Tag Archives: codicology

Call for Papers: Illuminating the Dark Ages: Manuscript art and knowledge in the Early Medieval World (c. 600-1100), University of Edinburgh, 28-29/06/2018, Deadline 15/03/2018

CfP Edinburgh image.jpg

“Illuminating the Dark Ages” has been conceived as an international conference that aims to bring together researchers of all levels, including postgraduate students, working on the wider Early Middle Ages and the decorated manuscript as a cultural medium. From a variety of perspectives, this conference intends to shed light on how and why manuscripts were decorated in the early medieval period, from lavishly illuminated religious cycles to illustrations of works of Classical literature. Even though the geographical focus is put on the Latin West, comparative approaches to manuscript visual cultures and knowledge transmission in other cultural areas (roughly in the same chronological period), such as Byzantium or the Islamic world, are naturally welcomed.The keynote lectures will be delivered by Prof. Michele Bacci (Fribourg) and Dr. Felicity Harley-McGowan (Yale). Continue reading


CFP: Layers of Parchment, Layers of Time: Reconstructing Manuscripts: 800 – 1600 (Abstracts due 1 February 2017)

oxford-bodley-ms-rawl-liturg-d-1_00923 June 2017, University of Cambridge

Layers of Parchment, Layers of Time: Reconstructing Manuscripts: 800 – 1600 is an interdisciplinary conference that will explore various issues surrounding the complex subject of manuscripts whose parts have become dislodged and subsequently had diverging histories. Our goal is to foster dialogues—between different disciplines—on how to approach dismembered manuscripts from intellectual and practical perspectives.

We will compose panels thematically, grouping papers by geographical and temporal subject rather than by academic discipline. We encourage submissions from scholars, post-graduate students, and professionals in art history, palaeography/codicology, manuscript studies and conservation, digital humanities, history, museum studies, and beyond. Suggested topics include, but are by no means limited to:

  • The manuscript as an object made in layers over time
  • Digital reconstruction of manuscripts
  • New approaches to understanding reception
  • Methodologies for tracing lost/stolen fragments and leaves
  • Methodologies for reconstructing manuscripts
  • Economic, political, and legal consequences of reconstructing manuscripts
  • Reconstructed manuscripts in their original contexts
  • Modern methods of preservation for loose fragments/leaves
  • The art market as a means for fragment/leaf distribution
  • The role of collectors (public institutions and private individuals)

We intend to publish the proceedings from the conference in either a journal, or as a stand-alone anthology.

The Keynote will be given by Dr. David Rundle (University of Essex)

Papers will be scheduled for 20 minutes. Please email your abstracts, of no more that 300 words to Dr. Kathryn Rudy and Stephanie Azzarello at reconstructing.mss.cambridge@gmail.com by 1 February 2017. Along with your abstract please include your name, institution, paper title and brief biography. We strongly encourage you to consider your paper as a performance, rehearse it well, and to avoid reading directly from the page, if possible. Successful applicants with be notified by 10 February 2017. Layers of Parchment, Layers of Time: Reconstructing Manuscripts will take place at the University of Cambridge, Pembroke College, with a dinner to follow.


Sponsored by Pembroke College, Cambridge and the University of St Andrews

Call for Papers: Juridical Circulations and Artistic, Intellectual and Cultural Practices in Medieval Europe (13th-15th Centuries) International Conference (Lisbon, 25-27 February 2016)

1926887_652422134825989_1242238222_n[1] Call for Papers

The International Conference Medieval Europe in Motion 3 continues the series of scientific meetings launched in 2013 by the Institute of Medieval Studies (IMS) of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Nova University of Lisbon (FCSH/UNL) – devoted to the topic of social, cultural, and artistic mobility in Medieval Europe (https://sites.google.com/site/medievaleuropeinmotion2013/home).

In keeping thematically with the previous conferences, the main objective of this new event is an analysis of the mobility and circulation of people, ideas and objects related to the study and practice of law during the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries. Among topics addressed may be the intellectuals involved (scholars, notaries, jurists, ecclesiastics and others); the manuscripts and texts themselves; artistic models for the illumination of legal manuscripts; or the circulation of the law itself and ideas connected to its role and practice in the Medieval West. We would like to focus on studies of the southernmost territories of the West: the Iberian Peninsula, Southern France, and Italy.

Topics for consideration:
We seek to examine and discuss the ways in which the phenomena of mobility interacted with processes of codification and teaching of law, just as much as it influenced the visual representations of this discipline in manuscript illuminations. While it is clear that this is not unexplored territory in the context of art historical or cultural studies, or even political and economic history—since recent conferences have explored these topics—much still needs to be done in the investigation of how they interact and relate to each other. We would like this conference to establish a new forum for debate and for proposing new ways to move forward in research on such themes.

This objective has determined the various sections into which this conference will be divided and the various research questions we wish to address.

First, we aim to look at the phenomenon of mobility in connection with scholars who studied and taught Law in different regions of Medieval Europe: How did this take place? Who were the people who traveled? Where did they choose to go and which towns were affected by such global movements?

Second, we want to look at how mobility also affected the manuscripts, especially the juridical manuscripts, and the illuminated ones in particular. Their circulation, along with the travel of illuminators, influenced, stimulated, and modified substantially the iconographic and stylistic processes of production and creation in all the geographical regions here under examination.

We also wish to address the role of private or institutional patrons and promoters: institutional commissions would often include the mediation of individual agents; those of the pontifical curia were done through the command of cardinals; those of the universities through the command of Doctores; and those of towns and communes by the Podestas or the jurists at their service. The following questions should be addressed: who orders illuminated juridical manuscripts and why do they need to possess them? What are the social, political and economic frameworks that may justify such orders?

With regard to the illumination of such juridical manuscripts, we must ask questions about the iconographical models used to visually represent the exercise of justice, and their circulation. In what cultural contexts are they produced? How did such production influence—particularly in the axis Italy–French Midi–Iberian Peninsula —the presence of “foreign” illuminators? In relation to codicology we will aim at analysing the material characteristics of the juridical manuscripts in order to see how they influenced the production techniques, as much as the physical characteristics of the book as an object.

Finally, we will aim at studying the issues of mobility and circulation, not in isolated forms, but rather in their social, political, cultural and economic contexts. With these desiderata in mind, we are calling for proposals for 20-minute papers to be organized within the following sections:

  • The peregrinatio academica in the context of juridical culture
  • Modalities of teaching and practicing Law in Medieval Europe (13th–15th centuries)
  • Social, economic, cultural and artistic contexts related to the practice of Law
  • The production of juridical manuscript books (illuminated or not illuminated): economic and cultural contexts; juridical books in relation to other types of illuminated manuscripts; the place of juridical books in the context of medieval artistic production; the institution of Studia and illuminated juridical manuscripts; peciae and illuminated manuscripts; England and the Continent; from juridical illuminated manuscript to press
  • People, ideas and objects connected to the practice of Law and their circulation in Medieval Europe 13th –15th centuries. –

Please send an abstract of up to 250 words along with the title of a paper proposal (accepted in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian) as well as a brief CV (up to 1 page maximum) by 30 October 2015 to: memconference2016@gmail.com

The Scientific Committee will analyse the proposals and will respond after 15 November 2015.

Registration fee: 50 euros Organisation Committee: Coordinator: Maria Alessandra Bilotta (IEM-FCSH-UNL – TEMPLA – LAMOP) Francisco José Díaz Marcilla (IEM-FCSH-UNL) Mário Sergio Farelo (IEM-FCSH-UNL)
Secretariat: Anabel Moreno (Universidad de Girona – TEMPLA)

Exhibition: Communities in Communication: Languages and Cultures in the Low Countries 1450-1530 (John Rylands Library)

P1930063The John Rylands Library is an extraordinary neo-Gothic building to which no tourist visit to Manchester is complete without. The architectural experience is supplemented by many fine exhibitions making use of its special collections, although due to their small, studious nature, they can often be overlooked. Communities in Communication is one such exhibition taking place in its cloistral vaulted corridors. Drawing on the Rylands’ large collection of books from the late medieval Netherlands, this small show forms part of a larger AHRC-funded project to understand the interplay of literary cultures in the late medieval Low Countries.

P1930065Guided by the excellent little exhibition booklet, the cases are grouped by themes that elucidate how the objects represent a window into the intellectual and linguistic cultures of their age. Trilingual phrase books show that individuals from urban burghers to the nobility were keen to improve their vocabularies. The new technology of printing had begun make written culture more accessible to a world burgeoning with literacy and an appetite for the word, and the majority of books here are printed rather than manuscripts written by hand. The books are beautifully displayed in shallow cases that allow you to appreciate the clarity of the printed text by actually reading the words, appreciating them as works of art and craft in themselves rather than simply vehicles for illumination. Perhaps the most significant object on show here is William Caxton’s Recuyell of the historyes of Troye, the first book printed in English.

P1930097I was fortunate enough to visit the exhibition on the occasion of a study day led by the exhibition curator, Adrian Armstrong. Our group was assigned a wonderful copy of Caxton’s English translation of the Golden Legend. First we studied the book as a physical object: assessing how the paper had been folded into bifolios and bound into quires. A copy that appears mint at first belies a fascinating object history: on close inspection showed how pages had been bookmarked by a neat reader. After a short break we looked at the book in a different way: how we might consider transcribing the text for a modern critical edition. Does one insert modern punctuation and expand contractions, or go the whole way and modernise the often archaic spelling? These are no doubt issues Caxton himself faced when sitting down with English, Latin and French versions of the Legenda Aurea back in Westminster in the 1480s.

The prologue from Caxton''s Golden Legend: the largest woodcut he ever produced

The prologue from Caxton”s Golden Legend: the largest woodcut he ever produced

These dual themes of material codicology and the linguistics of the text helped illuminate the texts on display outside, be it historical writing, poetry or phrasebooks. All these texts are material artefacts that can make manifest the essentially ephemeral speech of daily life in the late medieval Northern Europe: be it in diplomacy, trade, or leisure. This is certainly an exhibition to see if you are interested in the future aims of the project to unravel the interplay of literary cultures in this dynamic environment: both the autumn of the Middle Ages and the springtime of the Northern Renaissance.

Communities in the Communication: Languages and Cultures in the Late Medieval Low Countries is on at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester until 21 December 2014. Admission is free.

Autumn School: Latin Paleography and Medieval Liturgy (University of Ghent, October 2014)

Autumn School
Latin Paleography and Medieval Liturgy
University of Ghent, 20 – 22 October 2014
Application deadline: 31 August 2014

This Autumn School is organised for MA and PhD-students in Medieval Studies (art history, history, philosophy, literature, music, etc.) who are required to work with handwritten medieval documents in Latin or with liturgical sources and texts containing liturgical quotations or references.
autumn_school_ghentThe Autumn School starts with two days of parallel courses in Latin Paleography and Medieval Liturgy, taught by leading experts in the field.
The sessions about Medieval Liturgy focus, after an elaborate introduction to the various liturgical books, on the liturgical conventions in France and Germany, on liturgy and music, on liturgy and architecture and on books of hours.
The sessions about Latin paleography explain the interactions between paleography, Diplomatics and Codicology, and will then focus on different scripts, the evolution and layout of the page and reading practices, the organisation of the scriptoria and the position of the scribe.
On the third day of the course, workshops are organized for each theme, in which all topics dealt with during the previous days will be brought together in an interactive session.
In the space of three days, students will thus acquire a basic knowledge of either Latin Paleography or Medieval Liturgy as well the skills to implement this knowledge in their own research projects.

For the course on Latin Paleography, students need to have already a basic knowledge of (classical) Latin grammar and vocabulary. For the course in Medieval Liturgy, no previous knowledge is required.

Both courses are delivered in English. Since both courses are taught at the same time, participants can enrol for only one course.

For further information on programme and registration, see here.

Making Sense of Manuscripts – Saturday 14 June 2014, UCL History Department

_66149494_66149493[1]A workshop introducing students to the study of medieval documents.
Saturday 14 June 2014, UCL History Department
Diplomatic is the formal term for the study and analysis of documents in medieval
manuscripts. Diplomatic encompasses a broad range of documents from the Middle
Ages (royal charters, papal bulls, diplomas, legal writs, contracts, judicial records,
treaties, etc.) and requires a number of technical skills. But it is more than a merely
antiquarian pastime. The careful use of documents is essential for writing the
political, institutional, religious, social, economic and intellectual history of the Middle
Despite its importance, provision for introducing British students to the study of
Medieval Diplomatic remains limited. This one-day workshop at UCL will fill that gap.
Led by Professor David d’Avray the workshop will provide an introduction to some of
the technical skills necessary for analysing different types of British and continental
documents. Equally importantly, it will demonstrate how Diplomatic can help answer
a range of historical questions about secular governance, the papacy, monasteries
and social power, and medieval rationality.
The workshop is open to all students and will be of particular benefit to those
considering graduate work in medieval history.
Attendance is free and no knowledge of Latin is required. Lunch and refreshments
will be provided.
To register or find out more information, please contact the course organiser by
email (z.mistry@ucl.ac.uk) with your name and details. Please note that priority will
be given to undergraduates.
For more information about the UCL Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies,
visit http://www.ucl.ac.uk/mars.

Clothing Sacred Scripture (Zurich 9-11 Oct 14)

Zurich, October 9 – 11, 2014
Deadline: Feb 25, 2014

In a traditional perspective, book religions are seen as agents of
logocentrism, establishing a sharp dichotomy between scripture and
aesthetics, religion and art. This judgment was based primarily on
dogmatic assumptions and posterior idealizations, however. In the light
of their material, performative and artistic practice, religions of the
book show a surprisingly strong tendency to evolve their
own »aesthetics of inlibration«. Especially in pretypographic
cultures, »clothing« sacred texts with precious materials and ornate
forms was a powerful instrument for creating a close relation between
the divine words and their human audience.

The questions this conference aims to address grow from a comparative
and transcultural approach to religious book culture. Whereas
traditional research on book art has focused on single textual
communities within exclusive religious frameworks, we propose to look
beyond these boundaries. Our discussion of various strategies for
clothing sacred scripture shall include objects and practices from all
Abrahamic religions. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam developed
different approaches to the aesthetics of inlibration. By analyzing and
comparing these practices of religious book art, we aim to better
understand their cultural and historical specificity within a broader

To which extent the choice of materials, book formats, and artistic
patterns mark religious difference and shape religious identity is one
of several questions this conference will address. Yet »Clothing« the
book could also produce the contrary effect. Since it was based on
practices of circulation and exchange between different religious
cultures, it could also undermine claims of religious identity and
absolute truth.

Furthermore, addressing questions of materiality and mediality should
not obfuscate the conflicts and tensions that arise at times between
the visual and tactile dimension and the invisible and intangible
dimension of sacred books. In this respect, the activity of adorning
holy scripture appears to be located between two extremes that
characterize the concept of the book. On the one hand, the book is a
visible and tangible container of God’s animate speech, on the other,
the book is a threshold that leads to the invisible and immaterial
realm of God’s holy words.

This conference will explore both sides of the nexus between sacred
scripture and art. How did art shape the religious practice of books,
and how did the central importance of religious books shape the
evolution of artistic practices? The organizers welcome contributions
from a wide range of medievalist research, discussing topics such as:

– the spatial and temporal structure of books. How do books articulate
the process of opening, unfolding, and closing, and how does their
physical or visual structure contrast exterior with interior spaces,
beginnings with endings? How do these elements create different spheres
and times of revelation?

– the performativity of book rituals. Which kind of ritual activities
(in the broadest sense) involve sacred books? How does book art answer
to the dynamics of animating the letter by reading, singing,
displaying, carrying, illuminating and writing or burying books?

– materiality and its transformation. Which materials were chosen for
creating sacred books, which semantic values and transformative forces
were ascribed to them, and in which ways did these materials contribute
to mediate between human and divine spheres?

– ornament and its rejection. Analyzing the art of sacred books can
lead to a more nuanced understanding of ornamental practices. In some
contexts, traditional ornament is rejected in favor of scripture in its
purest form, thus generating a kind of anti-ornamental décor for the
book. So when was ornamentation considered merely a mundane practice?
And which arguments were put forward to propagate ornament as evocation
of divine beauty?

– iconicity and aniconicity of decorated books. Recent scholarship has
underlined analogies between the cult of books and the cult of images.
This approach has opened new avenues of thought for perceiving books as
objects and not just as texts. Some book religions tend to contrast
books with images, however, and treat books as alternative solutions
for worship. How is the clothing of books related to these contrasting
principles of iconicity and aniconicity?

Please send Please send proposals of up to 300 words for 30min papers
and a short CV to:
David Ganz (david.ganz@uzh.ch) and Barbara Schellewald
(Barbara.Schellewald@unibas.ch) by February 25 2014

Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: Clothing sacred scripture (Zurich 9-11 Oct 14). In: H-ArtHist, Feb
5, 2014. <http://arthist.net/archive/6927>.