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The library was scattered during this time, with parts in Rome, Avignon and elsewhere.
In 1451, bibliophile Pope Nicholas V sought to establish a public library at the Vatican, in part to re-establish Rome as a destination for scholarship.
His death prevented him from carrying out his identity of a public library, but his idea lived on with his successor Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) who established what is now known as the Vatican Library.
Formally established in 1475, although it is much older, it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts.
It has 75,000 codices from throughout history, as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula.
The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science and theology.
Around 1587, Pope Sixtus V commissioned the architect Domenico Fontana to construct a new building for the library, which is still used today.
It was after this the library became known as the Vatican Library.
Nicholas combined some 350 Greek, Latin and Hebrew codices inherited from his predecessors with his own collection and extensive acquisitions, among them manuscripts from the imperial Library of Constantinople.