogara, "Il libro XXXII della Storia d'Italia di Flavio Biondo dai codici Vatic. 1940-1946". All these collections may advantageously be used as works of reference on the Vatican Libary. The Vatican stands at the head of the world's libraries in its number of scientific publications, despite its comparatively small staff and insufficient funds.

The administration of the Vatican Library

Since the time of Marcello Cervini, the first cardinal who was named (1548) librarian of the Apostolic Library, this official has borne the honorary title of Protettore della Biblioteca Vaticana. In him is vested in general the supreme direction of the library, which he represents in all questions and under all circumstances relating to the library as a whole or to the administration in general. Under him there is, for the technical and scientific management of the library, a prefect — formerly there were two — who has to decide all questions referring to the ordinary administration and to issue such instructions as these questions may demand. The position of assistant librarian, revived by Leo XIII, is at present vacant. For the chief language or groups of languages represented in the Vatican manuscripts there are six ordinary and five honorary scriptores, to whom is entrusted the scientific cultivation of the departments committed to them. Thus, including the prefect, there are twelve scientific general officials. For the collections connected with the library, e.g. the Cabinet of Coins and Medals (Il Medagliere) and the Christian Museum (Museo Sacro), there are four directors, whose duty is the scientific supervision of their collections. Under the supervision of one of the scriptores, six assistants discharge all the duties connected with the printed books, besides superintending special portions of the library. The prefect is assisted by a secretary, who has in addition the duty of keeping the accounts. Seven bidelli (library attendants) bring the manuscripts and books to the readers, transfer the departments to their new quarters when a change has been determined on, and keep everything in order in the Consultation Library. In the repair-shop and book-bindery four men are permanently employed.

The salaries of the officials are exceedingly modest. No official, not even the prefect, receives more than fifty dollars a month. The title of "Scriptor of the Vatican Library" has been held by such men as Giovanni de Rossi, Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, Stevenson, and many others, and is today borne by such world-famous scholars as Mercati, Franchi de' Cavalieri, Vatasso, etc. The annual budget of the library is the ridiculously small sum of 6000 dollars. On extraordinary occasions great loans have been secured — e.g., $100,000 when the Barberini Library was purchased. During his term of office, Father Ehrle raised the budget to about 7000 dollars by obtaining contributions from his friends and acquaintances. In all financial questions the library is subordinate to the Prefecture of the Apostolic Palaces. The archives of the library contain no acts extending back beyond the time of the first cardinal librarian; more recent administrative acts are, however, complete. In earlier times all manuscripts whose publication was adjudged untimely, dangerous, likely to cause misunderstandings etc., were marked on the back with a small black cross. When such a codex was asked for, the prefect decided whether or not it should be delivered to the particular scholar. This custom led to distinctions not always of a very agreeable kind, and was entirely discontinued by Father Ehrle, so that any scholar can procure without further ceremony any manuscript which he desires. In the case of the exceptionally valuable codices or those which have to be handled with special care, the readers must observe all the directions which the prefect has found it necessary to impose.

The administration shows the greatest complaisance in its dealings with scholars, and admits outside the regular four-hour period of study those whose time is very limited. The same rule applies to Thursday, which is a free day, and to the holidays proper. The library is open from 1 October to 27 June — in winter from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and in summer from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. On all Thursdays, feasts, certain memorial days, the holidays of Christmas, the Carnival, and Easter, and on some other occasions, it is closed. The library ordinances issued by Sixtus V are carved in marble at the entrance. These have received timely alterations in the "Chirographa" of Clement XII, Benedict XIV, and Clement XIII, as well as in the Decree "Ex audientia Sanctissimi" of Pius IX; in particular, a number of the holidays which proved especially burdensome to strangers have been abolished. By Motu Proprio of 9 September, 1878, Leo XIII made further alterations, among others the revival of the office of assistant librarian. Finally, on 21 March, 1885, the same pontiff issued a new "Regolamento della Biblioteca Vaticana" together with a "Calendario per l'apertura e per lo studio e servizio della B. Vaticana". After these regulations had remained in force for a three years' trial, they were revised and raised to a permanent law by Motu Proprio of 1 October, 1888, which is still binding.

The collections connected with the Library

The exhibition in the library halls of the costly presents received by the popes in the course of the last hundred years from emperors, kings, princes, and rich private persons, has converted some of these halls into a museum, which, while possessing great attraction for strangers and decorating the rooms, is without any real scientific value. Countless other objects, however, have been collected for scientific reasons. A beginning was made by Benedict XIV (1740-58), when in 1744 he bought the magnificent collection of old Christian glasses belonging to Cardinal Gaspare Carpegna and transferred them to the library. This collection forms the basis of the celebrated Museo Cristiano. Next comes the Vettori collection of gems, the second great acquisition of the same pontiff. During the nineteenth century this museum grew to such an extent, owing to the excavations in the catacombs, that the largest pieces (such as the sarcophagi, the inscriptions, mosaics etc.) had to be transferred to the Lateran, where a second Museo Cristiano of greater importance has been established.

The remaining most valuable objects of the lesser arts of gold, silver, bronze, enamel, glass, bone, ivory, lead, etc., form an unrivalled collection of its kind. The well-known medallion with the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul, the golden pectoral cross found on the Campo Verano (to which de Rossi has devoted a special monograph), the triptych of Penicaud of Limoges, and many other objects belong to the chief glories of this museum. Baron Kanzler has published an édition de luxe on the collection of ivory carvings. The above-named Vettori was the first custodian of this collection, which was later placed immediately under the prefect of the library. Under Leo XIII Giovanni Battista de Rossi was named prefect of the museum, an honour intended only for him. Today the directors of this division are again subordinate to the prefect of the library.

The Medagliere or numismatic collection was opened in 1555 under Marcellus II. Clement XII (1730-40) added many objects to the collection, but Benedict XIV (1740-48) became its great benefactor, by acquiring the incomparable Albani collection. This glorious cabinet of coins is described by Venuti in his "Antiqua Numismata maximi moduli ex Museo Cardinalis Albani in Vaticanam Bibliothecam translata" (2 vols., Rome, 1739-44). The acquisition of the Carpegna and Scilla collections also falls into this period. Many of the objects were sold by the French or — a fact which could not be detected in individual cases — were secretly incorporated in the Paris collection, so that the Medagliere returned to Rome greatly diminished. Pius VII resumed the task of collecting, and the department was continually increased, the Ranchi collection being recently added (1901) at the expense of 64,000 lire ($12,800). After the discarding of valuable duplicates, for which 32,000 lire was obtained, the Medagliere stands again at the grand total of 70,000 pieces. Among its most celebrated exhibits are the uninjured s grave and the oldest papal coins. The custodian Serafini has recently issued the first volume of the scientific description of this collection.

The objects of pagan art in gold, silver, amber, etc., which came to the Holy See with the Museo Carpegna, the carved stones, enamels, glasses, carved ivories, figurines, etc., and the small bronze busts and tablets were accommodated by Pius VI in magnificent cases at the end of the long manuscript gallery at the entrance to the museum. Such was the foundation of the Pagan Museum, which today stands under the direction of Commendatore Nogara, and to which other Cimelia were later added. The department is subordinate to the prefecture of the library. Connected with this department (although not in the same hall) is the collection of ancient pagan frescoes begun by Pius VII when he purchased the Aldobrandini "Marriage". Under Gregory XVI and Pius IX further frescoes, obtained from the walls of the old Roman houses, were added. The hall in which these pieces are exhibited was painted by Guido Reni. Beside them are the brick stamps (classified and bequeathed by Marini), a kind of factory mark impressed by the ancients on the bricks, which is of the highest importance for the chronology of classical buildings. Here were also the 33 majolica plates which Leo XIII had conveyed from Castel Gandolfo to Rome, but which are now in the Appartamento Borgia. Concerning the Aldobrandini "Marriage" and analogous objects Nogara has published an édition de luxe.

The hall for the Latin papyrus documents, richly fitted with costly marbles, was magnificently painted by Raphael Mengs. Here are collected more documents belonging to the period 444 to 854 than are contained in any other collection in the world. The collection was begun by Paul V, continued by Clement XII and Benedict XIV, while the costly decorations were completed by Pius VII. In each of the twenty-four receptacles in the walls are from one to three papyrus fragments. Besides the monumental work of Gaetano Marinis, "Papyri diplomatici", Marucchi has recently treated the "Monumenta papyracea latina." The Cabinet of Drawings and Engravings contains originals by Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, Mantegna, and many other woodcuts and steel engravings, extending back to the time of Albrecht Dürer. This is a small but excellent collection. In the former Chapel of Pius V were once preserved the addresses received by Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X from all the countries of the world. Begun in 1867, the collection was recently transferred to the Casino di Pio IV in the Vatican Gardens when this hall had to be used for the special purposes of the library, but still remains under the direction of the prefect of the library. In similar manner the pre-Raphaelite paintings of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and a number of Byzantine tablets, which were accommodated in special halls of the library, have been transferred to the picture-gallery.

History of the Library

Like every great church, that of Rome found it necessary from the beginning to form a collection of archival materials and books. This was of the greatest importance for the transaction of business, for the scientific pursuit of theology, for reference etc. Owing to the frequent change of the Curial headquarters, the wars and sieges of Rome, and numerous other vicissitudes, the collections of this kind have suffered great damage. The fate of the old papal library has been the subject of many inquiries, of which the most scholarly is that of de Rossi (referred to above) and the most extensive that of Ehrle ("Die Frangipani und der Untergang des Archivs und der Bibliothek der Päpste am Anfang des 13. Jahrhunderts" in "Mélanges offerts a M. Emile Chatelain . . . par ses élèves et ses amis 15 avril 1910", Paris, 1910). The following may be also consulted: Zanelli, "La Biblioteca Vaticana della sua origine fino al presente" (Rome, 1857), and Faucon, "La Librairie des Papes d'Avignon, sa formation, sa composition, ses catalogues (1316-1420)" (Paris, 1887). For the new acquisitions made down to the present day the only reliable source is Carini, "La Biblioteca Vaticana proprietà della Santa Sede Memoria Storica" (Rome, 1892). (Cf. Crispo Moncada, "La Biblioteca Vaticana e Monsignor Isidoro Carini", Palermo, 1895.) What were the book treasures of the Holy See at the end of the thirteenth century, whence they came, how a new library was formed at Avignon, and how this library attained its greatest extent under Clement VI, may be learned from the above works, as may also the fate of these collections.

Martin V restored the seat of the Curia to Rome, and, both by exercising the right of spoil (see JUS SPOLII) and also by purchases, laid the foundation of a library, which was extended and enriched by Eugene IV. Under the latter pontiff the library contained 340 manuscripts, of which traces are still found in the "Fondo antico Vaticano". But the great humanist pope, Nicholas V (1447-55), was the true founder of the Vaticana, which may be regarded as the fourth papal library. This pontiff acquired the remains of the imperial library of Constantinople which had been scattered by the Turks, and was able to bequeath at this death 824 codices, of which a large number can be pointed out in the Vaticana today. The succeeding popes added smaller collections, and Sixtus IV gave a permanent basis to the library by the construction of its glorious halls. On the ground floor of the palace in the Cortile del Papagallo and under the Appartamento Borgia he had four halls painted by Melozzo da Forli and his pupil Ghirlandajo, with coloured windows by Hermannus Teutonicus. In three of these halls stood work tables, to which (as was then customary) the manuscripts were fastened with chains, while in the fourth were twelve chest-like receptacles and five presses filled with codices; the furniture of inlaid wood adorns today the Appartamento Borgia. The pope purchased the library of Gaspare da Sant'Angelo in 1482, employed numerous copyists, and encouraged his librarian Platina (appointed in 1475) to restore the Vaticana to its former position of renown. The library had a public division for the Latin and Greek languages, and a private section (afterwards transferred to Sant' Angelo), in which the documentary treasures of the Roman Church were preserved. Under Sixtus the collection grew to 2527 codices, of which 770 were Greek and 1757 Latin. (Cf. Fabre, "La Vaticana de Sixte IV" in "Mélanges d'archéol. et d'hist.", XV.)

The great growth of the Libreria Palatina, as it was called, continued, and under Innocent VIII it included 3650 manuscripts and printed works. Besides other acquisitions, Alexander VI secured forty Bobbio codices from Tommaso Inghirami; Julius II added new rooms to the four halls to provide sufficient space for the collection. Leo X donated to the library his own Greek codices (cf. Heiberg, "Les premiers manuscrits grecs de la Bibliothèque Papale", Copenhagen, 1892), so that under him the library contained 4070 books and manuscripts — a number unexampled at that time. The first cardinal librarian and protector of the library, which office had previously been managed only by prelates, was Marcello Cervini, who was appointed in 1548. Cardinal Cervini (afterwards Marcellus II) presented to the library more than 240 codices and many books; about 250 others were added before the reign of Gregory XIII (1572-85), who conceived the plan of a new library building. This plan was realized by Sixtus V (1585-90) in 1588, through the instrumentality of Fontagna. The new building divided the huge court of the Belvedere into two parts, and thus originated the famous Salone Sistino della Libreria Vaticana — giving to the library the name by which it was henceforth known. Cesare Nebbia and Giovanni Guerra painted the hall, which accommodated in elegant cases the treasures of the Vaticana. (Cf. Pansa, "Della Libreria Vaticana Ragionamenti", Rome, 1592; Roccha a Camerino, "Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana a Sixto V P. M. . . . translata", Rome, 1591; Müntz, "La Bibliothèque du Vatican au XVI siècle", Paris, 1886; Idem, "La Bibliothèque du Vatican au XV, siècle", Paris, 1887; Stevenson, "Topografia e Monumenti di Roma nelle pitture di Sisto V della Biblioteca Vaticana", Rome, 1898.)

Sixtus V had a work-room erected beside the Salone, and this was decorated with the paintings of the sibyls by Marco da Faenza and the landscapes of Paul Brill. Hither were transferred the wooden panelling and furnishings of the Palatina, carved by Giovannino dei Dolci. The brothers Guglielmo and Tommaso Sirleto, Antonio Carafa, and Marcantonio Colonna transferred their entire collections of manuscripts and prints to the Vaticana. The renowned scholar Orsini, who possessed the greatest private collection of the sixteenth century, was corrector (= scriptor) græcus of the Vaticana, and in 1600 bequeathed to it 413 manuscripts (30 Italian, 270 Latin, and 113 Greek) with many printed works (cf. De Nolhac, "La Bibliothèque de Fulvio Orsini", Paris, 1887). The number of the Greek Codices Vaticani thus mounted from 1287 to 1400. Paul V transferred to the library 212 Greek and Latin Codices, 30 Bobbienses (presented by Silvarezza), and 100 manuscripts from the Biblioteca Altemps. He also purchased for 1974 scudi ($2000) 83 manuscripts from the effects of Prospero Podiani (1616), 25 Coptic from the effects of Raimondo (1614), the whole library of Cardinal Pole, and many other collections (see Batiffol, "La Vaticane de Paul III et Paul V", Paris, 1890; Idem, "L'abbaye de Rossano. Contribution à l'histoire de la Vaticane", Paris, 1891). Under Urban VIII the Latin codices grew to 6026 in 1627, and to 6458 in 1640; the number of Greek in 1630 was 1566. This pontiff added a room to the Salone Sistino, and in 1630 separated the office of prefect of the Archives from that of custodian of the library. He made great purchases of books, and, owing to the pressure brought upon him by the Ethiopian Hospice behind St. Peter's, donated his thirty-nine parchment manuscripts and some printed works to the Vaticana. In 1622 the Vaticana was presented with the Heidelberg Library (called the Palatina) by Elector Maximilian of Bavaria. This was accommodated in a newly-erected side wing of the palace, to the left of, and adjacent to, the Salone Sistino. Today this collection contains 1996 Latin and 432 Greek codices, besides numerous printed works. (Cf. the inventories mentioned above; Theiner, "Schenkung der Heidelberger Bibliothek durch Maximilian I. an Gregor XV. und ihre Versendung nach Rom; mit Originalschriften", Munich 1844; Mazzi, "Leone Alacci e la Palatina di Heidelberg", Bologna, 1893; Wilke, "Gesch. der Heidelberger Buchersammlungen", 1817; Bahr, "Die Entführung der Heidelberger Bibliothek nach Rom", 1845; Wille, "Aus alter und neuer Zeit der Heidelberger Bibliothek", 1906; "Kirchl. Handlex.", s.v. "Heidelberg".)

Less than forty years after this great acquisition followed a second, when Alexander VII added to the Vaticana the manuscripts of the valuable library of the dukes of Urbino; the printed works were used as the nucleus for the library of the university founded by the popes (Sapienza), which consequently is even today known as the Alessandrina. The codices of the Urbino collection included 1767 latini et vulgares, 165 græci, and 128 hebraici et arabici. For the polemics concerning this amalgamation and an estimate of the value of the Bibliotheca urbinas consult Raffaelli, "La imparziale e veritiera Istoria della Unione della Biblioteca di Urbino alla Vaticana", Fermo, 1877; Valenti, "Trasferimento della Biblioteca Ducale d'Urbino a Roma", 1878. The valuable library of Christina Alexandra of Sweden, which passed from her heir Cardinal Decio Azzolini to his nephew Pompeo Azzolini, was purchased from the latter by Alexander VIII (1689-91) and added to the Vaticana. The duplicates were donated to the pope's nephew Cardinal Ottoboni, and the codices transferred to the Vatican archives. To the Vaticana then accrued 2102 Latin and 190 Greek manuscripts, which were placed in the gallery to the right of the Salone Sistino. In the same collection are still found 45 "Codices græci Pii Papæ II", added in 1754. (Cf. Manteyer, "Les manuscrits de la Reine Christine aux archives du Vatican" in "Mélanges d'archéol. et d'hist.", XVII, 1897.)

Although a number of Orientalia were formerly to be found in the Vaticana, Clement XI (1700-21) may be regarded as the real founder of the very extensive Oriental section of the library. He procured for it several hundred of these manuscripts, which he had purchased throughout the entire East through Oriental scholars specially commissioned for this task (see Carini, op. cit. sup.). Clement XIII added the whole collection of manuscripts belonging to the brothers Assemani and consisting of 202 Syro-Chaldean, 180 Arabian, and 6 Turkish manuscripts. Numerous smaller acquisitions were made, amounting in all to about 500 manuscripts. On 7 Dec., 1746, Benedict XIV purchased the "Fondo Capponiano" (288). For 5500 gold scudi he later purchased the whole collection of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (d. 1748), who possessed 3300 manuscripts, obtained partly from the Altemps and Sforza collections, and partly from the inheritance of Queen Christina. Including some later additions, there are now in the Ottoboniana 3394 Latin and 472 Greek codices. In this, as in the other above-mentioned closed collections, there are manuscripts of the highest value. (Cf. Ruggieri-Marini, "Memorie istoriche degli Archivi della Santa Sede e della Biblioteca Ottoboniana ora riunita alla Vaticana", Rome, 1825.) Under Clement XIV and Pius VI the Vaticana and collections associated with it underwent many vicissitudes. In 1797, 500 manuscripts were confiscated jure belli by the French Directory (cf. "Recensio Manuscriptorum, qui ex universa Bibliotheca Vaticana selecti procuratoribus Galliarum traditi fuere", Leipzig, 1803-very rare). Of these manuscripts all except 36 were restored to the Vaticana.

In the nineteenth century the Vaticana acquired, besides several hundred manuscripts, the papers of Angelo Mai, Gaetano Marini, Visconti, Mazzucchelli, and de Rossi, and a portion of the Maurinist correspondence through Cardinal Fesch. Through the purchase, by Leo XIII, of the manuscripts belonging to the Borghese family, almost 300 codices from the old Avignon library, which had found their way via Avignon-Aldobrandini to the Borghese, were thus restored to the Vaticana; furthermore, 100 real Burghesiani, purchased by the Borghese, were found in the collection. These acquisitions, with the archival materials which are found in the secret archives, cost 225,000 francs. A still more extensive library was purchased by Leo XIII for 525,000 francs in 1902, the Barberini Archive being then added to the Vaticana. The transference of the Codices Borgiani from the Propaganda to the Vaticana brought a very notable addition to the collection of Orientalia, besides adding to the Latin and Greek sections (see STEFFANO BORGIA). These final and important additions of Leo XIII, together with the acquisition of the Codices Reginæ, Capponiani, Urbinates, and Ottoboniani, combine with the great Vaticani collection to form the Apostolic Library of the Vatican. (Cf. Carini, "Di alcuni lavori ed acquisiti della Biblioteca Vaticana nel pontificato di Leone XIII", Rome, 1892.)

The legal status of the Library

The assertions that the Vatican Library was the property not of the Church or of the Holy See, but of the late Papal States, were meant to prepare the way for the eventual seizure of the library, or at least its withdrawal from the operation of the Law of Guarantees. These assertions called forth answers which made clear the baseless ignorance in historical matters of the inventors and propagators of this theory. Isidoro Carini (op. cit.), then prefect of the Vatican Library, by disclosing its general, and especially its financial, history, furnished the most convincing proof that it derived its income from ecclesiastical properties or the private chattels of the popes, that the library officials derived their salaries not from the state treasurer, but from the majordomo (a papal court official), and that in fine no sound argument could be brought forward to dislodge the Vaticana from its position among the private possessions of the Apostolic See. This demonstration was successful at every point.

The Specola Vaticana

A third centre of zealous scientific work at the Vatican is the observatory (see VATICAN OBSERVATORY).

The Galleria Lapidaria (Corridoio delle Iscrizioni)

Stimuli to scientific study are offered in abundance by the Gallery of Inscriptions, which connects the Museo Chiaramonti with the Appartamento Borgia. No less than 6000 inscriptions in stone, as well as numberless cippi, sarcophagi, capitals, statues, architectonic fragments, and other remains, are here collected, and have recently been greatly increased. Gaetano Marini, the second founder of Latin epigraphy, systematically inserted in the walls on one side the Christian, and on the other the pagan, inscriptions. Begun under Clement XIV, and continued under Pius VI, the work was completed under Pius VII. Here took place the first memorable meeting between the young de Rossi and Cardinal Angelo Mai.

The loggie and the galleria della carte geografiche

The Loggie of Geographical Charts is situated on the third floor in the Cortile di San Damaso over the Loggie of Raphael. The gallery is adjacent to the Galleria degli Arazzi. The material offered in both places for the history of cartography has been as yet only incompletely utilized. The charts undoubtedly represent highly important achievements. The paintings date from the end of the sixteenth century, being executed by Antonio Dante according to the sketches of his brother Ignazio.


Sources

EUBEL, The Secret Vatican Archives in American Eccles. Review (January, 1896); HASKINS, The Vatican Archives in American Historical Review (October, 1896); IDEM in Catholic University Bulletin (April, 1897); SLADEN, The Secret of the Vatican (London, 1907); BERTZ, Italienische Reise 1821-23 in Archiv der Gesellschaft für altere deutsche Geschichtskunde, V (1824); cf. LÄMMER, Monumenta Vaticana historiam ecclesiasticam s c. XVI illustrantia (1861); DUDIK, Iter Romanum, II (Vienna, 1855); GACHARD, Les Archives du Vatican (Brussels, 1874); MUNCH, Aufschlüsse über das päpstliche Archiv, German tr. LÖWENFELD (Berlin 1880); GOTTLOB, Das vatikanische Archiv in Historisches Jahrbuch der Görres-Gesellschaft (1885); LÖWENFELD, Zur Gesch. des päpstlichen Archivs im Mittelalter in Zeitschr. für Kirchengesch, (1878); IDEM, Gesch. des päpstlichen Archivs bis zum Jahre 1817, ibid. (1886); IDEM, Zur neuesten Gesch. des päpstl. Archivs in Histor. Taschenbuch von Raumer (1887); EHRLE, Historia Bibliothec Romanorum Pontificum Bonifation tum Avenionensis, I (Rome, 1890); LANGLOIS AND STEIN, Les archives de l'histoire de France (Paris, 1893); HINOJOSA, Los dispachos de la diplomacia pontificia en España (Madrid, 1896); CAUCHIE, De la création d'une école belge à Rome (Tournai, 1896); BACHA, Les collections histor. du Vatican in Compte-rendu de la Commission royale d'histoire, XVI (Brussels, 1889); EHSES, Das vatikanische Geheimarchiv in Die kathol. Kirche u. ihre Diener in Wort und Bild, I (Berlin, 1899); ARNOLD, Repertorium Germanicum (Berlin, 1897); WIRZ, Bullen u. Breven aus italienischen Archiven (Basle, 1902); BERLIÈRE, Aux archives du Vatican (Bruges, 1903); BROM, Geschiedvorsching in de pauselijke archieven in De Katholiek, CXXIII (1903); HORVAT, 0 Vatikanskom archivu in U Zagebru (1906); SCHMOURLO, Rossija i Italia (St. Petersburg, 1908); OTTO, Das avignoneser Inventar des päpstl. Archivs vam Jahre 1366 in Quellen u. Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven, XII (Rome, 1909); GLASSCHRÖDER in BUCHBERGER, Kirchl. Handlexikon, s.v. Archiv, Vatikanisches; GUÉRARD, Peitite introduction aux inventaires des archives du Vatikan (Rome and Paris, 1901); PALMIERI in Prolegomena to the Regestum Clementis Pap V. I (Rome, 1885), 13-68, reprinted in Journal des Savants (July-August, 1892); MANTEYER, Les manuscrits de la Reine Christine aux archives du Vatican in Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire, XVII (1897); FABRE, Notes sur les archives du Château Saint-Ange, ibid., XIII (1893); BAUMGARTEN, Die Verhältnisse am vatikanischen geheimen Archiv in Supplement to Allgemeine Zeitung (Munich, 1891), 94, 108, 120, 301.

About this page

APA citation. Baumgarten, P.M. (1912). The Vatican Palace, as a Scientific Institute. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15286a.htm

MLA citation. Baumgarten, Paul Maria. "The Vatican Palace, as a Scientific Institute." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15286a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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