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
> Correcting the Text > Erasure

Mistake be gone!

How did a medieval scribe correct a mistake? If you forgot to copy a word, you could simply insert it in between the lines of the completed text. If you had written down the wrong word or sentence, correcting the text could take considerable more effort. In such cases scribes often resorted to their knife. Dried ink could be 'snapped' off the page with the knife's tip.
Once the words were removed the correct reading was placed in the gap. However, a mistake was never fully deleted. You can often still vaguely see the outlines of the original text on the parchment, much like in a palimpsest. Moreover, the surface of the spots usually feels slightly softer, which is gives away that the scribe intervened with a knife.