You are in Introduction. Click here to skip the navigation.
British Library
Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
About Simple search Manuscript search Advanced search  Virtual exhibitions Glossaries Contact us  Main
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
 
 
     
 

Glossaries

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  Hebrew 

MANNERED

Additional MS 49520, f. 1

A mannered style is one that appears self-conscious and somewhat artificial.

MANUSCRIPT

The word manuscript, literally 'handwritten', has come to be used to describe a book written by hand. It is abbreviated as ms. (singular) and mss. (plural).

MAPPA MUNDI (pl. MAPPAE MUNDI)

Harley MS 3667, f. 8v Additional MS 28681, f. 9v Harley MS 4940, f. 28

A world map. Mappae mundi are known to have been produced during ANTIQUITY, but the earliest surviving example is in an ANGLO-SAXON book of the early eleventh century. During the GOTHIC period, illuminated mappae mundi were produced for inclusion in books and as altarpieces (such as the Hereford Mappa Mundi). They functioned as visual encyclopaedias of world knowledge, incorporating material from biblical history and texts such as the Marvels of the East (concerning the mythical inhabitants of the East). In the later Middle Ages, thanks to developments in navigation and chart making, more detailed coastlines were grafted on to mappae mundi. Diagrammatic world maps, such as the T maps of Isidore of Seville, which depicted the three known continents as a T contained in a circle, were also produced during the Middle Ages.

MARGINALIA

Burney MS 224, f. 3 Lansdowne MS 451, f. 6 Stowe MS 17, f. 176 Yates Thompson MS 13, f. 112v

The Latin word for 'things in the margin', marginalia refers to writing or decoration in the margins of a manuscript. Such features can form part of the original program of work, but they also can be of a secondary or even extraneous nature. Marginalia include GLOSSES, annotations, and diagrams. Fully developed BORDER decoration, especially that of the fifteenth century, is considered a separate genre or component of the decorative scheme.

MARTYROLOGY

Harley MS 624, f. 93v

A book, sometimes called a passionale, containing narrative readings on the lives and martyrdoms of the saints, to be read in the DIVINE OFFICE at the canonical hour of prime. The contents of a martyrology are arranged according to the SANCTORALE of the liturgical year.

MASS

Stowe MS 582, f. 18v Sloane MS 2468, f. 115

Along with the DIVINE OFFICE, the mass forms the basis of Christian LITURGY. It centres on the Eucharist, the celebration of Christ's sacrifice, which derived from his actions at the Last Supper and the agape, or love feast, of the early Church. The term stems from the dismissal at the end of the celebration, Ite, missa est ('the dismissal is here', or 'Go, [the congregation] is dismissed'). The texts for the performance of the mass, which include practices and formulae added over the centuries, were first contained in the SACRAMENTARY and then in the MISSAL. The mass was attended daily by those in religious orders, the clergy, and, with varying frequency, by members of the laity.

MASTER

Miniature attributed to the Mazarine Master (named after Paris, Bibliotheque Mazarine, ms. 469), Yates Thompson MS 46, f. 25

Frequently employed in names of convenience used to identify anonymous artists, the word also denotes an artist whose work is considered of importance and often of particularly high quality. Master ILLUMINATORS frequently attracted a following and employed others (perhaps to supply BORDERS, INITIALS, or minor decorative components, or to assist in painting MINIATURES and major decorative components). In some cases the name of the master is known (for example, the thirteenth-century Parisian illuminator Master Honoré), but the majority of masters are anonymous and are often identified by key examples of their work or by distinctive features of their style. Among fifteenth-century artists, the Master of Guillebert de Mets is named after a SCRIBE with whom he worked on a copy of Boccaccio's Decameron, and the Boucicaut Master is named after the Maréchal de Boucicaut, the PATRON of one of his most important manuscripts. The Masters of the Gold Scrolls are a group of Flemish artists so called because of their predilection for incorporating scroll work into their miniatures. See also .SECULAR PRODUCTION

MEDICAL TEXTS

Burney MS 359, f. 19v Harley MS 1585, f. 9v Treatment of genital diseases, Sloane MS 1977, f. 7v

Texts concerning healing were frequently illustrated as an aid to comprehension in ANTIQUITY, as evidenced by works such as the Johnson PAPYRUS of c. 400 and the early HERBALS.

A number of ancient texts were preserved in the early medieval West, among them Dioscorides' De materia medica, the Herbarium of Pseudo-Apuleius Platonicus, and Placitus' Liber medicinae ex animalibus (On the Medicinal Qualities of Animals). Other classical treatises on medicine were preserved by Islamic scholars. Elements of Christian charismatic healing and of Western pagan lore were absorbed into this tradition, resulting in works such as the ANGLO-SAXON leechbooks. Beginning in the late twelfth century, the natural philosophy of classical scholars such as Galen of Pergamon exerted an influence. Galen's ideas and those of Hippocrates were accompanied by the COMMENTARIES of Islamic scholars in the Articella, a twelfth-century text. Islamic philosophical texts containing medical data, such as those of Avicenna (eleventh century) and Averroës (twelfth century), also influenced the West during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Practical treatises were composed in the high Middle Ages, including Roger Frugardi's Chirurgia (1180) and John Arderne's Fistula in ano (1376), along with manuals on health such as that by Aldobrandino da Siena of the thirteenth century.

Many of the illustrations accompanying medical works are diagrammatic, including depictions of the Zodiac Man, the Bloodletting Man, the Muscle Man, the Wound Man, and the Disease Woman, whose bodies are labelled with appropriate afflictions or symbols. The Zodiac Man, for example, shows the propitious time for treating various ailments in any part of the body. Luxuriously illuminated medical manuscripts were produced in the later Middle Ages, stimulated by the increase in secular patronage. Monastic libraries contained a number of medical manuscripts, and universities, notably those of Paris and Salerno, also contributed to the dissemination of these texts. See also CALENDAR, COMPUTUS TEXTS, and VADE MECUM.

MEMBRA DISJECTA

Detached leaves from a manuscript, the term is the Latin for 'things scattered'.

MEMORIAL See SUFFRAGE.

METAL POINT

A writing implement made of metal and used for annotation, drawing, and RULING, which leaves a trace element on the writing surface. This mark varies in appearance according to the metal used (and any alloys present), with a ferrous point leaving a brown mark, silver and lead (LEAD POINT) leaving a silver-grey trace, and copper alloys sometimes leaving a grey-green mark. The marks produced are more discreet than those made with INK but more visible than those made with a HARD POINT. Metal point increased in use from the eleventh century on. INSTRUCTIONS to artists and BINDERS' notes were often executed in this medium.

MINIATURE

Royal MS 19 D III, f. 273 Yates Thompson MS 36, f. 132 Egerton MS 940, f. 4

An independent illustration, as opposed to a scene incorporated into another element of the decorative scheme such as a BORDER or INITIAL. It takes its name from the Latin miniare, meaning 'to colour with red' (the adornment of books originally was executed in red, or minium).

MISE-EN-PAGE

Egerton MS 633, f. 9

This term refers to the layout of a page. Significant developments in the mise-en-page of manuscripts include the standardization of a one- or two-column layout during the LATE ANTIQUE and EARLY CHRISTIAN periods (initially four columns might be used, in emulation of an unrolled section of a ROLL). Experiments with complex layout and RULING patterns to accommodate GLOSSES, COMMENTARIES, and other parallel texts took place during the CAROLINGIAN period and, notably, within university book production from the thirteenth century. Another important development was the standard adoption of a layout wherein the top line of text was written 'below top-line' rather than 'above top-line' of the ruling, a change that appeared around 1220-40 and which acts as a useful criterion for dating manuscripts.

MISSAL

Arundel MS 108, f. 10c Egerton MS 3511, ff. 107v-108 Stowe MS 10, ff. 113v-114

A SERVICE BOOK containing the texts necessary for the performance of the MASS (including chants, prayers, and readings), together with ceremonial directions. The prayers and other texts recited by the priest were originally contained in the SACRAMENTARY, which was used together with the GRADUAL, the EVANGELARY, and the EPISTOLARY for the performance of high or solemn mass. The missal was introduced in the CAROLINGIAN period and by the thirteenth century had supplanted the older SACRAMENTARY, combining in one volume the various components for the performance of the mass. Its development was prompted by the custom of saying private masses and low masses, which were performed by the celebrant alone. Principal fields for decoration in the missal are the canon page (with the text Te igitur) and the Vere dignum monogram.

MODEL

An image which inspires a copy or stimulates a response.

MODEL BOOK

Sloane MS 1448A, ff. 21v-22

A book in which artists recorded designs, of their own invention or copied from other sources, often accompanied by notes relating to colour and composition. Many such books must have existed but very few have survived. Some late BYZANTINE examples are extant, and a famous Western medieval model book of the thirteenth century survives at Wolfenbüttel. Another important Western example is that produced by the artist Villard de Honnecourt, also in the thirteenth century. The early fifteenth-century sketchbook of Jacques D'Aliwe, executed on boxwood tablets, is a rare example of the sort of sketches that must have existed in quantity during the later Middle Ages. FLYLEAVES sometimes carry designs of the type found in model books. Waste materials such as fragments of wood, slate, or bone were often used to try out designs; these are known as motif pieces.

MODELLED

Additional MS 14787, f. 6v

Modelling is the technique of giving depicted objects the appearance of three-dimensionality through shading and highlighting.

MONASTIC PRODUCTION

From the EARLY CHRISTIAN period until the rise of the universities around 1200, book production was largely centred in monastic SCRIPTORIA, with male and female religious participating in the work. A scriptorium could operate under a supervisor, and the work teams varied in composition, from a single artist-scribe who was responsible for a whole book to extensive teams of scribes, ILLUMINATORS, correctors, and BINDERS. The sequence of work also varied, but the general procedure seems to have entailed the writing of the main text, its RUBRICATION, ILLUMINATION, and CORRECTION, followed by sewing and BINDING. Work in the scriptorium represented one part of the daily work in a monastic community, as prescribed by its rule. Monastic production continued alongside SECULAR PRODUCTION during the later Middle Ages.

MOTTO

Harley MS 4328, f. 410 Burney MS 290, f. 2

A word or phrase attached to an EMBLEM, often explaining or emphasizing its symbolic value. In HERALDRY a motto is a word or phrase carried on a scroll and placed below an achievement of arms or above a crest. The motto can refer to the name or exploits of the bearer or to elements included in the arms or can simply be a pious expression.

MUSIC MANUSCRIPTS

Lansdowne MS 451, f. 127 Egerton MS 2601, f. 1 Hirsch MS III. 606, f. 25v

Manuscripts in which music appears, whether ecclesiastical or secular, were sometimes illuminated, the extent of ILLUMINATION depending largely on patronage and purpose. Depictions of musicians and instruments frequently appear in medieval manuscripts as DROLLERIES and in INITIALS and BAS-DE-PAGE scenes.

Music was incorporated into the Christian LITURGY early on, influenced by the use of music in the synagogue. The study of music theory was part of the Antique and medieval Liberal Arts syllabus. Plainchant (unison singing, originally unaccompanied) was the traditional music of the western Church. From about 1000, vocal polyphony (music with two or more melodically independent parts) was being practiced at Winchester in England. A particularly rich repertoire of polyphony came from the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. Polyphony made certain chants of the MASS longer and more complex. From the mid-thirteenth century on, liturgical polyphony shared a number of characteristics with secular music.

There is little early written evidence for secular music, although there was probably a rich oral tradition, but collections of the songs of troubadours and trouvères survive from the mid-thirteenth century on, by which time the courtly poet-composer had achieved professional status.

The notation of liturgical music initially appears in the form of neumes - graphic symbols written above the text and indicating the rise and fall of melodic movement or repetitions of the same pitch. Twelve to fifteen regional families of neumes have been identified. They were commonly written on a four-line staff beginning in the mid-eleventh century. Two hundred years later, eastern European music manuscripts adopted Gothic notation, produced with a thick, square-cut nib, with the points and curves of earlier neumes being replaced by broader, more angular forms. A similar development in the Île de France gave rise to the use of square notation in the late twelfth century, especially in France and Italy. Alphabetical notation is also sporadically encountered from ANTIQUITY on in a theoretical context. For liturgical manuscripts with sung components, See ANTIPHONAL, BREVIARY, GRADUAL, HYMNAL, KYRIALE, MISSAL, SEQUENTIARY and TROPER

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  Hebrew 
print Print this page
home Home
site search Search British Library website
back Back
top Back