Light in the Archives of the Pope

The Capitoline Museums in Rome show a selection of documents representative of the types preserved in the popes’ archives: diplomas and edicts, bulls and letters, papal briefs and registers, codices, accounting ledgers and trial records, formularies and codebooks that span twelve centuries of history, from the eighth century to the twentieth. They are written on different supports (paper, silk, bark, parchment) and come from different continents (Asia, Africa, America, Europe). Visitors can see Pope Alexander VI’s bull Inter cetera, the registration of St. Francis’s Regula Bullata; the proceedings of the trial of Galileo Galilei; Charles V’s Edict of Worms; a payment notice signed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini; a brief issued by pope Clement XIV for the award of the Order of the Golden Spur to Mozart; and letters sent by illustrious correspondents: one written on silk and addressed by the empress Helena of China to pope Innocent X; one from Abraham Lincoln to pope Pius IX; one from tsar Alexis I Romanov to pope Clement X; one from Michelangelo to the bishop of Cesena, on the state of the construction work at St. Peter’s; and one from members of the English parliament to pope Clement VII, on Henry VIII’s divorce. The show continues with seven thematic sections: Tiara and Crown, In the Secret of the Conclave, Saints, Queens and Great Ladies, Dialogue and Reflection, Heretics, Crusaders and Knights, Scientists, Philosophers and Inventors and Ink and Gold. Further Information: