APPLIED CODICOLOGY IN CH
Codicology (from Latin codex, genitive codicis, "notebook, book"; and Greek -λογία, -logia) is the study of manuscript books written on parchment (or paper) as physical objects. It is often referred to as 'the archaeology of the book', concerning itself with the materials (parchment, sometimes referred to as membrane or vellum, paper, pigments, inks and so on), as well as techniques used to make books, including their binding. Despite the fact that Switzerland has a vast heritage of manuscripts, students at Swiss universities do not have the opportunity to specialise as codicologists.
Project Director: Prof. Carla Rossi
Advanced Researchers (2020-2023): Ada Togni, Giada Gerosi
Although Switzerland conserves some of the most important medieval manuscripts in Europe (e.g. the codices in St. Gallen or two of the earliest existing Atlantic Bibles, Geneva, BGE, lat. 1 and Sion, Archives de la cathédrale, 15), codicology, a core subject for any philologist, is not compulsory at Swiss universities. Moreover, although at least two of the largest antiquarian galleries dealing with medieval manuscripts are located in Switzerland, there is no academic lecture for codicologists working in auction houses and antiquarian galleries. The project therefore focuses on two main axes:
- While the two researchers will work to understand the reasons for such a gap in Switzerland, drafting a study entitled Codicology in Switzerland, history of an absent subject
- A team of codicologists and philologists will try to fill it by giving a two-year seminar in Applied Codicology, the first is called Parchment Treasures (link to the program and video recordings of the lectures, here), the second is devoted to the various types of liturgical books (called Bibles, Evangeliaries, Breviaries and Books of Hours, link to the program here).
A related research project is the study of illuminated manuscripts by women, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, with the aim of making these manuscripts recognisable.