Navigating the book
Medieval scribes recognized that readers may need some help finding their way throughout the book or within the texts they contained. Over time, a number of tools were invented to this end. Many of them we still use today, such as the page number (foliation
), the running title
, and the index. This example is taken from a twelfth-century page and shows three aids to the reader. Most pronounced is the colorful initial letter U. Its size and color clearly marked the opening of a new chapter.
Thumbing through the book, in search of a particular section of text, the letters would jump out at the reader. The red lines above the U form a rubric
: a heading that indicates what the next text section will discuss. This too was an important tool for finding certain information. The line underneath it, which is highlighted with a green wash, is the first line of the new section. It expressed where the reader should start reading. Combined, these three are a clever lot, helping the reader navigate the book and text at a fast pace.