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
> Using the Book> Gloss


From the moment we learn to read as a child
we are told not to write in our books.
Still, we often do, especially when we use the
book for school. If it is not our own copy, we
may write with pencil, so that our personal
thoughts may be removed after use. Medieval
readers had no problem writing in the margins,
and apparently had no qualms about using
permanent ink. In fact, it is hard to point out
a manuscript that does not contain any such

Some of these notes (or glosses) were
extensive, and the scribe had to extend the
margins to accommodate them. The glosses
seen here provide an alternative meaning
("mixta vel bibita"), a clarification ("posita") and
an encouragement to check something out in
another book (the letter "r" for "require").