Interesting Facts

The word “illumination” comes from the Latin word lumen, meaning light. Medieval manuscripts were called illuminations because the gold and silver used in the manuscripts caught the light.

Prick holes, used in most manuscripts, served as a time saving device for scribes. They would stack the pages of a manuscript, rule the top page, prick a hole from the top page of the folio, and use that hole on subsequent pages to rule the pages.

Gold leaf was applied before other colors to manuscripts. Once glued to the vellum, it had to be “burnished” to a bright shine.

Gothic lettering was named after the "barbarian Goths." The scribes disliked this script and named it "gothic" as an insult.

A large number of scribes were actually women.