Registra Vaticana, 872 (copy ca. 1070)-1605 (bulk 1198-1572)

Catholic Church


98 linear m..
2042 numbered volumes.
The series Registra Vaticana is so called because it was already housed in the Vatican palace (in the Bibliotheca Secreta) when it became part of the original Archives under Paul VI. The RV volumes fill Armaria I-XXVIII in the ASV. These are copies of papal bulls and letters, and so this is one of the largest series in the Archives, numbering 2,042 volumes, of which twenty-one are duplicates. RV 1 was written at Montecassino and contains letters of John VIII (872). RV 2 contains letters and notitiae of Gregory VII (1073-1085) and RV 3 is a later copy. RV 4 begins the continuous series with letters of Innocent III (1198-1216).
Through the thireenth and fourteenth centuries papal letters were generated in several ways. The process that led from a supplication to a common letter of grace was carried out within the Chancery. Later, in the course of the fifteenth century, the expedition of grants of favor was increasingly the work of the specialized and separate Datary. "Curial" letters began with privileged petitions from cardinals and curial officials, but often ended in common letters. "Close," "secret," and "cameral" letters were prepared by papal secretaries or by notaries of the Camera. But all papal letters were physically prepared and sealed in the Chancery, and then they were registered in these parchment Chancery volumes. Boyle, pp. 103- 113, provides an excellent introduction to the origins and use of RV and explains the relation of this series to other medieval holdings of the ASV. He cautions that the RV text of a letter was normally taken, in the fourteenth century, from the Registra Avenionensia copy rather than directly from the original letter itself, and also that many extant original papal letters were never registered, so that the registers cannot be assumed to contain a complete record of any papal business.
In 1389 the paper Registra Lateranensia began in the Roman Curia, to fulfill the first-record purpose of the Registra Avenionensia. Common letters were registered in RL, while the secret and cameral letters were recorded in parchment volumes, which should now be in RV. Later volumes of the RV series mostly contain letters originating in the Camera and Secretariat.
This record was created by the University of Michigan Vatican Archives Project which ended in 1992. The collection described in this record may have been further processed by Vatican Archives staff so that the information may no longer be current. Consult the Vatican Archives staff for current access information. The final report of the University of Michigan Vatican Archives Project is found in: Vatican archives : an inventory guide to historical documents of the Holy See / Francis X. Blouin, Jr., general editor. New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
Fink p. 34-37.
Pasztor (1970) p. 38.
Boyle p. 103-113.
MacFarlane p. 33-34.
Are available on microfilm.
Calendars to v. 1378 (see Boyle).
Camera Apostolica series Rubricellae, nos. 1-8 and 32-36, index portions of the RV series as follows: Rub. 1-8 for RV of Clement VI-Julius III (with only a few penciled annotations to extant RV); Rub. 32 for Alexander VI (RV 879-883); Rub. 33 for Julius II (RV 985-987); Rub. 34 for Clement VII (RV 1442-1452); Rub. 35 for Julius III (RV 1796-1802), Paul IV (RV 1853-1854), Pius IV (RV 1918-1922), and Pius V (RV 2002-2003); and Rub. 36 for Paul IV (RV 1853-1854), Pius IV (RV 1918-1922), and Pius V (RV 2002). Current guides present these as indexes to registers of bulls sent "per viam camerae." They briefly note bulls that have been traced to 1,037 registers, primarily of the RV series, but also to four registers of Sec. Cam. and sixty-three of the Registra bullarum. About 900 of the 1,037 registers indexed by the Rubricellae are known to be lost. Therefore, the Rubricellae citations are the only record we have of those RV and the bulls therein contained (cf. Pasztor, 1970, and Giusti below). (continued on next screen).
(Continued) Although the Rubricellae are often presented as indices to the RV series, their original limited scope ("per viam camerae" bulls) and the losses suffered by the RV series have rendered most of the Rubricellae of little functional use as indexes. Their value today is more historical, supplying brief indications of some existing and many lost bulls. For researchers, indices in the ASV Sala d'Indici generally offer a better starting point. Some Rubricellae are contemporary, others may postdate the RV volumes that they index by several centuries.
ASV Indice 2, "Indice di diverse materie, Tom. 2," contains a table of contents to RV 24, beginning on f. 342. The entries include a summary of the business and the folio number.
ASV Indice 71, "Rubricelle di varii Papi da Gregorio X a Giulio II" [olim Arm. 50, vol. 40A], contains a number of summaries for the RV. Note that not all of these are contained in Gualdo's chronological list of indices (p. 146-155) for the RV. A Renaissance selection of documents concerning the seige of the Holy Land (i.e., Crusades), which may be found in the registers of Gregory X and Innocent III, is located on pages 1r-16v. Another Rennaissance summary, "In isto volumine sunt duo libri duorum annorum Innocentii Pape tercii sui pontificatus videlicet octavi et nonii" (p. 75r-84v), summarizes RV 7. "Indici di diversi Registri di Bolle che sono stati ricopati e posti ne suoi luoghi" lists contents to Calixtus III (105r-150r), RV 436 and 465, and Pius II (p. 151r-178v), RV 470 and 515. The contents for RV 465 is particularly interesting because it lists professional title and/or diocese. A volume listing of RV 682-768, 772-866, and 886-925 begins on f. 179. "Materie perpetue Innocencii octavi et alia" (p. 181r-196r) lists notices of various types of graces granted culled from RV of Innocent VIII (now RV 682-768). The volume contains similar listings for Alexander VI (p. 201r-216r), RV 772-866; Pius III (p. 216), RV 885; and Julius II (p. 221r-227r), RV 886-925. A list of the contents of RV 1700 begins on f. 231. (continued on next screen).
(Continued) Two contents lists, "Desiderius Filippi Decanus Ecclesie Tullen." (p. 231r-246r) and Rubricellae (p. 247r-256r), cover the papacies of Paul III (RV 1700) and Clement VII (RV 1453) together, as a single volume. Individual indices are in the actual volumes. "Supplementum ad rubricellam Julii II: Rubricella libri XLIII Bullarum D. Julii Papae II. an." (p. 265r-304v) corresponds to RV 928.
ASV Indice 114 by Felice Contelori first gives an inventory of selected volumes concerning the pontificate of Innocent VIII, eleven of which have been signalled as RV volumes. Selected summaries of bulls from various RV volumes, between Innocent VIII and Pius V, appear throughout this index according to undeterminable criteria. The index reads like footnotes without a text. Although offering tantalizing details of papal history, Contelori often leaves the reader without a specific reference to any ASV volume. Students of the period (1484-1572) will find a wealth of untraceable and unverifiable historical information in this index.
ASV Indice 124, "Primo Sbozzo di Inventario di tutti i libri che sono nell'Archivio Segreto Vaticano" [di Giovanni Bissaiga de 1672] (olim Arm. 56, t. 54), contains a listing of some RV volumes on folios 10r-13v, 15r-16v, 174rv, 187r-209v, 234v, 240r, 249v-250v, 252v, and 364r.
ASV Indice 240, "Repertorium Bullarum Joannis 8 et Gregorii VII," by Michael Leonicus (1614), under the direction of Cardinal Scipio Borghese, librarian, contains an index to RV 1 and 2 and is alphabetical by city (diocese).
ASV Indice 242 and 243 index geographic and personal names in RV 4, 5, 7, 7A, and 8. Indice 242, "Index prosographicus et geographicus in Epistolas Innocentii PP. III," is by Garampi. Indice 243 is a more selective later version of the same.
ASV Indici 244-252 is a set of are alphabetical indici primarily to family names, episcopal sees, and religious orders in RV 9-50 (i.e., 1216-1303). The final volume, indice 252, "Indice delle chiese e persone particolari ...," is an alphabetical index of the preceding Indici 244-251.
ASV Indice 253 is a select calendar of Innocent II (RV 4, 7), Honorius III (RV 10, 11), and Gregory IX (RV 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20).
ASV Indice 254, a compilation from the Camera Apostolica from the thirteenth century, covers extant and lost registers of Innocent III, Honorius III, Gregory IX, Innocent IV, Alexander IV, Urban IV, and Clement IV. This index gives indications of the financial arrangements (largely taxation) between the papacy and monasteries and churches throughout Christendom from the RV.
ASV Indice 255, "Repertorium Bullarum Honorii III," by Michael Leonicus in 1614 (under the auspices of Paul V and Scipio Borghese), provides access to RV 9-13 by diocese and baptismal name. Note that Liber I is RV 9, II is RV 10, III is RV 11, IV is RV 12, and V is RV 13.
ASV Indice 256, "Index Bullarum Gregorii IX," is a partial index, excluding, for example collations to benefices, to the bulls of Gregory IX appearing in RV 14-20.
ASV Indice 257, "Rubricellarum Liber: Urbani IIII (RV 28-29), Clementis IIII (RV 30, 32), Nicolai III (RV 40), Martini IIII (RV 41), Nicolai IIII (RV 45), Bonifatii VIII (47-50), Clementis V (RV 53, 61)," proceeds chronologically, page by page, functioning as a table of contents to selected RV volumes of some popes. Entries are succinct and informative, giving the recipient and business.
ASV Indice 258 and 259, "Repertorium Bullarum Alexandri 4" and "Repertorium Bullarum Gregorii X et Joannis XXI," respectively, were compiled by Michael Leonicus under the patronage of Paul V and Scipio Borghese. Indice 258 indexes RV 24 (in Liber I) and RV 25 (in Liber 2). Indice 259 indexes RV 38 (Gregory X, pp. 4r-46r) and RV 39 (John XXI, pp. 48r-67v). These indici function as Indice 255 above, providing access by diocese and baptismal name.
ASV Indice 260, "Fragmenta Rubricellarum seu Indicum Bullarum Scriptorum et Beneficiorum collatorum," is a miscellaneous collection of fragmentary contents listings. According to a handwritten preface by A. Mercati, the contemporary listings relate to certain RV volumes of the following popes: Clement VII, Gregory XI, John XXII (RV 77, pp. 47-61; RV 104, pp. 121-135; RV 106, pp. 278-307), Clement VI (RV 156, 153, pp. 65-66), Innocent VI, Benedict XII, Urban V, Urban IV. Some listings of Indice 260 also pertain to the Avignon Registers.
ASV Indice 261, "Rubricellarum liber Joannis XXII" relates to four RV of John XXII: RV 110 (p. 2r-47v), RV 113 (p. 48-132), RV 116 (p. 134-202), and RV 117 (p. 204-269). Following the order of registration of each letter, this index then lists the recipient and business. Recipients are largely royalty, ruling nobility, and ecclesiastical authorities.
ASV Indice 264, "Rubricellae Bullarum a Clemente VI usque ad Martinum quintum," contains no rubricellae for RV volumes of Urban V or Gregory XI. This indice relates to the following RV: Clement VI (RV 242), Innocent VI (RV 242), Boniface IX (RV 313, 315, 316, 319, 320), Innocent VII (RV 333, 334), Gregory XII (RV 335-338), John XXIII (of Pisa; RV 343, 345, 346), Martin V (RV 352, 356). BAV Ottob. Lat. 3395 is a companion volume to this index. This index provides the recipient's name, a brief description of the business, and the page number.
ASV Indice 265, "Rubricae registri litterarum apostolicarum secretarum tam patentium quam clausarum sanctissimi patris et domini nostra domini Innocentii papae VI quae per eius cameram transiverunt" (p. 2), and "Rubricae regestri litterarum secretarum et commissionum sanctissimi in Christo patris et domini nostri domini Urbani PP. V" (p. 194), indexes six RV volumes of Innocent VI (RV 235-240) and six RV volumes of Urban V (RV 245-250) and provides the name of the recipient, a brief summary of business, and the page number.
ASV Indice 266, "Gregorii ... Rubricae litterarum secretarum missarum per reverendissimos patres dominos sanctae romanae ecclesiae Cardinales Apostolica sede vacante per obitum felicis recordationis domini Urbani papae quinti," relates to seven RV volumes of Gregory XI (RV 263, 264, 266, 267, and 269-271) and provides the name of the recipient, a summary of the business, the page number, and the registering secretary.
ASV Indice 268, "Index diversarum bullarum et privilegiorum et aliorum iurium pro sancta Romana Ecclesia," contains notes from a number of RV volumes of Innocent III to Pius IV. Indice 268 resembles more jottings (primarily concerning Rome, heads of state, and the Jews) toward a history of the papacy than an index. This is not the most expedient index for gaining access to the records.
ASV Indice 269, "Rubricae tertii libri litterarum apostolicarum de curia domini Martini Papae V" (p. 1), and also for Eugene IV (p. 29, 69, 89, 113), are rubrics that correspond respectively with RV volumes of Martin V (RV 353) and Eugene IV (RV 365, 374-376), providing the recipient's name, brief business note, and folio number.
ASV Indice 270 [Rubrica] corresponds to Nicholas V (RV 385-402) and provides the diocese, recipient, business, and folio. This is a contemporary index, a copy of which is found in Indice 271 (p. 198-301). Within Indice 270, the rubrica do not follow the numerical order of the RV.
ASV Indice 271 consists of partial and fragmentary indexes relating to RV volumes of Innocent III (RV 5, 7, 8), Honorius III (RV 9-13), Gregory IX (RV 14-16, 18-20), Innocent IV (RV 21-23), Alexander IV (RV 24-25), Urban IV (28-29), Clement IV (RV 32), Gregory X (37), John XXI (RV 38), Nicolas III (RV 39-40), Martin IV (41), Honorius IV (RV 43), Nicholas IV (RV 44-46), Boniface VIII (RV 47-50), John XXII (RV 109), Benedict XII (RV 130-136), Clement VI (RV 137-141, frag.), and Nicholas V (RV 385-402). Since all the volumes mentioned above have more complete lists of contents, this indice appears to be redundant and difficult to use.
ASV Indice 272, "Rubricelle librorum S.d.n. Pii papae II litterarum apostolicarum ...," relates to thirteen RV volumes from Pius II (RV 498-499, 501-511) and gives diocese or genre of letter, recipient, and folio number.
ASV Indice 273, "Rubricella seu index bullarum Pauli PP. II," corresponds to twenty-one RV volumes of Paul II (RV 524-540, 542-545). This index (p. 2r-14v) signals the contents of RV 545 and 544, which contain letters to offices and office holders (e.g., treasurers, protonotaries, auditors of the rota, acolytes, secretaries, chaplains, governors, chamberlains, jailers) connected with the political, administrative, and household affairs of the pope. The index to RV 540 is presented by type of business and the indexes to RV 524-539 are presented in the more traditional manner by diocese. All list the recipient, business, and folio number. Note that the indexes to RV volumes are not presented in the numerical order of the RV volumes.
ASV Indice 274-278, "Rubricelle libri," correspond to the following RV volumes and papacies: Indice 274 for Sixtus IV (RV 551-652, 654), Indice 275 for Innocent VIII (RV 698-714, 720-738, 740-768), Indice 276 for Alexander VI (RV 772-866), Indice 277 for Pio III (RV 885) and Julius II (RV 885 folio 2v., 886-888, 890-927, 929, 936, 939-944, 951-983), and Indice 278 for Leo X (RV 991-1192, 1213-1214).
ASV Indice 274-278 are contemporary indexes that list the diocese, recipient, a brief phrase indicating content, and folio number. Index 274 presents particularly consistent details that make it a valuable research instrument and provides more information than Indici 275-278.
ASV Indice 279, "Leonis X. Bullae Secretae," provides an alphabetical listing of dioceses for each of the RV of Leo X (RV 1193-1204). This indice does not contain all the bulls in the registers, but only those identified as "bullae per cameram secretam." The index lists diocese, recipient, summary of business, date, and folio number.
ASV Indice 280 is a selective index of some bulls of Leo X in RV 1193-1204. Indice 279, above, covers the same RV in another manner, although neither is comprehensive.
ASV Indice 281-282 are contemporary indexes to the RV. Indice 281 covers Adrian VI (RV 1215-1236) and Clement VII (RV 1238-1434). Indice 282 covers Paul III (RV 1454-1695). Both indices proceed volume by volume, listing diocese, recipient, a brief summation of the business, and folio number. Indice 1037 is an alphabetical index by diocese to Indice 282. ASV Indice 1037, "Indice alfabetico per diocese dell'indice 282 Paolo III" (1534-1549), RV 1454-1684, is derived from Indice 282, not from the actual RV, and it does not cover all the RV of Paul III. Entries include diocese and names of persons. Indice 1037 also includes page numbers in Indice 282 on which these names appear.
Indice 1037 is an alphabetical index by diocese to Indice 282. ASV Indice 1037, "Indice alfabetico per diocese dell'indice 282 Paolo III" (1534-1549), RV 1454-1684, is derived from Indice 282, not from the actual RV, and it does not cover all the RV of Paul III. Entries include diocese and names of persons. Indice 1037 also includes page numbers in Indice 282 on which these names appear.
ASV Indice 287 provides alphabetical access to various bulls from 1471 to 1572: Sixtus IV (RV 660-667), Innocent VIII (RV 682-690), Alexander VI (RV 879-883), Julius II (RV 985-988), Leo X (RV 1205-1208), Adrian VI (RV 1237), Clement VII (RV 1442-1452, 1453 in index to 1700), Paul III (RV 1700-1720), Julius III (RV 1796-1802), Paul IV (RV 1853-1854), Pius IV (RV 1918-1922), Pius V (RV 2002, 2003). The index proceeds papacy by papacy, creating an alphabetical index for each letter, for each pope. The introduction to the index acts as a concordance between RV citations in this index and current volume numbers. Note that the index to RV 1700 indexes RV 1453 and RV 1700, together as one volume. A note in the index cites ASV Indice 71 as more complete for RV 1453 and 1700, and there are individual indexes at the beginning of both RV 1453 and RV 1700.
ASV Indice 288 provides access to Paul III (RV 1693-1698), Julius III (RV 1791-1795), Paul IV (RV 1850-1852), Pius IV (RV 1923-1934), Pius V (RV 2004-2017). This index also contains indices to Diversa Cameralia volumes in Armaria XXIX, XXX, and XXXIV; and the Fondo Concistoriale, Acta misc. 60. The pontificate of Paul III receives special attention. Indexes to volumes in four different series are included and Michelangelo's presence is noted by volume and page. Entries include diocese, recipient, brief summary of business, and folio number.
ASV Indice 283 provides a table of contents to Julius III (RV 1724-1782) and to Julius III's bulls in RV 1790, which is largely devoted to Marcellus II. ASV Indice 1038 is an index to dioceses listed in Indice 283 in RV 1724-1782.
ASV Indice 1038 is an alphabetical index to dioceses that appear in ASV Indice 283 (q.v.). The indexer did not use the actual RV to compile this volume.
ASV Indice 284 is an alphabetical listing of recipients in Paul IV (RV 1805-1849). Each RV is treated individually under each letter of the alphabet. Most of the bulls indexed appear to concern church offices. Entries include name, business, and folio number.
ASV Indice 285 is an alphabetical index to Pius IV (RV 1855-1917) and is organized according to the same principle as Indice 284, above. This index, however, does not list the business and lists solely name and folio number.
ASV Indice 286 to Pius V (RV 1935-2000) is a very selective, alphabetical index to dioceses. Entries include diocese, name, folio numbers, and occasionally business.
RV 8A contains rubrics to Innocent III (RV 5, 6, 7A). A note on the title page informs researchers that these fourteenth century rubrics were originally found in the RV of Innocent VI.
Armarium XXXV, vol. 34 (p. 97-115v), provides indexes to Innocent VIII (RV 691-693), Alexander VI (RV 868), Julius II (RV 984), and Leo X (RV 1193, 1195, 1199-1201, 1203); although not in strict numerical order. While most of these volumes receive adequate treatment by Indice (cf. above) in the Sala d'Indici, the indexes to RV 691-693, RV 868, and RV 984 are unique.
Several Registra Avenionensia (RA) provide partial access to the RV as follows: RA 242 (ff. 513-518v) for Innocent III (RV 7, pp. 30r-134v); RA 268 (p. 533-544) for Clement IV (RV 32, pp. 1-55); and RA 200 (p. 544) for Gregory XI (RV 287, 289). According to current guides, RA 242 has been identified as pertaining to RV 7 of Innocent III and lists recipient and business but does not provide any specific folio number citations. The index in RA 268, identified by Dr. Javier Serra Estelles, is a fascicle inserted in this RA volume of Clement VII (of Avignon). Despite the poor condition of the fascicle, specific RV page numbers are often legible. RA 200 (ff. 544-565r for RV 289 and ff. 566-577v for RV 287) provides partial lists of bulls of Gregory XI. The citations to bulls are grouped by category, for example, litterae de vacantibus, litterae de canonicatu, litterae de beneficiis, litterae de tabellionatus officiis, and so forth. No folio numbers are cited. More complete indexes do exist in the ASV Sala d'Indice, and researchers should consider requesting the actual RV volumes, rather than the partial indices in the RA.
Camera Apostolica, Collectoriae 350 and 351 (ID VATV046-A) cover John XXII (RV 109-117).
Miscellaneous official series Instrumenta miscellanea 6646 (pergamene) (ID VATV193-A), "Rubricae litterarum Gregorii PP. XI" is a partial list of bulls which have been traced to the pontificate of Gregory XI (1377-1378) and can be found in RV 287 (p. 202-229; 129r-131r). The citations are grouped according to category, for example, litterae de provisionibus, litterae de vacantibus, litterae de canonicatu, litterae de beneficiis, litterae de tabellionatus officio, etc. This small fascicule is contemporary with the pontificate of Gregory XI. No folio members are cited in this index and researchers should consider simply requesting RV 287.
Datary series Registra supplicationum Rubricelle no. 1 (ID VATV179-A) was formerly considered to be an index to the RV. At this time, however, it has been removed from the Sala d'Indici and replaced with its original series, to serve as a rubricelle to the Supplications.
Gualdo, Germano. Sussidi per la Consultazione dell'Archivio Vaticano. Nuova ed. vol. 1 (Vatican City: Archivio Vaticano, 1989).
Giusti, Martino. Studi sui Registri di Bolle Papale (Vatican City: Archivio Vaticano, 1979), p. 86-90.
Giusti, Martino. Inventario dei Registri Vaticani (Vatican City: Archivio Vaticano, 1981).
Continued in part by Catholic Church. Segreteria dei brevi. Indulgentiae perpetuae (ID VATV203-A).
Lenzenweger, J., "Konkordanzen", in Acta Pataviensa Austriaca, I. Band: Klemens VI (1342-1352), (Vienna, 1974), p. 43-176. This article is a concordance between Registra Vaticana volumes 147-213E and Registra Avenionensia volumes 56-120A. Lenzenwager lists the type of business, and then the RV and RA volume and folio(s), and any other identifying information (e.g. number).

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