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Object of the Month: Medieval Manuscript

Discover one of the most important historical sources that historians have to understand and preserve the ancient Greek language - medieval manuscripts!

Manuscript of the Gospel of Luke from the Gods, Myths and Mortals exhibition at the Hellenic Museum, Melbourne. On loan from the Benaki Museum, Athens.

In medieval times, books had to be copied out by hand, one letter at a time. Can you imagine how long it took to copy out an entire book!? This work was usually left to monks in monasteries, and they took their work very seriously.

We are quite lucky for this, since if the monks did not go through this punishing work, we would not know most of what we know about the ancient world today.

This image above is from a bible, showing the first page of the Gospel of Luke. The illustrations, which sometimes incorporated real gold into the paint, were called Illuminations. Some medieval manuscripts have very strange illuminations, like knights fighting snails, or babies flying into people's beds!

You can see this particular manuscript, and more, in person at the Hellenic Museum.

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