The following glossary is included to assist researchers with technical vocabulary relating to manuscripts and incunables. It has been compiled from the following sources:
Brown, Michelle (Michelle P.), author. Understanding illuminated manuscripts : a guide to technical terms / Michelle P. Brown ; revised by Elizabeth C. Teviotdale and Nancy K. Turner. Revised edition, Second edition. Los Angeles : The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018.
Clemens, Raymond, 1966- Introduction to manuscript studies / Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2007.
A stylized foliate motif imitative of the acanthus leaves used as a design element in the arts of Ancient Rome and Greece. The medieval acanthus is more conventionalized than that of antiquity and bears less resemblance to an actual acanthus plant.
Animal skins processed by alum tawing, a method that involved whiting the leather by soaking it in a solution of potassium alum. If another color was desired, dye could be added to the solution. The process allowed for preservation and increased flexibility in the leather, making it suitable for use as book bindings.
An enlarged and decorated letter composed entirely or partially of human figures.
A volume, typically large in format in order to accommodate being viewed by a choir, containing the sung portions of the DIVINE OFFICE. The contents of the antiphonal are arranged according to the liturgical order of TEMPORAL and SANCTORALE and Common of the Saints. See also GRADUALE.
ANTIPHONER see ANTIPHONAL
ANIPHONARY see ANTIPHONAL
The final book in the Christian New Testament also known as “The Apocalypse of Saint John” or “The Book of Revelation.” The name from the Greek ἀποκάλυψις (apokalypsis) meaning “unveiling,” and the eschatological imagery of the text lent itself to textual commentaries and pictures cycles that developed into an iconographic tradition during the Middle Ages. Apocalypse manuscripts were particularly popular in tenth and eleventh century Spain due to the commentary of Beatus of Liebana (c. 730 – c. 800). See BEATUS MANUSCRIPTS.
Plaques set in or affixed to the BOARDS of a binding, typically fashioned in metal or ivory.
A style of ornamentation comprised of delicately intertwined, often foliate designs that are derived from Islamic patterns, and which are not representational.
The vertical stroke of a letter such as b, d, f, h, k, l, and long s, that rises above the HEADLINE. See also DESCENDER.
A French term for WORKSHOP. The term may be used to refer to the physical location of the shop as well as its workers. The medieval workshop was a studio in which several artists worked together either regularly or on a contract basis. The medieval guild system varied regionally, but typically a master craftsman of particular trade employed apprentices. The workshop is a laypersons enterprise distinct from a monastic SCRIPTORIUM.
A manuscript written in the author’s own hand.
Also known as “copper blue,” this blue pigment is made from copper carbonate and was a major source of blue for medieval painters. Azurite was a common mineral in medieval Europe, as it could be acquired from Hungry or France. It was used instead of or layered underneath the more expensive ULTRAMARINE, which was derived from LAPIS LAZULI, and only sourced in the mountains of northern Afghanistan.
An object that ichnographically identifies an individual in art. For example, Saint Jerome is most depicted with his Lion, Saint Peter with keys, Saint Margaret often emerges from the belly of a dragon, and Saint Lucy is often holding a plate with her eye balls.
A tracing technique for manuscript painters. The design would be lightly drawn on one side of a manuscript leaf, and the painter would use BACKLIGHTING to trace the design in paint on the reverse side of that leaf. Scholars have shown this technique was employed in the creation of the Lindisferne Gospels.
A strong light source placed underneath the manuscript leaf in order to illuminate the BACK DRRAWING.
BANDS see CORDS
BAR see CROSS BAR
Unframed scenes at the bottom of a page that may or may not illustrate the text above. A feature of late GOTHIC manuscripts.
The ruled line on which the scribe enters text, and below which the DESCENDER of a letter falls. See also HEADLINE.
A subset of cursive script, bastarda, also called “lettre bourguignonne,” is a calligraphic version of a book script that is most associated with France in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the Burgundian courts of Phillip the Good (1419-1467) and Charles the Bold (1467-77). See also HYBRIDA.
A book used in the performance of the Christian liturgy that contains a assemblage of blessings specific to use by a bishop and used during the mass. The entries are arranged according to the liturgical calendar.
A pre-modern amalgamation of tales of animals, birds, mythical creatures, and stones, each presented with a moral or symbolic meaning and arranged as something of an encyclopedia of “beasts.” Relying on classical sources such as the writings of Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, Herodotus, and the Greek text known as the Physiologus. The bestiary enjoyed special popularity in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and it was often illustrated with pictorial images of the creatures presented.
BEVELED BOARDS see CHAMFRED BOARDS
BIANCHI GIRARI see WHITE VINE-STEM
The principal translation of the Bible into French written by Guyart des Moulins in the thirteenth century using translations of the Vulgate as well as the Historia scholastica of Peter Comestor.
The predominant form of medieval picture bible composed during the thirteenth century and particularly associated with French manuscript production of the period. The text presents brief biblical passages and related commentaries that offer a moralized or spiritual interpretation of the biblical images. The images are often richly painted with liberal use of blue and gold leaf. The figures are contained in roundels and bear some resemblance to stained-glass.
An unfortunate misnomer, the pictorial bibles known as “the Bible of the Poor” were not created for the illustrate or for disenfranchised peoples as this nineteenth-century label would suggest. Bearing a strong resemblance to the BIBLE MORALISEE in its devotionally edifying content, these pictorial bibles present scenes from the Old and New Testaments and through the use of TYPOLOGY offer an interpretation of the Christian scriptures. Like the BIBLE MORALISEE, these pictorial bibles were created for laypersons rather than monastics and clergy.
A single sheet of PARCHMENT or paper folded in half to create two LEAVES See also QUIRE.
The individual responsible for sewing a CODEX together and protecting it through the use of covers. In the early Middle Ages, the binder was often someone in the SCRIPTORIUM. During the rise of the universities in the twelfth-century, binding was often performed by separate a craftsperson called the STATIONER.
An ingredient that binds the pigment together in paint or ink and assists with its adherence to the surface of a page. Egg white (GLAIR) and GUM ARABIC were used most often.
Consecutive letters whose BOWS overlap with a shared stroke.
The stiff covers, typically wood surrounded by animal skin, at the front and back of a CODEX
A red-brown clay used to color the GESSO on to which the gold leaf of an illuminated manuscript is applied.
A formal script used by scribes in the copying of texts in which the pen was lifted from the page between individual strokes.
BOOK OF HOURS
A para-liturgical book for private devotion that became a best seller amongst the laity in the late Middle Ages and was produced in large quantities. The central text is the Little Office of the Virgin, and the organization reflects an abbreviated form of the eight canonical hours contained in the DIVINE OFFICE, used by ecclesiastics and monastics.
Protruding metal fittings attached to the cover of a in order to protect the book when it was laid flat on its side.
The vertical lines of the ruled page that set the boundaries of the column of script, providing the justification of a text.
The closed curve of the letters b, d, g, p, q. Also called a lobe.
Contains the texts used in the celebration of the DIVINE OFFICE.
The result of a sweep of a pen when the scribe changes direction without lifting it from the parchment.
Polishing the surface of applied metal leaf or pigment on a manuscript through the use of gentle friction applied with a burnisher, which was typically made from a piece of bone or a hard, smooth stone.
Also called a “lettre cadeau”, this “gift letter” refers to a pen flourish that offers a little something extra by adding elaborate knot-work or anthropomorphic designs such as caricatures or grotesque faces to an initial.
A phase of work in the production of a manuscript. Large projects like costly manuscripts were often created in more than one campaign. For example, the boarder painting and the decorated initials were often created separately from the miniatures, which would be saved until last and completed in a later campaign by a master who specialized in that area of illumination. Additionally, a manuscript might be left unfinished due to the death of an illuminator, and later completed by another workshop, which would also constitute separate “campaigns” of work.
CANONICAL HOURS see DIVINE OFFICE
A chart arranged in columnar form placed at the beginning of a biblical manuscript and serving as a concordance that allowed for easy comparisons between passages of the four Gospels.
A script developed under the direction of Charlemagne (768-814), whose ecclesiastical reforms lead to the standardization of texts as well as a script that was intended to be based on Roman epigraphy and therefore especially legible.
A manuscript page usually found in INSULAR manuscripts that does not carry text but instead elaborate designs that supposedly resemble those found on an Eastern carpet.
An ornament most often in the form of a shield or a scroll that serves as a frame for information, most often an inscription or a coat of arms.
A collection of CHARTERS in book form.
A word found at the end of a QUIRE that is repeated at the beginning of the next in order to facilitate arrangement and stitching of a codex in the proper order.
A note entered in a manuscript indicating that the codex was pawned.
A book intending to be secured to a lectern by means of a metal STAPLE and chain, which would have been long enough to enable the book to be read without fear of its removal from an ecclesiastical or educational establishment such as a college or cathedral library.
Vertical lines observable in hand-made paper created by the vertical wire lines of the vat man’s PAPER MOULD.See also LAID-LINES.
Wood boards of a codex the edges of which have been cut at an acute angle. Also called “beveled boards.”
A governing body’s administrative department tasked with the creation of charters.
Also known as A script developed for business transactions and the creation of charters. The papal chancery, Cancellaria Apostolica, has a consistent hand, but outside the Vatican the hand changes depending upon the date and the geographic region.
Grooves made on the interior side of the boards of a binding into which the CORDS of the sewn QUIRES are secured, typically with small wooden pegs. See PEGGING.
Documentary material recorded for judicial purposes, often related to matters of property or land grants.
CHARTER HAND see CHANCERY HAND
A slip-cover made of leather or fine textiles created to be attached to the binding of a book and large enough to wrap around the item when not being used in order to offer additional protection.
A legal document written in two or more identical copies on a single piece of parchment that was divided by cutting through the word “chirographum,” written so as to be position between the identical copies. Each party involved in the transaction would retain a copy, which could be produced at a later date and compared to its mates as a precaution against forgeries.
From the Greek word chrysographia, “writing in gold,” the technique uses powdered gold and a binding medium such as GLAIR or Arabic gum to create a gold ink that was burnished when dry.
Metal mechanisms attached to the BOARDS at the FORE EDGE of the binding crafted to secure its closure and protect the parchment. Popularized in the fourteenth century. See also STRAP AND PIN.
A style of image creation that emulates classical antiquity.
A piece of cloth containing organic pigment that when placed in a BINDING MEDIUM creates an artist’s pigment. Called a “petiae” in Latin and a “pezze or “pezzette” in Italian, the clothlet was suitable for transporting pigments along trade routes, and it gained popularity in the fourteenth century with the increase of the textile trades.
A thickened vertical stroke that is larger at the top and therefore resembles a club.
Derived from the word “caudex”, the Latin word for the trunk of a tree, the codex became associated with a manuscript that was sewn together between two wooden boards. This form was popularized in the Late Antique period among Christian communities in the Roman Empire.
The study of the physical structure and material aspects of the book as a distinctive artifact of material and cultural history.
The description of the physical structure of the book in terms of the number and arrangement of its QUIRES and the leaves therein.
Contains the collects (prayers) for the DIVINE OFFICE as well as short selections from scripture called CAPITULA that are read after the psalms. Occasionally contains a calendar.
An inscription typically found at the end of a work containing information about its production, such as the name of the scribe, or information regarding the date or institution in which it was created.
A title statement situated at the end of a text. Most often RUBRICATED and beginning with the word Explicit. For example, the concluding title for the Book of Genesis would have an Explicit for Genesis directly before providing an Incipit for the Book of Exodus.
CONJOINT LEAVES see CONJUGATE LEAVES
The two attached leaves of a BIFOLIUM
A kind of syntax gloss consisting of super or subscripts letters or sometimes numbers or dots that are arranged to indicate the word order and therefore assist the reader to properly “construe” the meaning of a text. These marks are associated with classroom practices.
An abbreviation that includes the first and last letter of a word but omits letters in order to save space. See also SUSPENSION.
COPPER BLUE see AZURITE
A method of sewing a binding where the QUIRES are stitched together through their folds and lined on the outside of the binding through a chain stitch. This creates a more flexible spine than securing the QUIRES to CORDS.
Bands often made of leather thongs that function as the supports onto which the QUIRES of a manuscript a secured through sewing. The cords are secured to the BORDS of a binding by CHANNELING and PEGGING.
Metal plaques affixed to the corners of the BOARDS of the binding. Found on bindings from the fifteenth century and later.
A stick of chalk or pigment used for drawing or annotating but also sometime RULING.
A horizontal pen stroke between the OBLIQUES of A and the UPRIGHTS of H.
The center stroke that intersects the stem of a lower case letter, such as e or f. Also called a hasta.
A small letter left by a scribe to cue the rubricator as to which initial should be drawn in the space provided.Also called the “letter d’attente” or “guide letter.”
A script in which the scribe forms letters without lifting the pen from the page between strokes.
A kind of DIRECTORY, a customary is also known as a consuetudinary or liber ordinarius. It describes the rituals that accompany a liturgical service or a particular monastic discipline.
Manuscript material that is a part of a larger whole that has been removed from its original context.
An term used by art historians to describe painted drapery that appears to cling to the figures like wet cloth, and it is usually used to describe Byzantine and Romanesque figures.
The edge of the paper that has not been cut and retains the uneven edge that is the product of the papermaker’s mold.
An initial with only linear and foliate designs rather than zoomorphic or anthropomorphic elements.
DECORATED LETTER see DECORATED INITIAL
Collections of papal letters involving rulings, particularly those rulings involving ecclesiastical matters. The earliest decretals were compilations of papal letters, but in the twelfth century, a Benedictine monk named Gratian from the Monastery of Saints Felix near Bologna wrote the Decretum Gratiani, also known as the Concordantia Discordantium Canonum, that summarized older papal letters in a more systematic form of legal scholarship that became a model not only for the School of Law at the University of Bologna but for legal education throughout Western Europe.
DEDICATION MINATURE see PRESENTATION MINIATURE
A decorative pattern (usually in gold) that has been tooled onto the leather cover of a binding.Characteristic of eighteenth-century French bindings in particular and thought to resemble the ornamental patterns found in lace.
The part of the vertical stroke of a letter than extends below the BASELINE, as in the letters p and q. See also ASCENDER.
A design that is sometimes accompanied by a motto and used to identify a particular individual, family, or nation.
From the French diapré, which means “variegated,” the term refers to repeated geometric patterns painted in different colors (including gold leaf) and supplied as the background or the ground of miniature paintings. Especially characteristic of GOTHIC illumination.
A compilation of juristic writings that were often GLOSSED and illuminated. The most famous Medieval digest was sponsored by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian around 530 CE, and it was a collection of excerpts from classical juristic texts that became known as The Digest (Digesta) or Pandects (Pandectae), and formed the larger part of the Code of Justinian (Codex Justinianus, Corpus Juris Civilis).
Two letters written as one, such as æ.
A decorative device that serves as a transition in the hierarchical scale from the enlarged painted initial to the main script used for the texts. The diminuendo gradually reduces in size, and was popular among INSULAR scribes in particular.
A mark placed in the margin of a manuscript to draw attention to a noteworthy passage or of text or to identify a quotation, usually a quotation from scripture. Typically the diple takes the form of a sideways facing V (>) or a comma shaped mark.
A term coined in the seventeenth-century for the formal study of documents and records.
Two vowels voiced as one sound.
Decorative script that is often used along side a DECORATED INITIAL to emphasize a major textual opening, such as the beginning of Genesis or the Gospel of John. Display script is larger in size, often incorporating higher-grade letter forms and a variety of colors.
In the DISTINCTIONES system, a mark consisting of a single point placed at the height of the top of the preceding letter, used to indicate the end of a sentence.
A system of punctuation that originally used a single point placed at different heights to indicate the value of the mark. In a later adaptation, the value was indicated by the number of marks used. See also DISTINCTIO, MEDIA DISTINCTIO, and SUBDISTINCTIO.
A common type of scribal error in which a scribe copied a passage of text twice as a result of the same word’s occurring twice: having reached the second occurrence of the word, the scribe looked back to the first occurrence in the EXEMPLAR and erroneously recopied the passage. The opposite error is EYESKIP.
A volume containing the only the daytime offices from the DIVINE OFFICE. The companion volume is the NOCTURNAL. In practice, which of the hours is considered “daytime” vs “nighttime” hours varies by volume.
Also known as the “canonical hours,” or “Liturgy of the Hours” (Liturgia Horarum) the DIVINE OFFICE (Officium Divinum) is a cycle of daily devotions performed by members of religious orders and the clergy. The prayer cycle enabled devotees to recite the entire PSALTER (150 Psalms) every week. The earliest form of this practice originated in the Jewish prayer tradition, and slowly developed into a fundamental practice of the medieval Christian church. Initially, these prayers were mainly the recitation of Psalms and lessons from Scripture, but later, particularly under the influence of Saint Benedict, the cycle was expanded to include particular prayers at particular times, so that by the eighth century, the times were generally fixed as follows: Matins (aprox. 2:30am); Lauds (aprox. 5:00am); Prime, or “First Hour” (aprox. 6:00am); Terce, or “Third Hour” (aprox. 9:00am ); Sext, or “Sixth Hour” (aprox. noon); None, or “Ninth Hour” (aprox. 3:00pm); Vespers (aprox. 4:30 pm); and Compline (aprox. 6pm).
The eight canonical hours are referenced in the sixteenth chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict as being associated with the following two scripture verses: Psalm 118/199: 164: “Seven times a day I praise you;” and Psalm 118/119: 162: “At midnight I rise to praise you.” Thus, seven “daytime” offices were created and one “nighttime” office. All eight hours are contained the BREVIARY. For a LAY response to the office, see BOOK OF HOURS.
A French word meaning “lining,” doublures are ornamental linings attached to the inside of the boards that can act as a decorative PASTEDOWN or as an ENDPAPER. Usually created out of silk or leather. Seen in Turkey as early as the fourteenth century, and in Europe as early as the mid-sixteenth century, but this feature is most associated with French bindings in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
A downward stroke of the pen.
The person responsible for laying out the design of an image in a drawing, who may or may not be the artist responsible for the painting. Also see UNDERDRAWING.
An amusing figure, often a GROTESQUE character.
Sometimes also called “hardpoint,” drypoint is technique involving the use of a metal or bone stylus to make marks on the page. Manuscripts were ruled in drypoint in the early Middle Ages, and the technique was also used for glossing (see GLOSS) and for making preliminary sketches of decorative elements (INITIALS and MINATURES).
DUODECIMO. See FOLIO.
From the Latin cauda meaning “tail,” the “tailed e” is an e written with a hook shaped mark below it (called an “ogonek) used in Medieval Latin where Classical Latin would have used an æ.
A leaf at the front or back of a book that is placed between the binding and the manuscript proper. Also called a FLYLEAF.
Sewn attachments placed at the head (top) and tail (bottom) of the spring of a book.The core of the endbands are usually made of ALUM-TAWED SKIN, hemp or linen CORD, PARCHMENT, or cane and rolled paper at a later date. Sewing threats are wound around the endbands and tied down through the centers of the GATHERINGS at or near the KETTLE STICH. Often the treats are multicolored and sewn to create a decorative pattern. The endband at the top of the spine is also called a “headband.”
Two or more blank of decorated leaves added by the binder between the ENDLEAF and BOARD at the beginning of the a book. Depending upon the binding style, these papers can either line the BOARD (fulfilling the function of PASTEDOWNS or decretive DOUBLURES) or serve as ENDLEAVES.
A Christian service book containing the Epistle readings for the mass and arranged according to an annual cycle of their use that typically began with Advent. Typically the epistle readings were taken from the New Testament Epistles, but occasionally other portions of scripture were included. Intended to be read at a high mass by a subdeacon.
EVANGELARY see LECTIONARY
A representation of one of the four authors of the Gospel account: Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. The four Gospel writers are typically depicted as scribes and might be accompanied by the EVANGELIST SYMBOL.
Derived from imagery in the book of Ezekiel (1:4-6) and the Book of Revelation (4:6-8), the symbols of the Evangelists in the West are usually presented as follows: Mathew as youth, Mark as a lion, Luke as an ox, and John as an eagle. Sometimes the symbols are shown with wings, halos, books, or scribal instruments, and sometimes the human and animal figures are combined to form zoo-anthropomorphic symbols or ZOO-ANTHROPOMORPHIC INITIALS.
A book from which another is copied or a text that has been copied. See also PECIA SYSTEM.
EX LIBRIS INSCRIPTION
A mark of ownership that record’s a books inclusion with a library. See also PROVENANCE.
The closing words of a text. From the Latin explicitus meaning “unfolded” or “unrolled.” Catalogs of manuscripts often use the beginning lines of a text, called the INCIPIT, and the explicit to identify the particular manuscript. See also INCIPIT.
EXPUNCTION see SUBPUNCTION.
A scribal error in which the scribe omits a section of text because his eyes skip from one occurrence of a word or phrase in the EXEMPLAR to a subsequent occurrence of the same word or phrase. Also called saut du même au même. See also HAPLOGORAPHY, HOMOEOARCTON and HOMOEOTELEUTON. The opposite error is DITTOGRAPHY.
FIBER OPTIC REFLECTANCE SPECTROSCOPY (FORS) see REFLECTANCE SPECTROSCOPY
FLEMISH see BURGUNDIAN
The side of a sheet of PARCHMENT that once faced the inside of the animal rather than the externally facing HAIR-SIDE, from which the pelt of the animal is scraped away.
FLYLEAF see ENDLEAF
A leaf of a CODEX, or one half of a BIFOLIUM. The front side is called the RECTO (r) and the back is called the VERSO (v). The numbering of leaves in a manuscript (rather than pages) is called “foliation.” Standard manuscript foliation means that leaf “4v” would denote the back of the forth folio, or leaf, of the manuscript, which would be considered “page 8” if it were paginated like a modern paperback. Folio or folia (the plural) is often abbreviated as “f.” and “ff.”.
A purple pigment produced from the seeds of the herb turnsole.
The outer edge of a book.
Spots of brownish discoloration that occurs in paper often due to ferrous content in the water used in its creation.
Ruling that provides a frame to contain the text block. See also MISE-EN-PAGE.
FULLY PAINTED ILLUMINATION
Illumination that has been rendered only in pigments rather than using OUTLINE DRAWINGS or TINTED DRAWINGS.
Also called “oak gall” or an “oak apple,” this abnormal rounded growth on an oak tree occurs when a wasp lays its eggs in the tree. The resulting bulgy growth contains high concentrations of gallic and gallotanic acids that form the basis of iron gall ink. Gall can also be used in the tanning process.
GATHERING see QUIRE
A think, water-based pained most often made from plaster of Paris, chalk, or gypsum bounded together with a glue. It is used as a GROUND in manuscript illumination as to underlay GILDING.
The process of applying thin metal (such as gold or silver leaf) to a surface.
A portable book that was designed to be suspended from the belt or girdle. The binding was usually created with extra material that that could be gathered in a knot and secured beneath the belt. Most often girdle books were devotional texts like the Book of Hours, or medical or prognostication manuals. See also VADE MECUM.
Clarified egg white used as a BINDING MEDIUM in paint.
A written comment on the text to explain or translate the meaning of the primary text. Glosses were most often positioned in the margins or between the lines of the main text.
The principle choir book used during the mass, the name is derived from the Latin “gradus” meaning step, as the practice was to sing the verse responses to the Epistle readings at the steps of a raised pulpit. The graduals are the sung responses to the Epistle readings, and the books also included other sung portions of the mass: introits, tracts, alleluias, offertories, and communions. The contents were arranged according to the liturgical year, and the introits—the first sung elements of the mass—were often introduced by HISTORIATED INITIALS. Ad te levavi, the introit for the first Sunday in Advent, being the most elaborate. For a low mass, the contents of the gradual were included in the MISSAL and performed by the celebrant rather than the choir.
The name originates from the French, gris, and the term refers to monochrome painting in shades of grey. Grisaille can be executed in a black PIGMENT (such as a carbon-based lampblack) and an inert white pigment. It was especially popular in the second half of the fourteenth century and in the fifteenth century.
A hybrid, often comic figure that may combine various animal and human elements. See also DROLLERY.
A preparation layer applied to support for writing, drawing, painting, or gilding.
A lengthy strip of parchment or paper that is folded lengthwise and inserted into the center fold of a QUIRE or BIFOLIUM in order to strengthen the sewing.
GUIDE LETTER see CUE INITIAL
GUIDE WORD see CATCH WORD
The place inside the CODEX where the BIFOLIA are folded and meet the spine.
An initial composed of acrobatic human or animal figures.
HARD POINT see DRY POINT
The narrowest stroke of the pen that is produced by drawing the nib sideways across the page.
The side of the parchment that was once on the exterior of the animal and once carried hair. When compared to FLESH-SIDE that was interior to the animal, the hair-side is often a little darker, a little more course, or may contain patterns of darker speckles sprinkled along the parchment where the hair follicles darken the parchment slightly.
HALF SHEET see SINGLETON
A minuscule script used popular from the fifth to the eight century.
Used to refer to the script or style of writing of an individual scribe.
A scribal error in which the scribe copied a sequence of letters only once where the series should have copied twice. For example: tinnabulum instead of tintinnabulum. See also EYESKIP, HOMOEOARCTON, and HOMOEOTELEUTON.
HARDPOINT see DRY POINT
HASTA see CROSS-STROKE
The line that serves as the upper boundary for the letters of MINIM height, and above which ASCENDERS extend. In most manuscripts, there is no ruling for the headline, though the BAELINES in some early deluxe manuscripts were sometimes ruled.
The top edge of a manuscript.
HEADBAND see ENDBANDS.
A panel of ornament that stands at the beginning of a texts. Typical of late antique and renaissance manuscripts (those with more self-consciously classical aesthetics). See also TAIL PIECE.
The top horizontal stroke of letters such as f and t.
The plan those fibers were often used to make string or rope. Often used as the material for the CORDS.
A text listing the names of plants and their corresponding properties, mostly medical. Herbals were frequently illustrated.
The frame on which a parchment maker hands a skin to dry under tension.
The first six books of the Old Testament, which were sometimes contained in a single, separate volume.
HIBERNO-SAXON see INSULAR
A system for arranging elements in a series according to degrees of importance. A hierarchy can be applied to decorative elements such as MINIATURES, TITLE PIECES, HEADPIECES, BORDERS, and painted INITIALS.
An initial containing a scene including human or other figures.
A book containing homilies (discussions of biblical passages) arranged according to the ecclesiastical year.
An error of scribal omission cause when two words in close proximity in the exemplar have the same letters at the beginning.
An error of scribal omission caused when two words in close proximity in the exemplar have the same letters at the end.
HORAE see BOOK OF HOURS
A type of script that results when BOOKHAND has acquired CURSIVE elements.
Also called a hymnary, the hymnal is either a part of a larger volume or a volume in itself that contains the texts of metrical hymn sung for the DIVINE OFFICE and arranged according to the liturgical year. It is sometimes included in the PSALTER or in the ANTIPHONAL.
From the Greek term eikon meaning “image,” the word is used to refer to a likeness of a sacred person (a saint or biblical figure) and is most associated with Early Christian Church and Byzantine art forms.
From the Latin illuminare, meaning “to enlighten” or “to illuminate.” In manuscript studies this term is used to refer to the process of embellishing a manuscript. Most specifically, it refers to the presence of gold and silver within the designs that reflect light and therefore “illuminate” the page. However, this term is used loosely and generally employed to include all painted decoration and design.
An artist who process ILLUMINATION. Occasionally the artist and the scribe were the same person, but typically the illuminator was a distinct person. In the Middle Ages, illuminators usually worked in a SCRIPTORIUM or they were attached to a court, though certainly some were itinerant. With the rise of the universities in the twelfth century, illuminators were most often based in urban centers and WORKSHOPS as well as monastic scriptoria. By the late Middle Ages, most illuminators were lay professionals.
The opening words of a text. See also EXPLICIT.
The first page of a major section of text that is embellished with a large initial or display script.
From the Latin incunabula, meaning “swaddling clothes,” the term is used to refer to a printed book produced before 1501.
An enlarged letter at the beginning of a new section of text that contains human or animal figures in an unidentified scene. As no precise narrative can be understood, the inhabited initial is distinct from a HISTORIATED INITIAL.
An enlarged letter that is often decorated and marks the beginning of a new section of text. Among the most common forms of initials are ANTHROPOMORPHIC, DECORATED, GYMNASTIC, HISTORIATED, INHABITED, ZOO-ATHRHROPOMORPHIC, and ZOOMORPHIC.
Derived from the Latin encaustum or incaustum, meaning “burned in,” ink was often made from acidic ingredients from the GALLNUT, iron salts, and GUM ARABIC that chemically etched itself into the parchment. The ink was pale grey in color when first applied, but iron gall ink turns black when exposed to the air, and becomes more of a brown color when it further oxidizes. The common ink formula was a carbon black or LAMPBLACK that was the smoke collected from candle burning mixed with gum. It was used to create RINCEAUX and outlined features (applied with a brush) in ILLUMINATION.
A stained area of the page where INK has become wet and has run.
A term referring to the cultural nexus of the British Isles (Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland) in the early medieval period, ca. 500 to 900. The characteristic feature of Insular book production is the integration of decoration, script, and text. A prime example would be the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells.
Decoration consisting of fictive straps or ribbons that appear to be interwoven. Interlace was known in antiquity and particular favored in Germanic art, from which it was transmitted to INSULAR art. It remained popular throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
A term coined at the end of the nineteenth century to denote a style of late Gothic art from the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. The term was used to describe a fusion of artistic traditions (mostly from Paris, Holland, and Bohemia), which, owing to the complex interrelationship of its courtly patrons, diffused this style throughout Europe. Important artists include the Limbourg brothers, the Master of the Brussels Initials, Jacquemart de Hesdin, the Bedford Master, the Boucicault Master, John Siferwas, Herman Scheere, Giovannino de’ Grasi, and Belbello da Pavia. Important courtly patrons included: King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia; King Martin of Aragon; King Charles VI of France; Jean, Duke of Berry; Richard II of England’ John, Duke of Bedford, and his wife, Anne of Burgundy; Phillip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy; and Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan.
A red pigment made from the larvae of insets of the Kermes genus.
Two kinds of knives were used in producing medieval manuscripts. The PEN KNIFE and the lunular knife or LUNELLUM.
The portion of a GRADUAL containing the ordinary chants (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei) of the mass. In this context, “ordinary” means chants that do not change throughout the ecclesiastical year. In the late Middle Ages, the kyriale sometimes formed its own separate volume.
LABORS OF THE MONTHS
A series of illustrations ultimately of classical origin, that depict the labors appropriate to teach of the twelve months of the calendar. These images of the labors began to appear in calendar decoration as early as the ninth and tenth centuries but became increasingly popular during the late Middle Ages, particularly in the calendars of lavish BOOKS OF HOURS. These labors are usually agrarian, but some luxury manuscripts include scenes from court life. The calendars that include the labors of the months are sometimes called “occupational calendars.”
The horizontal lines visible in paper that are made by the horizontal wires of the papermaker’s mold. Laid-lines are more numerous and are set closer together than the vertical CHAIN-LINES.
Those individuals belonging to secular society. A lay person is someone who is neither a cleric or a member of a religious order.
A type of INK made from a mixture of dense carbon that is typically collected from a holding an instrument up to a burning candle. The carbon is mixed with gum and water.
LEAD POINT See PLUMMET
A white pigment produced from the crust formed on strips of lead when suspended above acidic vapor in the presence of carbon dioxide. Also known
LEAF see FOLIO
Latin for the “more difficult reading,” this term is used a principle in textual criticism to decide between variant readings. The understanding is that the less common word is more likely to be correct, as scribes copying a text would be apt to change an uncommon word for a more common variant.
At its most basic, the lectionary (lectionarium, or legenda) is a liturgical volume that includes passages intended to be read aloud in a church service. In the Western Medieval Church, these passages most often included the Gospels of the New Testament. So-called “Plenaria” (full, entire) volumes contained selections from the Epistles and Gospels, as well as selections from the lives of the saints and martyrs that might have been read aloud for edification, particularly during the Divine Offices. Later, the lectionary grew to include all the assigned Old Testament and New Testament readings for the liturgical year.
LETTRE D’ATTENTE see CUE INITIAL
A book listing the familiars (“members”) and benefactors of a monastic community who were to be remembered in its masses and in other services and prayers.
LIBRAIRE see STATIONER.
Strictly speak, a ligature is a connective line joining one letter to another, but the term is most frequently used to indelicate a combination of two or more letters joined to one another in a manner that that modifies the form of one or more of them.
The curved stroke attached to the upright of the letter h.
LIMP VELLUM BINDING
A binding that lacks stiff BOARDS and is bound with flexible covers of parchment. Often used for less expensive items in the Middle Ages.
A decorative device used by scribes and artists to fill up bank space at the end of a line to preserve the justified right margin. Line fillers may be entered in ink or colored pigment and may consist of simple or more complicated forms.
LITANY OF THE SAINTS
A series of invocations for deliverance and intercessions addressed in hierarchical importance usually first to members of the Trinity, the Virgin, the angels, apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins. Invocations could be addressed to individual intercessors or to groups/categories of the blessed. Such litanies are encountered in the East as early as the third century and in the West from the late fifth century. Depending upon the names involved in the intercessions, litanies often yield valuable evidence concerning the origin of a manuscript. See also SUFFRAGE.
LITTERA (pl. LITTERAE FLORISSAE)
A PEN-FLOURISHED letter usually composed of delicate geometric and foliate motifs. See also CADELLE.
LITTERA NOTABILIOR (pl. LITTERAE NOTABILIORES)
From the Latin notibilis, meaning “noteworthy” or “extraordinary,” in manuscript studies this comparative denotes a noticeable letter within a text, often a majuscule (or uppercase) letter, designed to clarify the syntax of a passage. Litterae notabiliores most often appear at the beginning of a new sense unit of text, and—when not at the very beginning of the text—after a mark of punctuation.
LOBE see BOW
A form of the letter f in which the CROSS-STROKE rests on the BASELINE and the STEM descends below the baseline. The form occurs in UNCIAL script and was taken over by INSULAR scripts.
LOW SET S
A form of s of which the basic shape is that of a TALL S but which descends below the BASELINE.
A lunular knife used in the preparation of parchment. The blade was shaped like a crescent, and the curvature was used to scrape flesh and hair off of a skin that was stretched on a HERSE.
A horizontal line placed above a letter or group of letters to indicate an abbreviation.
A script in which all the letters are the same height. Also called a bilinear script because all the letters sit between the HEADLINE and the BASELINE.
A green pigment made from copper carbonate.
From the Latin meaning, “little hand,” the term refers to a small ketch of a hand with an extended index finger drawn in a pointing gesture toward a word or phrase in the text. Placed in the margin of a text, the manicula draw the reader to noteworthy passages of text. This symbol was adopted by printers as well, and in this setting was referred to as a manicule.
From the Latin meaning “hand written,” in its specialized meaning it refers to a book written by hand. Manuscript is often abbreviated as Ms. (singular) and Mss. (plural).
A book, sometimes called a passionale, containing a list of saints or narrative reading on the lives and martyrdoms of saints to be read in the DIVINE OFFICE at the canonical hour of prime. The contents of a martyrology are arranged according to the SANCTORALE of the liturgical year.
A term frequently used to identify anonymous artists. Master ILLUMINATORS frequently attracted a following and employed others. In some cases the master is known (e.g., the Parisian illuminator Master Horonré working around 1300), but the majority of the masters are anonymous and often identified by famous examples of their work or distinctive features of their style.
In the DISTINCTIONES system, a mark consisting of a single point placed at the height of the middle of the preceding letter, used to indicate a pause of medium value.
From the Latin membrum disiectum meaning, “scattered pieces,” the term refers to detached leaves from a MANUSCRIPT.
A generic term used to refer to all forms of animal skin that have been prepared to receive writing.
MEMORIAL see SUFFRAGE.
Metal pieces added to a wooden BOARD binding. See also BOSS.
A writing and drawing implement, made of soft metal alloy used to make a graphic mark, typically in manuscripts for RULING, UNDERDRAWING, and annotation. The mark on the surface varies in appearance according to the metal used (and any alloys present), with silver point and LEAD POINT being the most commonly used in the medieval period. The marks produced are more discreet tan those made with INK but more visible than those made with DRY POINT.
An illustration within a manuscript that is not incorporated into the BOARDER or an INITIAL but is an independent scene. The name does not refer to the size of the image but is derived from the Latin miniare, meaning “to color with read” as the adornment of books originally was executed primarily in red lead, called minium.
The short vertical stroke used to make the letters i, n, u, and m in MINUSCULE scripts. The letter I has a single minim (and had no dot above it in medieval scripts; originally consisting of a minimum alone, the letter was topped with a diagonal slash from the thirteenth century); the letters n and u are each made up of two minims, linked respectively at the top and the bottom; the letter m is made up for three minims.
MINIUM see RED LEAD
A script in which some of the letters have ASCENDERS and DESCENDERS, so that not all the letters are the same height.
The layout of a page; the manner in which text and decoration are entered on the page.
A book in which an artist recorded designs, often accompanied by notes relating to color and composition.
The painting technique that gives objects the appearance of three-dimensionality through shading and highlighting.
MONUMENTAL CAPITALS see SQUARE CAPITALS
MORDANT GUILDING see CHRYSOGRAPHY
A gold-colored pigment made from tin disulfide and often used in the Middle Ages as a substitute for gold. Also called “musive gold.”
MUREX PURPLE see TYRIAN PURPLE
NOCTURAL see DIURNAL
From the Latin meaning “holy names” the term refers to the names of the Diety, which in manuscripts were regularly abbreviated by CONTRACTION. The singular is nomen sacrum.
A rapid cursive used by notaries for transcribing documents, especially charters.
OAK GALL see GALLNUT
A note recording a death often entered into calendars to commemorate the deceased.
Letter strokes made at an angel, such as those in A, V, and W.
OCCUPATIONAL CALENDAR see LABORS OF THE MONTHS
The first eight books of the Christian Old Testament.
OFFICE see DIVINE OFFICE
The term used to refer to text or decoration entered on one page that has transferred to the facing page, producing a mirror image. Offset can result either from the simple pressure of one page upon the other while the book is shut or from the pages having once been pasted together.
A guide to the celebration of the Christian liturgy, including the INCIPITS of the text to be spoken or sung and instructions for liturgical actions to be carried out by the clergy.
A yellow pigment made of arsenic trisulfide.
From the Greek orthographia meaning “correct writing,” the term has come to mean spelling. Orthographical variants assist in localizing a manuscript or identifying individual scribes.
A style of ILLUMINATION in which the only outlines of the figure or object are dawn, in black or colored INK. In an illumination, the technique could be used exclusively or in conjunction with fully painted elements.
The science of the study of handwriting. The aims of paleography are to read scrips accurately and to date and localize them.
A manuscript (or separate leaves) from which the original writing has been erased in order to reuse the support for the writing of a different text. From the Greek palimpsestos, meaning “scraped again.”
A symbol (such as ¶) used by scribes to indicate the beginning of a new paragraph or section of prose text or a new stanza of a poem.
A generic term referring to an animal skin that has been prepared for writing.
A lead that is pasted to the innter surface of the BOARD of a binding to hide the channeling of the CORDS into the board. Sometimes the pastedown was one leaf of a BIFOLIUM, with the other leaf serving as a protective ENDLEAF.
From the Latin pecia, meaning “piece.” A method of book production used in some universities to facilitate the copying of books required in the curriculum. The separate QUIRES, or peciae, of an unbound EXEMPLAR were hired out to scribes for copying piecemeal. The sections often carried an abbreviation of the word pecia and a numeral, written inconspicuously in the margin.
The securing of the end of slips of the sewing supports (usually CORDS or THONGS) to the BOARDS of a binding by means of pegs or dowels. See CHANNELING.
An initial embellished with decorative pen strokes that extended down the margin of the page.
Used by SCRIBES for a number of purposes, including shaping the nib of a QUILL PEN, and making CORRECTIONS by scraping out errors, PRICKING, and steading the writing support. Medieval depictions of scribes often show them holding a quill in one hand and a knife in the other.
Called a probatio pennae in Latin, a pen trial is a test of a newly trimmed pen nib. Names, letters, sketches, doodles were frequently written in the margins or on ENDLEAVES.
The first five books of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament.
An ornamental initial produced entirely with a pen.
A series of illustrations of related subject matter.
A metal STYLUS made of a lead alloy. Used for drawing, annotation, and RULING, lead point creates a graphic mark by leaving silvery-gray deposits of the soft metal on the surface of PARCHMENT. Not to be confused with graphite, which is a carbon-based material.
A service book containing the order of service for the sacraments administered exclusively by a bishop.
The process of smoothing a sheet of PARCHMENT by rubbing it with PUMICE.
The process of making holes in a sheet of PARCMENT in preparation for its RULING. The lines were then made by ruling between prick marks.
PROBATIO PENNAE see PENN TRIAL
The history of ownership of a book that can be found in evidence such as inscriptions and SHELF MARKS.
A biblical book of Psalms and a type of Christian devotional book that has the Psalms at its core. Ancillary texts found in medieval psalters often include a calendar, Old and New Testament canticles, a litany of the saints, and prayers.
A metal die used to impart a decorative element, usually to the leather cover of a binding.
A punctuation mark consisting of a single point that looks like a modern period. In the POSITURAE system, the punctus was first used to indicate a minor pause but later was also used to mark sentence endings.
In the POSITURAE system, a mark used to indicate a pause of medium value. The mark consisted of a single point with a check like mark above it.
In the POSITURAE system, a mark whose value fell between the PUNCTUS used to indicate a minor pause and the PUNCTUS ELEVATUS. It consisted of a single point with a circumflex-like mark above it.
In the POSITURAE system, a mark used to indicate a question. It consisted of a single point with a mark resembling an inverted sideways S above it.
In the POSITURAE system, a mark used at sentence endings until it was replaced for this purpose by the simple PUNCTUS. Its form resembled that of a modern semicolon.
A quire of four sheets folded to form eight LEAVES.
A QUIRE of five sheets folded to form ten LEAVES.
A group of LEAVES gathered together as a unit. Most quires consist of several (usually four or fives) BIFOLIA folded one inside the other, but many quires also include one or two SINGLETONS. Also called a gathering.
A chemical (such as hydrophosphate of ammonia) applied to a page of SCRIPT to make faded or damaged text more legible.
The front side of a leaf of PARCHMENT of paper. See also VERSO.
A red PIGMENT produced by firing LEAD WHITE. Red lead was commonly used in manuscripts for RUBRICATION as well as for coloring decorated INITIALS and MINIATURES. Also called minium.
A form of decoration commonly used in the borders of late medieval manuscripts and consisting of scrolling stems with leaves and flowers.
A manuscript that is made by pasting or sewing together sheets of PAPYRUS or PARCHMENT joined in vertical orientation; the manuscript is rolled up for storage and unrolled as it is read. In the Middle Ages, rolls were usually sewn together with HEMP thread or parchment. See also SCROLL.
A round panel that contains decoration or an image.
A title or chapter heading that is not strictly part of the text but helps to identify its components. Some rubrics provide INSTRUCTIONS, especially for ceremonial actions prescribed to accompany the recitation of Christian liturgical texts. Red INK was often used to distinguish such elements, hence the term, which derives from the Latin rubrica, meaning “red earth.”
The process of providing a manuscript with titles written in red. The medium normally used for rubrication was RED LEAD.
A person responsible for supplying the rubrics within a manuscript. Rubrication—often done by a project supervisor or by the SCRIBE of the main text—generally followed the laying out and writing of the text.
The process of entering ruled lines on the page to serve as a guide for entering the text.
A line of text at the head of a page (or a pair of pages across an opening) that identifies a work or one of its subsections. Running titles (also called running heads) help the reader find the different parts of a manuscript.
A majuscule script that was the principal BOOKHAND used for copying literary texts in antiquity. Regularly used from the first to the sixth century.
The section of a liturgical manuscript that contains formularies (series of prayers and/or chants for a given feast day) for the celebration of saint’s fests, except those celebrated immediately after Christmas. Because the saints’ feasts falling in late December (Saints Stephan and John the Evangelist on December 26 and 27, respectively) were so closely identified with the Christmas season, they were included in the TEMPORALE, usually a separate section in the medieval liturgical manuscripts.
A green PIGMENT produced from ripe buckthorn berries.
A person engaged in the physical writing of books or documents. A number of scribes were also artists. In ANTIQUITY, scribes and notaries constituted a professional class. In the Middle Ages, scribes often worked within an ecclesiastical SCRIPTORIUM as part of a team or were attached to a court or an official chancery (record office). Following the rise of the universities around 1200, scribes were increasingly found in urban settings, living alongside one another, although the monastic production of books continued and some scribes, and occasionally authors were themselves competent scribes. Some scribes also employed artists.
A particular form or style of handwriting.
The room in a monastery or church set aside for the copying of manuscripts. The plural from the Latin is scriptoria.
A method of copying a text used in late antiquity in which the scribe left no spaces between words. Also called scriptio continua.
A manuscript that is made of sheets of PARCHMENT joined together in a horizontal orientation, unlike a ROLL, which is rolled and unrolled vertically.
The process of removing hair from an animal skin with a long, curved, two-handled blade.
A book (or a portion of a GRAFUAL or TROPER) containing sequences, chants that embellish the Alleluia at mass.
The finishing stroke at the beginning or end of a letter. Also called a finial.
The points in the GUTTER of the leaves through which the needle is passed to sew the QUIRES of a manuscript to the CORDS.
An inscription entered into a book indicating where it should be shelved. Also called a pressmark.
The technique of scratching through a layer of paint to reveal an underlying layer of paint or the writing surface, from the Italian graffiare, meaning “to scratch.”
A gold PIGMENT produced by mixing powdered gold with gum. The pigment is so named because it was often mixed in a shell before being applied to parchment with a pen or brush.
The term used when text or decoration entered on one side of a leaf can be seen from the other side.
The designator (often a single letter of the alphabet) that an editor assigns to a manuscript to aid quick reference. The plural is sigla.
From the French meaning “sign of return.” A symbol that, when paired with a matching symbol, serves to direct a reader’s attention from one part of a page to another. These were typically used to link a correction or GLOSS entered in the margin with the point in the text to which it related: one mark would be entered at the beginning of the correction or gloss, the other over the appropriate point in the text. Also called a tie-mark.
Silver that has been beaten very thin for use in decoration.
A form of the letter a in which the letter consists of just one closed compartment. See also TWO COMPARTMENT A.
A single leaf within a QUIRE. Many quires include one or two singletons in addition to BIFOLIA. Also called a half-sheet.
The process whereby paper was dipped in size, usually made of gelatin produced by boiling parchment or leather, rendering the paper more stiff and less absorbent in preparation for writing.
The formal majuscule script used for inscriptions on stone in antiquity, when it was also occasionally employed for copying literary texts. In medieval manuscripts, square capitals were sometimes used for titles Also called monumental capitals.
A middleman coordinating the production of books in an urban setting. Stationers emerged following the rise of universities around 1200, as the growth in secular production and in consumer demand lead to increasing specialization and commercialization in book production. Stationers were called cartolai in Italy and libraries in France. They sometimes worked with the formal recognition of a university. See also PECIA SYSTEM.
The upright portion of a letter that supports another part—for example, the left stroke of the letter h.
A diagram or “family tree” representing the transmission for a text or program of ILLUMINATION that indicates relationships between surviving manuscripts and the existence of possible lost originating and intermediary EXEMPLARS.
STICHWORD see CATCHWORD
STRAP AND PIN
A mechanism for keeping books closed, first found in the twelfth century.
A pointed implement, usually made of metal or bone, used for writing on WAX TABLETS and for entering DRY POINT RULING, GLOSSES, and UNDERDRAWINGS in manuscripts. The stylus often had a flat head that could serve for smoothing the wax in preparation for reuse.
In the DISTINCTIONES system, a mark consisting of a single point placed on the BASELINE, used to indicate a minor pause.
A method of correction that involved placing dots under letters that the reader should ignore. Also called expunction.
An intercessory prayer, sometimes called a memorial, addressed to a saint. A suffrage is preceded by an antiphon, a versicle, and a response, and may occur during the DIVINE OFFICE. Suffrages of saints were often included in BOOKS OF HOURS, where they were presented according to a hierarchy, beginning with the Trinity and often followed by the Virgin, Saint Michael, Saint John the Baptist, the apostles, martyrs, confessors, and female saints. The particular saints in a group of suffrages vary according to region or personal devotions.
An abbreviation in which one or more letters are omitted at the end of a word. Some suspensions are syllabic; that is, letters are omitted at the end of the individual syllables of a word. See also CONTRACTION.
A fat slab of wood, or sometimes ivory, used as a writing surface in two ways: 1) INK was applied to on it, or 2) it was hollowed out and filled with wax so that one could write with a STYLUS. During the Middle Ages, tablets were used for a variety of functions: drafting texts, drafting artistic designs, recording liturgical commemorations, taking notes during study, and in accounting and legal work. Tablets were sometimes bound together with leather thongs or within a leather case. Tables were also made with a pair of handles (the tabula ansata) whose shape could serve as a decorative motif. See also WAX TABLET.
A method used by some scribes to keep the leaves of a QUIRE together during the process of writing: a thread of a thin strip of PARCHMENT was passed through the gathered leaves, usually in the upper corner. The term also refers to a method to secure a LIMP VELLUM BINDING to a book.
The foot or lower end of a manuscript.
A panel of ornament, sometimes containing text, that stands at the end of a text. See also HEADPIECE.
The form of s that resembles an f without the CROSS-STROKE.
A method used to turn animal skins into leather. The method involved soaking the skins in a solution containing tannin (usually from organic sources such as oak trees) for between three months and a year. An alternative method was tawing (see ALUM-TAWED SKINS)
The section of a Christian liturgical book containing the formularies (series of prayers and/or chants for a given feast day) for Christological feasts (including Christmas, Easter, the Ascension, and Pentecost) and the Sundays of the year. The temporale also includes the saints’ feast das celebrated in late December (Saints Stephan and John the Evangelist) because of their close association with the Christmas season. See also SANCTORALE.
TERMINUS AD QUEM
The date that is the latest possible at which an event could have occurred.
TERMINUS ANTE QUEM
The date before which an event must have occurred.
TERMINUS A QUO
The date that is the earliest possible at which an event could have occurred.
TERMINUS POST QUEM
The date after which an event must have occurred.
TERMINUS POST QUEM NON
The date after which an event cannot have occurred.
A piece of woven textile sewn to an illuminated FOLIO (or its facing folio) to act as a protective interleaving for a painted MINIATURE or INITIAL. Usually made of silk, linen, or cotton gauze (dyed or undyed), the textile curtain was attached by a thread stitched through the PARCHMENT.
THONGS see CORDS
A method of marking one’s place in a book by using a thumbnail to score the page.
TIE-MARK see SIGNE-DE-RENVOI
A style of ILLUMINATION in which the outlines of the subject are drawn in black or colored INK and tints of colored wash are applied to all or some of the surfaces to suggest modeling;
A leaf that has been inserted into a book after the book was bound.
A system of shorthand said to have been invented by Cicero’s secretary M. Tullius Tiro. Some Tironian symbols were used in medieval abbreviations; the most common of these was the symbol resembling the Arabic numeral 7 used to represent the Latin word et.
A decorative panel or page carrying the title of a work.
A book or section of a book in which antiphons, responsories, and other chants of the mass and DIVINE OFFICE are classified according to the eight musical modes.
A book, or a section of a book, containing tropes, that is, musical and textual additions to the chants of the mass or DIVINE OFFICE.
The edges of the leather cover of a book that are turned over the edges of the BOARDS and secured (usually with paste) to the inner surface of the boards.
The form of a in which the upper portion is not open but makes a closed compartment, like the lower portion. Found in the late medieval English SCRIPT known as Anglicana.
A purple die or PIGMENT produced from a gland found in a certain type of mollusk. Also known as murex purple.
The most popular BOOKHAND in use from the fifth century to the eighth. The SCRIPT is basically MAJUSCULE in character, although certain of the letters rise above the HEADLINE or descend below the BASELINE.
A form of the letter d in which the ASCENDER is not straight and vertical but curves back toward the left. Also called a rounded d.
Preliminary drawings that underlies the final painted or inked design. Prior to the eleventh century, underdrawing for ILLUMINATION was often executed with DRYPOINT, but thereafter METALPOINT, and especially PLUMMET or diluted INK (applied with a pen or a brush) was generally used. ILLUMINATORS might also employ a STYLUS, dividers, and compass to lay out a geometric design as part of the underdrawing.
Vertical letter strokes, such as the left and right STEMS of H.
An upward stroke of the pen.
A version of the Christian liturgy practiced in a particular geographic region or by a particular group of people.
A soft, very thin vellum prepared from the skin of unborn or stillborn calves. Some manuscripts formally believed to have been made of uterine vellum are now thought to consist of regular vellum that was split to produce to sheets from a single thickness.
From the Latin meaning “goes with me.” A portable book that was often suspended from a belt. The book frequently consisted of leaves folded in an accordion or other fold-out arrangement. Such books could be easily consulted by physicians, and often contained calendars, almanacs, and medical information. See also GIRDLE BOOK.
A writing material prepared from calfskin. Sometimes, however, the term is used to generically refer to writing material from any animal skin, akin to the use of the term MEMBRANE.
A green pigment produced by mixing coper filings with vinegar and other ingredients, or by handing strips of copper above hot vinegar and scraping off the green crust that forms on the copper.
A red PIGMENT produced from mercuric sulfide.
The reverse or backside of a LEAF of PARCHMENT. See also RECTO.
A punctuation mark consisting of a forward slash (/), used in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries to mark a minor pause.
A revolving wheel of PARCHMENT or paper secured to the page by a thread or a string. The volvelle was usually attached to a page that carried a scientific table in circular format). By revolving the wheel, the user could obtain information from the table.
A design formed in paper by a metal wire (called a wire profile) sewn to the woven wire-mesh screen of a paper mold. During the formation of a sheet of paper, fewer cellulose fibers are deposited along with wire profile in relief, creating a semitransparent design in the paper that is visible in raking or transmitted light. These designs can denote the papermaker or the paper mill and provide information pertinent to the paper’s date and place or origin.
Tablets frequently used in antiquity and the Middle Ages for taking notes and drafting texts. Made variously of wood, bone, or ivory that was partly hollowed out, the tablet was filled with wax and written on with a STYLUS. When the text on the tablet was no longer required, the wax could be smoothed over and written on again.
A style of BORDER developed by Italian humanists and called bianchi girari in Italian. Used for both INITIALS and BORDERS.
A studio in which a number of artists worked together, generally under a MASTER, either on a regular or ad hoc basis. See also ATELIER.
An image or text printed from wood. In the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, xylographs occasionally appeared in manuscripts and were often hand colored.
A term used to describe a binding in which the VELLUM cover extended somewhat beyond the edge of the BOARDS. The FORE-EDGES of the cover could then be turned in toward one another and might be tied together with strings attached to them, thus protecting the leaves when the book was not in use.
An INITIAL partly or wholly composed of conflated human and animal forms. Zoo-anthropomorphic EVANGELIST SYMBOLS, in which the human body is surmounted by the head of a symbolic animal, are occasionally found in INSULAR and later art, being particularly popular in Brittany. Zoo-anthropomorphic motifs also occur in other decorative contexts, especially BORDERS.
An initial partly or wholly composed of animal forms.