Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who/what is Æthelwold?

Æthelwold was Bishop of Winchester from 963–984. During this time, the scribe Godeman made a service book for him, known as The Benedictional of Æthelwold. The book is lavishly illuminated with an abundance of gold and the text is laid out using the Hierarchy of Scripts developed by the Carolingians: Antique Roman capitals (or a variation thereof) for titles [in this case all in gold]; an insular uncial hand for introductory matter [in this case a strikingly stylized hand notable for it's unmistakable A]; and a Carolingian miniscule for the body text. It is one of my favorite books. The manuscript is in the British Library and is available in facsimile.