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les Enluminures

medieval text manuscripts Blog

Welcome to the Medieval Text Manuscripts Blog!  This blog highlights what makes our text manuscripts particularly interesting and appealing to us – and (we hope) to you too!  Here we explore what these books can tell us about how they were made and used.  We also share what we know of their most fascinating and unusual contents, makers, and owners.  Some of our discoveries are quite significant, some merely amusing, and some bizarre.  All medieval manuscripts have much to reveal to their attentive modern audiences.  Follow our blog to learn more about them.



When Coats of Arms Wear Many Hats

Capping our last post on medieval heraldry, this week’s post is dedicated to heraldic headgear and the stories it can tell us. The previous post addressed, among other things, the symbolic meanings and associations linked to the colors of a coat of arms...

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The Dos and Don’ts of Medieval Heraldry

If called upon to imagine a medieval knight, odds are most of us picture someone looking a bit like the knights in this Arthurian miniature, clad in armor, helmeted, swords drawn for battle. With their visors mostly down, these knights are practically encased in their battle gear...

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Magician of Iron

Praised as “the magician of iron,” Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) was also scorned for his “useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower,” which some described as “ridiculous … dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack.” ...

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Dreaming the Middle Ages

Forgotten today, Clothilde Coulaux, was responsible for the writing and illuminating an enchanting Missal dated June 29, 1906. She signed her manuscript, full of literally hundreds of illuminations, on the last folio, “living in the city of Molsheim on the street of Notre-Dame facing the parish church.” ...

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A Nervous Nelly?

Page numbers are one of the features of the modern book that we all take for granted since it seems such an essential – and simple – tool. You may be surprised, therefore, to learn that medieval manuscripts do not include page numbers...

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Dead Men in the Margins

If you caught our post on faces in the flourishes, you will have seen some of the quirky drawings. What you won’t have seen there, though, are the three places in that book’s margins where we can put a name to a face. In fact, as you can see here, the scribe has done so himself...

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Faces in the Flourishes

We all know that it is a pleasure to look through the pages of a decorated manuscript. It is especially exciting when the book looks back! Miniatures can become windows into vivid moments of human action and interaction...

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Notes to Self

Here’s a medieval manuscript personality test: when you look at these pages and think about how this book came into being do you (a.) marvel at the skill and hard work of their makers or (b.) think about all the ways in which things could have gone horribly wrong?

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