Every Codex Tells A Story


At the end of the manuscript the scribe gives the year of the book’s completion in self-confidently large letters: Das puch ist geschriben… (‘This book was copied…’). Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SBB-PK), Ms.germ.fol. 1413, fol. 225v.

Welcome to this Virtual Exhibition, where you can explore the world of the medieval manuscript (‘codex’) and see for yourself what we can learn from books that are hundreds of years old.

This Virtual Exhibition has been created by members of a research project called The Dynamics of the Medieval Manuscript.  This project, involving scholars from four universities in three countries, is funded by HERA.  You can read more about the project by clicking here.

You can explore the exhibition in different ways:

  • If you want to find out more about what manuscripts are, how we study them, and the world in which they were made, click on the Five Rooms button below.
  • If you would rather read about some individual manuscripts in more detail, click on the Case Studies button at the end of this page.

Whichever pathway you choose, you will find lots of links back and forth between them, as our picture of the past fits together.

You can also use the buttons at the top of each page:

  • Audio – listen to members of the project read texts from the manuscripts featured here, as they might have sounded in the Middle Ages.
  • Glossary – a list of the technical terms used in this exhibition, and what they mean.
  • Bibliography – where to go to read more.
  • Search box – to look for specific information.

What’s this (?)

As you wander through this exhibition, you will sometimes see a question mark in brackets after an unusual or technical word, like this (?). Clicking on the question mark will take you to the glossary where you can read an explanation of these words.

Now you’re ready to begin exploring the manuscripts themselves.

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