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  • This place needed to be warm enough for the copying of books, but a library was also needed for studying. Both of these were included in a basic plan for a monastery. The scriptorium would often be on the lower floor and the library or bibliotheca on the upper.
  • Plan of Sankt Gallen (820-830) shows scriptoriums to have six windows and seven writing tables set against the walls where monks write sitting down
  • When no room was set aside for this activity, separate little cells or studies called “carrels” were usually made in the cloister where each scribe would have a window and desk to himself.
  • Armarius: (provisioner)A person who took care of the scriptorium by providing everything needed for scribes, including desks, ink, parchment, pens, pen knives, pumice stone, and reading frames. Antiquarii: monks in monasteries who copied Librarii or Scriptores: common writers Illuminator: scribe who excelled at painting dedicated to this workNotarius: worked chiefly on legal documentsCorrector: catch errors – alterations showed differences in handwriting and shades of inkParchment might be made in the sciptorium and books would be bound here before being sent to the library. Sometimes one monk might work on every stage of production.
  • Jean Mielot (d. 1472) compiling Miracles de Nostre DameScribes would spend an average of 6 hours of day working, which as we learned in our reading that it is back-breaking work, and how difficult some some was to translate.They would write in continuous script (or scriptio continua)Artificial light was forbidden for fear of injury to the manuscripts.Transcription was also an act of meditation and prayer not merely replication of letters, and viewed as a form of asceticism.
  • Until the rise of universities, most of the intellectual activity in the Western church was linked with a monastic library so we have this to thank for the transmission of tradition.
  • Books were provided for the monastery’s own use and for other monasteries and leaders. Books to be copied would be borrowed from other monasteries as well.Hand of scriptoria were influenced through social and cultural connectionsHere is an example of Confirmation in Latin between 1385-1399 on parchment.
  • Scriptorium

    1. 1. ScriptoriumJaclyn Lee Parrott
    2. 2. ScriptoriumA writing room in a monasteryset aside for the use of scribesengaged in copying, writing, orilluminating of manuscripts andrecords.From the medieval Latin script-scribere (to write) and orium(place)
    3. 3. Cistercian
    4. 4.
    5. 5. Purposes for CopyingTextLiturgyStudy and meditation(lectio divina)Communication
    6. 6. Monk working in a scriptorium, engraving a 15th century
    7. 7. Roles• Armarius or Bibliothecarius• Antiquarii• Librarii or Scriptores• Illuminator• Notarius• Corrector
    8. 8. A medieval monk copying from a text, in a scriptoriumThe Bettmann Archive“Only three fingers write, but the whole bodytoils.” Scribe Eadbeorht
    9. 9. HistoryCassiodorus (485/90-c.580) in Italywas the first to dwell on the spiritualvalue of transcribing texts in ascriptorium“Every work of the Lordwritten by the scribe is awound inflicted on Satan.”517, First European monastic writing
    10. 10. • 529 Benedict of Nursia, Monte CassinoRule of St. Benedict“Idleness is the enemy of thesoul”• 819-826 Benedictine Scriptoria of St.Gall had 400 booksBenedictines
    11. 11. 564Book ofKellsIonaMonasteryFounded byColumba(Columcille) cannot forget the Irish and how they preserved Latinfor us!
    12. 12. Cistercians andCarthusians1134 Cistercian Order, monksshould be silent in scriptoriumCarthusians viewed copying asmissionary workStart of 13th century, secularcopyshops developed
    13. 13.
    14. 14. ScriptoriumSt. John’s Bible“The continuous process of remainingopen and accepting of what may revealitself through hand and heart on a craftedpage is the closest I have ever come toTODAY
    15. 15. Questions?
    16. 16. BIBLIOGRAPHY• Broderick, Robert C. The Catholic Encyclopedia. T. Nelson, 1976.• Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish saved civilization. Vol. 1. Anchor, 1996.• Ferguson, Everett. Encyclopedia of early Christianity. Vol. 1. Routledge, 1990.• ”Scriptorium." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22Jan.2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.• Johnston, William. Encyclopedia of monasticism. Vol. 2. Routledge, 2000.• Lerner, Fred. The story of libraries: From the invention of writing to the computer age.Continuum, 2009.• McDonald, William J., ed. New Catholic encyclopedia. 7. His to Jub. McGraw-Hill, 1967.• "scriptorium." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online AcademicEdition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.<>.• Stewart, David R. “Libraries, Western Christian.” In Encyclopedia of Monasticism, Ed.Wm. M. Johnston. Vol.1. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000: 235-236.