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The Vatican Apostolic Library is a library in the Vatican with the richest collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.
The library was founded by Pope Nicholas the Fifth in the 15th century. And in our time, the library continues to grow, its funds already number more than 1 600 000 printed books, 8 300 incunabula, 150 000 manuscripts, 100 000 geographical maps and engravings, 300 000 medals and coins.
In the IV century, the beginning of the collection of the library – at that time, the first archive was collected in the Lateran Palace, mentioned under Pope Damasius I (384). In the 6th century, the collection of manuscripts was under the tutelage of the Secretary of State of the Vatican. In the 8th century, the position of Vatican librarian arose.
The library of Boniface the Eighth contained codes, including Greek manuscripts from the collections of Frederick II. In 1303, part of the collection was stolen. In 1310, Clement the Fifth ordered to transfer all valuable manuscripts to Assisi, but in 1319 the city was captured by the Ghibellines, and therefore some of the manuscripts were also lost.
In 1318, the Pope the third Vatican library began to gather. The library in Avignon was housed in the library palace tower. John XXII owned a unique collection of books created for the curia. Later, some of the books were transported to the Vatican, but most of them remained in Avignon, and soon entered the National Library of France.
Nicholas the Fifth became the founder of the modern Vatican Library. Under his predecessor, Eugene the Fourth, about 350 works in Hebrew, Greek and Latin were discovered. These manuscripts, as well as the personal collection of Nicholas the Fifth, formed the basis of the library.
Formally, the public library was founded by Sixtus the Fourth in 1457, while the collection consisted of about 2 500 works. Six years later, the collection increased to 3 500 manuscripts, in the same year new premises appeared, which received their names from the collections stored in them – Latin, Greek, Papal and Secret Libraries.
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