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During the Medieval period many hand-written books were produced that combined text and illustrations.


During the Medieval period many hand-written books were produced that combined text and illustrations. Known as

codices (singular–codex) these were used by individuals, families, parish churches, convents/monasteries, though primarily access was limited to the clergy or the wealthy and noble. Follow the links for the first two examples and just look at the image briefly, zooming in for some detail. 

Look at the size of the first example that was made specifically for one woman (a queen of France) with 132 scenes from the lives of Jesus Christ, his mother the Virgin Mary and various saints. 

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The second larger page comes from the Book of Revelation in the Christian bible. This was created for an unknown patron and kept in a monastery- the illustration depicts a scene from Revelation chapter 6 verses 1-8 describing those who are commonly called, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (maybe not quite as threatening in appearance as the ones from the X-Men movie.)

In this third example we will explore the pages a little closer and answer a few questions. 

First- Follow the link below to access the Geese Book & read the main entry on the Home page 

Second- From the left hand side on the home page, select Why and then watch the video

Third- Select Who and watch the video for Colophons

Fourth- Select Facsimile, choosing either volume use the drop menu to find the Vigil of the Ascension, hit play and listen to the chant and see if you can follow the singers with the words on the page (yes it is not English but the pronunciation is primarily phonetic) and then zoom in on the bas-de-page (bottom of page) illustration. Look at the illustrations for the Nativity of Mary Vol 2 fol. 103r and All Saints Day Vol 2 fol. 122r

Consider the following questions in your writing assignment:

1. What was the purpose of the Colophons; what did they reference, how were they used?

2. Do you think these illustrations are random, why or why not?

3. Keeping in mind that even at that time there were serious societal issues such as geographic and economic divisions, religious and political complexities and normal human drama…What might the illustrated scene of the geese you looked at mean?

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