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− 西欧中世の書物文化をたずねて 

日本語版  定価 2,500円 (税別)


The Echternach Manuscripts

English Subtitles ¥2,500 (without tax)

Exploring Medieval European Culture of Books

The Abbey of Echternach was founded in 698 by St. Willibrord (658-739) who had come from England as a missionary. Books and other written materials were essential to the religious and educational activities of the abbey. Before the invention of printing with moveable type, these materials had to be copied by hand on parchment made from the thinned hides of calves or young goats. A scriptorium was set up in the abbey to provide the materials to stock the abbey's library, and specially trained monks labored there to copy original documents and proof their work. The copyists not only had to copy each text accurately, they also had to devise fonts that were easy to read, design efficient layouts, decorate the texts with headlines, initials, and dividing lines, and at times add illustrations. For centuries, the copyists at Echternach sat at desks on chairs like that displayed in this exhibition, took up pens made from sharpened reeds or feathers and silently did their work, in the eleventh century giving birth to the Golden Gospels or Codex Aureus, the pinnacle of the copyists art with its lush decoration in gold, silver and colors. In 1794, as the French revolutionary army approached, Benedictine monks fled the monastery and carried with them only a small number of items, which they had been able to hide in safe locations. As a result, the rest of considerable number of precious manuscripts were lost forever. This spelled the end of the Echternach scriptorium and library. Today only a fraction of the manuscripts they penned still survive, which have been carefully protected and preserved,in Paris, London, Bremen,Neremberg, Upsala, and EI Escorial in Spain in almost unbelievably good condition despite the passage of over ten centuries.

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