A MANUSCRIPT (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) is any document written by hand or typewritten , as opposed to being mechanically printed or reproduced in some indirect or automated way. More recently, it is understood to be an author's written, typed, or word-processed copy of a work, as distinguished from the print of the same. Before the arrival of printing , all documents and books were manuscripts. Manuscripts are not defined by their contents, which may combine writing with mathematical calculations, maps, explanatory figures or illustrations. Manuscripts may be in book form, scrolls or in codex format. Illuminated manuscripts are enriched with pictures, border decorations, elaborately embossed initial letters or full-page illustrations.
* 1 Cultural background * 2 Modern variations * 3 European manuscript history
* 4 A sample of common genres of manuscripts
* 5 Scripts * 6 Parts * 7 Major U.S. repositories of medieval manuscripts * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
The traditional abbreviations are MS for manuscript and MSS for manuscripts, while the forms MS., MS or MS. for singular, and MSS., MSS or MSS. for plural (with or without the full stop, all uppercase or all lowercase) are also accepted. The second s is not simply the plural; by an old convention, it doubles the last letter of the abbreviation to express the plural, just as pp. means "pages".
Before the invention of woodblock printing in China or by moveable
type in a printing press in Europe, all written documents had to be
both produced and reproduced by hand. Historically, manuscripts were
produced in form of scrolls (volume in Latin) or books (codex, plural
codices). Manuscripts were produced on vellum and other parchment, on
papyrus , and on paper. In Russia birch bark documents as old as from
the 11th century have survived. In India, the palm leaf manuscript ,
with a distinctive long rectangular shape, was used from ancient times
until the 19th century.
When Greek or
The oldest written manuscripts have been preserved by the perfect
dryness of their Middle Eastern resting places, whether placed within
sarcophagi in Egyptian tombs, or reused as mummy -wrappings, discarded
in the middens of
Oxyrhynchus or secreted for safe-keeping in jars and
Nag Hammadi library
Ironically, the manuscripts that were being most carefully preserved
in the libraries of antiquity are virtually all lost.
Originally, all books were in manuscript form. In China, and later
other parts of East Asia, woodblock printing was used for books from
about the 7th century. The earliest dated example is the Diamond Sutra
of 868. In the Islamic world and the West, all books were in
manuscript until the introduction of movable type printing in about
The study of the writing, or "hand" in surviving manuscripts is
termed palaeography . In the Western world, from the classical period
through the early centuries of the
Christian era , manuscripts were
written without spaces between the words (scriptio continua ), which
makes them especially hard for the untrained to read. Extant copies of
these early manuscripts written in Greek or
In the context of library science , a manuscript is defined as any hand-written item in the collections of a library or an archive. For example, a library's collection of hand-written letters or diaries is considered a manuscript collection. Such manuscript collections are described in finding aids, similar to an index or table of contents to the collection, in accordance with national and international content standards such as DACS and ISAD(G) .
In other contexts, however, the use of the term "manuscript" no longer necessarily means something that is hand-written. By analogy a typescript has been produced on a typewriter.
In book, magazine, and music publishing, a manuscript is an original copy of a work written by an author or composer, which generally follows standardized typographic and formatting rules. (The staff paper commonly used for handwritten music is, for this reason, often called "manuscript paper"). In film and theatre, a manuscript, or script for short, is an author's or dramatist's text, used by a theatre company or film crew during the production of the work's performance or filming. More specifically, a motion picture manuscript is called a screenplay; a television manuscript, a teleplay; a manuscript for the theatre, a stage play; and a manuscript for audio-only performance is often called a radio play, even when the recorded performance is disseminated via non-radio means.
In insurance, a manuscript policy is one that is negotiated between the insurer and the policyholder, as opposed to an off-the-shelf form supplied by the insurer.
EUROPEAN MANUSCRIPT HISTORY
Most surviving pre-modern manuscripts use the codex format (as in a
modern book), which had replaced the scroll by
Late Antiquity .
Because they are books, pre-modern manuscripts are best described
using bibliographic rather than archival standards. The standard
endorsed by the American Library Association is known as AMREMM. A
growing digital catalog of pre-modern manuscripts is Digital
A SAMPLE OF COMMON GENRES OF MANUSCRIPTS
From ancient texts to medieval maps, anything written down for study would have been done with manuscripts. Some of the most common genres were bibles, religious commentaries, philosophy, law and government texts.
“ The Bible was the most studied book of the Middle Ages.” The Bible was the center of medieval religious life. Along with the Bible came scores of commentaries. Commentaries were written in volumes, with some focusing on just single pages of scripture. Across Europe, there were universities that prided themselves on their biblical knowledge. Along with universities, certain cities also had their own celebrities of biblical knowledge during the medieval period.
BOOK OF HOURS
The Pentecost, from an illuminated Catholic liturgical manuscript, c.1310-1320
A book of hours is a type of devotional text which was widely popular during the Middle Ages. They are the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscripts . Each book of hours contain a similar collection of texts, prayers , and psalms but decoration can vary between each and each example. Many have minimal illumination, often restricted to ornamented initials , but books of hours made for wealthier patrons can be extremely extravagant with full-page miniatures .
LITURGICAL BOOKS AND CALENDARS
Along with Bibles, large numbers of manuscripts made in the Middle Ages were revieved in Church. Due to the complex church system of rituals and worship these books were the most elegantly written and finely decorated of all medieval manuscripts. Liturgical books usually came in two varieties. Those used during mass and those for divine office.
Most liturgical books came with a calendar in the front. This served as a quick reference point for important dates in Jesus' life and to tell church officials which saints were to be honored and on what day. The format of the liturgical calendar was as follows:
an example of a medieval liturgical calendar
JANUARY, AUGUST, DECEMBER MARCH, MAY, JULY, OCTOBER APRIL, JUNE, SEPTEMBER, NOVEMBER FEBRUARY
Kal. (1) Kal. (1) Kal. (1) Kal. (1)
IV Non. (2) VI Non. (2) IV Non. (2) IV Non. (2)
III Non. (3) V Non. (3) III Non. (3) III Non. (3)
II Non. (4) IV Non. (4) II Non. (4) II Non. (4)
Non. (5) III Non. (5) Non. (5) Non. (5)
VIII Id. (6) II Non. (6) VIII Id. (6) VIII Id. (6)
VII Id. (7) Non. (7) VII Id. (7) VII Id. (7)
VI Id. (8) VIII Id. (8) VI Id. (8) VI Id. (8)
V Id. (9) VII Id. (9) V Id. (9) V Id. (9)
IV Id. (10) VII Id. (10) IV Id. (10) IV Id. (10)
III Id. (11) V Id. (11) III Id. (11) III Id. (11)
II Id. (12) IV Id. (12) II Id. (12) II Id. (12)
Id (13) III Id. (13) Id. (13) Id. (13)
XIX Kal. (14) II Id. (14) XVIII Kal. (14) XVI Kal. (14)
XVIII Kal. (15) Id. (15) XVII Kal. (15) XV Kal. (15)
XVII Kal. (16) XVII Kal. (16) XVI Kal. (16) XIV Kal. (16)
XVI Kal. (17) XVI Kal. (17) XV Kal. (17) XIII Kal. (17)
XV Kal. (18) XV Kal. (18) XIV Kal. (18) XII Kal. (18)
XIV Kal. (19) XIV Kal. (19) XIII Kal. (19) XI Kal. (19)
XIII Kal. (20) XIII Kal. (20 XII Kal. (20) X Kal. (20)
XII Kal. (21) XII Kal. (21) XI Kal. (21) IX Kal. (21)
XI Kal. (22) XI Kal. (22) X Kal. (22) VIII Kal. (22)
X Kal. (23) X Kal. (23) IX Kal. (23) VII Kal. (23)
IX Kal. (24) IX Kal. (24) VIII Kal. (24) VI Kal (the extra day in a leap year)
VIII Kal. (25) VIII Kal. (25) VII Kal. (25) VI Kal. (24/25)
VII Kal. (26) VII Kal. (26) VI Kal. (26) V Kal. (25/26)
VI Kal. (27) VI Kal. (27) V Kal. (28) V Kal. (26/27)
V Kal. (28) V Kal. (28) V Kal. (28) V Kal. (27/28)
IV Kal. (29) IV Kal. (29) III Kal. (29) III Kal. (28/29)
III Kal. (30) III Kal. (30) II Kal. (30)
II Kal. (31) II Kal. (31)
Almost all medieval calendars give each day's date according to the Roman method of reckoning time. In the Roman system, each month had three fixed points known as Kalends (Kal), the Nons and the Ides. The Nones fell on the fifth of the month in January, February, April, June, August, September, November and December, but on the seventh of the month in March, May, July and October. The Ides fell on the thirteenth in those months in which the Nones fell on the fifth, and the fifteenth in the other four months. All other days were dated by the number of days by which they preceded one of those fixed points.
Merovingian script , or "Luxeuil minuscule", is named after an abbey
in Western France, the Luxeuil Abbey , founded by the Irish missionary
Columba ca. 590.
Caroline minuscule is a calligraphic script
developed as a writing standard in
Caroline Minuscule arrived in England in the second half of the 10th
century. Its adoption there, replacing Insular script, was encouraged
by the importation of continental European manuscripts by Saints
Dunstan, Aethelwold, and Oswald. This script spread quite rapidly,
being employed in many English centres for copying
The coexistence in the Gothic period of formal hands employed for the copying of books and cursive scripts used for documentary purposes eventually resulted in cross-fertilization between these two fundamentally different writing styles. Notably, scribes began to upgrade some of the cursive scripts. A script that has been thus formalized is known as a bastard script (whereas a bookhand that has had cursive elements fused onto it is known as a hybrid script). The advantage of such a script was that it could be written more quickly than a pure bookhand; it thus recommended itself to scribes in a period when demand for books was increasing and authors were tending to write longer texts. In England during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many books were written in the script known as Bastard Anglicana.
* Cover * Flyleaf * Colophon * incipit * decoration; illustrations * dimensions * Shelfmark or Signature in holding library
(as opposed to printed Catalog number)
* works/compositions included in same ms * codicological elements: * deletions method: erasure? overstrike? dots above letters? * headers/footers * page format/layout: columns? text and surrounding commentary/additions/glosses? * interpolations * owners' marginal notations/corrections * owner signatures * dedication/inscription * censor signatures * collation (quires) * foliation * Binding * materials: paper/vellum/papyrus/uncials * Ink * writing implement used * pastedown * page numeration * paleographic elements: * script (one or more?) * dating * line fillers * rubrication * ruled lines * leading word at bottom corner of page to indicate what first word on next page is * historical elements of ms: blood, wine etc. stains * condition: (e.g. smokiness/evidence of fire) * mold * wormed *
MAJOR U.S. REPOSITORIES OF MEDIEVAL MANUSCRIPTS
* The Morgan Library -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em;">
Dead Sea Scrolls
* ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/manuscript
* ^ "manuscript".
Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford
University Press . September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library
* ^ Harper, Douglas. "Manuscript." Online Etymology Dictionary.
November 2001. Accessed 10-11-2007.
* ^ "Medieval English Literary Manuscripts."
www.Library.Rtruuochester.Edu. 22 June 2004. University of Rochester
Libraries. Accessed 10-11-2007.
* ^ "Manuscript" (abbreviated ms. and mss.) in British Library
The British Library . Accessed 12 March 2016.
* ^ "ms", "ms." and "MS" in The Free Dictionary (American Heritage
2011 and Random House Kernerman Webster's 2010). Accessed 12 March
* ^ "MSS", "mss" and "mss." in The Free Dictionary (American
Heritage 2011, Collins 2014 and Random House Kernerman Webster's
2010). Accessed 12 March 2016.
* ^ "MSS" (MS. and ms., MSS. and mss.) in Dictionary.com LLC(Random
House 2014 and Collins 2012). Accessed 12 March 2016.
Merriam-Webster , Merriam-Webster\'s Collegiate Dictionary,
* ^ Buringh, Eltjo; van Zanden, Jan Luiten: "Charting the “Rise
of the West”: Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, A Long-Term
Perspective from the Sixth through Eighteenth Centuries", The Journal
of Economic History, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2009), pp. 409–445 (416, table
* ^ A B C D E F G H Clemens, Raymond, and Timothy Graham.