In medieval Iceland, lawspeakers remembered the laws of their society by heart. They used this knowledge to resolve disputes at the thing. In the course of the Middle Ages, however, laws were written down. Now, it turns out that the scribes thought carefully about the process. About which parchment to use for law texts to avoid falsification. New research shows that they chose the parchment that is the hardest to scratch and thus, to remove text from! The academic article is in Open Access (see below), but there is also an fine read on Science News. Doherty, S.P., Henderson, S., Fiddyment, S. et al., ‘Scratching the surface: the use of sheepskin parchment to deter textual erasure in early modern legal deeds.’ in: Heritage Science Volume 9.29 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s40494-021-00503-6.
A Wiki-style project on monastic manuscripts.
This story fits into the Viking Age. Just. And it’s not exactly about Vikings, but it’s such a good story about a medieval manuscript that I wanted to share. On The Conversation is a tale of how Hildegard of Bingen’s Riesencodex (c. 1200) was returned to its original home in Wiesbaden after the WW 2. A true story of courage, wit, and nerves of steel. This is magical stuff for a brilliant screenplay, if you ask me.
A new online dictionary and text edition resource, specifically for Old Norse!
A database of medieval German sources.
Repository for Old Norse images.