Vatican Palimpsests Digital Recovery of Erased Identities [by A. Németh]


The Vatican library possesses palimpsests with erased texts in no less than thirteen languages: Anglo-Saxon, Arabic, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Armenian, Batak, Coptic, Ethiopic, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Latin, Church Slavonic, Syriac.

Sometimes, the upper and the lower scripts preserve texts in two different languages, just as for example, Pal. lat. 24, ff. 41 + 42, which has a Greek lower text and a Latin upper text. One of the double palimpsests of the Vatican Library (Vat. iber. 4, ff. 1 + 5) preserves three different languages on the same page. The upper text is Georgian, the more recent lower text is Syriac and the oldest lower text is Greek. Let us have a closer look at one example of each language that has been found in palimpsests.

I acknowledge Delio Vania Proverbio for his help with the oriental languages and scripts of various palimpsests.

Vat. iber. 4, ff. 1v + 5r