Fragments of Medieval Books in Bergen

Jaakko Tahkokallio

In early November this year, 2009, The Center for Medieval Studies at the University of Bergen held a workshop entitled The Manuscript Triangle: France-England-Scandinavia 1100-1300, co-funded by NOS-HS (Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences).

Over thirty European medievalists attended to examine French and English influences in medieval Nordic book production. Most of the presentations were concerned with fragments of liturgical books, leaves of which were used as wrappings and bindings for account books in the 16th and 17th centuries. This manner of secondary use has preserved fragments of thousands of medieval books once formerly put to use in monasteries, cathedrals and parish churches throughout Scandinavian. The fragments thus illustrate all levels, high and low, of a once flourishing Scandinavian medieval manuscript culture.

During the workshop, a wide range of topics were discussed, concerning both a triangle comprising France, England and Scandinavia and the period 1100 to 1300. Topics covered included Parisian book production in the twelfth and thirteenth century; glossed books of the Bible and other glossed books; large twelfth-century Bibles; large high-quality English missals; law books; Cistercian manuscripts and much more. The workshop programme, material used during the presentations, a list of participants and other information can be found at the website of the workshop.

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