Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Medieval Writing

There is something fascinating about the medieval discipline of writing - its rules, its implements. It is perhaps its indisposable nature that I admire. I admire it not because I aspire to the past. The uniqueness of parchments, the concocting processes of inks, the cutting of quills evoke a reverence for the written word. Reverence that flows not from the sacredness of text but from the very materials of writing. 

If an animal had to be slaughtered and its skin arduously treated to provide a writing surface - if a wasp's nest had to be boiled with rainwater and vitriol to make ink - if a goose had to be chased, a feather extracted, dipped in hot sand and cut to make a quill, then I would surely revere the Word: not for what it means but for how it is created. 

Medieval Writing is a wonderful resource on the practice of writing in the medieval ages (Tools and Materials - quills, inks, parchment, material culture of writing; Forms of Manuscripts; Scribes and Libraries; Written Word and much more) created by John and Dianne Tillotson, two Australian academics with a passion for medieval culture. 


  1. I'm glad I discovered your blog. I love the care you take in choosing topics and bringing them to us. It's always a good read!

  2. Thank you so much. Good words are always good to hear. And are much appreciated.

  3. Well, calligraphy is a sort of visual music. One need not know what the text says in order to enjoy it if its structure is harmonious, which is an art in itself.