The Blackletter style used throughout these manuscripts—sometimes called the Gothic hand—was copied by scribes across Europe beginning in the late twelfth century. Blackletter evolved from Carolingian script after it was found that holding the quill at a different angle, tilted to the side rather than pointing back toward the scribe, made writing a smoother process. But the new angle required that the tip of the quill be cut more obliquely on the writing edge. The distinct features of this script include uniform vertical strokes ending on the baseline (called “minims"), angular strokes for round or curved letters, and merging curved letters that appear in succession. All these techniques, as well as the frequent use of abbreviations, were adopted to make writing more efficient in terms of time and materials. While the efficient use of materials was always a concern for medieval writers, large margins were still left for illuminations, marginal notes, and corrections. This last point was crucial as medieval texts—especially larger ones like the Bible—often had multiple scribes copying separate parts from different exemplars, which meant that the potential for error was high. Blackletter continued to be used after movable type was invented in the mid-fifteenth century, which imitated the style of handwritten manuscripts. Indeed, this style of writing is preserved even today on university diplomas.

Medieval scribes wrote in workshops called scriptoriums, which first existed in monasteries and expanded to churches, universities, and trades workers' shops in later centuries as the production of books moved from the realm of the clergy to the laity. Although little is known about how scriptoriums were organized, the tools of scribes are well known to modern scholars. The primary tool, the quill, was typically made of goose or swan feathers that were stripped down until only the shaft remained. For the writing of smaller script, crows’ feathers were used. The penknife was also an essential tool for scribes as it served many functions. Penknives would be used to erase mistakes before the ink had dried (they would scrape the ink from the parchment surface), to sharpen quills (something that was frequently required), and to hold the parchment flat while writing. Sharpening a quill was such a cumbersome task that busy scribes would keep from sixty to one hundred quills on hand while writing to avoid slowing down the process. Scribes would copy texts from an exemplar and did not necessarily have a direct interest in the text’s content, but questions of scribes’ ethical behaviour—such as whether they chose to add, edit, or omit passages—should still be considered. For example, while the Vulgate Bible in this collection follows the ordering of the Paris Bible—which had become the standard for Bibles during the thirteenth century—it also has unique prologues to some books not found in the Paris Bible and it omits others that were supposed to be included. Were these commissioned by the customer, or did the scribe object to the Paris order? Or was the scribe ignorant of their unqiueness and faithfully copied the exemplar at his disposal? 

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