The polyglot and poly-alphabetical Middle Ages

An exceptional collection of seven alphabets (two Hebrew, one Greek, one ‘Chaldaean’, one ‘Egyptian’, one runic, and one of obscure origin entitled ‘Norma’) is preserved in a manuscript in the Vatican library ( composed in Northern France or perhaps Germany and dating, probably, from the first half of the 9th century AD. ¬†Written in CarolineContinue reading “The polyglot and poly-alphabetical Middle Ages”

The noses and fingers of medieval manuscripts

One of the manuscripts I looked at this month in Oxford (Magdalen Lat 36, 13th c. English chronicle) had these very nice marginal scribblings that I thought would look nice in a post. They all point to a passage in the text that their author(s) considered noteworthy. The “ha ha” in the first image wasContinue reading “The noses and fingers of medieval manuscripts”

What in nomine regis is going on with this palaeography business?

Late last week I enrolled in this palaeography and medieval latin programme with Keele University and for the last four days I've been sweating like a scrivener in his dusty scriptorium. Only the classroom at Keele is not at all dusty and with all the rain pouring down every day, sweating only comes from workingContinue reading “What in nomine regis is going on with this palaeography business?”

Anglo-Saxon manuscript treasure online

One of the most important collections of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts – for centuries kept at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge – has been entirely digitised, and is now available on the internet. The college’s Parker Library holds more than 550 documents – including the 6th Century St Augustine Gospels, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the earliest historyContinue reading “Anglo-Saxon manuscript treasure online”

Partial cartulary online

I’ve just uploaded half of the manuscript I wrote about a couple of days ago (Luxembourg cartulary from the 14th century). It’s not final though as it needs some editing but the essential is there and the text is highly readable. I will try to complete the manuscript by the end of next week. InContinue reading “Partial cartulary online”

Punishment for coin forgery in 15th century France

The counterfeiter is shown being boiled in this 15th c. manuscript from Toulouse. During the 14th and the 15th centuries, French kings effortlessly tried to reduce coin counterfeiting or “faux-monnayage” as the kingdom was expanding and the royal authority was being reinforced in the provinces.