I recently learnt, through my colleague Laetitia Ciccolini, that the National Library in Rome has digitized and released online some of their medieval manuscripts. 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:
Did you know? 69 medieval manuscripts now at the National library in Rome are online!— Pierre Chambert-Protat (@chaprot) July 25, 2019
E.g. this copy of Augustine’s De Genesi ad litteram dating from the first half of the 6th century (😱😱😱), MS Sess. 13, f. 81v-82r (also #notalion) pic.twitter.com/JXewfdptGB
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.
- They also have a repository for “Modern and Contemporary Manuscripts” which, as for now, helds 6’191 items.