Jesus–The Revenge!: A Medieval Drama

Signs and portents warning of the destruction of Jerusalem .

The British Museum recently acquired a beautiful illuminated manuscript of a fairly obscure mystery play called Mystère de la Vengeance de Nostre Seigneur Ihesu Crist. In English: Mystery of the Vengeance of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh yeah, now we’re talking. I can see the movie poster already. “He’s back, and this time … it’s personal.” [Read More...]

Catherine of Cleves Has a Case of the Mondays

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From the Morgan Library & Museum comes this page from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, Monday Matins “Office of the Dead.” Even in the 15th century, Mondays had a grim association. The Morgan describes it thus: As a man dies, his wife offers him a candle, a doctor examines his urine, and his son [Read More...]

Sirach: An Online Manuscript Collection

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The Book of Sirach (Latin: Ecclesiasticus) is a beautiful wisdom work that blends Greek and Hebrew thought. It’s the last of the Old Testament books composed, and was probably written only two centuries before the first of the New Testament texts, providing an important glimpse into the development of faith and philosophy between the OT [Read More...]

Medieval Warrior Snails

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The British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts Blog has an interesting compilation of marginal art depicting knights charging at snails. I’ve seen snails in marginals before, but never realized they were such a persistent motif. The symbolism and placement is still puzzling to many medievalists, particularly since the snail did not have a stable meaning associated with [Read More...]

Mysterious Medieval Manuscript is Probably Not a Hoax

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The Voynich Manuscript has baffled everyone since it was first acquired (or, some say, forged) by collector Wilfrid Voynich in 1912. Probably dating to the 15th century and originating in Northern Italy, the manuscript consists of 240 pages of vellum covered in a mysterious, indecipherable script and illustrations of non-existent plants, astronomical diagrams, tiny naked [Read More...]

Weird Medieval Marginalia

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I guess it’s nice when the internet discovers the much-better-than-the Renaissance-or-Enlightenment awesomeness of the Middle Ages, but like schoolboys searching for the dirty words in the dictionary, they often only seems to find the bizarre or outrageously sexual stuff. Case in point: Buzzfeed’s 20 Bizarre Examples of Medieval Marginalia. Please, please, PLEASE do not click that [Read More...]

The Illuminated Sketchbook of Stephen Schriber

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Regular commenter Ron19 post this link to an amazing little late-medieval sketchbook by a monk named Stephen Schriber. Brother Schriber is quite obviously doing studies and practice work for his marginals and capitals. I have a lot of books about medieval illumination, but I’ve never seen one like this, where you see the process of [Read More...]

Some Very Cool Evidence of Early Eyeglass Use

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Medievalist.net found this story about some incredibly neat evidence of eyeglass use from a medieval manuscript. No, it wasn’t a mention in the manuscript: it was on the manuscript. Witness: Someone placed their eyeglasses, most likely leather-framed spectacles, inside the flyleaf, closed the book, and then went off and forgot about them or got killed [Read More...]


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