h e V i r t u a l A b b e y : A M e d i e v
a l T o u r
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Fr. diapré or ‘variegate,’ a geometric pattern used
as a frame or background.
Office - the strict call to prayer wherein psalms and scriptural
readings were recited at different hours of the day. Although
hymns and celebrations of saints' feast days were later thrown
into the mix, the basic framework for the Divine Office continued
unchanged for centuries, i.e., matins - 2:30 am; lauds - 5:30
am; prime - 6:30 am; terce - 9:00 am; sext - 12 noon; none - 3
pm; vespers - 4:30 pm; compline - 6:30.
- amusing, often grotesque characters hidden away either in letter
forms or separately in the margins.
Evangelistic Portraits - Matthew,
Mark, Luke and John had scripted the Gospels and therefore were
close to the hearts of medieval monastic scribes. The saints'
traditional symbols usually accompany their portraits - Matthew
by a man, Mark by a lion, Luke by a bull and John by an eagle.
- a masterwork from which another is created. Scriptoriums acquired
their own editions of popular histories or liturgical works by
simply copying them from another monastery's holdings.
Initial - a decorated Initial
incorporating floral designs in the letter form or surroundings.
- water based paint made from chalk or plaster of
paris, thickened with glue and applied as surface preparation
or 'ground' for Gilding. Also see Pigment.
- the application of gold or silver in Miniatures
or Initials, and more likely
seen in the work of later Middle Ages' commercial manuscripts.
While gold was laid flat in monastic manuscripts and left to a
dull finish, Gesso in Paris
shops was first liberally applied on areas before gilding, then
built up and overlaid with gold in the form of gold leaf and burnished
to a jewel-like sparkle. In common practice, gold leaf was usually
applied first before any other decoration, to avoid damaging painted
areas during the burnishing process.
- a word, or entire paragraphs that comment on the
main text, commonly seen in period Bibles. At times the gloss
may dwarf the actual passages being interpreted.
Point - a stylus made of metal or bone used for Ruling,
leaving lightly scored lines on the parchment that guided the
scribe's hand in laying text down in straight lines across the
page. Sometimes used to inscribe the outlines of a drawing. Also
see Lead Point.
- an often heavily illustrated reference book of
plants with their medicinal properties, based on ancient Greek
and Roman botanical texts.