Medieval England and France, 700-1200

The project that my team have been working on for the past few years is now complete!  The British Library’s website Medieval England and France, 700-1200 is now live, along with its companion site at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, France-Angleterre: manuscrits médiévaux entre 700 et 1200, both supported by the Polonsky Foundation.

MEF website

The British Library’s website is an introduction to the manuscripts that were digitised for the project, featuring 24 articles on all aspects of early medieval manuscripts, their creation, their use, and their circulation.  A particular favourite of mine is Elizabeth Morrison’s ‘Beastly Tales from the Medieval Bestiary‘, which discusses how animals were used as a way of understanding human behaviour and the Christian life, with each animal reminding the reader of a different aspect of God, humanity or the devil.  Thanks to this article, there was a day when my job in medieval studies actually involved looking up the warthog from The Lion King.

harley_ms_4751_f011r bonnacon
The bonnacon sprays its dung in self-defence.  London, British Library Harley MS 4751, f. 11r.

If you want to know more about how manuscripts were made, there is a whole series of videos which can show you, using real parchment, medieval-style dyes, gold, and .. eggs, believe it or not.  (How?  Watch the video and find out!)

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

(Isn’t that so satisfying to watch?)

115 of the project manuscripts have been selected for a special showcase of images, with a brief introduction.  But if that’s not enough, then all 800 of the project’s manuscripts can be found, digitised from cover to cover, on the website hosted by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, France-Angleterre: manuscrits médiévaux entre 700 et 1200.

Although my time spent on the project has been brief, I have been very fortunate to have had a hand in many different parts of the process, and it has been a great pleasure to have worked together with such fantastic colleagues.

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