Ever so often we stumble on some minor medieval news, which do not merit a full article, but nevertheless, deserve a short notice.
New parts of Tintagel are being excavated this summer. Oysters, roast pork, broiled fish in olive oil… all served on imported ceramics from Turkey accompanied by wines drunk from Spanish glass goblets!
In connection with the joint project between The British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which aims at digitising 800 manuscripts, Cotton MS Caligula A VII, f. 11r was recently made available. Written in Old Saxon the poem consists of slightly fewer than 6000 verses and is – apart from some dispersed fragments – preserved in two manuscripts. One resides in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich (Cgm 25) and another in The British Library. This last manuscript was probably produced in England and was decorated in a late Anglo-Saxon style with zoomorphic initials. Curiously enough, the British manuscript was at a slightly later time fitted with marginal notes in the Anglo-Saxon script known as “Square Minuscule”. On the first page, we read that it holds the text of the New Testament, written in “Euangelia in Lingua Danica” – or as it was called in the Viking Age: “Dansker-tungen” = Old Norse! Which means that the owner of the manuscript understood the Old Saxon as the same as Old Norse.
In May 2017, Erik Kwakkel, appointed Scaliger professor at the Leiden University Library, held his inaugural lecture on “The Unchained Book”. In connection with this we got a glimpse of what is next on the agenda for the creative codicologist, who invented the idea of “Medieval Eye-Candy” and reached soaring heights of clicks with his blog post about the cat, which walked across a medieval manuscript and ended up in the National Geographic.
Kwakkel aims to start a multidisciplinary research project to discover how teachers actually taught in the past. He intends to use the educational artefacts held in the Special Collections as the basis for this research. These can be volumes that were used for teaching, as well as books with notes made by pupils or students, or even wax tablets held in other sections of the University Library. The Special Collections offers many and diverse educational insights into the past.