Digitized medieval manuscripts of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma

I recently learnt, through my colleague Laetitia Ciccolini, that the National Library in Rome has digitized and released online some of their medieval manuscripts[1]. My tweet about it has had much more echo than I expected, which I’d interpret as a sign that this digital repository was still little known:

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In fact, the repository is regrettably poorly devised, if not frankly user-hostile. You can’t easily know what books are or aren’t available, since the shelfmarks are not displayed — and the “Advanced Search” hardly helps. The embedded reader doesn’t allow you to do much, aside blindfoldedly leafing through the book; there is no easy way to provide a usable link to this or that page, and of course there isn’t a download button anywhere, not even for individual pictures. All beginner’s mistakes that ought to disappear from all medieval manuscripts digital repositories; and we can only hope that the BNC Rome will sometime come up with a newer version of their platform that allows researchers to actually work on their resources.

In the meantime, I thought it useful to provide at least a handlist of the 69 manuscripts that are indeed available.

The shelfmark’s abbreviation system is pretty straightforward; only be advised that “VE” manuscripts are from the “Vittorio Emanuele” collection (usually abbreviated as “Vitt. Em.”).

Notes. —
  1. They also have a repository for “Modern and Contemporary Manuscripts” which, as for now, helds 6’191 items. []

Pierre Chambert-Protat

Philologue. Assistant au département des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Apostolique Vaticane.

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