31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Book of Durrow – Day Seventeen of Medieval Manuscripts

The Book of Durrow has always been fascinating to me, probably because it was the first medieval manuscript I studied in college. The Book of Durrow is stylistically related to the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels, both of which I've previously discussed, but the Book of Durrow pre-dates the other two. In fact, it is the earliest-known… Continue reading The Book of Durrow – Day Seventeen of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Vernacular Literature – Day Sixteen of Medieval Manuscripts

Today's post builds off my of most recent one. I want to talk about manuscripts containing vernacular literature, or popular stories written in the commonly-spoken language of a country (perhaps French or German), rather than in scholarly or sacred languages such as Latin. In this category were romances, epics, poems, adventure stories, legends, and other works of literature read for pleasure… Continue reading Vernacular Literature – Day Sixteen of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Roman de the Rose – Day Fifteen of Medieval Manuscripts

The Roman de la Rose is a thirteenth-century French poem concerning an allegorical love story between a young man and a rose. Began by French writer Guillaume de Lorris and finished after his death by Jean de Meun, the poem was very popular in medieval France and was the subject of many richly-illustrated manuscripts. The story and its rich symbolism… Continue reading The Roman de the Rose – Day Fifteen of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Bindings – Day Fourteen of Medieval Manuscripts

Illuminations and illustrations are certainly beautiful and interesting, but we haven't yet talked about the bindings in which medieval manuscripts were housed. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but considering how expensive and time-consuming as medieval manuscripts were to produce, it stands to reason that they would have elaborate and sturdy… Continue reading Bindings – Day Fourteen of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

October in the Calendar Pages – Day Thirteen of Medieval Manuscripts

I have October on the mind today, so I figured I would run with that. Medieval books of hours, much like today's day planners (if anyone even uses those anymore), often included calendar pages for each month of the year. These weren't the sort of calendars you might write down your appointments in, however. Instead, they… Continue reading October in the Calendar Pages – Day Thirteen of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Herbals – Day Twelve of Medieval Manuscripts

Herbals were exactly what they sound like - books about herbs. In the days before prescription or over-the-counter medicine, herbal remedies were common, and herbals illustrated and described the medicinal properties of various herbs. Not being too familiar with herbal medicine, I'm not sure how accurate these herbals were, but I certainly hope they were less… Continue reading Herbals – Day Twelve of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Marginalia (Marginal Illustration) – Day Eleven of Medieval Manuscripts

The term "marginalia" refers to the little illustrations or other markings in the margins of illuminated manuscripts. We've already seen marginalia in many of the manuscripts we've looked at during the past ten days, and in my opinion, marginal illustration is easily the most fascinating aspect of medieval manuscripts. The little people, animals, objects, plants, and other symbols… Continue reading Marginalia (Marginal Illustration) – Day Eleven of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Luttrell Psalter – Day Ten of Medieval Manuscripts

I'm sure it hasn't escaped the notice of my readers, intelligent folks that you all are, that I've been a little behind on 31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts for a few days now. Unfortunately, sometimes the need for actual sleep has to take priority over other things, particularly when one needs to wake up very… Continue reading The Luttrell Psalter – Day Ten of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Worksop Bestiary – Day Nine of Medieval Manuscripts

Bestiaries are among by favorite type of medieval manuscript. Simply put, bestiaries are books of beasts, with illustrations and descriptions of each creature. That might sound like a sort of thing a child or a student might read today, but you would probably be very unlikely to find much of the same content in any… Continue reading Worksop Bestiary – Day Nine of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Medieval University Students’ Textbooks – Day Eight of Medieval Manuscripts

It's day eight, and I think it's also high time that I start discussing some non-religious manuscripts. Books of hours, psalters, choir books, and Bibles get a lot of the attention because many are so rich in decoration, color, and subject matter ripe for illustration. However, it would be a huge oversight to suggest that… Continue reading Medieval University Students’ Textbooks – Day Eight of Medieval Manuscripts