Codicology (2340 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


Codicology is the study of the physical structure of manuscript books, or codices, from the Middle Ages. It includes the manufacture of the material to be written on (papyrus, parchment, paper, and so on), the preparation of that material after manufacture, and arrangement of the material after writing into its final form, such as a book or roll. The discussion here focuses on the most commonly surviving form from the medieval West, namely parchment or paper bound in a book or “codex”, but many other materials and arrangements are found throughout Europe and the rest of the world.


The origin of parchment is associated with Eumenes II of Pergamum (197-159 BC), who is said to have developed the …

Stokes, Peter Anthony. "Codicology". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 October 2006
[, accessed 24 October 2016.]