Scribal Arts

Calligraphy, illumination, paper making, bookbinding, printing, and related sciences and arts

Making medieval manuscripts

Anyone teaching classes on how to make medieval manuscripts will want to take a look at the Free Library of Philadelphia's website on How Illuminated Manuscripts were Made, which takes visitors through the process of creating a manuscript from parchmenter to bookseller.

How to cook a porpoise

Richard II's recipe for cooking a porpoise is now available online. The recipe is included in a new digitized version of The Forme of Cury, the 15th century text long used by historians to re-create medieval recipes. (video)

Remnant of medieval book found in Bulgarian churchyard

Experts are studying the silver and gold casing of a medieval book dating to the end of the 14th century discovered recently in the yard of St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria.

Music of Lune Heath makes a comeback

Selections of sacred music, dating from the 13th to 16th centuries, can be found on a new CD by the Ensemble Devotio Moderna entitled God Shall Be Praised, Music from Lune Convent. The music is from newly-discovered manuscripts found at the Lune Convent in Northern Germany. Music commentator Tom Manoff of All Things Considered has the story. (photo)

Workers puzzled over medieval document found in cabinet drawer

Staff at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario are scratching their heads over the discovery of a mid 13th century legal document found at the bottom of a university filing cabinet.

"A minion of the finest sorte"

Experts at the site of colonial Jamestown are trying to puzzle out the inscriptions on a slate tablet found at the bottom of the town's first well. Among drawings and other markings, the tablet is inscribed with the words "A minion of the finest sorte." (photo)

The best of the best historical libraries

Where would the study of history be without the library to preserve it and make it accessible to the world? Nowhere. An article on The News in Print looks at the 7 most impressive libraries in history.

Pergamon Museum to house Islamic treasures

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin has signed a long-term agreement to become the home of the Keir Collection of over 1,500 pieces of priceless Islamic art. The pieces were collected over the past fifty years by Hungarian-born property developer, Edmund de Unger. Upon his death, the collection will become the property of the museum.

2nd century scandal at Vindolanda

Researchers studying the Vindolanda tablets, wooden documents detailing everyday life in Roman Britain, believe that five of the tablets show evidence of graft among public officials. (photo).

15th century Redbook?

While doing research on medieval romance tales, Canadian professor James Weldon made a fascinating discovery: the first women's magazine. The manuscript, known as Biblioteca Nazionale, produced on paper in 1457, is a fascinating collection of recipes and romances aimed at the female reader. (photo)

Henry VIII annulment letter revealed

On the 500th anniversary of the coronation of England's King Henry VIII, the Vatican has permitted scholars a look at the letter requesting an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The Vatican denies any connection between the two events.

Vindolanda Writing Tablets to return home

Thanks to a UK£1.8m grant from regional development agency One North East, the Vindolanda Writing Tablets, the rich chronicle of Roman military in Britain, will be coming home to Vindolanda for "a rolling programme of displays" in 2012.

Pages from da Vinci's "Codex Atlanticus" unglued

A group of Benedictine nuns from the Abbey of Viboldone haave been working tirelessly for months to unbind Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus, a collection of writings and drawings bound into a single volume in the 17th century by sculptor Pompeo Leoni.

Dragons invade Canada

Does the Canadian air suddenly seem a little bit more sparkly? Have residents caught a glimpse of an unusual burst of fire in the sky over Montreal? Perhaps it is because Mythic Beasts have invaded the Canadian Museum of Civilization!

Colleagues of Calligraphy to host conference in Minnesota

Those interested in the scribal arts may want to plan to attend The Calligraphy Connection, "an international assembly of lettering artists" which will be held June 20-27, 2009 at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Calligraphy Connection

Welcome to The Calligraphy Connection, the 29th International Calligraphy Conference. The conference will take place June 20-27, 2009 at St. John's College in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Mysteries of Moctezuma revealed at the British Museum

In the last exhibit of a series on emperors, the British Museum will present Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler which reveals elements of the mysterious life of the last emperor of the Aztecs. The exhibition will run 24 September 2009 to 24 January 2010. (photos)

Illuminated pages "looking at the innards of a bejeweled watch"

Single illuminated pages from medieval manuscripts often end up as single exhibits in museums, or worse, stuck in a drawer, unviewed and unappreciated, but a new exhibit Heaven on Earth: Manuscript Illuminations From the National Gallery of Art showcases these single pieces as the gems they are. Paul Richard of The Washington Post has a review.

Medieval treasures in Nashville until June 7, 2009

Residents of Nashville, Tennessee have the rare opportunity to view "some of the finest medieval art in the United States" when the Frist Center for the Visual Arts presents Medieval Treasures from the Cleveland Museum of Art now through June 7, 2009.

"The Secret of Kells" brings illumination to life

A 12-year-old boy fights off Vikings to help complete the Book of Kells in a new animated adventure from Cartoon Saloon. The film was scheduled for release late winter 2009.

Digital Maciejowski Bible online

The Medieval Tymes website is hosting a digitized copy of the Maciejowski Bible, a 13th century manuscript commissioned by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) of France and executed by unknown scribes.

Liturgical manuscripts and medieval miniatures at the Free Library of Philadelphia

The Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia is the setting for an exhibition of liturgical music manuscripts dating from the 10th through 16th centuries. Cantate Domino: Medieval Music Manuscripts in the Free Library of Philadelphia, 900-1500 will be open until June 26, 2009.

World Digital Library launches with 1,200 documents

The World Digital Library, Unesco's project to "promote curiosity and understanding across cultures," has launched its website with 1,200 documents ranging from a" 1,000-year-old Japanese novel to the earliest known map to mention America by name."

Magna Carta Viewer offers in depth look at England's historic past

Visitors to the British Library's Treasures in Full: Magna Carta website are invited to enjoy an in-depth look at the document through the use of Magna Carta Viewer, a Shockwave plugin, which can be downloaded free from the Adobe website. The site also includes a simple, clickable website that allows viewers to zoom in for a closeup look.

Letters and papers of Henry VIII online

British History Online has posted the letters and papers of Henry VIII from the beginning of the king's reign in 1509 until January 1547. The website includes daily journal and calendar entries.

Met offers treasures of the Korean Renaissance

Visitors to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art will be treated to a small exhibit of ceramic jars, lacquer boxes, and scroll paintings from 15th - 17th century Korea when they encounter Art of the Korean Renaissance, 1400-1600. (photos)

Over 9,000 books "mislaid" at British Library

Every librarian understands the concept of "missing" books: those volumes stolen, mis-shelved, or misplaced that usually turn up. But if those books are at the British Library and number in the thousands, the problem could be disastrous.

Handwriting suggests Henry VIII "emotionally dependent on women"

A recent analysis of the handwriting of King Henry VIII shows that he was brought up in a household dominated by his mother and sister, and shows traits of being emotionally dependent on women.

Medieval postcards subject of lecture in Syracuse

On March 24, 2009, Kathryn M. Rudy, a world-renowned art historian, will discuss the history of the postcard, tracing its roots to the 15th century. The lecture will take place at 5:30 p.m. in room 107 of Syracuse University's Hall of Languages.

Levenger offers Sarajevo Haggadah facsimile

The Levenger Company has produced a facsimile of the Sarajevo Haggadah, a 14th century Spanish prayer book and the oldest haggadah known. The original found its way to Sarajevo, and was saved by an Islamic scholar during World War II.