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Attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena


contains the sung portions of the divine office (the cycle of daily devotions), sometimes large in format so can be used by choir

Bas de page

the bottom of the page, usually unframed images that may or may not refer to the above text


A manuscript that contains descriptions/tales of animal, fantastic creatures, and stones, real and imaginary, which are imbued w/ Christian symbolism or moral lessons

Book of Hours

A devotional book for the layman with material to be read in observing the "hours" of the Virgin Mary, that were each associated with an episode of her life. The book usually contained other sections, like a calendar with the days of the saints, lessons on the gospel, some psalms, memorials, and other possible offices (services)


the decorative surround to text


a book used for celebration of the divine office (services). Usually contained a psalter, antiphonal and other smaller books


enhancing the smoothness/shininess of a surface by polishing with a smoother stone/metal/bone


included in manuscripts to ID feast days for the particular area or local saint (depending on the patron), red letter days. Calendars were often illuminated w/ the labors of the month or the zodiac signs. They would be accompanied by tables or sets of calculations for the owner to figure out the moveable feast days.


from the Greek for "beautiful writing", calligraphy is a script that exhibits exceptional and often self-conscious artistry and aesthetic quality in design and execution

Carpet page

a decorative page opposite a starting of a book or gospel, usually Celtic, called carpet because it resembled a rug


of the Celts


a system of grooves cut into the binding boards to carry the cords that attach the boards to the quires


a collection of annals or notes of yearly events


writing or painting w/ gold suspended in a liquid, as an ink or paint


originating in the 1st cent, the codex (from the Latin word for tree bark "caudex") is a book of folded sheets sewn along 1 edge. Not a scroll/roll or tablet/slab, Christians starting using codices around 300


horizontal supporting bands onto which the quires are sewn to the spinefo for the book. Leather or hemp, they were split to be able to sew them tighter

Divine offices

daily services


an amusing figure, often a grotesque, particularly popular in the 13th-15th century


bands on the spine of a book to consolidate the ends, strengthen the attachment of the boards, and impede the entry of worms. Usually leather, parchment, or linen covered with silk thread

Ex Libris

an inscription that records the inclusion of the book in a library


the swelling on the bark of an oak tree after it has been stung by an insect laying eggs. Tannic & gallic acids are soaked out w/ water, the results were used in ink and in tanning hides


the application of gold, silver, or copper to a surface. The gold leaf was applied w/ a glue, then burnished to make it shiny


the response and versicle to the readings during the Mass

Gregorian Chant

early Christian music in the Church, sung by monks/nuns, usually monophonic, said to be written by Pope Gregory w/ the inspiration of the Holy Spirit


a hybrid & comic figure, often combining elements from human & animal forms


the science of armorial bearings. Served to ID the organization, whether secular, the Church, guilds, or businesses. There are rules for heraldry concerning colors/patterns, mostly from the French. Heralds were used on armor, shields, documents, and banners. Those used on manuscripts were useful in determining the ownership.


a text dealing w/ plants & their properties

Historiated initial

an initial composed of an IDable scene or figures, borders can also be historiated


the embellishment of a manuscript w/ luminous colors (esp. gold & silver)

Inhabited initial

an enlarged letter at the beginning of chapter or other part of a manuscript that contains figures or animals, but not a story (historiated initial)


a word derived from the Latin "encaustim" (burned in), since the acids in the ink tend for it to eat into the writing surface. The basis of medieval ink was a solution of gall & gum, colored by carbon (lamp black) or iron salts


adjusting the space btw characters, esp by placing 2 characters closer together than normal. (ex: WA, MW, TA, VA)


typographical term referring to the vertical spaces btw lines of text


having a single melodic line, single-voiced; having but one part, one voice (1 set of notes, 1 tune, not 1 person)


a writing support material made from cotton or linen rags, sometimes silk. The rags were soaked & shredded until reduced to a pulp, and sizing and water was added. A wooden frame strung w/ wires was dipped into the mixture and agitated until the fibers fused to form a sheet of paper. The paper was blotted & pressed, trimmed or left w/ a deckle edge. Paper frames often incorporated a metal design which left an image on the paper: the watermark. Early paper was quite resilient, but beginning in the mid 19th cent, wood & other organic pulps were added to cotton (or used exclusively), which made the paper acidic, causing it to turn brown & crumble.


A writing support material made from water grown sedge. The inside of the stem was cut into strips which were laid vertically & covered by a layer of strips laid horizontally. The result was pounded and the resin contained inside the plant made it stick together, producing a sheet of papyrus. Papyrus was used occasionally until about the 4th century, when trade embargoes made it scarce in Europe. Then began the experimentation w/ parchment


a writing support material made from animal skin, particularly goat or sheep. To produce parchment, the animal skins were defleshed in a bath of lime (a chemical), stretched over a frame & scraped w/ a knife. They were sometimes whitened w/ chalk and then cut to size. One animal skin would produce about 4 pgs of a manuscript, depending on the size.


the leaf (page) attached to the board by wooden pegs or dowels


the person responsible for commissioning & paying for the work


attachment of cords to the board by wooden pegs or dowels


a bird in Egyptian mythology that lived in the desert for 500 yrs and then consumed itself by fire, later to rise renewed from its ashes


Consisting of several tone series, or melodic parts, progressing simultaneously, more than 1 voice at a time (multiple tones @ once)


chalk, ash, powdered bone, bread crumbs or pumice that is rubbed into the writing surface so that the ink will go on smoothly. Also can be used to transfer images (via pricking)


The marking of a page by a point/knife to guide ruling or to transfer an illustration


the book of Psalms, a principal book of devotions from the 800s on. The Psalms, all 150, were recited each week at certain hours of the day


a nude infant, usually depicted w/ wings


the gatherings or booklets of parchment which form the book


a title, chapter heading, or instruction that is not strictly part of the text but which helps to ID its components. Red ink was often used to distinguish such elements, hence the term, which derives from the Latin for red "rubrica"


a person engaged in the physical writing of books/documents


the handwriting used in manuscripts


a writing room

Tromp l' oeil

a French expression meaning "deceives the eye", where things are made to look like they are resting on or projecting from the surface of the page


a book containing tropes, musical and textual additions to the chants of the Mass or divine office


one of a school of poets who flourished from the eleventh to the 13th century, principally in Provence, in the south of France, and also in the north of Italy. They invented, and especially cultivated, a kind of lyrical poetry characterized by intricacy of meter & rhyme, and usually of a romantic, amatory strain


a writing support material made from animal skin, particularly calf skin. Vellum is made in the same way as parchment


attribution of animal characteristics or qualities to a god, use of animal forms in symbolism, lit, or graphic representation

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