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Virgil.
Die Miniaturen des Vergilius Vaticanus. Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger, 1959.
Call Number: (SPL) ND 3395 .V4 W5
Special Collections, Golda Meir Library

Virgil Text

Among the most important manuscripts held at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana is their "Vatican Virgil," one of only two illustrated manuscripts written in the characteristic hand of the imperial era. This manuscript is thought to be Italian from the fourth or fifth century.

Virgil Image Virgil Image

Only portions of the manuscript survive today, though in its original form, the manuscript would have contained the full text of all three major Virgilian works, The Aeneid, The Georgics and The Eclogues. It was illustrated throughout with small miniature paintings interspersed within the verses as well as with larger full-page compositions.

Current debate on the manuscript focuses on the origins of these miniature illustrations. It is unknown if they were adapted from an earlier edition and continue a tradition of Virgilian manuscript illustration which spanned the entire imperial era or if they represent the genesis of textual illustration in Virgil. Scholars point to the lavishness of this manuscript to prove the importance of Virgil's texts throughout the imperial era.


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Prepared by Christopher Barth, Virginia Haas, and Sarah McDaniel

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