Reading Between the Lines

Jan Vandeburie - School of History, Politics and International Relations

jan vandeburieA medieval manuscript was written on parchment, which was made from specially prepared skins of sheep, calves or goats. This precious manuscript, a twelfth-century copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘The History of the Kings of Britain’, originated in an English monastery and is written on the finest quality of parchment, called vellum, crafted from skins of lambs or young calves. The craftsman preparing this particular page accidentally made a hole in the parchment, probably caused by overstretching the skin while scraping or drying it, and forced the monk copying the text to write around the hole. Medieval manuscripts have more to tell us than just their written content.