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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 INSTITUTES, ROMAN HISTORICAL.) 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.)

A. THE VATICAN ARCHIVES

(1) 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:

  • the volumes of the Vatican Registers (Armar. 1-28);
  • the "Diversa Cameralia" (29-30) and "Collectoria cameræ apostolicæ" (57);
  • the Registers of Transcripts (31-37, 46-49, 52-54, 59-61);
  • the Register of Briefs (38-45);
  • the Indices (50-51, 56, 58);
  • the "Tridentina et Diversa Germaniæ" (62-64);
  • the "Introitus et Exitus Cameræ" (65-74);
  • the "Instrumenta Miscellanea".
(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 emante 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:

  • Biblioteca Pio, manuscripts of Cardinal Pio Carlo di Savoia, purchased by Benedict XIV in 1753. They should consist of 428 volumes, but many are missing.
  • Biblioteca Carpegna the library of manuscripts of Cardinal Gaspare Carpegna, which originally consisted of 229 volumes. The scientific interest of these volumes is not very great.
  • Biblioteca Bolognetti, consisting mainly of copies of documents of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This belonged to the Bolognetti-Cenci family, which assigned it to the Vatican archives in 1810.
  • Biblioteca Ronconi, a small collection of twenty manuscripts, which belonged to a former official of the archives.
  • Papers of Cardinal Garampi, the 251 bundles of Acts belonging to the effects of Cardinal Garampi and containing partly originals and partly copies of documents pertaining to his diplomatic activity in Poland and Germany.
  • Manuscripts of G. B. Gonfalonieri, eighty-nine volumes which belonged to the former custodians of the Archive of Sant'Angelo, and, while relating mainly to Spain and Portugal, have also some importance for the nunciature of Cologne.
  • "Registro Dandini", the diplomatic correspondence of Cardinal Dandini for the years 1541-59 in six volumes.
    (viii) "De caritate S. Sedis Apostolicæ erga Gallos", forty-two volumes and eighteen bundles detailing the help given by the Holy See to the French emigrants during the Revolution.
  • Buon Governo, a huge archive of the old Congregation del Buon Governo, which was entrusted with the economic administration of the Papal States from 1592. The archive was transferred to the Vatican in 1870, fills sixteen rooms, and has a special custodian.
  • "Avvisi" a series of 124 volumes, extending over the period 1605-1707 and composed of the manuscript journals and newspapers of the seventeenth century.
  • Farnesiane papers, twenty bundles of documents which disappeared in some unknown manner from the Neapolitan Carte Farnesiane, and were purchased and placed in this archive by Leo XIII in 1890. They do not contain any politically important papers.
  • Borghese Archive. -- The huge Borghese Archive may be termed "an integral portion of the Segretaria di Stato during the pontificates of Clement VIII, Leo XI, and Paul V ". Leo XIII acquired this great archive in 1892. With the aid of the inventories of the Vatican Archives and the Vatican Library some guidance as to the 2000 volumes may be obtained.
  • "Bolle e Bandi". -- In addition to the two other series of this kind which stand in the "Varia Miscellanea" there is this third, which extends from 1525 to 1854. The printing on the title pages possesses a high value for the history of culture.
  • "Varia Diplomata" includes all the archives of orders and monasteries to be found in the Secret Archives. Some are of exceptional interest and prime importance. As many of the archives are not yet arranged, they are not yet generally accessible.
(2) 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:

  • Volumes of Vatican Registers. . . . . . . . . . . . 2,048
  • Transcripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 968
  • Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,654
  • Tridentinum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
  • Diversa Germaniæ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
  • Volumes of Avignon Registers. . . . . . . . . . . . 394
  • Introitus et Exitus Cameræ. . . . . . . . . . . . . 608
  • Obligationes et Solutiones. . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
  • Collectoriæ Cameræ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509
  • Diversa Cameralia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
  • Supplicationes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7,011
  • Lateran Volumes of Registers. . . . . . . . . . . . 2,161
  • Dataria Briefs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 850
  • Acta Consistorialia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
  • Nunciatures:
    • Germania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 709
    • Francia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 615
    • Spagna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439
    • Polonia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 382
    • Portogallo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
    • Inghilterra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
    • Genova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
    • Venezia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
    • Napoli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411
    • Colonia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
    • Monaco di Baviera. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
    • Paci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
    • Svizzera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
    • Firenze. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
    • Savoia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
    • Avignone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344
    • Fiandra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194
    • Malta. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
    • Bologna. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
    • Ferrara. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
    • Romagna. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
    • Urbino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
  • Letters of cardinals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
  • Letters of bishops and prelates. . . . . . . . . . 380
  • Letters of princes and titled persons. . . . . . . 277
  • Letters of private individuals. . . . . . . . . . . 315
  • Letters of military men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
  • Varia Miscellanea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,051
  • Biblioteca Pio. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
  • Biblioteca Carpegna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200
  • Biblioteca Bolognetti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
  • Biblioteca Ronconi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
  • Garampi papers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251
  • Gonfalonieri manuscripts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
  • Registro Dandini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
  • De caritate S. Sedis erga Gallos. . . . . . . . . . 60
  • Avvisi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
  • Farnesiane papers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
  • Borghese archive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,000
  • Bolle e Bandi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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 deli' 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 INSTITUTES, ROMAN HISTORICAL.)

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 delvered 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.

(5) 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.

B. 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.)

(1) 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.

  • Vaticani Latini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11,150
  • Vaticani Græci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,330
  • Vaticani Hebraici. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 599
  • Vaticani Syraici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 472
  • Vaticani Arabici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 935
  • Vaticani Turcici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
  • Vaticani Persiani. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
  • Vaticani Coptici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
  • Vaticani Æthiopici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
  • Vaticani Slavi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
  • Vaticani Rumanici. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
  • Vaticani Georgiani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
  • Vaticani Armeni. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
  • Vaticani Indiani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
  • Vaticani Sinici. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
  • Vaticani Samaritani. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
  • Burghesiani. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 381
  • Notai d'Orange . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
  • Palatini Latini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,017
  • Palatini Græci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432
  • Urbinates Latini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,767
  • Urbinates Græci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
  • Urbinates Hebraici. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128
  • Reginæ Latini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,103
  • Reginæ Græci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
  • Reginæ Pii II Græci. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
  • Ottoboniani Latini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,394
  • Ottoboniani Græci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 472
  • Capponiani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 288
  • Barberini Latini . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,000
  • Barberini Græci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 590
  • Barberini Orientales. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
  • Borgiani Latini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 760
  • Borgiani Græci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
  • Borgiani Syriaci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
  • Borgiani Coptici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
  • Borgiani Hebraici. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
  • Borgiani Arabici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276
  • Borgiani Persiani. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
  • Borgiani Turcici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
  • Borgiani Armeni. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
  • Borgiani Indiani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
  • Borgiani Tonsinici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
  • Borgiani Sinici. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 521
  • Borgiani Illyrici. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
  • Borgiani Æthiopici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
  • Borgiani Georgiani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
  • Borgiani Hibernici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
  • Borgiani Islandici . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
  • Borgiani Slavi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

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.

(2) Printed Books

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

  • Bibliotheca Leonina (consultation library ) . . . 60-70,000
  • Bibliotheca Barberini (closed department). . . . 25-30,000
  • Bibliotheca Palatina (closed department) . . . . 10-12,000
  • Bibliotheca Zeladiana (closed department). . . . 4-5,000
  • Bibliotheca Mai (closed department). . . . . . . 25-30,000
  • Prima Raccolta (closed department) . . . . . . . 10-11,000
  • Raccolta Generale. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200,000

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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.)

(5) 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.

(6) 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


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