Over the past few months, we’ve looked at various parts of medieval manuscripts – catchwords, ink (here and here), illuminations (here, here, and here), etc., etc. Today we are going to look at the script of 10a 210 (Arnald of Villanova’s Regimen sanitatis ad regem Aragonum).
Paleography is the study of historical handwriting. The script is the style of handwriting, while hand refers to an individual scribe’s style of writing. The script of a medieval manuscript can help in dating its creation. Rather than list all the terms associated with paleography, and try to summarize the history of western scripts, I’m adding an extended sources/further reading section at the end of this post.
Look closely at the first folio of 10a 210, Arnald of Villanova’s Regimen sanitatis ad regem Aragonum. In the left and bottom margins you’ll see holes. These holes are not the result of parchment tearing or existing holes in the skin (as discussed in this earlier post), but bookworms. Bookworms are “Any of various insects that damage books; spec. a maggot that is said to burrow through the paper and boards,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary.
Two weeks ago, we read Giles of Rome’s advice on moderation in the diet, and this week we are examining the best time to conceive children – male and female. In the Book II, Part I, chapter 17, Giles explains what Aristotle says in Textus poleticorum and De metheoris regarding conception.
I have written several posts regarding initials in medieval manuscripts (here, here, here, and here), and here’s yet another. This week’s post is about historiated initials, the most elaborate initials one can find in manuscripts. Historiated initials are letters which contain “an identifiable scene or figures, sometimes relating to the text.”