Examine Medieval scrolls in detail, and gain an understanding of their uses and historical significance.
About this course
This course is an introduction to the making and use of scrolls in the European Middle Ages. The codex, with its portability and instant access to any place in the text, became the dominant container for writing after the 4th century BCE, but scrolls continued to be made. Why and how did the scroll format remain popular and relevant in the age of the codex? This course proposes four main reasons, which
account for essentially every kind of scroll that still exists today. We will see and examine in detail a number of beautiful objects, and come to understand the thinking of those who chose the scroll format for their texts.
This module features four main units:
Each unit is based on one of the reasons for scroll-making
- Scrolls of indeterminate length
- Scrolls in long format
- Ceremonial and archaizing scrolls
- Portable scrolls
Scrolls in the Age of the Book also features a guided tour of an exhibition on Harvard University’s collection of medieval scrolls, held at Houghton Library, Harvard’s special collections library, in Spring 2014. Each scroll featured in the exhibit has been fully digitized by Harvard’s Preservation Services division, and participants will have the opportunity to interact with them in unprecedented fashion using Mirador, a state-of-the-art web application developed by Harvard and Stanford Universities.
This is a module in the series The Book: Histories Across Time and Space.
HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.
What you will learn?
- How and why scrolls were created in the Middle Ages
- How scrolls are made, and how they are used
- Differences between scrolls and codices
- Various types of layouts and uses for scrolls
- Various types of scroll decoration
1. The Book: Histories Across Time and Space
- Welcome to ‘The Book
- Welcome to Houghton Library
- Introducing Mirador
- Important Pre-Course Survey
2. Medieval Scrolls at Harvard: A Houghton Library Exhibit
- Medieval Scrolls at Harvard: A Houghton Library Exhibit
3. Medieval Scrolls: Introduction
- The Medieval Scroll
4. Documents of Indeterminate Length
5. Medieval Scrolls: Portability
- Scrolls as Portable Objects
6. Medieval Scrolls: Archaizing
- Scrolls as Archaizing Documents
7. Contents Suggest a Scroll Format
8. Medieval Scrolls: A Deeper Look at Two Scrolls
- Comparandum: An Ethiopian Magic Scroll
- MS TYP 416: Divine Liturgy of Our Holy Father Basil the Great
- Legal Manuscripts
- Italian Humanist Scripts
- Proto-Gothic (Transitional Gothic)
- Anglo-Saxon Square Minuscule
- Carolingian Minuscule
- Anglicana Formata
- Benevenan Script
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- Harvard University
- Online Course
- 1-3 Months
- Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
- Books and Manuscripts