Size Matters (Part 2): Giant Medieval Manuscripts!

medievalfragments

By Jenny Weston

In last week’s blogpost, Irene O’Daly explored the world of portable books — manuscripts that are small enough (and light enough) to be carried around by the user. In today’s post we shift our attention to the opposite end of the ‘size-spectrum’ and examine some of the largest manuscripts ever produced in the Middle Ages.

Book1 Late-Medieval Choir Books

While most medieval manuscripts are of a size that could be easily picked up and carried, there are some books that are so large and so heavy that it would take two (or more) people to move them.

Among these are volumes known as ‘Giant Bibles’. These books typically contain a complete collection of the Old and New Testaments and present huge dimensions. One particularly famous large-format Bible is an early thirteenth-century pandect known as the Codex Gigas, which measures (a whopping) 890 x 490 mm and weighs over 165 pounds. In addition to…

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