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

Words, words, words

Parchment makers prepared skins, scribes cut their pens and filled their ink pots, and binders packed their workshops with leather and wood. All these activities would be in vain were it not for the single event that sparked them: copying words. Writing a medieval text with a quill is hard work. "The fingers write, but the whole body suffers," says a medieval saying. The pen could only move downwards because of how the nib was cut, which meant that letters had to be broken up into multiple pen strokes. This made writing a very slow process: a Bible could take a year to complete. A scribe's handwriting - script - can tell us where and when he was trained to write. Script tells us these things because the shape of letters was constantly changing, Script is thus an important historical tool that helps to place stories and information into theta proper cultural-historical setting.