From Manuscript to Print: the Evolution of the Medieval Book

horizontal rule
When the Roman Empire disintegrated, it was the centrality of the sacred word, fostered by the Christian Church, that preserved the culture of writing in the West. Most of the books produced during the Middle Ages were copies of religious texts, laboriously written out by scribes in monasteries and often embellished with gold and intricate artwork. But the Christian concern with writing also served to preserve the profane texts of classical antiquity.

horizontal rule
Lombard Gradual. Northern Italy, mid-fifteenth century.
horizontal rule

view image

continue reading

the Sacred Word
Private Prayer
Leather and Chains
Medieval Music
How the Classics Survived
Manuscripts in the Age of Print
Evolution of the Book
Appetite for Destruction
Manuscript Facsimiles
Cornell's Medieval Books
Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library

Copyright 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections
2B Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853
Phone Number: (607) 255-3530. Fax Number: (607) 255-9524

For reference questions, send mail to:
If you have questions or comments about the site, send mail to: webmaster.