Exultet Roll

The Vatican Collection's Exultet Roll, one of the great treasures of medieval southern Italian illumination, has just been digitized and placed online. Vat.lat.3784 was made at the Abbey of Monte Cassino in the period 1058-87 for use in the Easter Vigil liturgy under Abbot Desiderius.

It's not the only one - half a dozen Cassinese rolls have survived - but it is celebrated for the magnificence of its text and its drawings of angels and the rising of Christ.

Digitization programs tend to pass over scrolls because they are difficult to scan, so I am pleased the Vatican librarians chose this one and hope they bring out more rolls for the digitizers in the next few months. You will notice that the text is inverted with respect to the pictures. The digitization shows the images right side up. I have inverted one image with "Gaudeat et tantis tellus irradiata fulgoribus..." where you can see an angel standing on his head:

Examine the roll closely, and you'll find the explanation why. As the deacon reads from the roll, he slides its top end over the edge of the lectern to hang down for the congregation to see:

This blog post would not have been complete without heroic help from a reader, Aaron Macks (@gundormr on Twitter), who responded to my cry for help a week ago. I monitor the Vatican Library website with Distill, a simple scraper that is an extension to the Firefox ESR browser. The huge size of the Vat.lat index now defeats it, so @gundormr offered to write a script/program that would do the job.

This custom script not only works like a charm. It also picks up items that have been upgraded from low quality microfilm to high-quality (HQ) color scans. The report is generated as an HTML list. In good weeks, posts on this blog attract 1,000 readers and we all owe a big debt to @gundormr (an expert on books of hours) for keeping this service going.
  1. Reg.lat.37 (Upgraded to HQ),
  2. Reg.lat.43,
  3. Reg.lat.46,
  4. Reg.lat.47,
  5. Reg.lat.48,
  6. Reg.lat.56,
  7. Reg.lat.63,
  8. Reg.lat.102,
  9. Reg.lat.105,
  10. Reg.lat.108,
  11. Reg.lat.110,
  12. Reg.lat.143,
  13. Reg.lat.161,
  14. Reg.lat.164,
  15. Reg.lat.171,
  16. Reg.lat.176,
  17. Reg.lat.186,
  18. Reg.lat.195 (Upgraded to HQ), 9th century
  19. Reg.lat.666 (Upgraded to HQ),
  20. Reg.lat.1364 (Upgraded to HQ),
  21. Reg.lat.1481 (Upgraded to HQ),
  22. Reg.lat.1496 (Upgraded to HQ),
  23. Reg.lat.1573 (Upgraded to HQ),
  24. Reg.lat.1596,
  25. Reg.lat.1618,
  26. Reg.lat.1622,
  27. Reg.lat.1631,
  28. Reg.lat.1642 (Upgraded to HQ),
  29. Reg.lat.1653,
  30. Reg.lat.1666 (Upgraded to HQ),
  31. Reg.lat.1669 (Upgraded to HQ),
  32. Reg.lat.1685,
  33. Reg.lat.1689,
  34. Reg.lat.1692,
  35. Reg.lat.1695,
  36. Reg.lat.1699,
  37. Urb.lat.87,
  38. Urb.lat.105,
  39. Urb.lat.115,
  40. Urb.lat.146,
  41. Urb.lat.149,
  42. Vat.lat.427.pt.2,
  43. Vat.lat.585,
  44. Vat.lat.1984.pt.A,
  45. Vat.lat.2074 (Upgraded to HQ),
  46. Vat.lat.2104,
  47. Vat.lat.2150,
  48. Vat.lat.2183,
  49. Vat.lat.2370, Intentiones habemus in presenti conscriptione (13c-14c); see eTK
  50. Vat.lat.2412,
  51. Vat.lat.2448,
  52. Vat.lat.2453,
  53. Vat.lat.2456,
  54. Vat.lat.2459, Cura omnium egritudinum que accidunt a sumitate capitis; possibly by Pontius de S. Egidius; see eTK
  55. Vat.lat.2460, Cause difficultatis scientie pulsuum sunt; by Aegidius; see eTK
  56. Vat.lat.2507,
  57. Vat.lat.2520,
  58. Vat.lat.2583,
  59. Vat.lat.2618,
  60. Vat.lat.2663,
  61. Vat.lat.2690,
  62. Vat.lat.3784, Exultet Roll. See above.
This is Piggin's Unofficial List number 147. 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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