Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Individual leaves from different manuscripts

Treasures from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana - Biblica (Collection) Facsimile Edition

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Although even as early as the Middle Ages the papal library was, next to that of the Sorbonne, one of the most important book collections in the world, the actual foundation of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana was a result of Renaissance efforts: Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455) was a significant humanist and collector of books. He established the Vatican Library as an accessible place of scholarship and research for students and academics alike.

Today the Vatican Library comprises a huge number of works including around 80,000 manuscripts, 100,000 archived documents, 1.6 million printed books (8,400 of which are incunables), 150,000 artworks, 150,000 photographs as well as 300,000 coins and medals.

The Acquisitions

Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590) was responsible for housing the library in its current building, which has, over the centuries, become the home of phenomenal new acquisitions of incredible worth. In 1623 Gregory XV (1621–1623) acquired the famous Heidelberg Biblioteca Palatina, "the mother of German libraries".

The collections of the dukes from Urbino and Queen Christine of Sweden followed in the second half of the seventeenth century. The impressive collection of Pope Alexander VIII (Pietro Ottoboni 1689-1691) comprising 3,000 manuscripts was bought back during the course of the eighteenth century. This was followed by the Barberini Collection (around 12,000 manuscripts) and the treasures owned by Giovanni Francesco de Rossi.


The Vatican is the central pivot of catholic Christianity. It thus does not come as any surprise that a major part of the collection is dedicated to the Holy Scriptures and their heritage. The selection ranges from early Christian papyrus (one of the oldest records of the Pauline epistles) to the ostentatious Niccolò d'Este Renaissance Bible and includes biblical manuscripts from Byzantine, Coptic, Arabic and Hebraic cultures.

The leaves Included in the Box

  • Peter's Epistles, Papyrus Bodmer VIII (Egypt, 3rd Century)
  • Pauline Epistles, Cod.Vaticanus B - Vat. gr. 1209 (Caesarea, 4th Century)
  • John the Baptist, Barberini Gospel - Barb. lat. 570 (England 8th Century)
  • Lorsch Gospel, Pal. lat. 50 (Aachen, Germany, 9th Century)
  • The initial L (Begin of the Gospel according to Matthew), Ottob. lat. 79 (Northern France, 9th Century)
  • Jesajas Prayers Old Testament/Book of Kings, Vat. gr. 755 (Constantinople, 11th Century)
  • Ruler on Throne, Gospel of Henry II - Ottob. lat. 74 (Regensburg, Germany,  11th Century)
  • "Birth of Christ" and decorative page from Matthew’s Gospel, Tetra Gospel of John II and Alexios Komnenos, Urb. gr. 2 (Constantinople, 1122-1142)
  • Psalms - Old Testament, Ross. 556 (Rome 1293/1294)
  • "Mark the Evangelist" - Tetra Gospel, Vat. copt. 9 (Cairo, 13th Century)
  • "Forty Martyrs" - Gospel Reading, Vat. sir. 559 (Nineveh, 13th Century)
  • "Holy Hieronymus" - Niccolò d’Este Bible, Barb. lat. 613 (Ferrara 1430-1434)

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Treasures from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana - Biblica (Collection)": Schätze der Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana - Biblica facsimile edition, published by Faksimile Verlag, 2011

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Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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International social justice movements and the debates that ensued prompted us to start considering the contents of our website from a critical point of view. This has led us to acknowledge that most of the texts in our database are Western-centered. We have asked the authors of our content to be aware of the underlying racial and cultural bias in many scholarly sources, and to try to keep in mind multiple points of view while describing the manuscripts. We also recognize that this is yet a small, first step towards fighting inequality.

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Schätze der Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana - Biblica

Lucerne or Munich: Faksimile Verlag, 2011

  • Commentary (German) by Grafinger, Christine M.
  • Limited Edition: 1995 copies
  • Collection: a selection of documents associated by a common thread and collected by the publisher in a single edition.

The facsimile box "The Great Libraries of the World - Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana" comprises 12 duplex leaves mounted in individual passe-partouts. The leaves were produced from the originals in the Vatican Library with the greatest of care. Wherever historically justifiable, the leaves have been enriched by the use of real gold leaf. The box measures approximately 38.0 x 52.0 x 8.7 cm. It is decorated with a reproduction of the famous Paschalis crucifix dating from the 9th century, which was made exclusively in this size for the Vatican Box.


Fine burgundy cowhide.

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