In Rome, around the year 400, a scribe and three painters created an illuminated manuscript of Virgil’s Aeneid, illustrating the ancient hero Aeneas’ journey from Troy to Italy. 1,600 years later, the Vatican has digitized the surviving fragments of this manuscript. Known as the Vergilius Vaticanus, it’s one of the world’s oldest versions of the Latin epic poem, and you can browse it for free online.
This cult of Virgil only grew until “a great circle of legends and stories of miracles gathered around his name, and the Vergil of history was transformed into the Vergil of magic.” The spelling of his name also transformed from Vergil to Virgil, “thus associating the great poet with the magic or prophetic wand, virgo.”
Hyperallergic describes the painstaking care a Tokyo-based firm took in digitizing the fragile text. Digita Vaticana is currently in the midst of scanning its entire collection of 80,000 delicate, ancient manuscripts, a process expected to take 15 years and cost 50 million euros.
You can explore more of the illuminated manuscript online here.
From the Vatican Virgil (c. 400) (all images courtesy the Vatican Library)
Kindly Like n Share. Also Support our platform. Make a donation