Now It's the Vatican Terence

One of the most sumptuous picture books of late antiquity was handed to a team of scribes and artists under King Louis the Pious in France in the 9th century with a request to copy it faithfully.

That copy, now known as the Vatican Terence, is one of the world's most precious items of book art, since the original was lost. On November 14, the Vatican Library brought this treasure, Vat.lat.3868, online.

It contains the Latin comedies of Publius Terentius Afer, together with many wondrous illuminations. While far younger in date as an artefact, it is more sophisticated than the Vatican Vergil, a truly late antique codex that is also online (Vat.lat.3225), thanks to the variety and quantity of its pictures and the evidence they convey about the staging of classical theatre.

For an introduction, read the Wikipedia article, or Jeremy Norman 's outline which quotes extensively from a David Ganz book review.

Other copies of the late antique original do exist, and scholars have argued long and hard over their interrelationships. The Vatican owns one of these others, the 10th-century Basilicanus Terence, and it too is online as Arch.Cap.S.Pietro.H.19, but it is universally agreed that the Vatican Terence proper is the finest of them all.

A total of 67 manuscripts came online Nov 14. Here is the full list:
  1. Arch.Cap.S.Pietro.H.49
  2. Urb.lat.712
  3. Urb.lat.839
  4. Urb.lat.840
  5. Urb.lat.943
  6. Urb.lat.950
  7. Urb.lat.953
  8. Urb.lat.958
  9. Urb.lat.993
  10. Urb.lat.996
  11. Urb.lat.998
  12. Urb.lat.1006
  13. Urb.lat.1008
  14. Urb.lat.1013
  15. Urb.lat.1034
  16. Urb.lat.1037
  17. Urb.lat.1045
  18. Urb.lat.1048
  19. Urb.lat.1049
  20. Urb.lat.1059.pt.1
  21. Urb.lat.1059.pt.2
  22. Urb.lat.1060.pt.1
  23. Urb.lat.1060.pt.2
  24. Urb.lat.1062
  25. Urb.lat.1120
  26. Urb.lat.1121
  27. Urb.lat.1130
  28. Urb.lat.1138
  29. Urb.lat.1139
  30. Urb.lat.1140
  31. Urb.lat.1141
  32. Urb.lat.1145
  33. Urb.lat.1147
  34. Urb.lat.1151
  35. Urb.lat.1153
  36. Urb.lat.1155
  37. Urb.lat.1157
  38. Urb.lat.1158
  39. Urb.lat.1159
  40. Urb.lat.1160
  41. Urb.lat.1164
  42. Urb.lat.1165
  43. Urb.lat.1166
  44. Urb.lat.1169
  45. Urb.lat.1170
  46. Urb.lat.1173
  47. Urb.lat.1174
  48. Urb.lat.1175
  49. Urb.lat.1180
  50. Urb.lat.1192
  51. Urb.lat.1193
  52. Urb.lat.1194
  53. Urb.lat.1198
  54. Urb.lat.1205
  55. Urb.lat.1207
  56. Urb.lat.1219
  57. Urb.lat.1236
  58. Urb.lat.1237
  59. Urb.lat.1244
  60. Urb.lat.1245
  61. Urb.lat.1265
  62. Urb.lat.1266
  63. Urb.lat.1269
  64. Urb.lat.1275
  65. Urb.lat.1284
  66. Urb.lat.1293
  67. Vat.lat.3868
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 79. If you have corrections or additions, please use the comments box below. Follow me on Twitter (@JBPiggin) for news of more additions to DigiVatLib.

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