BAI - The Italian Agiographic Library

BAI - The Italian Agiographic Library

The Italian Hagiographic Library (Biblioteca Agiografica Italiana / BAI)
Research launched with the support of the École Française de Rome (1992-2003)

Medieval hagiographic literature has found itself at the centre of renewed interest, both historical and literary, within the larger frame of history of spirituality. For the great traditions in Greek and Latin there are two classical repertories, the Bibliotheca Hagiographica, prepared by the "Société des Bollandistes" and based on a long tradition of studies and editions.

Less studied is the field of medieval texts either composed in vernacular languages, or translated from Latin. This field lacks a systematic repertory of texts and manuscripts, which remain typically unpublished. These works attest to the wide diffusion of this hagiographic and devotional heritage, which is accessible even outside of intellectual and literary circles. Creating an instrument to define the panorama of the lives of saints written in vernacular is essential in the reconstruction of the new spirituality, including female and secular spirituality, which emerged in the last centuries of the Middle Ages.

In 2003, the BAI project produced a first fundamental repertory, following the model laid out by the Bollandistes, published in two print volumes, as well as in database format on CD-ROM. Over the course of 2011, the database was transferred to a new computer archive and from 2012 it is available for online consultation ( and will be updated in real time. The list of publications related to this project, the team is promoting the edition of less well known or poorly edited hagiographies - first and foremost, the Vite dei Santi Padri and the Legenda aurea.

contact Lino Leonardi


Director: Jacques Dalarun (from 1992 to 2003), Lino Leonardi.

Editorial Staff: Speranza Cerullo. Scientific Committee: Geneviève Brunel-Lobrichon, Carlo Delcorno, Domenico De Robertis (†), François Dolbeau, Gigliola Fragnito, Robert Godding, Guy Lobrichon, Enrico Menestò, Giovanni Pozzi (†), André Vauchez.

Consultants: Antonella Degl’Innocenti, Claudio Leonardi (†).

Researchers (1992-2003): Maria Teresa Dinale, Beatrice Fedi, Giovanna Frosini.

Contributors (1992-2003): Luchina Branciani, Domenico Cinalli, Tommaso Di Carpegna, Patricia Frosini, Paolo Mariani, Silvia Nocentini, Raffaella Pelosini, Fabio Zinelli.