“The Chapter House and the 1500 years of the precious Code Ursicinus

”1 August 517”. A date, a friar ”fluffy” and the world's oldest library today. It could be the beginning of a new ”Name of the rose” (and indeed from these volumes also drew inspiration Umberto Eco). Instead it is the history of the Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona and code Ursicinus, the precious Tome of a hundred delicate parchment pages that in a few days will accomplish 1500 years.

”The Code – ANSA tells the prefect of the library, Bruno Fasani – It is named after the scribe who copied the life of St Paul of Thebes and Saint Martin of Tours, written by Sulpicius Severus in the 4th century”. A beautiful book, with the first characters semionciali and touching scenes like ”dialogue between St. Martin and the devil” on the mercy of the father to the son sinner. But Ursicinus, finished the work, did not respect the rules in use and the dated. ”This code – He wrote – It was finished in Verona, on August 1,, When he was Consul Agapito, very distinguished man, during the tenth Indiction (in fact the day 1 August 517) at the hands of Ursicinus, reader of the veronese Church”. ”The Code, known all over the world, It's so precious – continues Fasani – not only for content that has, but because States that at that time, reigning King Theodoric, in Verona existed for time, probably from the first century, If not by the end of the 4th century, a Scriptorium, producing texts of various kinds.

That is why it is legitimate to assert, as is universally recognized, the Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona is the oldest in the world”, established even before that of St. Catherine of Sinai (6th century), of St Gallen and Salzburg (VII-VIII century). Here he studied over the centuries the son of Charlemagne, Pipino, sent by the father he considered Verona ”New Athens”, and then even Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca, who discovered the love of the Epistles. Having survived an earthquake, the plague, Napoleon rubles, the flood in 1882 flood and the bombs (Thanks to some enlightened German officers who rescued some tomes), the Capitular Library, ”the Queen of ecclesiastical collections” as he called it the paleographer Avery Elias Lowe, carries a treasure of over 1200 manuscripts, 245 incunabula, 2500 books from the 1500s, 2800 books from the 1700s and another 70 thousand volumes. ”We have them digitized for scholars – continues Fasani – But come from all over the world to see the originals, the Presidents of the Republic Mattarella and Napolitano, Pope Benedict and John Paul II”. In addition to the code Ursicinus here is preserved ”the code G, the only one in the world that has transcribed ancient Roman law”, without the manipulations of Imperial decadence, ”copied in the fourth century by the writings of the legislator Gaius of 172 d. C”. And then ”the veronese Riddle, first text of the vulgar Italian and romance languages”, ”the oldest code XXVIII St Augustine's De Civitate Dei”, the Gospel book Purpureo Veronese, write in letters of gold and silver on purple parchment, ”on which swore Theodoric at his coronation”.

For the birthday of Ursicinus Code will be held meetings and guided tours but ”the goal – concludes Fasani – the library is open to the general public as Museum. In September will start a campaign of crowdfunding and year end we will achieve a first exhibition with the University of Verona: As was written in the middle ages.”

Source: ANSA