Complaints Medieval Monks Scribbled in the Margins of Illuminated Manuscripts

Complaints Medieval Monks Scribbled in the Margins of Illuminated Manuscripts

This is a reposting of an interesting brainpickings article. In it they list a number of curious notes in margins and colophons made by medieval scribes in whatever biblical manuscripts they were writing. [Note; a colophone is an endnote that might include the scribes name, or the place and date when he wrote and finished the manuscript. One could think of it as a scribe’s “signature.” Leaving a colophon is a  practice that is almost unknown in early biblical documents, but become relatively normal in late minuscules]

“New parchment, bad ink; I say nothing more.

“I am very cold.”

“That’s a hard page and a weary work to read it.”

“Let the reader’s voice honor the writer’s pen.”

“This page has not been written very slowly.”

“The parchment is hairy.”

“The end of the book- Thanks be to God!”

“The ink is thin.”

“Thank God, it will soon be dark.”

“Oh, my hand.”

“Now I’ve written the whole thing; for Christ’s sake give me a drink.”

“Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims you sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.”

“St. Patrick of Armagh, deliver me from writing.”

“While I wrote I froze, and what I could not write by the beams of the sun I finished by candlelight.”

“As the harbor is welcome to the sailor, so is the last line to the scribe.”

“This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, ‘The hand that wrote it is no more’.

 

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