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[Manuscript Latin Bible, Leaf 08]

Catholic Church
circa 1290-1300
Sam Fleming Illuminated Medieval Manuscript and Early Printing Collection, Box 1, Folder 8, Vanderbilt University Special Collections

In order to write in straight lines and ensure their text was to the commissioner’s liking, scribes would often knife very light lines for themselves to give them exact parameters for the space of the text. Because the parchment was expensive to obtain, abbreviations would often be used to save as much space as possible and finish the manuscript efficiently.