Manuscripts

Arthurian Literature: Foundation for a Common History in Europe

No literary figure has stood the test of time quite like King Arthur. His story has inspired people across Europe for centuries. King Arthur: a Legendary Figure The earliest reference to Arthur can be found in ‘The Book of Aneirin’. Originally composed in the 6th century, Aneirin’s poem ‘Y Gododdin’ discusses the battle of Catraeth […]

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The ‘Romance of the Rose’: A Medieval Guide to Love

This poem about living and loving in medieval courts was both very popular and controversial in the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance. Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, ‘Le Roman de la Rose’ (Paris, 2nd quarter of the 14th century) Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Français 1572, f. 3r, No […]

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International Literacy Day 2018 with Rise of Literacy project

On September 8, International Literacy Day, established by UNESCO, is celebrated around the world. This year’s theme is ‘Literacy and skills development’. Literacy is strongly connected to improving people’s life and the growth of societies but they are still persisting challenges despite the global progress. For several weeks on this blog we have been exploring how […]

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The Correspondence of Heloise and Abelard: Love, Friendship and Philosophy in the Middle Ages

What led to the most famous medieval correspondence? A thwarted love affair! The passionate relationship between Abelard and Heloise in 12th-century France was well-known even in the Middle Ages and has remained popular ever since. Left: Portrait of Peter Abelard, engraving by Charles Mauduit based on Le Carpentier, 1820, Bibliothèque nationale de France, No Copyright […]

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How primary sources transcend time and transform our connection with history

If you want to know what was it like to live in the Florence of 1400, to discover how the monks of Novacella Monastery begun to produce wine or to trace the development of a public institution, you’ve got to go back to their documents. Texts like chronicles, memories and biographies as well as statutes, […]

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Text Announcement in Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

Books didn’t always have title pages! The title page only developed gradually over the 15th and 16th centuries.  Before that time, different methods were used to announce the author(s), title, edition, place of publication, printer, publisher and publication date. The elements indicating the beginning and the closing of individual textual units in medieval manuscripts persisted […]

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Reading habits in the past

The shape of the text has influenced how, what and why we read. This is the first blog of the Rise of Literacy project, where we take you from papyri to universities, exploring literacy in Europe thanks to the digital preservation of precious textual works from collections across Europe. 2000 years ago, texts were written […]

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Here be dragons

Dragons have played the role of bad guy in many a Western folk story or legend. They’ve been part of our literature and folklore as far back as we can remember (there’s one in Beowulf), and are still pervasive in our culture today. You probably heard the story about St George slaying a dragon. But […]

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