Themes

How were medieval manuscripts made? What was the purpose of manuscript illustration and decoration? What did people in the Middle Ages know about science, arithmetic and astronomy? What were the most popular medieval books and texts in monastic libraries? Explore the themes below to find answers to all these questions and more.
A decorated initial from the Foigny Abbey Bible.

Art and illumination

Learn more about manuscript art from the illumination and decoration found in medieval books.

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A decorated initial containing a representation of a male figure with outstretched hands.

History and learning

Explore the spread and exchange of medieval culture and language before 1200.

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A detail of a diagram of the winds, from an early 12th-century miscellany.

Science and nature

From medical surgery to the stars of the constellations, what were the scientific works of the early Middle Ages and how were they transmitted?

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A decorated initial and frame from the Beatus page of the Eadui Psalter.

Making manuscripts

Learn more about book production in the Middle Ages and how to illuminate a manuscript today.

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An illustration of Christ in Majesty, from the St Denis Missal.

Christian religion and belief

Discover how religious works were transmitted in the Middle Ages.

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An illustration of a peacock, from an English bestiary.

Medieval manuscript collections today

Learn more about modern care and research of medieval manuscripts.

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