Comité International de Paléographie Latine XVIth Colloquium: Teaching Writing, Learning to Write

Senate House, University of London, 2-5 september 2008

From the medieval viewpoint writing meant not only the skill of handwriting, but also the ability to write with ‘correct’ understanding of grammar, punctuation, etc. The colloquium will address the psychology and sociology of the medieval scribe. How did scribes learn to write in the Middle Ages? What was the social and cultural significance of a script chosen for a particular function? How was script influenced by features of fashion? What was the interface between scribe and reader and the graphic signs used to communicate a message? Such questions impact on the transmission of texts, the growth of literacy and history of reading.

This conference is supported by The British Academy, the Association of Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections and the Bibliographical Society

Provisional timetable

Tuesday 2nd September
10.00-11.00: Coffee and registration



11.15-12. 45:

Paolo Fioretti (Bari University): ‘Ink Writing and ‘a sgraffio’ writing in Ancient Rome. From
Learning to Practical Use’

Jacqueline Austin (Birmingham University; Bibliographical Society Studentship): ‘Librarii qui docere possint: scribal training in the Roman army’

David Ganz (King’s College, London):‘Early Medieval Cursive Scripts: Calligraphy and Risk’


Martin Steinmann (Binningen, Switzerland): ‘Writing Monks in the Early Middle Ages’

Aliza Cohen-Mushlin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem): ‘A School for Scribes’

Maria do Rosário Morujão (Coimbra University): ‘Apprendre à écrire dans le Portugale médiévale. Bilan des connaissances’


Keynote Speaker: M.B. Parkes (Keble College, Oxford)


Wednesday 3rd September

Martin Schøyen, Presentation of his Palaeography Collection


Michael Clanchy (IHR): ‘Was writing taught, along with reading, to children through the ABC

Berthold Kress (Churchill College, Cambridge): ‘The Alphabets of Paul Lautensack ~ From Elementary School to Divine Revelation’


Alison Stones (Pittsburgh University): ‘The Valenciennes Papias and Learning in the Grammar
School in Thirteenth- Century France’

Patrizia Carmassi (Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel) ‘Lettere e scrittura nell’insegnamento grammaticale del Medioevo: teoria di una pratica?’

Beat Von Scarpatetti (Stiftsbibliothek St Gallen): ‘A young scholar’s despair: thirty-three exclamations in a fourteenth-century Basle Donatus manuscript’

2.30-4.30 APICES AGM


Jacqueline Hamesse (Catholic University of Louvain): ‘Maîtrise de l’écriture et pratiques

Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute): ‘Learning to write numerals in the Middle Ages’


Visit to the Wellcome Library

Thursday 4th September

Annina Seiler (Zurich University; Bibliographical Society Studentship): ‘Latinis regulis barbara
nomina stringi non possunt or How to Write the Vernacular’
Alessandro Zironi (Ferrara University): ‘Reading and Writing Gothic in the Carolingian Age’


Guðvarður Már Gunnlaugsson (Stofnun Árna Magnússon à Islandi): ‘Reading and Writing in
Medieval Iceland’

Erik Niblaeus (King’s College, London; Bibliographical Society Studentship): ‘Learning to Write in Southern Sweden: Liturgical Fragments and the Creation of a Culture of the Book’

Åslaug Ommundsen (Bergen University): ‘The First Scribal Culture in Norway’


reports on CIPL/APICES projects present and future


Jerzy Kaliszuk (Biblioteca Noradowa, Warsaw): ‘Latin Script and Vernacular Text in the Middle
Ages: The Case of Polish Texts (14th-15th centuries)’

Paul Antonio (London): Title to be announced


Visit to Lambeth Palace Library

Friday 5th September


Olaf Pluta (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): ‘Quaedam regulae de modo titulandi seu apificandi pro
novellis scriptoribus Copulatae. A late-medieval tutorial for novice scribes’

Erik Kwakkel (University of Victoria, BC, Canada): ‘Disobeying the Rules: Uncoventional Scribal Practices in the Later Middle Ages’

Jesús Alturo (Barcelona University): ‘De la carolina a la gótica. Variedades, usos y funciones de la escritura en la Catalunya altomedieval’


Cristina Mantegna (Scuola speciale per Archivisti e Bibliotecari, Rome): ‘Scritture de practici,
scritture di giuristi, scritture “di dotti”: ‘scuole’ ed esperienze grafiche a confronto’

Irene Ceccherini (Florence University): ‘Insegnamento, funzione e diffusione sociale della scrittura a Firenze nei Secoli XIII e XIV’

Carmen del Camino Martinez (Seville University): ‘Aprendizaje y modelos gráficos: enter el ámbito profesional y el privado’




Elizabeth Danbury (School of Library, Archives and Information Studies, UCL): ‘Late Medieval
English Chancery Clerks: Learning to Write and Learning to Impress’

Lucy Sandler (Institute of Fine Arts, New York): ‘”Written with the Finger of God”: Fourteenth-Century Images of Scribal Practice in the Lichtenthal Psalter’