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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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The Popess and the Vello-Maniac

It can be mind-boggling to think about how many hands a manuscript has passed through between the time that its pages were copied an

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A Legal Reference Book

Spend enough time with medieval manuscripts and you wind up wishing their early readers had been a bit more forthcoming in identifying themselves and indicating how they used their books, preferably in the flyleaves and margins of the selfsame books...

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Some medieval and Renaissance manuscripts survive in almost pristine condition. There is a special pleasure in turning the pages of manuscripts such as our copy of Thomas Aquinas’s commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics...

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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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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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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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