Rescuing the Medieval World: Matthew Parker, Sir Robert Cotton, and the Preservation of England’s Past
Lecture by Timothy C. Graham
Given at the University of New Mexico on March 28, 2019
We today know a tremendous amount about the medieval world – about its history, its literature, its religious practices, its science and medicine, its art. We know as much as we do largely because of the survival of so many medieval books of handwritten manuscripts which we have across Western Europe in their tens of thousands. Those medieval books are the repositories of most of the knowledge that we have about the Middle Ages, and in the case of illuminated manuscripts they are also the repositories of a large amount of medieval art. What I want to tell you today is that we are exceptionally fortunate to have as many books as we still do – medieval books have undergone many adventures across the centuries.
Top Image: The Lindisfarne Gospels is but one of the treasures collected by Sir Robert Cotton.