Saturday, March 3, 2012

Get thee to Rome...

If you want to see Galileo's trial documents, Luther's writ of excommunication, documents about the messy business of Henry VIII and England, and a host of other things, run, do not walk, but run to Rome for these and much more are being put on display by the Vatican in Rome's Capitoline Museum.

Read it all here.....

The exhibit entitled "Lux in Arcana" in Rome's Capitoline Museums will run until September 9 and organisers said it was a unique chance to see a priceless collection of documents from the Vatican's closely-guarded vaults.

"It will be the first and possibly the only time in history that they leave the confines of the Vatican City walls," organisers said in a statement.

They said the show has "100 original and priceless documents selected among the treasures preserved and cherished by the Vatican Secret Archives for centuries" and includes multimedia installations about the documents.

The exhibition marks the 400th anniversary of the creation of the Vatican Secret Archives -- a term used to mean personal archives -- by Pope Paul V...

Any one can a spare airline ticket and a little walking money to loan give me????


Terry Maher said...

Oh for God's sakes, who cares?

But, at least they got the use of "secret" right, which is not in the modern sense if furtive, but personal, and that sense continues in the "Secret" in the Mass, which is a personal prayer said by the priest without the invitation Let Us Pray (Oremus). At first it WAS the priest's offertory prayer, while the choir sang something else, and as the "offertory" developed it became the priest's prayer at the end of the "offertory".

Anonymous said...

I hope they scan the documents before re-shelving them.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Anyone who wants to understand Western civilization.

Were it not for the labors of the monks who preserved many treasures of antiquity when Imperial Rome fell we would have lost them forever.

The Vatican archives are for the world, not just the Vatican.


Paul said...

My daughter (LCMS), a Latin teacher with four years experience, will be leaving for Rome this coming Thursday. If you are willing to pay for a piece of luggage (not carry on) you might get there:)

Terry Maher said...

Bull. The efforts of the OSBs are nothing even comparable to the Vatican "archives", which are exactly the Vatican's and not the world's, which is also why there is a lengthy and complicated process for access and few requests are approved. The exhibition cited is only 100 documents, carefully selected.

Anonymous said...

The Vatican archive has 52 miles of shelves that hold 35,000 documents, some of which date back to the eighth century. Usually only professional scholars are given access to the collection, which is one of the greatest and oldest institutional archives in the world.

Although most of the documents are written in Latin, other languages are also on display.

During a recent 60 Minutes interview a Vatican spokesman stated that no one really knows how many documents are stored.

From the American Society of Archivists:

The Vatican Archives, one of the major national and religious archives of the world, contains records from as early as the ninth century and continuous documentation of the church administration from the twelfth century to the present. Although a variety of specialized guides describe various parts of the archives, the lack of a comprehensive inventory of holdings makes access difficult for researchers. A team of archivists from the University of Michigan has begun a project to create a comprehensive, provenancebased access system, working from existing guides and inventories. The author, who is a member of the team, summarizes the history of the Vatican Archives and describes the plan of work for the project.


Terry Maher said...


The Vatican Archives are the personal property of the pope. And, besides the very limited access granted to anybody, thank you for pointing out that nobody including the Vatican itself has any real idea just how much or what is even there.

Not exactly a modern day Library of Alexandria -- which btw was destroyed by the state church of the Roman Empire, then-newly formed Roman Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see. Since so many of the documents are in Latin, I don't expect the average guy off the street will be able to read them, ja? Much of the material IS scholarly.

As for them being the private property of the pope, so what? I'd rather see them in his hands than belonging to the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Gott hilf mir.

As to the vastness of the archives, it's not surprising they haven't all been cataloged yet. They’ve been accumulating for centuries. I have no doubt that with modern technology they will be at some point.

As for the library at Alexandria, methinks you’ve only got the partial picture. Ancient and modern sources identify four possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria: Julius Caesar's fire in the Alexandrian War, in 48 BC; the attack of Aurelian in 270 - 275 AD; the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in AD 391; and the Muslim conquest in 642 AD or thereafter.

By the way, I am currently reading on my Kindle a super history of the Roman Empire by Simon Baker, based on the BBC television series. He, too, gives a nod to the monks of the Church of Rome who so diligently preserved those ancient manuscripts.


Anonymous said...

Und . . . UND . . . eben noch mehr!

In a somewhat related vein:

VATICAN CITY — Visitors to Rome will have the opportunity to view a free, one-of-a-kind exhibition looking at the Bible at the Braccio di Carlo Magno Museum adjacent to St. Peter’s Basilica in St. Peter’s Square.

The exhibition, “Verbum Domini,” opened March 1 and runs through April 15, and offers a collaboration between the Vatican, the Green Collection (aka Museum of the Bible) and the American Bible Society.

It features more than 150 manuscripts and artifacts from the Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and Orthodox traditions.

The exhibit is the brainchild of business executive Steve Green, with the exhibit under the direction of Scott Carroll, both of whom were motivated by their love for the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Yes, my avatar is working again so please excuse confusion between "Christine" and "Clair Vaux", one and the same.