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Just what is medieval marginalia?

March 26th 2019
Dear Dabneyites,
 
Back in the Middle Ages copying books was a long laborious task. The scribes would sometimes doodle in the margins to alleviate the boredom, giving us a chance to travel into the past and gain an insight into the minds of those long forgotten writers.

Here's a doodled rabbit taking on a snail in a 1302 manuscript.
 

Or what about this one from an 800 year old Bible? Imagine reading out Mass with this guy watching you.
 

Some of the written gems from the 12th through to 15th century include:

"While I wrote I froze, and what I could not write by the beams of the sun I finished by candlelight."

"This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say 'The hand that wrote it is no more.'"

"Now I've written the whole thing: for Christ's sake give me a drink." 

"F**k the abbot."

"Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back. It dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides."

If you want to know more about medieval marginalia, this article is a great place to start.

With love until next time,

Blanche Dabney
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ANNOUNCEMENTS

New book coming this Friday!

The Key in the Loch is out 29th March.

The cover has been finished and I think it looks gorgeous! What do you reckon?



The key to understanding the past is to live it...

Add to your 'to read' list here.

When is an ancient stone circle not so ancient?

Archaeologists were studying an ancient stone circle in Aberdeenshire in Scotland when a farmer came forward with a confession...

He built it as a replica in the 1990s. Not a bad looking one either but I imagine there were a few red faces in the research team when they found out!



Recumbent stone circles are unique to Scotland and are thought to date from between 3,500 and 4,500 years (or at least, most of them are!) What do you think they were used for?

More on this story here.
Previous Newsletters

 
March 11th 2019 - Why was a castle taken down stone by stone?
Feb 22nd 2019 - What links King Arthur and Jamie Fraser?
Feb 8th 2019 - How did an Earl steal an abbey?
Jan 25th 2019 - Happy Burns Night
Jan 15th 2019 - What happens in a Highland New Year?
Dec 20th 2018 - Ten things I love about Christmas
Nov 28th 2018 - Knights in armor could hardly move, right?
Nov 14th 2018 - Seen Outlaw King yet?
Books by Blanche Dabney

Highlander's Voyage
Highlander's Revenge
Highlander's Battle

Held by the Highlander
Promised to the Highlander
Outlaw Highlander
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