Sunday, March 10, 2013

The "Heaviest" document in the Vatican's Secret Library .... The Borghese Libri mastri

© 2011 Archivio Segreto Vaticano

The Vatican Secret Archives is famous all over the world not only for the antiquity, quantity and typology of its documents (some even dating back to the 8th century AD), but also for the bulk of some of them.
The entirety of documents (nearly 630 archive fonds) treasured by the Vatican Archives is extremely important in reconstructing the political, religious and social history of cities, nations and continents. 

One of these fonds, belonging to the Borghese family, was donated to the Vatican Secret Archives in 1932 by virtue of the strong link that the Borgheses had always had with the Papacy (pope Paul V, the Archive’s founder, was a Borghese), but also due to the higher degree of preservation that the Holy See could offer in those years compared that of the “younger” Italian State. The quantity of items from the vast family archive is in the range of nine thousand bundles, registers or parchments.

Within such great quantity of documents, which offer an evocative slice of early modern and modern Italian and European history, one finds various account books, technically called Libri mastri, volumes bearing the whole administrative life of an institution or, in this case, of a noble Roman family, whose business amount was greater than that of a modern-day large business.


© 2011 Archivio Segreto Vaticano

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