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Scriptorium | writing room | Britannica Encyclopedia Britannica logo BrowseSearch Quizzes Games On This Day Entertainment & Pop Culture Geography & Travel Health & Medicine Lifestyles & Social Issues Literature Philosophy & Religion Politics, Law & Government Science Sports & Recreation Technology Visual Arts World History Quizzes Games Podcasts On This Day Biographies Week In Review Topic Summaries Infographics Demystified Lists #WTFact Companions Image Galleries Spotlight Entertainment & Pop Culture Geography & Travel Health & Medicine Lifestyles & Social Issues Literature Philosophy & Religion Politics, Law & Government Science Sports & Recreation Technology Visual Arts World History Britannica Classics Britannica Explains This Time in History #WTFact Videos Demystified Videos Scriptorium Article Media Additional Info Home Visual Arts Decorative Art Scriptoriumwriting room Print Share Share to social media Facebook Twitter URL https://www.britannica.com/art/scriptorium Feedback
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Scriptorium , writing room set aside in monastic communities for the use of scribes engaged in copying manuscripts. Scriptoria were an important feature of the Middle Ages, most characteristically of Benedictine establishments because of St. Benedict’s support of literary activities. All who worked in scriptoria, however, were not monks; lay scribes and illuminators from outside the monastic foundation reinforced the clerical scribes.

scriptorium scriptoriumMonk working in a scriptorium, engraving after a 15th-century manuscript.Photos.com/ThinkstockThis article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen , Corrections Manager.Learn More in these related Britannica articles:
United Kingdom
United Kingdom: Government and justice
This scriptorium was the source from which all writs (i.e., written royal commands) were issued. At the start of William’s reign the writs were in English, and by the end of it, in Latin.…
St. Andrew, wall painting in the presbytery of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome, 705–707.
Western painting: England and Ireland, c. 650–850
In their scriptoria (writing rooms) manuscripts were written and decorated in increasingly elaborate fashion. In the Northumbrian double monastery of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, Italian books and their illustrations were imitated extraordinarily faithfully ( the Codex Amiatinus, a great Bible,
Gutenberg Bible
history of publishing: Greek books
The large libraries maintained scriptoria in which extensive copying was done. However, survivals are scanty and there is no group of extant examples that bears such close resemblance to each other as to indicate that they were the product of the same scribe or scriptorium. Some surviving rolls bear…
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