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Vatican library

The meaning of «vatican library»

The Vatican Apostolic Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Italian: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat,[1] is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. Formally established in 1475, although it is much older—it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It has 75,000 codices from throughout history,[2] as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula.

The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science, and theology. The Vatican Library is open to anyone who can document their qualifications and research needs. Photocopies for private study of pages from books published between 1801 and 1990 can be requested in person or by mail.

Pope Nicholas V (1447–1455) envisioned a new Rome with extensive public works to lure pilgrims and scholars to the city to begin its transformation. Nicolas wanted to create a "public library" for Rome that was meant to be seen as an institution for humanist scholarship. His death prevented him from carrying out his plan, but his successor Pope Sixtus IV (1471–1484) established what is now known as the Vatican Library.

In March 2014, the Vatican Library began an initial four-year project of digitising its collection of manuscripts, to be made available online.

The Vatican Apostolic Archive was separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century; it contains another 150,000 items.

Scholars have traditionally divided the history of the library into five periods, Pre-Lateran, Lateran, Avignon, Pre-Vatican and Vatican.[3]

The Pre-Lateran period, comprising the initial days of the library, dating from the earliest days of the Church. Only a handful of volumes survive from this period, though some are very significant.

The Lateran era began when the library moved to the Lateran Palace and lasted until the end of the 13th century and the reign of Pope Boniface VIII, who died in 1303, by which time he possessed one of the most notable collections of illuminated manuscripts in Europe. However, in that year, the Lateran Palace was burnt and the collection plundered by Philip IV of France.[4]

The Avignon period was during the Avignon Papacy, when seven successive popes resided in Avignon, France. This period saw great growth in book collection and record-keeping by the popes in Avignon, between the death of Boniface and the 1370s when the Papacy returned to Rome.

The Pre-Vatican period ranged from about 1370 to 1447. The library was scattered during this time, with parts in Rome, Avignon, and elsewhere. Pope Eugenius IV possessed 340 books by the time of his death.[5]

In 1451, bibliophile Pope Nicholas V sought to establish a public library at the Vatican, in part to re-establish Rome as a destination for scholarship.[6][7] Nicholas combined some 350 Greek, Latin and Hebrew codices inherited from his predecessors with his own collection and extensive acquisitions, among them manuscripts from the imperial Library of Constantinople. Pope Nicholas also expanded his collection by employing Italian and Byzantine scholars to translate the Greek classics into Latin for his library.[7] The knowledgeable Pope already encouraged the inclusion of pagan classics.[1] Nicolas was important in saving many of the Greek works and writings during this time period that he had collected while traveling and acquired from others.

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