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Spot the difference
two manuscripts from c.1000 CE

Take a look at the two images of manuscript folios below. The one on the left is from a collection of riddles written in Latin; the one on the right is from an Old English biblical poem based on the book of Genesis.

Some questions:

  • What differences and what similarities immediately strike you when looking at these two pages? You might think about layout and spacing, handwriting style and size, ink, titles, and so forth.

  • What kind of artistic, decorative features are at play on these pages?

  • How might language (Latin and Old English) play into the differences in design that you have observed?


When you've finished, try clicking through to the digital facsimiles via the links beneath each image. You can explore the manuscript, turning the pages and looking at the way scribes laid out their texts.


British Library, Royal C XIII (folio 83)

Access the digital facsimile here


Bodleian Library, Junius 11 (page 5)

Access the digital facsimile here

Photo: © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

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