The New Testament

A thirteenth-century manuscript

The manuscript labeled Vaticanus Latinus 39 dates from the first half of the thirteenth century. It is richly illustrated and contains the text of the New Testament, but it might be the remainder or a known part of a whole Bible, or the surviving second volume of a two-volume work. The manuscript is thought to have been commissioned by the noble Zorzi family.

The Zorzi family (also known as Giorgi or Giorgio) was a patrician family of Venice that distinguished itself in the life of the Republic of St. Mark. Its members included Marino (doge from 1311 to 1312), Giorgio (born in 1582 and Venice’s ambassador to France, Holland and Poland), and Pier Antonio (1745-1803), appointed archbishop of Udine in 1792 and created cardinal in 1803.
The Zorzi family, who had homes in the Venetian contrada (parish) or sestiere (district) of Sant’Angelo, was one of the oldest and most illustrious of the Venetian nobility, so old and illustrious that it could claim to have contributed to the founding of the city. In the early ninth century, the Zorzis were already included among the ottimati (aristocratic) families of Venice. The family’s history can be followed through the ensuing centuries. In the thirteenth century it reached the peak of its power, and many of its members held leading positions in the city’s government.


Each copy is numbered and certified by the Vatican Apostolic Library
Copies available | Price subject to private negotiation

Lavish iconography and lay patrons

This codex (Vaticanus Latinus 39) was made for the ancient noble Zorzi family in the first half of the thirteenth century. It contains the books of the New Testament according to the Latin Vulgate version, arranged in the order that came to prevail over the course of time.

It is splendidly illustrated, and is considered a masterpiece of art.

In 1481 it was acquired by the Vatican Library, and since then it has been one of the library’s most precious gems.

The text of the New Testament is given in St. Jerome’s Latin translation (Vulgate). The miniatures contained in the codex were presumably made in southern Italy under the influence of the cultural style promoted by Frederick II; they are illuminated with gold and silver leaf.

Technical characteristics

The facsimile codex is an exact replica of the 348-page manuscript in its original format (15 x 20 cm).

  • Bound in hand-tooled leather.
  • The application of gold, silver and bronze leaf in the original manuscript was replicated in the facsimiles.
  • Press run: 600 numbered and certified copies for distribution to collectors and libraries all over the world.

Reference: Vat. Lat. 39

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