The Book: Scrolls in the Age of the Book
About this courseSkip About this course
This course is an introduction to the making and use of scrolls in the European Middle Ages. The codex, with its portability and instant access to any place in the text, became the dominant container for writing after the 4th century BCE, but scrolls continued to be made. Why and how did the scroll format remain popular and relevant in the age of the codex? This course proposes four main reasons, which
account for essentially every kind of scroll that still exists today. We will see and examine in detail a number of beautiful objects, and come to understand the thinking of those who chose the scroll format for their texts.
This module features four main units, each of which is based on one of the reasons for scroll-making:
- Scrolls of indeterminate length
- Scrolls in long format
- Ceremonial and archaizing scrolls
- Portable scrolls
Scrolls in the Age of the Book also features a guided tour of an exhibition on Harvard University’s collection of medieval scrolls, held at Houghton Library, Harvard’s special collections library, in Spring 2014. Each scroll featured in the exhibit has been fully digitized by Harvard’s Preservation Services division, and participants will have the opportunity to interact with them in unprecedented fashion using Mirador, a state-of-the-art web application developed by Harvard and Stanford Universities.
This is a module in the series The Book: Histories Across Time and Space.
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact email@example.com and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- How and why scrolls were created in the Middle Ages
- How scrolls are made, and how they are used
- Differences between scrolls and codices
- Various types of layouts and uses for scrolls
- Various types of scroll decoration