About this Course
Perhaps no other relic of the European Middle Ages captures our imagination more than illuminated medieval manuscripts, or those documents decorated with images and colored pigments. Serving as windows unto a lost world of kings, ladies, faith, war, and culture, they communicate complex visual and textual narratives of Europe’s collective cultural heritage and patrimony. In this fashion, illuminated manuscripts are dynamic messages from our communal past that are still relevant today in fields like graphic design and typography. In this seven-week course, students will explore the material creation, content, and historical context of illuminated medieval European manuscripts. Students will acquire an introductory knowledge of their distinguishing characteristics, their cataloguing and periodization (when they were created), the methods utilized to produce them, and their historical context and value. Student achievement will be assessed using not only traditional multiple-choice quizzes, but more importantly will be evaluated based on individual student projects. In their final projects students will either (1) produce a board of commented images about medieval manuscripts or (2) prepare a physical manuscript using medieval methods. The best of these peer-evaluated projects will be posted on the Deciphering Secrets website, which is our collective citizen scholarship web presence that encourages and supports our global citizen scholars appreciation and contributions to transcription of medieval manuscripts. Finally, we wish to highlight that this course is an exciting international collaboration between the University of Colorado (USA) and Universidad Complutense Madrid (Spain).
Globe

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 47 hours to complete

Suggested: 6 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online course

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 47 hours to complete

Suggested: 6 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
7 hours to complete

COURSE INTRODUCTION. INTRODUCTION TO MEDIEVAL WORLD AND MANUSCRIPT STUDIES

Week #1...
Reading
15 videos (Total 114 min), 12 readings, 4 quizzes
Video15 videos
Meet Dr. Ana Belen Sanchez Prieto0m
Meet Dr. Roger L. Martínez-Dávila0m
Optional video: How everything started10m
Week 1: Overview of Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean3m
1.0b. Introduction to Manuscript Studies3m
1.1. What is a Manuscript?10m
1.2. What is an Illuminated Manuscript?9m
1.3. Where do we Find Medieval Manuscripts?10m
1.4. How do we Find Medieval Manuscripts?8m
Project. 1. Introduction15m
Facsimile editions of medieval manuscripts13m
Handbooks and Lexicons10m
Working with Medieval Manuscripts10m
Wrap-Up to Unit 12m
Reading12 readings
Course Description10m
Who Should Enroll?10m
Learning Outcomes and Goals10m
Teaching Methods and Approach10m
Assessment: Assignments and Grading10m
Nota para hispanohablantes (Notice for Spanish speakers)10m
Medieval Europe and Its Siblings20m
The Formation of Medieval Europe15m
The Islamic World and Formation of Its First Caliphates10m
Byzantium – Eastern Roman Empire10m
1.0a. Introduction to Unit 1. Activities and Workflow10m
Searching for a definition of "manuscript"10m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Considering maps: What do they reveal?2m
History: Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean16m
Manuscript studies. Basic concepts20m

2

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

MEDIEVAL EUROPEAN KINGDOMS (PART 1) AND WRITING SUPPORTS AND BOOK FORMATS

WEEK #2...
Reading
12 videos (Total 98 min), 10 readings, 4 quizzes
Video12 videos
2.0b.Writing Materials and Book Formats. Introduction3m
2.1. Archaic Writing Materials9m
2.2. Papyrus7m
2.3. Parchment12m
2.4. Paper10m
2.5. Tablets9m
2.6. Roll and Scroll11m
2.7. Codex14m
2.8. Archaic and Exotic Book Formats5m
Project : Materials and Book Formats7m
Wrap-up to Unit 22m
Reading10 readings
Creation of Medieval European Kingdoms5m
Early Germanic Peoples5m
The Vandals: A Brief Reference10m
The Ostrogoths10m
The Visigoths10m
France and the Franks20m
England and the Anglo-Saxons and Normans20m
2.0a. Introduction to Unit 2. Activities and Workflow10m
Ancient Scrolls Blackened by Vesuvius are Readable at Last10m
The Birth of the Codex10m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Thinking More About Historical Sources: France's Einhard and England's Bede2m
Medieval Kingdoms - Part 116m
Writing Materials and Book Formats20m

3

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

MEDIEVAL EUROPEAN KINGDOMS (PART 2) AND THE WRITING CASE AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE CODEX

WEEK #3...
Reading
12 videos (Total 106 min), 7 readings, 3 quizzes
Video12 videos
3.0b. Introduction to Unit 34m
3.1. The Writing Instruments9m
3.2. Black Inks10m
3.3. Colors (Part 1)9m
3.4. Colors (Part 2)11m
Bonus: Making a Lake Pigment11m
3.5. The Quires9m
3.6. Folding7m
3.7. Working with the Quires12m
Projects: The Writing Case and the Architecture of the Codex6m
Wrap-Up to Unit 31m
Reading7 readings
Iberia: Christian and Islamic Kingdoms10m
Cities: The Rise of Urban Centers10m
Medieval Warfare10m
Scholasticism: The Revival of Learning10m
3.0a. Introduction to Unit 3. Activities and Workflow10m
Some readings about medieval colours10m
Some very interesting videos about paint and ink making10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Medieval Kingdoms - Part 212m
Manuscript Studies20m

4

Section
Clock
5 hours to complete

A GLIMPSE OF SPAIN'S KING ALFONSO X "THE WISE" AND PREPARING THE PAGE FOR WRITING

WEEK #4...
Reading
8 videos (Total 76 min), 7 readings, 3 quizzes
Video8 videos
4.0b. The Preparation of the Page. Introduction3m
4.1. The "mise-en-page"19m
4.2. Proportional Rectangles and Harmonic Surfaces14m
4.3. Pricking11m
4.4.Ruling11m
Project4m
Wrap-up to Unit 42m
Reading7 readings
King Alfonso X "The Wise" of Castile10m
Las Cantigas de Santa Maria - The Canticles of Holy Mary10m
Lecture: Las Siete Partidas: A Legal Code for Three Religions10m
King Alfonso X and the Development of Spanish Universities10m
4.0a. Introduction to Unit 4. Activities and Workflow10m
Richard H. Rouse & Laura Light, Manuscript Production10m
Some interesting readings about the mise-en-page10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
History Quiz: King Alfonso X "The Wise"8m
Quiz Manuscript Studies20m

5

Section
Clock
7 hours to complete

PALEOGRAPHY AND A HISTORICAL CASE STUDY AND WRITING THE CODEX

WEEK #5...
Reading
11 videos (Total 112 min), 10 readings, 3 quizzes
Video11 videos
Digital Narration of the "La Mota" Case Study12m
5.0. Introduction to Unit 54m
5.1.Copying and Copyists15m
5.2. Writing Analysis5m
5.3. The Cycles of Latin Writing (Part 1)12m
5.4. The Cycles of Latin Writing (Part 2)8m
Bonus: Meet Marius the Copyist29m
Project for unit 55m
Ductus, Angle and Weight (Project bonus)9m
Wrap-Up to Unit 51m
Reading10 readings
Exploring Paleography and Making Discoveries10m
Paleography: The study of ancient handwriting10m
Introduction to Paleography: Handwriting from the 13th Century20m
Case Study Overview: “La Mota”: A Christian Assumes Ownership over Jewish Homes, circa 141620m
Youtube.com high resolution version of the digital narration13m
5.0a. Introduction to Unit 5. Activities and Workflow10m
Michelle Brown, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts, from Antiquity to 160010m
Mark H. Smith & Laura Light, Script10m
Interactive Album of Mediaeval Palaeography Collection of Transcription Exercises on Mediaeval Documents10m
Edward Maunde Thompson, Handbook of Greek and Latin Palaeography10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Medieval History: Paleography and A Historical Case Study16m
Manuscript Studies20m

6

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

EXPLORING THE GLOBAL MIDDLE AGES AND ONLINE COLLECTIONS AND CODEX DECORATION

WEEK #6...
Reading
9 videos (Total 109 min), 7 readings, 3 quizzes
Video9 videos
6.0b. Introduction to Unit 63m
6.1. Technical Procedures13m
6.2. Writing Turned in Ornament16m
6.3. The Illustrations and their Relation to the Text23m
6.4. Initial Decoration10m
6.5. Marginal Decoration19m
Project: Decoration6m
Wrap-Up to Unit 61m
Reading7 readings
Exploring the "Global Middle Ages"30m
Exploring Spain's Online Manuscript and Museum Collections10m
Internet-Based Spanish Primary Sources10m
6.0a. Introduction to Unit 6. Activities and Workflow10m
Susan L'Engle and Ariane Bergeron-Foote, Law10m
Laura Light, Women and the Book in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance10m
Other readings about manuscripts decoration10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Medieval History: The Global Middle Ages2m
Manuscript Studies20m

7

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

BOOKBINDING AND COURSE COMPLETION

WEEK #7...
Reading
7 videos (Total 66 min), 5 readings, 2 quizzes
Video7 videos
7.1.The Parts of a Book Binding13m
The Evolution of Bookbinding (Part 1)13m
The Evolution of Bookbinding (Part 2)17m
Project: Book binding5m
Wrap-Up to Unit 72m
Join Deborah, Roger and Ana in the discussion about future projects9m
Reading5 readings
Week 7: Overview2m
7.0a. Introduction to Unit 7. Activities and Workflow10m
Binding and the Archaeology of Medieval and Renaissance Book10m
More readings about bookbinding10m
Farewell2m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Manuscript Studies. Bookbinding20m
4.6
Direction Signs

50%

started a new career after completing these courses
Briefcase

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By KJan 27th 2018

An excellent overview of a complex subject , with the rare option to explore the practical skills involved in making manuscripts , and with a forward view of new research evolving IT makes possible.

By JSMay 5th 2017

fascinating subject. Excellent course whether you want to just learn about the history of the manuscripts or try creating some yourself. The Spanish professor is a real expert in the subject.

Instructors

Avatar

Ana B. Sanchez-Prieto

Dr. in Medieval History, Dr. in Education Sciences

About University of Colorado System

The University of Colorado is a recognized leader in higher education on the national and global stage. We collaborate to meet the diverse needs of our students and communities. We promote innovation, encourage discovery and support the extension of knowledge in ways unique to the state of Colorado and beyond....

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