In The Margins of The Past

Manuscripts as Historical Documents

Any great library offers many different kinds of historical experience. The Vatican is especially rich in Greek and Latin manuscripts--the hand-written copies that preserved the classics of the ancient world. In the margins of many of these texts one can meet medieval and Renaissance readers, trying to correct, understand, and sometimes argue with their texts--a conversation between ancient writers and modern readers that has gone on for millennia, and shows every sign of continuing. Other manuscripts let the visitor watch brilliant writers, original thinkers, and great political figures at work, making discoveries, revising their work, or simply writing a love letter. In each case, the original documents let the modern viewer taste the varied flavors of the past with a directness and vividness that no modern history can match.

You can now go to this room: Or walk back to the Main Hall. You can also go back to the "Vatican Library".