By Jenny Weston
While most of the manuscripts produced in the Middle Ages are roughly the same size as today’s books, some volumes feature outrageous dimensions—either super-large or teeny tiny! Today’s blogpost is devoted to the ‘small-end’ of this spectrum, examining some of the world’s tiniest medieval manuscripts.
During the later Middle Ages, prayerbooks (and in particular ‘Books of Hours’) were often produced with smaller dimensions. These books were often favoured by women, who relied on their collection of prayers, psalms, and painted miniatures for their daily devotion. With smaller dimensions the book would have been lighter and easier to carry, which would have appealed to the devoted lady who wished to have the book on-hand throughout the day. (Such books could easily fit into one’s pocket or be attached to a girdle, see below.)
Here we can see a fourteenth-century example of a miniature prayerbook known as the
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