Scribes in the Early Medieval Period

This illustration depicts monastic scribes at work in the early medieval period. Though the time period is much earlier than the 17th century papal scribes who created this Papal Bull, the method they are using was the same. One scribe stands at a lectern reading out the text, while another writes it down. This would have been tedious work, and the tiredness of the scribe is reflected in several aspects of the document, including the faded ink and the number of corrections made to the text.

 

 

Text Avoids Decoration

The way that the text of the document is fitted around the calligraphy shows that the calligraphy was probably done first by a dedicated illuminator. The text itself would have been added later by a professional scribe in the papal chancery.