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Binding the Book of Kells

Medieval gospel books were sometimes bound in a single volume, or might be bound into separate gospels, or kept in loose gatherings in a folder-like cover so that sections could …

Vellum and the making of a book

During the early medieval period in Western Europe, parchment or young animal skins were the preferred writing surface for manuscripts. We explore some of the characteristics of the material, and …

Voices of Irish scribes

It was not uncommon for Irish scribes to take a break from the copying of texts to make comments on their materials, excuse the poor quality of their work, or …

Who were the scribes?

Admiration for great works of art during the medieval period was often expressed in supernatural or magical terms. A great gospel book was more likely to be described as the …

The scriptorium

The scriptorium was the writing room usually at or near a Church settlement; the physical space where the act of transcribing books was carried out. Some early sources refer to …

Making the Book of Kells

Today, in the era of digital technologies, we tend to take the transmission of knowledge for granted. Texts and images can be created with ease and shared over the web …

Uses of the Book of Kells

In the early Middle Ages, books were transcribed for a number of reasons. They might be made as an addition to a monastery’s library, for use during Mass, as diplomatic …

Commissioning the Book of Kells

The context from which the Book of Kells emerged was, without doubt, a religious one, at a time during which there was a flourishing of learning and artistic creativity within …

Blending influences from afar

Today we think of Ireland as the island located on the north-western shores of Europe. During the early medieval period however, the country’s cultural borders were far less clearly defined, …

The Book of Kells: A Christian text

The people who created the Book of Kells were Christians, most likely monks. Like Islam and Judaism, Christianity shares the belief that there is only one (mono in Greek) God …

Introducing the Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is a gospel book, containing the four accounts of Christ’s life that form the New Testament of the Bible. It is one of the few precious …

The artistic background of the Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is the best surviving example of a unique art style that flourished in Ireland between around 650 and 950AD. Characterised by dense patterning overlying a tightly …

Kells

In 1007AD, chroniclers recorded that the great gospel of Colum Cille, most precious relic of the Western world, had been stolen from the western annexe of the church at Kells. …
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