The first part of the course is theoretical : it involves the examination of different stages in the composition of a code : written supports - composition of copy-books - folding the leaves - page setting - stitching and ruling - transcription methods - the copyist 's working tools- decoration and binding. Thus the course is more interested in the study of the container than the contents. With the help of facsimiles, we shall try to show the particularities a researcher may encounter in a codex while doing a codicological description. The course seeks to show the links existing between the material stages in the fabrication of a manuscript and the transmission of the texts conserved therein : the manuscript is by its essence the cultural witness to its epoch. The second part of the course is practical. Each student is asked to describe a manuscript of his choosing and to put the theoretical information that was presented during the first part of the course to work.
The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and
command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be
accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled
“Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :
By the end of instruction, students should be able to :
- understand the codex as an archeological witness to our cultural past;
- reconstitute the various stages in the composition of a medieval book;
- point out the material indices helping us find a manuscript's origin and sometimes date it.
Evaluation : One half of the evaluation bears on knowledge of theoretical fundamentals taught in the course. Codicological description of a manuscript is considered a practical exercise and constitutes the second part of the evaluation.
Teaching materials : Student notes. Didactic material (videodiscs, material from the period, parchment, ruled copy-books, quill pens, elements of decoration, etc.) serve to illustrate each course. Students are invited to use as their reference manual : Introduction à la codicologie , de J. LEMAIRE (Publications de l'Institut d'Etudes Médiévales. Textes, études, congrès, 9). Louvain-la-Neuve, 1989.