Codex Vercellensis Evangeliorum

The history of Capitulary Library of Vercelli begins with this book

By Fondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Bookbinding of manuscript A (Second half 10th Century) by Lombard goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Codex Vercellensis Evangeliorum, also called codex A, is a Vetus Latina. It’s attributed to S. Eusebio and the paleographic analyzes show that it was written in the middle of the 4th Century.

St Eusebio Urn (1618/1619) by Savoy goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Eusebius was the first bishop of Vercelli and Piedmont between 354 and 371. He was also an evangelizer, a politician, a generator of cultural vitality and a warrior against Aryans and pagans. We can found his image in many artworks kept in Museum of the Cathedral Treasure.

Codex A (Second half 4th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

The codex A is a translation of the Gospels prior to the Vulgata of St Gerolamo (382). The manuscript consist in 634 pages of fine and clear parchment, written on two columns in splendid late antique uncial.

Codex XII (Late 12th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

The attribution of the manuscript to Eusebius dates back to his hagiography, the Vita antiqua, composed between the 7th and 9th Century. The Capitular Library of Vercelli preserves four manuscripts that perpetuate its diffusion, including the codex XII, Legendary written by the Vercelli scriptorium at the end of the 12th Century.

Bookbinding of manuscript A (Second half 10th Century) by Lombard goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Today the manuscript is divided from its binding, exhibited at the Museum of the Cathedral Treasure. Despite the spread of the Vulgata, the codex A remained in use until the early Middle Ages and then became a relic. Just as a relic, the book was use for solemn oaths with the placing of hands on the upper plate of the binding, in addition to the touching of the pages for prayer and requests for miraculous intercessions. For this reason, the sheets and the binding have come to us greatly deteriorated.

Bookbinding of manuscript A (Second half 10th Century) by Lombard goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

There isn’t news about the original binding, but the fame and importance of the codex have seen the interest of prominent figures of the 10th Century. That in gilded and embossed silver that has come down to us dates back to that period. In fact, an inscription on the lower plate recalls the donation of King Berengario.

Codex A (2014) by ItalyFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

In 2014 the Capitulary Library has receive the team of Lazarus Project (Rochester University - New York), that works on a very special project. Through a sophisticated instrumentation deriving from that used by NASA in space, multispectral investigation were conducted on the codex A.

Codex A (2014) by ItalyFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Taking a series of particular photographs with high-tech equipment, then combined in different combinations by the computer, the erased or faded parts of codex A, no longer visible, can be read virtually.

Codex A (Second half 4th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

The results of virtual restoration pave the way for new research on codex A. The story isn't over yet.

Codex A (Second half 4th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

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