Lyell lecture posterAn eternal archive – Lyell Lectures 2017

  • 16 May 2017, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Venue: Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, Oxford University
  • Speaker(s): Professor Paul Nelles, Carleton University


Sixteenth-century Rome was a hub of scribal activity: work-a-day copyists, notaries, and highly skilled scribes (such as those employed in the Vatican Library) all made their living by the pen. This lecture situates the Vatican Library within the context of contemporary Roman scribal practice and the urban strategies of Pope Sixtus V.

The Vatican Library and the Counter-Reformation

In the 2017 Lyell Lectures Paul Nelles enters the social and material world of the Vatican Library in the late sixteenth century. At the vanguard of the Counter-Reformation, the library gradually adapted to its new role as an instrument of papal policy and hub of ecclesiastical reform. The lectures locate the Vatican Library within a constellation of new state-sponsored collections in early modern Europe. Framed around the vibrant fresco cycles that graced the new library quarters constructed under Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590), the lectures visit specific episodes in sixteenth century cultural history to probe the dynamic of script and print within the space of the Vatican Library. Particular attention is given to the individuals, practices, and working tools that intersected with libraries in this period.

The final Lyell lecture 2017 will take place at 5pm on:

More details on the University of Oxford website.