Post ID: 6782


Medieval book transport

You are looking at two ‘wraps’ (top), the outside and inside of a box (middle), and a leather satchel (bottom). What they share is not just their old age (they are all medieval), but also the purpose for which they were made: to transport a book from A to B. The actual reason for transporting books in these objects varied considerably. The wraps are late-medieval girdle books, which were hanged from the owner’s belt by the knot. The text inside – which was often of legal or religious nature – could be consulted quickly and easily: just unwrap it and read. The box (and the ninth-century book inside) had a more exotic use: the package functioned as a charm for good luck on the battlefield, where it was carried in front of the troops by a monk. The satchel, which also dates from the ninth century, was just a bag to transport a book while on the go – it was popular among monks. Read more about these fascinating devices in my blog post “Medieval Books on the Go” (here).  

Pics –  Wrap at top: Stockholm, Royal Library (16th century, source); Wrap below it: Yale, Beinecke Library, MS 84 (15th century, source); Box: Dublin, Royal, Irish Academy, D ii 3 (8th/9th century, source); Satchel: Dublin, Trinity, College, MS 52 (Book of Armagh, 9th century, source).