A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document that is written by hand — or, once practical typewriters became available, typewritten — as opposed to being mechanically printed or reproduced in some indirect or automated way.More recently, the term has come to be understood to further include any written, typed, or word-processed copy of an author's work, as distinguished from its rendition as a printed version of the same. Before the arrival of printing, all documents and books were manuscripts. Manuscripts are not defined by their contents, which may combine writing with mathematical calculations, maps, explanatory figures or illustrations. Manuscripts may be in book form, scrolls or in codex format. Illuminated manuscripts are enriched with pictures, border decorations, elaborately embossed initial letters or full-page illustrations.
A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical machine for writing characters similar to those produced by printer's movable type. Typically, a typewriter has an array of keys, and each one causes a different single character to be produced on the paper, by means of a ribbon with dried ink struck against the paper by a type element similar to the sorts used in movable type letterpress printing. With older typewriters, a separate type element corresponds to each key; more recent ones use a single type element with a different portion of it used for each character. At the end of the nineteenth century, the term typewriter was also applied to a person who used a typing machine.
Printing is a process for reproducing text and images using a master form or template. The earliest non-paper products involving printing include cylinder seals and objects such as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Cylinders of Nabonidus. The earliest known form of printing as applied to paper was woodblock printing, which appeared in China before 220 AD. Later developments in printing technology include the movable type invented by Bi Sheng around 1040 AD and the printing press invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. The technology of printing played a key role in the development of the Renaissance and the scientific revolution, and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
A codex, plural codices, is a book constructed of a number of sheets of paper, vellum, papyrus, or similar materials. The term is now usually only used of manuscript books, with hand-written contents, but describes the format that is now near-universal for printed books in the Western world. The book is usually bound by stacking the pages and fixing one edge to a spine, which may just be thicker paper, or with stiff boards, called a hardback, or in elaborate historical examples a treasure binding.
The traditional abbreviations are MS for manuscript and MSS for manuscripts,while the forms MS., ms or ms. for singular, and MSS., mss or mss. for plural (with or without the full stop, all uppercase or all lowercase) are also accepted. The second s is not simply the plural; by an old convention, it doubles the last letter of the abbreviation to express the plural, just as pp. means "pages".
Before the invention of woodblock printing in China or by moveable type in a printing press in Europe, all written documents had to be both produced and reproduced by hand. Historically, manuscripts were produced in form of scrolls (volumen in Latin) or books (codex, plural codices). Manuscripts were produced on vellum and other parchment, on papyrus, and on paper. In Russia birch bark documents as old as from the 11th century have survived. In India, the palm leaf manuscript, with a distinctive long rectangular shape, was used from ancient times until the 19th century. Paper spread from China via the Islamic world to Europe by the 14th century, and by the late 15th century had largely replaced parchment for many purposes.
Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper. As a method of printing on cloth, the earliest surviving examples from China date to before 220 AD. Woodblock printing existed in Tang China during the 7th century AD and remained the most common East Asian method of printing books and other texts, as well as images, until the 19th century. Ukiyo-e is the best known type of Japanese woodblock art print. Most European uses of the technique for printing images on paper are covered by the art term woodcut, except for the block-books produced mainly in the 15th century in India.
A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium, thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in which the cloth, paper or other medium was brushed or rubbed repeatedly to achieve the transfer of ink, and accelerated the process. Typically used for texts, the invention and global spread of the printing press was one of the most influential events in the second millennium.
Vellum is prepared animal skin or "membrane", typically used as a material for writing on. Parchment is another term for this material, and if vellum is distinguished from this, it is by vellum being made from calfskin, as opposed to that from other animals, or otherwise being of higher quality. Vellum is prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. The word is derived from the Latin word vitulinum meaning "made from calf", leading to Old French vélin, "calfskin".)
When Greek or Latin works were published, numerous professional copies were made simultaneously by scribes in a scriptorium, each making a single copy from an original that was declaimed aloud.
Scriptorium, literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts by monastic scribes.
The oldest written manuscripts have been preserved by the perfect dryness of their Middle Eastern resting places, whether placed within sarcophagi in Egyptian tombs, or reused as mummy-wrappings, discarded in the middens of Oxyrhynchus or secreted for safe-keeping in jars and buried (Nag Hammadi library) or stored in dry caves (Dead Sea scrolls). Manuscripts in Tocharian languages, written on palm leaves, survived in desert burials in the Tarim Basin of Central Asia. Volcanic ash preserved some of the Roman library of the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum.
A sarcophagus is a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σάρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγεῖν phagein meaning "to eat"; hence sarcophagus means "flesh-eating", from the phrase lithos sarkophagos, "flesh-eating stone". The word also came to refer to a particular kind of limestone that was thought to rapidly facilitate the decomposition of the flesh of corpses contained within it due to the chemical properties of the limestone itself.
A mummy is a deceased human or an animal whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or lack of air, so that the recovered body does not decay further if kept in cool and dry conditions. Some authorities restrict the use of the term to bodies deliberately embalmed with chemicals, but the use of the word to cover accidentally desiccated bodies goes back to at least 1615 AD.
A midden is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, mollusc shells, sherds, lithics, and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation.
Ironically, the manuscripts that were being most carefully preserved in the libraries of antiquity are virtually all lost. Papyrus has a life of at most a century or two in relatively moist Italian or Greek conditions; only those works copied onto parchment, usually after the general conversion to Christianity, have survived, and by no means all of those.
Classical antiquity is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
Originally, all books were in manuscript form. In China, and later other parts of East Asia, woodblock printing was used for books from about the 7th century. The earliest dated example is the Diamond Sutra of 868. In the Islamic world and the West, all books were in manuscript until the introduction of movable type printing in about 1450.[ clarification needed ] Manuscript copying of books continued for a least a century, as printing remained expensive. Private or government documents remained hand-written until the invention of the typewriter in the late 19th century. Because of the likelihood of errors being introduced each time a manuscript was copied, the filiation of different versions of the same text is a fundamental part of the study and criticism of all texts that have been transmitted in manuscript.
In Southeast Asia, in the first millennium, documents of sufficiently great importance were inscribed on soft metallic sheets such as copperplate, softened by refiner's fire and inscribed with a metal stylus. In the Philippines, for example, as early as 900AD, specimen documents were not inscribed by stylus, but were punched much like the style of today's dot-matrix printers. This type of document was rare compared to the usual leaves and bamboo staves that were inscribed. However, neither the leaves nor paper were as durable as the metal document in the hot, humid climate. In Burma, the kammavaca, Buddhist manuscripts, were inscribed on brass, copper or ivory sheets, and even on discarded monk robes folded and lacquered. In Italy some important Etruscan texts were similarly inscribed on thin gold plates: similar sheets have been discovered in Bulgaria. Technically, these are all inscriptions rather than manuscripts.
The study of the writing, or "hand" in surviving manuscripts is termed palaeography. In the Western world, from the classical period through the early centuries of the Christian era, manuscripts were written without spaces between the words (scriptio continua), which makes them especially hard for the untrained to read. Extant copies of these early manuscripts written in Greek or Latin and usually dating from the 4th century to the 8th century, are classified according to their use of either all upper case or all lower case letters. Hebrew manuscripts, such as the Dead Sea scrolls make no such differentiation. Manuscripts using all upper case letters are called majuscule, those using all lower case are called minuscule. Usually, the majuscule scripts such as uncial are written with much more care. The scribe lifted his pen between each stroke, producing an unmistakable effect of regularity and formality. On the other hand, while minuscule scripts can be written with pen-lift, they may also be cursive, that is, use little or no pen-lift.
In the context of library science, a manuscript is defined as any hand-written item in the collections of a library or an archive. For example, a library's collection of hand-written letters or diaries is considered a manuscript collection. Such manuscript collections are described in finding aids, similar to an index or table of contents to the collection, in accordance with national and international content standards such as DACS and ISAD(G).
In other contexts, however, the use of the term "manuscript" no longer necessarily means something that is hand-written. By analogy a typescript has been produced on a typewriter.
In book, magazine, and music publishing, a manuscript is an original copy of a work written by an author or composer, which generally follows standardized typographic and formatting rules. (The staff paper commonly used for handwritten music is, for this reason, often called "manuscript paper"). In film and theatre, a manuscript, or script for short, is an author's or dramatist's text, used by a theatre company or film crew during the production of the work's performance or filming. More specifically, a motion picture manuscript is called a screenplay; a television manuscript, a teleplay; a manuscript for the theatre, a stage play; and a manuscript for audio-only performance is often called a radio play, even when the recorded performance is disseminated via non-radio means.
In insurance, a manuscript policy is one that is negotiated between the insurer and the policyholder, as opposed to an off-the-shelf form supplied by the insurer.
Most surviving pre-modern manuscripts use the codex format (as in a modern book), which had replaced the scroll by Late Antiquity. Parchment or vellum, as the best type of parchment is known, had also replaced papyrus, which was not nearly so long lived and has survived to the present only in the extremely dry conditions of Egypt, although it was widely used across the Roman world. Parchment is made of animal skin, normally calf, sheep, and/or goat, but also other animals. With all skins, the quality of the finished product is based on how much preparation and skill was put into turning the skin into parchment. Parchment made from calf or sheep was the most common in Northern Europe, while civilizations in Southern Europe preferred goatskin.Often, if the parchment is white or cream in color and veins from the animal can still be seen, it is calfskin. If it is yellow, greasy or in some cases shiny, then it was made from sheepskin.
For a step-by step process of how these books were prepared, including copying and illumination, watch this video provided by the Getty Museum.
Vellum comes from the Latin word vitulinum which means “of calf”/ “made from calf”. For modern parchment makers and calligraphers, and apparently often in the past, the terms parchment and vellum are used based on the different degrees of quality, preparation and thickness, and not according to which animal the skin came from, and because of this, the more neutral term "membrane" is often used by modern academics, especially where the animal has not been established by testing.
Because they are books, pre-modern manuscripts are best described using bibliographic rather than archival standards. The standard endorsed by the American Library Association is known as AMREMM.A growing digital catalog of pre-modern manuscripts is Digital Scriptorium, hosted by the University of California at Berkeley.
From ancient texts to medieval maps, anything written down for study would have been done with manuscripts. Some of the most common genres were bibles, religious commentaries, philosophy, law and government texts.
“The Bible was the most studied book of the Middle Ages.”The Bible was the center of medieval religious life. Along with the Bible came scores of commentaries. Commentaries were written in volumes, with some focusing on just single pages of scripture. Across Europe, there were universities that prided themselves on their biblical knowledge. Along with universities, certain cities also had their own celebrities of biblical knowledge during the medieval period.
A book of hours is a type of devotional text which was widely popular during the Middle Ages. They are the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscripts. Each book of hours contain a similar collection of texts, prayers, and psalms but decoration can vary between each and each example. Many have minimal illumination, often restricted to ornamented initials, but books of hours made for wealthier patrons can be extremely extravagant with full-page miniatures. These books were used for owners to recite prayers privately eight different times, or hours, of the day.
Along with Bibles, large numbers of manuscripts made in the Middle Ages were revieved in Church[ clarification needed ]. Due to the complex church system of rituals and worship these books were the most elegantly written and finely decorated of all medieval manuscripts. Liturgical books usually came in two varieties. Those used during mass and those for divine office.
Most liturgical books came with a calendar in the front. This served as a quick reference point for important dates in Jesus' life and to tell church officials which saints were to be honored and on what day. The format of the liturgical calendar was as follows:
an example of a medieval liturgical calendar
|January, August, December||March, May, July, October||April, June, September, November||February|
|Kal. (1)||Kal. (1)||Kal. (1)||Kal. (1)|
|IV Non. (2)||VI Non. (2)||IV Non. (2)||IV Non. (2)|
|III Non. (3)||V Non. (3)||III Non. (3)||III Non. (3)|
|II Non. (4)||IV Non. (4)||II Non. (4)||II Non. (4)|
|Non. (5)||III Non. (5)||Non. (5)||Non. (5)|
|VIII Id. (6)||II Non. (6)||VIII Id. (6)||VIII Id. (6)|
|VII Id. (7)||Non. (7)||VII Id. (7)||VII Id. (7)|
|VI Id. (8)||VIII Id. (8)||VI Id. (8)||VI Id. (8)|
|V Id. (9)||VII Id. (9)||V Id. (9)||V Id. (9)|
|IV Id. (10)||VII Id. (10)||IV Id. (10)||IV Id. (10)|
|III Id. (11)||V Id. (11)||III Id. (11)||III Id. (11)|
|II Id. (12)||IV Id. (12)||II Id. (12)||II Id. (12)|
|Id (13)||III Id. (13)||Id. (13)||Id. (13)|
|XIX Kal. (14)||II Id. (14)||XVIII Kal. (14)||XVI Kal. (14)|
|XVIII Kal. (15)||Id. (15)||XVII Kal. (15)||XV Kal. (15)|
|XVII Kal. (16)||XVII Kal. (16)||XVI Kal. (16)||XIV Kal. (16)|
|XVI Kal. (17)||XVI Kal. (17)||XV Kal. (17)||XIII Kal. (17)|
|XV Kal. (18)||XV Kal. (18)||XIV Kal. (18)||XII Kal. (18)|
|XIV Kal. (19)||XIV Kal. (19)||XIII Kal. (19)||XI Kal. (19)|
|XIII Kal. (20)||XIII Kal. (20||XII Kal. (20)||X Kal. (20)|
|XII Kal. (21)||XII Kal. (21)||XI Kal. (21)||IX Kal. (21)|
|XI Kal. (22)||XI Kal. (22)||X Kal. (22)||VIII Kal. (22)|
|X Kal. (23)||X Kal. (23)||IX Kal. (23)||VII Kal. (23)|
|IX Kal. (24)||IX Kal. (24)||VIII Kal. (24)||VI Kal (the extra day in a leap year)|
|VIII Kal. (25)||VIII Kal. (25)||VII Kal. (25)||VI Kal. (24/25)|
|VII Kal. (26)||VII Kal. (26)||VI Kal. (26)||V Kal. (25/26)|
|VI Kal. (27)||VI Kal. (27)||V Kal. (28)||V Kal. (26/27)|
|V Kal. (28)||V Kal. (28)||V Kal. (28)||V Kal. (27/28)|
|IV Kal. (29)||IV Kal. (29)||III Kal. (29)||III Kal. (28/29)|
|III Kal. (30)||III Kal. (30)||II Kal. (30)|
|II Kal. (31)||II Kal. (31)|
Almost all medieval calendars give each day's date according to the Roman method of reckoning time. In the Roman system, each month had three fixed points known as Kalends (Kal), the Nons and the Ides. The Nones fell on the fifth of the month in January, February, April, June, August, September, November and December, but on the seventh of the month in March, May, July and October. The Ides fell on the thirteenth in those months in which the Nones fell on the fifth, and the fifteenth in the other four months. All other days were dated by the number of days by which they preceded one of those fixed points.
Merovingian script, or "Luxeuil minuscule", is named after an abbey in Western France, the Luxeuil Abbey, founded by the Irish missionary St Columba ca. 590.Caroline minuscule is a calligraphic script developed as a writing standard in Europe so that the Latin alphabet could be easily recognized by the literate class from different regions. It was used in the Holy Roman Empire between approximately 800 and 1200. Codices, classical and Christian texts, and educational material were written in Carolingian minuscule throughout the Carolingian Renaissance. The script developed into blackletter and became obsolete, though its revival in the Italian renaissance forms the basis of more recent scripts. In Introduction to Manuscript Studies, Clemens and Graham associate the beginning of this text coming from the Abby of Saint-Martin at Tours.
Caroline Minuscule arrived in England in the second half of the 10th century. Its adoption there, replacing Insular script, was encouraged by the importation of continental European manuscripts by Saints Dunstan, Aethelwold, and Oswald. This script spread quite rapidly, being employed in many English centres for copying Latin texts. English scribes adapted the Carolingian script, giving it proportion and legibility. This new revision of the Caroline Minuscule was called English Protogothic Bookhand. Another script that is derived from the Caroline Minuscule was the German Protogothic Bookhand. It originated in southern Germany during the second half of the 12th century.All the individual letters are Caroline; but just as with English Protogothic Bookhand it evolved. This can be seen most notably in the arm of the letter h. It has a hairline that tapers out by curving to the left. When first read the German Protogothic h looks like the German Protogothic b. Many more scripts sprang out of the German Protogothic Bookhand. After those came Bastard Anglicana, which is best described as: lipi = pandu lipi pura lipi vignayani
The coexistence in the Gothic period of formal hands employed for the copying of books and cursive scripts used for documentary purposes eventually resulted in cross-fertilization between these two fundamentally different writing styles. Notably, scribes began to upgrade some of the cursive scripts. A script that has been thus formalized is known as a bastard script (whereas a bookhand that has had cursive elements fused onto it is known as a hybrid script). The advantage of such a script was that it could be written more quickly than a pure bookhand; it thus recommended itself to scribes in a period when demand for books was increasing and authors were tending to write longer texts. In England during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many books were written in the script known as Bastard Anglicana.
(as opposed to printed Catalog number)
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Parchment is a writing material made from specially prepared untanned skins of animals—primarily sheep, calves, and goats. It has been used as a writing medium for over two millennia. Vellum is a finer quality parchment made from the skins of young animals such as lambs and young calves.
Palaeography (UK) or paleography is the study of ancient and historical handwriting. Included in the discipline is the practice of deciphering, reading, and dating historical manuscripts, and the cultural context of writing, including the methods with which writing and books were produced, and the history of scriptoria.
A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist, especially one who made copies of manuscripts before the invention of automatic printing.
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials, borders (marginalia) and miniature illustrations. In the strictest definition, the term refers only to manuscripts decorated with either gold or silver; but in both common usage and modern scholarship, the term refers to any decorated or illustrated manuscript from Western traditions. Comparable Far Eastern and Mesoamerican works are described as painted. Islamic manuscripts may be referred to as illuminated, illustrated or painted, though using essentially the same techniques as Western works.
Carolingian minuscule or Caroline minuscule is a script which developed as a calligraphic standard in Europe so that the Latin alphabet of Jerome's Vulgate Bible could be easily recognized by the literate class from one region to another. It was developed for the first time, in about 780, by a Benedictine monk of Corbie Abbey, namely, Alcuin of York. It was used in the Holy Roman Empire between approximately 800 and 1200. Codices, pagan and Christian texts, and educational material were written in Carolingian minuscule throughout the Carolingian Renaissance. The script developed into blackletter and became obsolete, though its revival in the Italian Renaissance forms the basis of more recent scripts.
The Textus Roffensis, fully entitled the Textus de Ecclesia Roffensi per Ernulphum episcopum and sometimes also known as the Annals of Rochester, is a mediaeval manuscript that consists of two separate works written between 1122 and 1124. It is catalogued as "Rochester Cathedral Library, MS A.3.5" and is currently on display in a new exhibition at Rochester Cathedral, Rochester, Kent. It is thought that the main text of both manuscripts was written by a single scribe, although the English glosses to the two Latin entries were made by a second hand. The annotations might indicate that the manuscript was consulted in some post-Conquest trials. However, the glosses are very sparse and just clarify a few uncertain terms. For example, the entry on f. 67r merely explains that the triplex iudiciu(m) is called in English, ofraceth ordel.
The Ellesmere Chaucer, or Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, is an early 15th-century illuminated manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, owned by the Huntington Library, in San Marino, California. It is considered one of the most significant copies of the Tales.
A scroll, also known as a roll, is a roll of papyrus, parchment, or paper containing writing.
Western calligraphy is the art of writing and penmanship as practiced in the Western world, especially using the Latin alphabet.
Birch bark manuscripts are documents written on pieces of the inner layer of birch bark, which was commonly used for writing before the advent of mass production of paper. Evidence of birch bark for writing goes back many centuries and in various cultures.
A biblical manuscript is any handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the Bible. Biblical manuscripts vary in size from tiny scrolls containing individual verses of the Jewish scriptures to huge polyglot codices containing both the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the New Testament, as well as extracanonical works.
Preserving parchment becomes more difficult when pigments, inks, and illumination are added into the equation. Pigments do not dye parchment; instead, they lie on the surface of the parchment and so are rather fragile. The goal of restoring illuminated manuscripts should be to make them resilient to damage while altering them as little as possible. Each individual manuscript, and even each individual page, must be considered as a separate object with different aspects that must be taken into consideration. This in turn will help determine the best course of preservation or conservation treatment.
Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson B 502 is a medieval Irish manuscript which presently resides in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It ranks as one of the three major surviving Irish manuscripts to have been produced in pre-Norman Ireland, the two other works being the Lebor na hUidre and the Book of Leinster. Some scholars have also called it the Book of Glendalough, in Irish Lebar Glinne Dá Locha, after several allusions in medieval and early modern sources to a manuscript of that name. However, there is currently no agreement as to whether Rawlinson B 502, more precisely its second part, is to be identified as the manuscript referred to by that title.
Humanist minuscule is a handwriting or style of script that was invented in secular circles in Italy, at the beginning of the fifteenth century. "Few periods in Western history have produced writing of such great beauty", observes the art historian Millard Meiss. The new hand was based on Carolingian minuscule, which Renaissance humanists, obsessed with the revival of antiquity and their role as its inheritors, took to be ancient Roman:
[W]hen they handled manuscript books copied by eleventh- and twelfth-century scribes, Quattrocento literati thought they were looking at texts that came right out of the bookshops of ancient Rome".
Digital Scriptorium (DS) is a non-profit, tax-exempt consortium of American libraries with collections of pre-modern manuscripts, or manuscripts made in the tradition of books before printing. The DS database represents these manuscript collections in a web-based union catalog for teaching and scholarly research in medieval and Renaissance studies. It provides access to illuminated and textual manuscripts through online cataloging records, supported by high resolution digital images, retrievable by various topic searches. The DS database is an open access resource that enables users to study rare and valuable materials of academic, research, and public libraries. It makes available collections that are often restricted from public access and includes not only famous masterpieces of book illumination but also understudied manuscripts that have been previously overlooked for publication or study.
The Black Hours, MS M.493 is an illuminated book of hours produced in Bruges between 1460 and 1475, although dates as late as 1480 have been suggested. It consists of 121 leaves, most containing blocks of Latin text written in Gothic minuscule script. The words are arranged in rows of fourteen lines, and follows the Roman version of the texts. The lettering is inscribed in silver and gold, and placed within borders ornamented with flowers, foliage and grotesques, all on pages dyed a deep blueish black. It contains fourteen full-page miniatures, and opens with the months of the liturgical calendar, followed by the Hours of the Virgin, and ends with the Office of the Dead. It has been in the collection of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, since 1912.
The Trinity Carol Roll is a 15th-century manuscript of thirteen English carols held by the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge. It is the earliest surviving example of polyphonic music written in English. Compiled after 1415, it contains the earliest of two manuscript sources for the Agincourt Carol which tells of Henry V's victory at the Battle of Agincourt, as well as several early Christmas carols. The majority of texts are in Middle English with some of the carols alternating between Latin and Middle English, a common form for carols of the period known as macaronic.
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