Quill Books before print mediamediamediamediamediamedia
choosing a writing support
making quires and sheets
preparing the page
copying the text
correcting the text
decorating the book
binding the book
using the book
> Copying the Text > Reading Aids> Rubric


As Spanish bull fighters know, red is an excellent color for attracting attention. In manuscripts it was used for the rubric (from the Latin word for "red"). Placed at the outset of each chapter, rubrics provided the reader with an indication of what the following chapter was about. Now that was handy! Some were very short and simply stated "about such and such," while others were quite elaborate - spoilers, even, which revealed in detail what the reader was about to read.
The color red set the words apart from the black or brown words of the main text. Moreover, the bright color on the otherwise dull page acted as a reading aid: it helped the reader find certain information in an efficient manner. If red was not available, scribes would write the chapter titles in a different script to make it stand out from the main text.