The Vatican Apostolic Library (Template:Lang-la), more commonly called simply the Vatican Library, is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from throughout history.<ref name=vfl>Vatican Film Library informational pamphlet</ref> In July 2007 the library was closed to the public for rebuilding, reopening in September 2010.<ref name=bbc>Template:Cite news</ref>
Scholars have traditionally divided the history of the library into five periods.
- Pre-Lateran. The initial days of the library, dating from the earliest days of the church, before it moved to the Lateran Palace; only a handful of volumes survive from this period, though some are very significant.
- Lateran. Lasted until the end of the 13th century and the reign of Pope Boniface VIII.
- Avignon. This period saw a great growth in book collection and record keeping by the popes who were in residence in southern France in Avignon between the death of Boniface and the 1370s when the Papacy returned to Rome.
- Pre-Vatican. From about 1370 to 1446, the library was scattered, with parts in Rome, Avignon and elsewhere.
- Vatican. Starting around 1448, the library moved to the Vatican and a continuous history begins to the present time.
Pope Nicholas V established the library in the Vatican in 1448 by combining 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 Constantinople. The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana was established in 1475.<ref name=vfl/>
When its first librarian, Bartolomeo Platina, produced a listing in 1481, the library held over 3,500 items, making it by far the largest in the Western world. Around 1587, Pope Sixtus V commissioned the architect Domenico Fontana to construct a new building for the library; it is still in use today. Books were displayed on benches to which they were chained.
Bequests and acquisitions
The library was enriched by several bequests and acquisitions over the centuries.
In 1623, the hereditary Palatine Library of Heidelberg containing about 3,500 manuscripts was given to the Vatican by Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria (who had just acquired it as booty in the Thirty Years' War) in thanks for the adroit political maneuvers of 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 in 1797 and were returned to Heidelberg at the Peace of Paris in 1815, and a gift from Pope Pius VII of 852 others was made in 1816 to the University of Heidelberg, including the 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 were acquired. In 1661, the Greek scholar Leo Allatius was made librarian.
Queen Christina of Sweden's important library (mostly amassed by her generals as booty from Habsburg Prague and German cities during the Thirty Years War) was bought by 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, it would all have been lost in the destruction of the royal palace by fire in 1697.
Today, the library holds some 75,000 manuscripts and over 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula. The Vatican Secret Archives were separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century; they contain another 150,000 items.
Among the most famous holdings of the library is the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, the oldest known nearly complete manuscript of the Bible. The Secret History of Procopius was discovered in the library and published in 1623.
The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science and theology, 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.
The Library closed on 17 July 2007.<ref name=bbc/> It was reopened September 20, 2010.
A School of Library Science is associated with the Vatican Library.
In 1959, a Film Library was established. This is not to be confused with the Vatican Film Library, which was established in 1953 at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 2012, plans were announced to digitize, in collaboration with the Bodleian Library, a million pages of material from the Vatican Library". A grant was provided by the London-based Polonsky Foundation.
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Notable manuscripts in the Library include:
- Barberini Gospels
- De arte venandi cum avibus
- Gelasian Sacramentary
- Joshua Roll
- Vatican Croatian Prayer Book
- Vergilius Romanus
- Vergilius Vaticanus
- Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209
- Libri Carolini
Architecture and Art
In the Sala di Consultazione or main reference room of the Vatican Library looms a statue of St Thomas Aquinas (c. 1910), sculpted by Cesare Aureli. A second version of this statue c. 1930 stands under the entrance portico of the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum.
|Name||Lifetime||Title||Time as Librarian|
|Marcello Cervini||1501–1555||Bibliothecarius I||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Roberto de' Nobili||1541–1559||Bibliothecarius II||1555–Template:Dts|
|Alfonso Carafa||1540–1565||Bibliothecarius III||1559–Template:Dts|
|Marcantonio da Mula||1506–1572||Bibliothecarius IV||1565–Template:Dts|
|Guglielmo Sirleto||1514–1585||Bibliothecarius V||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Antonio Carafa||1538–1591||Bibliothecarius VI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Marco Antonio Colonna||1523 ca.–1597||Bibliothecarius VII||1591–Template:Dts|
|Cesare Baronio||1538–1607||Bibliothecarius VIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Scipione Borghese Caffarelli||1576–1633||Bibliothecarius X||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Scipione Cobelluzzi||1564–1626||Bibliothecarius XI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Francesco Barberini||1597–1679||Bibliothecarius XII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Antonio Barberini||1569–1646||Bibliothecarius XIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Orazio Giustiniani||1580–1649||Bibliothecarius XIV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Luigi Capponi||1583–1659||Bibliothecarius XV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Flavio Chigi||1631–1693||Bibliothecarius XVI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Lorenzo Brancati||1612–1693||Bibliothecarius XVII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Girolamo Casanate||1620–1700||Bibliothecarius XVIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Enrico Noris||1631–1704||Bibliothecarius XIX||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Benedetto Pamphili||1653–1730||Bibliothecarius XX||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Angelo Maria Querini||1680–1755||Bibliothecarius XXI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Domenico Passionei||1682–1761||Bibliothecarius XXII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts(P)|
|Alessandro Albani||1692–1779||Bibliothecarius XXIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Francesco Saverio de Zelada||1717–1801||Bibliothecarius XXIV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Luigi Valenti Gonzaga||1725–1808||Bibliothecarius XXV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Giulio Maria della Somaglia||1744–1830||Bibliothecarius XXVI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Giuseppe Albani||1750–1834||Bibliothecarius XXVII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Luigi Lambruschini||1776–1854||Bibliothecarius XXVIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Angelo Mai||1782–1854||Bibliothecarius XXIX||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Antonio Tosti||1776–1866||Bibliothecarius XXX||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Jean-Baptiste Pitra||1812–1889||Bibliothecarius XXXI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Alfonso Capecelatro||1824–1912||Bibliothecarius XXXIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro||1843–1913||Bibliothecarius XXXIV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Francesco di Paola Cassetta||1841–1919||Bibliothecarius XXXV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Aidan [Francis Neil] Gasquet||1845–1929||Bibliothecarius XXXVI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Franz Ehrle||1845–1934||Bibliothecarius XXXVII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Giovanni Mercati||1866–1957||Bibliothecarius XXXVIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Eugène Tisserant||1884–1972||Bibliothecarius XXXIX||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Antonio Samoré||1905–1983||Bibliothecarius XL||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Alfons Maria Stickler||1910–2007||Bibliothecarius XLI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts(P)|
|Antonio María Javierre Ortas||1921–2007||Bibliothecarius XLII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Luigi Poggi||1917-2010||Bibliothecarius XLIII||Template:Dts–Template:Dts(P)|
|Jorge María Mejía||1923-||Bibliothecarius XLIV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Jean-Louis Tauran||1943-||Bibliothecarius XLV||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Raffaele Farina||1933-||Bibliothecarius XLVI||Template:Dts–Template:Dts|
|Jean-Louis Bruguès||1943-||Bibliothecarius XLVII||Template:Dts-|
(P) Indicates time spent as Pro-Librarian
The office of Librarian of Vatican Library has been held at the same time as that of Archivist of Vatican Secret Archives since 1957. The two offices are held by an Archbishop who is generally named a Cardinal; this is due to the fact that it is a very well regarded and important Curial department. Also, it is because the Vatican has a long and proud tradition of producing, preserving, and classifying ancient important religious, philosophical, and theological published works and the Church also does much work to promote literacy and education, and access to it. The Cardinal Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church is assisted by two prelates, who are the Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library (the everyday manager of the Library), and the Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives (who handles the daily affairs of the Archives). They are each assisted by a Vice-Prefect. The current Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library is Monsignor Cesare Pasini (who is also the Director of the Vatican School of Library Science). The Vice Prefect of the Vatican Apostolic Library is Doctor Ambrogio M. Piazzoni. The Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives is a Barnabite Bishop by the name of Sergio Pagano. The Vice Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives is Father Marcel Chappin, S.J. The Archives also is responsible for the Vatican School of Paleography.
- Vatican Film Library, which contains thousands of documents from the Vatican Library, on microfilm in St. Louis, Missouri
- Vatican Secret Archives
- Index of Vatican City-related articles
- The Vatican Splendors
- Vatican Library home page
- Vatican Library old home page, with online catalog search
- Treasures of the Vatican Library Exposed via The European Library
- Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture, an online exhibition from the Library of Congress.
- On the pornography urban legend, by snopes.com
- 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."
- Vatican to digitize Apostolic Library of 1.6 million volumes for general perusal, PCWorld.com, October 29, 2002. A joint effort between the Vatican and Hewlett-Packard.
- Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library. Saint Louis University 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.