Memories of Old St Peter's

The 4th-century Old Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome and nearby buildings were gradually demolished in the 16th century to make way for the grand St. Peter's which opened in 1626 and which we know today. What had been there previously was far less grand: here is St. Peter's Square and the entrance to the old forecourt:

The Vatican archivist, Giacomo Grimaldi, was charged with recording what had been destroyed. Among the losses was a huge wall mosaic by the Renaissance artist Giotto, the Navicella (literally "little ship"), which showed Christ walking on water. Grimaldi sketched it at it was then, rather different from the restoration that now exists:

Much of his documentation, together with drawings, is to be found in a codex at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Barb. lat. 2733, which dates from 1620. You can now leaf through it online. The St Peter's exterior is shown at folio 152v (although I screen-shotted above an enhanced composite from the Met guide to the Vatican) and the Navicella is at folio 147r.

This compendium is among the most interesting items to be digitized and uploaded on May 21. Here is the full list:
  1. Barb.lat.2154.pt.B, the important manuscript R1 of the celebrated Chronograph of 354, an illustrated late antique calendar or almanac (image below). This is one of the greatest treasures in book history: a copy of a lost copy of the lost book that is the earliest western title known to have had full-page illustrations. See Roger Pearse's online edition of the Chronograph, where the pages of R1 are transcribed. Jeremy Norman has written a brief  note on its place in book history. For more detail, read Richard W. Burgess's survey of the manuscripts, where he writes: R1 [was] made in 1620 for de Peiresc and sent to Rome to Girolamo Aleandro.
  2. Barb.lat.2733.pt.1, description with sketches of Old St Peter's in Rome, completed by Grimaldi in 1620
  3. Barb.lat.4434, Città e castella (1626): hand-coloured engravings of Italian walled towns
  4. Barb.or.157.pt.B
  5. Borgh.60
  6. Borgh.61
  7. Borgh.182, Ricceri, Muzio, Carmen de sacello Exquilino
  8. Borgh.191, Opera quaedam de pauperitate et ordine Franciscano
  9. Borgh.303, Henricus Gandavensis (1217-1293), Godefridi de Fontibus et anonymi: Scripta de re philosophica et theologica
  10. Borgh.342
  11. Chig.M.IV.l
  12. Ott.lat.3116.pt.bis, single engraving, scene with money-counter
  13. Reg.lat.189, papal register
  14. Urb.lat.1057, bound book of papal records
  15. Vat.ar.1507
  16. Vat.lat.1612, Renaissance text of the first-century Latin elegiac poet Propertius
  17. Vat.lat.10295  
  18. Vat.lat.14208, portolan chart on the verge of legibility (when will they learn to scan these at higher resolution?)
  19. Vat.turc.169
  20. Vat.turc.275
  21. Vat.turc.395
  22. Vat.turc.434
Above is October from the Chronograph of 354 (Barb.lat.2154 above).

Also released earlier in the week:
Embedded image permalink

As always, if you know more about any of these items, please add a note in the comment box below. [This is Piggin's Unofficial List 12.]

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