The Middle Ages in Europe saw a rise in the creation of the codex, as especially dedicated monks, known as amanuensis, devoted their lives to the recording of documents into manuscripts. The preciousness of these books translated into a proper art form, as decoration was introduced to the text and illuminated manuscripts became an artistic exercise that combined beauty with daily life objects. Bibles and special prayerbooks, called Book of Hours, were enriched with incredibly intricate designs with floral and animal motifs; gold leaf was often employed and calligraphy was also used in a special, artistic fashion. Religious texts were of great importance of course, but many classical Greek and Latin literary works have survived to this day thanks to the patient work of the amanuensis, who recorded the ancient versions of the texts, discovered hidden in libraries across all of Europe, and circulated them, spreading culture and leading to the establishment of universities.
The Book of Zepheniah, from which this page comes, is part of a collection of books from the Twelve Minor Prophets, which makes up part of the Old Testament. In the Vulgate translations, Zepheniah’s name appears as Sophonias. The book was supposedly written during the 7th century BC.
To discover more about Medieval manuscripts, please visit our relevant blog post: A Brief History of Manuscripts.