The Private Lives of Medieval Kings episode 2: Dr Janina Ramirez shows how medieval illuminated manuscripts gave power to the king and united the kingdom in an age of plague, warfare and rebellion.
Dr Janina Ramirez unlocks the secrets of medieval illuminated manuscripts and shows how they gave power to the king and united the kingdom in an age of plague, warfare and rebellion. She discovers that Edward III used the manuscripts he read as a boy to prepare him for his great victory at the battle of Crecy and reveals how a vigorous new national identity bloomed during the 100 Years War with France (1340-1453).
In the British Library’s Royal Manuscripts collection she finds out that magnificent manuscripts like the Bedford Hours, taken as war booty from the French royal family, were adapted for the education of English princes. Dr Ramirez also explores how knowledge spread through a new form of book – the encyclopaedia.
The Private Lives of Medieval Kings episode 2
Illuminated manuscripts are hand-written books with painted decoration that generally includes precious metals such as gold or silver. The pages were made from animal skin, commonly calf, sheep, or goat. Illuminated manuscripts were produced between 1100 and 1600, with monasteries as their earliest creators. Wealthy patrons also wanted these illustrative works for personal libraries and encouraged the formation of private workshops that flourished in French and Italian cities between the 13th and 15th centuries. The decline of the illuminated manuscript tradition coincided with the ability to mass produce printed text and the increasing numbers of literate people who wanted secular as well as religious books.
lluminated manuscripts were created in various sizes depending on their intended use. The choir pages, below left, were large so that a group could simultaneously view the pages from a distance. The palm-sized prayer book, below right, was produced for a wealthy patron to use for personal worship.
Curators and conservators often work together to examine an artist’s style, techniques, and choice of materials. Looking at artworks under a microscope can reveal minute details that cannot be seen with the unaided eye. Below are two works of art whose similarities in their brushstrokes reveal them to be painted by the same artist, known as the Master of Imola.
An encyclopedia (American English), encyclopædia, or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are divided into articles or entries that are often arranged alphabetically by article name and sometimes by thematic categories. Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries. Generally speaking, unlike dictionary entries—which focus on linguistic information about words, such as their etymology, meaning, pronunciation, use, and grammatical forms—encyclopedia articles focus on factual information concerning the subject named in the article’s title.
Encyclopedias have existed for around 2,000 years and have evolved considerably during that time as regards language (written in a major international or a vernacular language), size (few or many volumes), intent (presentation of a global or a limited range of knowledge), cultural perspective (authoritative, ideological, didactic, utilitarian), authorship (qualifications, style), readership (education level, background, interests, capabilities), and the technologies available for their production and distribution (hand-written manuscripts, small or large print runs, Internet). As a valued source of reliable information compiled by experts, printed versions found a prominent place in libraries, schools and other educational institutions.