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Illuminated Manuscripts - Middle Ages

*This video was originally made in November 2020*

The Middle Ages were such a unique time in history, especially after all the amazing accomplishments of the Greek and Romans. It's as though Europe pushed pause for 900-1000 years. So much knowledge seemed to be lost and society seemed to move backwards.

But there is so much that we still celebrate about the Middle Ages. Castles and knights, princes and princesses are the ones we know best. But what would our world today be without mechanical clocks, wheelbarrows, eyeglasses, windmills, watermills, gunpowder and cannons? All made an impact on life in Europe during the Medieval Times.

Another thing that did come out of the Middle Ages that we still enjoy today are books. Prior to the Middle Ages, information was written on scrolls. As people traveled, carrying scrolls were not the best way to carry the written information (like the Bible) with them. Enter the book - multiple pages bound together making it easier to transport from one location to another.

Unfortunately, this was also the period of time before the printing press. All books were written by hand. Monks in the monasteries were the primary writers of these books, most being the Bible. One book could take months to create. And, whether to entertain the monks and make their tasks less boring OR to beautify the pages and bring life to the stories, these manuscripts were created with beautiful (and sometimes comical) illustrations taking up full pages or creating borders on the page. The lettering was uniquely beautiful, too. Many of these priceless works of art remain today, telling of the craftmanship and care put into these heirlooms.

To celebrate the Middle Ages, we will create a beautiful Illuminated Manuscript. Whether you focus on the lettering or the pictures from the books, you will find something beautiful to create celebrating this period in history.

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