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T 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
Abbey Entrance | Herb Garden | Scriptorium | Wine Cellar

Anthropomorphic Initial Hard Point Pen
Antiphonal Herbal Pigment
Bestiary Historiated Initial Pounce
Boards Hymnal Pricking
Books of Hours Illuminator Psalter
Breviary Initial Purple Pages
Carolingian Ink Rubricator
Colophon Insular Ruling
Diaper Knife Saints' Lives
Divine Office Lead Point Scribe
Drollery Marginalia Script
Evangelistic Portraits Miniature Scriptorium
Exemplar Mise-en-Page Underdrawing
Foliate Initial Oak Gall Vellum
Gesso Outline Drawing Vernacular
Gilding Palimpset Zoomorphic
Gloss Parchment  

Saints' Lives - biographies of Christian role models canonized by the church and a widely popular genre from the early Middle Ages on.

Scribe - a monk in a monastic Scriptorium who physically wrote text in a manuscript and was sometimes responsible for illumination and rubrication. Depending on time and place, distinctions in class varied as librarii, or apprentices, sometimes trained under the tutelage of antiquarii or senior scribes. Under this arrangement, the bibliothecarius, or librarian, might assume administrative duties.

medieval scribes

Script - a term used for the constantly changing style of handwriting used in manuscripts that generally establishes a time period or location in which a manuscript was written; distinguished by majuscule (uppercase) and minuscule (lowercase) lettering; cursive (rapidly written) or formata (formal) and arguably falling into the following eras: Uncials 400-600; Insular minuscules 500-1000; Anglo-Saxon 600-1100; Carolingian minuscule 800-1200 Early Gothic ca. 1150; Late Gothic ca. 1400.

Scriptorium - the place within the monastery where manuscripts were written. A typical Benedictine scriptorium included a large central table and writing desks placed along the walls. Another arrangement may have consisted of small individual writing rooms, or scriptoriolum and in some instances the cloister alcoves were screened off into writing chambers, or carrells.

Underdrawing - the initial drawing laid down before ink or paint was applied. Completed in Hard Point in early scriptoria, and later in Lead Point.

Vellum - See Parchment.

Vernacular - the regional language, as opposed to the customary Latin used in a great many monastic manuscripts, first seen in Ireland and Britain as early as the 6th century.

Zoomorphic Initial - a decorated initial formed wholly or in part from real or imaginary animals, as below:

Zoomorphic Initial


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