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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  July 2002

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION July 2002

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Subject:

Fwd: your manuscript

From:

Christopher Crockett <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 31 Jul 2002 12:09:15 -0700

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text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Leah Rutchick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>You have an intriguing problem!  I am not a codicologist, but have worked
with mss where it is critical to identify whether the same hand is 
writing, or another has taken over.  Basically they say that these scribes
were trained to write the same everyday--there could be no tired letters due
to long hours in the choir, or an extended vigil of some sort.

>This does not preclude that certain scribes might be experimenting with 
>forming letters or letter combinations in slightly different ways on the 
>same page (or on the same day), 


i share both Leah's intrigue (which i take to be mixed with enthusiam) and
lack of formal codicological/paleographical training.

but i found that 3 or 4 months of 6 or 7 hours a day looking at charters in
the Chartres archives over several winters left me with a definite facination
with these matters and a real regret that i had no _formation_ in this field
to help me to actually see what it was that i was looking at. 

alas, one lifetime just isn't enough.

charters are not quite the same as books, of course, being generally quite a
bit shorter and, sometimes, characterised by some very different styles of
writing ("chancery-" vs. "book-" hands).

but looking at a *lot* of charters from various _fonds_ left me with a pretty
clear sense of what *might* be gleaned from a proper and informed examination
of the "hands" involved.

eg., eleventh century charters from Marmoutier, though they might be the work
of quite distinct, individual hands, had a very characteristic 
"quality" to them which set them apart from most everything else i was looking
at.

not just in the letter forms, abbreviations, etc., but in such things as the
way the ms (parchment) was prepared --scraped, cured, cut and polished or
burnished-- the color and quality of the ink; the way it was "endorsed" on the
back (frequently with a very characteristic bit of simple but eloquent
"architectural" design) and, finally, folded (to make a neat little packet,
with the endorsement visible on one side).

all these things and more told me that these exquisite little artifacts didn't
just suck themselves out of their own fingers but were the product of a very
sophisticated, institutionalized production center indeed.

on a few occasions i *thought* i could recognize the same scribe's work in
charters dated 20+ years apart (yes, Leah, they certainly were trained to
write the same way everyday, but i think that there could be tired and shakey
letters due to tired, shakey, aging bodies).

>...one of the authors I have relied upon in my manuscript work has been Jean
Dufour, who has catalogued the mss from the Moissac library.  
>Look at his analysis of handwriting in Le Bibliothèque et le Scriptorium de
Moissac Droz, 1972, 


from his work (this one and his quite wonderful recent edition of the _Acta_
of Louis VI) Dufour appears to me to be an absolutely First Rate scholar, as
well as an accomplished Ecole des Chartes _archiviste- paleographe_ and if you
can get ahold of any of his work it would stand you in good stead.

plus, he's working in 11th-12th c. material, which is what i take your
Hildegard ms. to be(?).

>"Manuscrits de Moissac antérieurs au milieu du XIIe siècle et nouvellement
identifíes," Scriptorium XXXVI 2 (1982), 147ff.

thanks, Leah, i hadn't seen this one.

there's a *lot* of paleography on the web, of course.

best from here,

christopher



------------
Theology & Religion:
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/BooksBrowse?page=LOW&lowcatid=10604308

Medieval History:
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/BooksBrowse?page=LOW&lowcatid=10514133

Medieval Art & Architecture:
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/BooksBrowse?page=LOW&lowcatid=10514201

Miscellaneous Subjects:
http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/BooksBrowse?vendorclientid=807329&page=CLIENT

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