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 > Scribal Colofon

Give me drink

The medieval manuscript lacked a title page, which was invented by fifteenth-century printers. Without a title page, it can be difficult to determine where, when, or by whom the book was made. To the medieval reader, however, much of this information was either irrelevant or already known. Why state that a text is by Augustine if you can easily determine that yourself by simply reading the first lines?
Lucky for us, on occasion, scribes added a colophon to the book (almost always found on the last page). The colophon provides us with similar information now copied onto title pages. A scribe may state, for example, in which year he copied the book, where he lived, and, in some cases, even for whom the book was made. The colophon shown here provides a more prosaic fact, namely that a scribe is thirsty: "This work is completed, master, now give me a drink!"