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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.

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Medieval Must-Haves

The text manuscripts featured on this blog so far range in their contents from the rare or unique to works that would have been circulated and valued within particular circles ...

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A Love Token

We’re guessing love is on your mind right now, whether it be a many-splendored thing or full of anxious fear (or both!).

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The Deluge of Doom!

Aside from the prodigious quantity of snow it deposited on the American East Coast, one of the most notable stories about the recent Winter Storm Jonas was...

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Sons(-in-Law) and Lovers

In most of our encounters with writing on the medieval manuscript page, we know very little about the person who set pen to parchment (or paper) long ago. Their script may tell us a bit about them. Paleographers, those who study early handwriting, can often place and date scribes’ hands on the basis of particular script features...

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Smuggled Writings and Banned Books

He prophesied a “Sword of of the Lord” poised over the earth. He oversaw the immolation of great works of art and literature in so-called bonfires of the vanities. He brought down the Medici and defied the pope. He was challenged to a trial by fire...

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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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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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