ROLE OF THE SCROLL: An Illustrated Introduction to Scrolls

Book number: 92034 Product format: Hardback Author: THOMAS FORREST KELLY

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Bibliophile price £4.50
Published price £19.99


Scrolls from the Middle Ages is a beautifully illustrated, full-colour guide which celebrates the paper phenomenon, highlights the most interesting items in the period and represent the people who made, commissioned and used them. The author, Thomas Forrest Kelly is a historian and professor of music at Harvard University who has estimated there are about 600 scrolls in Latin and European vernacular languages. The book transports readers to Ancient Egypt where papyrus scrolls were an exclusive product for the country as the plant was cultivated along the Nile, and then travels on to Ancient Greece and Rome where Ionic capitals on pillars resembled a scroll partially opened. Learn that a scroll usually represented audible, often important, speech such as the words of angels, evangelists and prophets including in depictions of the Annunciation scene where the angel Gabriel might appear with a scroll on which is written 'Ave Maria' and a similar one rests on the Virgin Mary with the response 'Ecce ancilla domini'. Discover the most famous map in scroll form, Tabula Peutingeriana (Peutinger's map) from the 13th century, which shows the itineraries of the late Roman world and attempts to put everything about travel into a single document. The book also gives thorough insight into the use of scrolls among performers during the Middle Ages as medieval plays, moralities, mysteries and farces would give each actor their own part written out separately on a scroll which could be held inconspicuously. The author also notes that the scroll itself became associated with the part so we now refer to characters in performances as actors' roles'. But the most spectacular part of the book is the collection of photos of medieval scrolls. There is a photo of a 15th century Indulgence Roll which consists of seven little prayers to be said with Hail Mary and Our Father in order to gain indulgence. The 16th century Ripley Scroll is featured in detail and depicts an alchemist as a 'Philosophical Tree' growing from a fountain in which nude male and female figures cavort. There are also photos of two mosaics from the 6th century church of San Vitale in Ravenna which shows the prophet Jeremiah displaying his scroll in classical fashion while evangelist Saint Luke holds a codex that reads 'Secundum lucam' (according to Luke) while a container full of scrolls sits at his feet. Colour photographs, 194pp.

Additional product information

ISBN 9780393285031

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