The Men behind the Pen: the Life of the Scribe in the Middle Ages

The glories of the manuscripts are one thing. The men (and women) who made them are another.  Who was wielding the quills in the thousand years before the Reformation and how much do we know about them as individuals? The answer is that we know a surprisingly large amount and we find that, despite their breath-taking skill, they had feet of clay just as we do; they got angry and fell out with each other, they worried about their work, they complained continually about their labour and the conditions in which they worked (not unreasonably) and they made mistakes. All of these things can be seen in the bibles, books of psalms and gospels and numerous other works prepared in the scriptorium. We go behind the scenes, so to speak, to eavesdrop on their conversation and watch them at work.

Carolingian minuscule