“IngereDere absquVe Morls pLaCltls Laetaberls horls Vtsaplens flas, saeplVS lto Vlas.” Come in unhesitatingly and be pleased about the peaceful hours: be busy and come in, you will receive wisdom. This slogan from the “Book of Proverbs” is written above the entrance-door of the library. The capitalised letters show the year of when the library was filled with books in roman numerals (1731).
The two statues next to the entrance symbolise wisdom (the statue holding the bible) and knowledge (the statue with the snake and the mirror).
On the ceiling of the library there are three main frescos. They stand for the three main topics in the library.
Philosophy: The queen of Saba is visiting wise king Salomon
Theology: Deacon Philippus explains the chamberlain of Ethiopians queen the prophet Jesaja.
Jurisprudence: King Salomon’s decision about the child and its real mother.
In the library there are about 17.500 books and another 20.000 are in other rooms or safes. In 1901 Theodorich Lampel had listed 392 incunables (books printed before 1500) in an index. Today there are only 215 left because the monastery had to sell lots of art treasures during the depression in the twenties of the 20th century.
Today the Library has still a very impressive collection of manuscripts from the 11th up to the 18th century. One of the most favourite is the “Kaiserchronik”. It is a poetic history of the roman and German emperors. It starts with Julius Caesar and goes up to the second crusades. There are also 20 German poems from 1050 to 1150 in it. Some of these poems are from Lady Ava. She is the oldest known German poetess.
Another very famous script is the “Vorauer Evangeliar”. It is the only script which is still in use when the monks get their ordination to the priesthood.
In 1237 the monastery had been destroyed by major fire. It’s due to Provost Bernhard II that so many manuscripts survived this fire. He threw them out from the window and died in the flames.
In the library there are also two globes from 1688 with a diameter of 110 cm. One shows the earth and the like it was known in the 17th century, the other one shows the heaven and the common known star constellations.
You can also find a curiosity in the library that had had a very practical use. At the two ends of the library there are two hemispheres. The one was behind the desk of the librarian. When the monks on the one end of the library had a question to the librarian they only need to whisper the words into the one hemisphere and the librarian could hear it at his desk. So they could communicate with the librarian without disturbing the others.
The Vorauer library presents itself as a repository of cultural and historic illustrative material whose content includes nearly a millennium of book history.
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