Books in Medieval Europe

A beginner’s guide to books in medieval Europe

More medieval books survive from the Middle Ages than any other artistic medium.

c. 330 - 1300 C.E.

Recording and disseminating information is quick and easy today, but in the Middle Ages this process was slow and laborious. Monastic libraries housed most books and all books were copied by hand, usually by monks. This process of copying and disseminating books was essential to the preservation of knowledge.

Medieval manuscripts, an introduction

Medieval manuscripts, an introduction

By Dr. Nancy Ross

What survives More medieval books survive from the Middle Ages than any other artistic medium. Scholars refer to the hand-made books of the Middle Ages as manuscripts. Books that contain artistic decoration are called illuminated manuscripts. Manuscripts that survive...

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The Bestiary

The Bestiary

By Dr. Nancy Ross

A book of beasts Have you ever heard that elephants are afraid of mice? Or that foxes are deceptive? These characterizations of animals come from a medieval book called the Bestiary, or Book of Beasts. Though these books are not known to many today, you are likely...

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