Quill Quest

Micro-Challenges for Current, Aspiring, and Dabbling Scribes

    • Need an excuse to make something?
    • Don’t have a lot of time?
    • Always wanted to try scribal but don’t know where to start?
    • Want to make cute things for your friends?
    • Does your inner scribe need some self-care?

A few ways to treat these challenges

    • Share your work on Facebook and/or Instagram using #QuillQuest or reply to the original post
    • If you would like to anonymously share your work you may send it to me (scrivener@atlantia.sca.org) and I will post it for you
    • Draw and/or paint something related to this topic
    • Make a card or bookmark to send to a friend that could use a little love
    • Keep a running notebook where you complete the challenges, akin to “Inktober” if you are familiar
    • Research and post images or links you find of this topic
    • Post past examples of the topic you have seen or done
    • Show some love
    • Support your friends

I want to give a huge thanks to The King's Bard Lady Alias Ela, Lady Lucy of Wigan, and Ollam Lanea for being a huge help to me in coming up with these week after week and for generally dealing with my ridiculousness.

Artwork in Image Title Rule of St Benedict, with a calendarOrigin England, S. E. (Canterbury)Date last quarter of the 10th century, or 1st quarter of the 11th centuryhttp://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=7321&CollID=8&NStart=5431

Quill Quest 56: Rule of Saint Benedict

22 July A.S. LVI

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Artwork in Image Genealogy of the Kings of England to Edward I.Shelfmark:Bodleian Library MS. Bodl. Rolls 313th century, endEnglandhttps://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/4d29c09d-9b25-4b52-83a8-7c3734ad71f2/surfaces/16e0c817-97e5-46b8-9c9e-56d5f1b3e6a3/

Quill Quest 55: Genealogy of the Kings of England to Edward I

1 July A.S. LVI

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Artwork in Image Cuttings from a Latin prose treatise on the Seven Viceshttps://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?CollID=27&MSID=8334&NStart=27695 Origin Italy, N. W. (Genoa)Date c. 1330 - c. 1340

Quill Quest 54: The Seven Vices

24 June A.S. LVI

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“Seven deadly sins, also called seven capital sins or seven cardinal sins, in Roman Catholic theology, the seven vices that spur other sins and further immoral behaviour. First enumerated by Pope Gregory I (the Great) in the 6th century and elaborated in the 13th century by St. Thomas Aquinas, they are (1) vainglory, or pride, (2) greed, or covetousness, (3) lust, or inordinate or illicit sexual desire, (4) envy, (5) gluttony, which is usually understood to include drunkenness, (6) wrath, or anger, and (7) sloth.” - Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Seven deadly sins". Encyclopedia Britannica, 18 Aug. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/topic/seven-deadly-sins. Accessed 24 June 2021.
Artwork in Image Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru – The National Library of WalesFolio 49r1225 - 1275http://hdl.handle.net/10107/4623419

Quill Quest 53: The Black Book of Carmarthen

11 June A.S. LVI

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Thank you Ollam Lanea for sharing this resource.


http://hdl.handle.net/10107/4623419
Artwork in Image Neil MacBeath's Psalter“A 15th-16th-century Gaelic manuscript, containing Psalm 118 and a compendium of medical definitions. The skin cover extends into "tails", allowing the volume to be worn on the belt. It was designed to be fastened by the button (a German stock token) at the front.”Adv.MS.72.1.4Owner: MacBeath, NeilSubject/content:Psalters (books)Subject/content: Medicine (discipline)Subject/content: Girdle booksForm/genre: Manuscriptshttps://digital.nls.uk/gaelic-manuscripts-of-scotland/archive/77009278#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-872%2C-190%2C4607%2C3793

Quill Quest 52: Girdle Books

3 June A.S. LVI

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Additional ResourceGo Medieval by Attaching a
Book to Your Belt
Artwork in Image Lebor Gabála Érenn/The Book of Ireland's InvasionsMS D v 1F. 8rhttps://www.isos.dias.ie/libraries/RIA/RIA_MS_D_v_1/tables/2.html#25?ref=

Quill Quest 50: Irish Script on Screen

20 May A.S. LV

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Share or create works inspired by Irish Script on Screen.

Thank you Ollam Lanea for composing this Quill Quest.

Lebor Gabála Érenn/The Book of Ireland's InvasionsLebor Gabála Érenn/The Book of Ireland's Invasions (in image) tracks the myth-history of Ireland through the middle ages. It survives in multiple manuscripts including this one, The Stowe Missal, held at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin.Irish Script on ScreenIrish Script on Screen is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in Irish manuscripts. Currently sponsored and hosted by the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, ISOS has been digitizing and hosting Irish manuscripts since 1999, making these amazing works of art and literature available online to researchers, artists, and linguists. ISOS hosts digitized versions of manuscripts housed in universities, libraries, museums, and private collections around the world as well as searchable transcripts of the text. The online collection includes religious, scientific, legal, and literary works, including the Book of Leinster, the Yellow Book of Lecan, the Book of Aicill, and the Book of Lismore.
Artwork in Image Entries for chamomile and ‘hart clover’, from an illustrated Old English Herbal, England (? Christ Church Canterbury or Winchester), c. 1000–1025, Cotton MS Vitellius C III, f. 29vhttp://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Cotton_MS_Vitellius_C_III https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/04/an-illustrated-old-english-herbal.html

Quill Quest 49: Herbals

13 May A.S. LV

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Artwork in Image The Book of Deerchi-rho page, 5rfeaturing zoomorphics, the traditional Insular initial dots, interlace, labyrinths, and a neat miniscule script.https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-II-00006-00032/10

Quill Quest 48: O! Deer

6 May A.S. LV

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Share or create works inspired by The Book of Deer.

Thank you Bran Mydwynter for composing this Quill Quest and for inviting us to his Insular Manuscript class “Beyond Kells”!


Share or create works inspired by The Book of Deer.Interested in learning more about some less-famous Insular manuscripts, and how we can use them in our scrollwork? Bran will be teaching his new class, "Beyond Kells" on Saturday, May 8th at 11am. See http://highlandfoorde.atlantia.sca.org/hrm-2021-classes/ for details."The Book of Deer is not only our earliest Scottish manuscript, but our earliest Scottish book, full-stop.As scribes in the SCA, it has further value to us as an Insular manuscript that—let's be honest—you don't have to be a monk to emulate. It's charming, unassuming, accessible, and full of character. And would make a terrific scroll."Additional ResourcesThe Book of Deer project: http://bookofdeer.co.uk/Full scan: https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-II-00006-00032/1
Artwork in Image The Story of Jacob, Vienna Genesis, folio 12v, early 6th century, tempera, gold and silver on purple vellum, cod. theol. gr. 31 (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna). From Khan Academy

Quill Quest 47: Vienna Genesis

29 April A.S. LV

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“The Vienna Genesis manuscript, now only partially preserved, was a very luxurious but idiosyncratic copy of a Greek translation of the original Hebrew. The heavily abbreviated text is written on purple-dyed parchment with silver ink that has now eaten through the parchment surface in many places. These materials would have been appropriate to an imperial patron, although we have no way of knowing who that was.” -Khan Academy
Additional resources
Artwork in Image Harley 3924 f. 1 Full white vine border
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=4452&CollID=8&NStart=3924

Author: Marcus Tullius Cicero
Title: De officiis
Origin: Italy, Central (Florence)
Date: 2nd quarter of the 15th century
Language: Latin
Script: Humanistic
Scribe: Attributed to Dominicus Cassii de Narnia

Quill Quest 46: White Vine Fun Time

22 April A.S. LV

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Share or create works that include Italian White Vine.


“White Vine-Stem - The Italian humanists developed a characteristic white vine-stem border (termed bianchi girari). The motif originated in fifteenth-century Florence and spread northward throughout Europe, accompanying humanistic or classical texts. White vine-stem borders were conscious emulations of what were thought to be antique manuscripts but were in fact Italian manuscripts of the twelfth century. The white vine was generally left as blank parchment.” -British Library
Artwork in Image https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg848/0793/imageMaster Heinrich FrauenlobGreat Heidelberg song manuscript (Codex Manesse)Heidelberg University LibraryCod. Pal. germ. 848, p. 399r35 x 25 cm1305-1340Zurich

Quill Quest 45: Codex Manesse

16 April A.S. LV

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Artwork in Image CHANTILLY, Bibliothèque du château, 0065 (1284)Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry15e s. (ca. 1416)290 x 210 mm205 f.Bibliothèque Virtuelle des Manuscrits Médiévaux (BVMM) – IRHT-CNRShttps://bvmm.irht.cnrs.fr/resultRecherche/resultRecherche.php?COMPOSITION_ID=10794License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/deed.frThis work has been cropped from its original format.AttributionBibliothèque du château de CHANTILLY

Quill Quest 44: Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry

8 April A.S. LV

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Additional Resources
Artwork in Image:
2nd quarter of the 11th century-2nd half of the 12th century, The manuscript contains portions of the Hexateuch, in Old English:ff. 15v http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Cotton_MS_Claudius_B_IV

Quill Quest 43: Old English Hexateuch

1 April A.S. LV

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Share or create works inspired by the Old English Hexateuch

Thanks go to Mistress Molly for this resource.


“The Old English Hexateuch provides invaluable evidence of an English person’s experience of the Bible in their own language. Like most of the other biblical manuscripts produced during the Middle Ages, this book comprises only part of the Bible. However, unlike the more common Gospel-books, this manuscript is a Hexateuch, the first six books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua). It is also written in Old English and represents the earliest example of an English translation of these six biblical texts.”“The Old English Hexateuch contains over 400 illustrations, which are justifiably well known for their vivid and dynamic depictions of important biblical events, including Creation, the building of the Tower of Babel and the story of Noah’s Ark. An additional full-page representation of the apocryphal story of the Fall of the Rebel Angels acts as a visual preface to the book of Genesis. These illustrations are the earliest to accompany any vernacular translation of a significant part of the Bible in the West.”-The British Library
Additional Resources:
Artwork in Image: Marble plaque showing parturition scene, Ostia, Italy, 400 BCE-300 CEMADE: 400 BCE-300 CE in Ostia Antica“Marble plaque showing parturition scene, Roman, from Ostia, ItalyThis marble plaque depicts a ‘parturition’, or birthing scene. Such scenes eased the fears of expectant mothers by depicting positive birthing images. During this time, midwives were female. Men were not present at births unless a doctor was required in the case of a high status mother. Here, a woman reclines on a couch covered in drapes, attended by three women. They are dressed in classical Roman robes and one is holding the baby. The plaque was excavated at Ostia, Italy.“Description licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence, No changes were made.Science Museum Group. Marble plaque showing parturition scene, Ostia, Italy, 400 BCE-300 CE. A129245Science Museum Group Collection Online. Accessed March 19, 2021. https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co94539/marble-plaque-showing-parturition-scene-ostia-italy-400-bce-300-ce-relief.

Quill Quest 42: Agnodice

25 March A.S. LV

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Thank you Lady Esa inghean Donnchaidh for writing this Quill Quest!


Agnodice (Agnodike), a 4th century Greek midwife and physician, is considered the first female physician in Athens. She assumed a masculine presentation and went by the name Herophilus in order to attend medical school in Alexandria and practice as a doctor and obstetrix (obstetrician) while circumventing the prohibition against women physicians. She garnered such a following of female patients that it was rumored that she was seducing them. Being charged for this misconduct, she lifted her tunic to reveal her feminine shape, leading to her being tried for the crime of doctoring while a woman. She was acquitted thanks to the testimony of her many patients who were so effectively treated and cured under her care, and the law against women becoming physicians was abolished in Athens. It is unknown if Agnodice was a historical figure, or a fictional character in Gaius Julius Hyginus’s Fabulae.
Additional Resources
Artwork in Image: Emma Loosley, “Mosaic from Villa of the Amazons,” Architecture and Asceticism, accessed March 15, 2021, http://architectureandasceticism.exeter.ac.uk/items/show/57.Image released under Creative Commons (cc) BY-NC-SA

Quill Quest 41: The Amazons—Othering the Enemy

18 March A.S. LV

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Share or create works inspired by the Amazons.

Thank you Ollam Lanea inghean Uí Chiaragáin for composing this Quill Quest!


Perhaps the most storied “outsiders” in ancient Greek myth, the Amazons lived either in Gaul, Asia Minor, Libya, Northern Anatolia, or along the Black sea, depending on which source you consult. They are described as a society of warlike women led by warrior queens, eschewing contact with men beyond what needs reproduction demanded, and returning any male babies to their fathers or consigning them to much darker ends. Etymology identifies them as “a”--lacking or without and “mazos”--breast, but such a definition could well be a manipulation of a loan word from another language.
Whatever the geographical location of their mythic homeland, the Amazons were viewed as unnatural barbarians in both Ancient Greek and Roman culture, where women would be denied access to martial training and be expected to follow the dictates of their male relatives. That “unnatural” behavior allowed them to serve as object lessons for strong willed women and girls who would be encouraged towards submission. It also theoretically excused mythic Greek heroes from following laws and ethical mores that would otherwise protect women from ill- treatment at their hands.
Despite all of the taboos broken by Amazons in myths, their stories appear to have enthralled artists around the Classical world. A particular style of scene, an “Amazonomachy” depicts war between Amazons and Greek warriors, and appears frequently on period ceramics, mosaics, and statuary. The Amazons in these works are generally wearing clothing associated with Scythian cultures, such as pointed caps, intricately patterned tunics, and tight patterned leg coverings.
More modern study has pointed to grave sites in the Eurasian Steppes as possible historical sources for the mythic figures.
https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium.MAGAZINE-amazon-warrior-women-russia-archaeology-scythian-greece-1.8327358
Whether or not we can ever connect historic female warriors from the Steppes with mythic heroines battling Greek warriors, we can absolutely celebrate the wealth of beautiful art depicting these fascinating women. And because the extant art is largely preserved as ceramics, sculptures or mosaics, it seems to beg for inclusion in non-traditional scrolls.
Additional Resources

Quill Quest 40: Trota of Salerno

11 March A.S. LV

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Thank you Lady Lady Esa inghean Donnchaidh for writing this Quill Quest!


Trota of Salerno was a 12th century physician famous for her medical compendium, The Trotula, consisting of three books On The Conditions of Women, On Treatments for Women, and On Women’s Cosmetics. Trota’s reputation as an astute medical practitioner spread throughout Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries, and was widely transcribed in Latin and multiple vernaculars. Modernly, it is widely accepted that the three books composing her most famous work were not all written entirely by her; however, her legacy continues as a prolific early female physician, as well as the leading european source for women’s medicine in the middle ages.Additional ResourcesFollow the link to flip through this extant copy in color, at your leisure:Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.14.30 (903), ff. 187r-204v (new foliation, 74r-91v) (s. xiiiex., France): proto-ensemble (incomplete),
And also this one, in French:Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS lat. 7056, ff. 77rb-86va; 97rb-100ra (s. xiii med.,England or N. France): transitional ensemble (Group B); TEM (Urtext of LSM),

Quill Quest 39: Hildegard von Bingen

4 March A.S. LV

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Thank you Magistra Iselda de Narbonne for writing this Quill Quest!


Given to the church by her family as a small child, Hildegard of Bingen was raised in a community of anchoresses - nuns who had quite literally walled themselves off from the outside world in a doorless enclosure in the monastery at Disibodenberg (a window allowed food and other items to be passed in and out). It was here that Hildegard learned to sing the psalms and began to have ecstatic visions.
When Hildegard was 38 years old, her mentor, Jutta, died, and Hildegard was unanimously elected the next magistra of their community of nuns. At this point, the anchoresses left their enclosure and integrated into the community of monks at Disibodenberg. It was during this period, compelled by a sickness that she took as a sign from God, that she began to record her visions and musical compositions, with the aid of her secretary and trusted friend, the monk Volmar.
At the age of about 52, Hildegard led her nuns away from Disibodenberg, and over the next 15 years established two independent communities of monastic women - one at Rupertsberg, and another nearby at Eibingen - where the nuns often communicated with each other using an invented language called the lingua ignota. It was at Rupertsberg that her nuns began compiling Hildegard's visions and writings into manuscripts. The lavish illustrations in Scivias were almost certainly not made by Hildegard, although they would have been based on her descriptions (the original manuscript was lost during WWII, but the nuns at the surviving community at Eibingen had fortunately produced a copy of the illustrations during the 1920s). Hildegard's nuns also produced volumes of scientific and medical writing (Physica, and Causae et Curae), which contain rare descriptions of medicine as practiced by and for women in the middle ages. After Hildegard's death in 1171 (at age 81), the Rupertsberg nuns completed their second compilation of Hildegard's music, the Riesencodex.
Additional Resources
Artworks in Image: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b55002481n/f7.item Detail from the Catalan Atlas Sheet 6Atlas of nautical charts, known as [Catalan Atlas].Cresques, Abraham (1325-1387). Author of the text1370-1380National Library of France, Paris

Quill Quest 38: Mansa Musa I

25 February A.S. LV

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“Mansa Musa I was the ruler of the Mali Empire in West Africa from 1312 to 1337 CE. Controlling territories rich in gold and copper, as well as monopolising trade between the north and interior of the continent, the Mali elite grew extremely wealthy. A Muslim like his royal predecessors, Mansa Musa brought back architects and scholars from his pilgrimage to Mecca who would build mosques and universities that made such cities as Timbuktu internationally famous. Mansa Musa's 1324 CE stopover in Cairo, though, would spread Mali's fame even further and on to Europe where tall tales of this king's fabulous wealth in gold began to stir the interest of traders and explorers. Mansa Musa, the Mali Empire's greatest ever ruler, was said to have spent so much gold in the markets of the Egyptian city that the value of bullion crashed by 20%.” -Ancient.eu article by Mark Cartwright
Additional Resources

Quill Quest 37: Saint Maurice

18 February A.S. LV

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Share or create works inspired by Saint Maurice.

Many thanks to Kevan Andresson for writing and helping to curate this Quill Quest.


Saint Maurice (so named because of the halo adorning his head literally inscribed “Sanctus Moricius” stand prominently clad in a fluted German cavalry armor typical of the first half of the 16th century. In his right arm he carries a lance adorned with a war banner. In his left hand he supports a shield adorned with the Imperial Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire. On his waist is sheathed a richly decorated longsword. A beret typical of 16th century Germany sits slanted on his hand as he gazes away from the viewer into the distance. He stands serenely within a mountain landscape, with the entrance to a fortress just barely visible to the left of his hand.
Who was St. Maurice?Maurice was a soldier in the Theban legion of the Roman army, a confirmed Christian during a time when the early form of Christianity was perceived as being a threat to the Roman Empire. Despite this, he was still rapidly promoted in his legion composed entirely of Christians and became the leader of his legion. Maurice’s Theban Legion in Egypt was called to Gaul to help Emperor Maximian end a revolt. When ordered to harass or slaughter fellow Christians, Maurice’s legion was decimated – the Roman practice of killing every tenth man of an army – and Maurice was killed. The place in Switzerland where this is supposed to have happened is now known as Saint-Maurice, Switzerland.
Saint Maurice and the Holy Roman EmpireSaint Maurice became a patron saint of the German Holy Roman Emperors. In 926, Henry the Fowler (919–936), even ceded the present Swiss canton of Aargau to the abbey, in return for Maurice's lance, sword and spurs. The sword and spurs of Saint Maurice were part of the regalia used at coronations of the Habsburg emperors until 1916, and among the most important insignia of the imperial throne. In addition, some of the emperors were anointed before the Altar of Saint Maurice at St. Peter's Basilica. In 929, Henry the Fowler held a royal court gathering (Reichsversammlung) at Magdeburg. At the same time the Mauritius Kloster in honor of Maurice was founded. In 961, Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, was building and enriching Magdeburg Cathedral, which he intended for his own tomb.
Additional resources:
Artworks in Image: All from: https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/collections/id_698/?selected_facets=mods_note_number_of_images_ssim%3A1&page=1 (592315 592030 592072 591947 592076 591925 592139 591915)

Quill Quest 35: Timbuktu Manuscripts

4 February A.S. LV

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Share exemplars or create works inspired by the Timbuktu Manuscripts.


Additional Information:
Artwork in Image: https://www.dombibliothek-hildesheim.de/en/codex-rotundusCODEX ROTUNDUS“This medieval book of hour takes its modern name from its unusual circular form. It originated in Flanders and is written in Latin as well as French. Its dimensions are as spectacular as its form: 266 almost perfectly circular pages of parchment have been bound together to build a block of 3cm height with a diameter of only 9cm. The prayers are luxuriously illustrated, including three full-page miniatures and 30 initials depicting scenes from the Old Testament, the life of Jesus and the saints. Most likely the Codex was made in connection to the court of Burgundy at the end of the 15th century, which was the centre of contemporary art and culture. The initials of the metal clasps point us to Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein (1425 - 1492) as the owner.The Codex' unique outside is covered with red leather and gold details. “ -Dombibliothek Hildesheim

Quill Quest 34: Well Rounded

28 January A.S. LV

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Share or create artworks based on oddly shaped books or pages.


Mad props to Mistress Molly for the resource.
Artwork in Image: calyx-kraterMuseum number 1867,0508.1133Pottery: red-figured calyx-krater.The sun and the stars. The scene is set at dawn, as the sun rises from the sea and the stars sink into it. The sun drives his chariot, pulled by four winged horses, up out of the ocean, while the stars are shown as boys, diving and disappearing into the water.Cultures/periods: Attic430BC (circa)Made in: Attica (Greece)Excavated/Findspot: PugliaEurope: Italy: PugliaDimensions: Diameter: 30.48 centimetres (about), Height: 33.02 centimetres (about)

Quill Quest 33: Here comes the Sun

21 January A.S. LV

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Share or create artworks
based on
the sun.

Artwork in Image: Bet Alfa Synagogue National ParkBeth Alpha SynagogueMosaic floor (Decoration)Marianus and his son Hanina (mosaic builders)518-527, Justin I, or 567-578, Justin IIByzantineIsrael/Eretz Israel | Palaestina Secunda | Beth AlphaIsrael | Kibbutz HephzibaBeth Alpha

Quill Quest 32: What’s your Sign?

14 January A.S. LV

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Share or create artworks
based on Calendars


Calendar on Britannica
The Zodiac (In Image)Appears in the central panel. These astrological signs, though condemned by the prophets, were widely used as decorative elements in both churches and synagogues of the Byzantine period. The twelve signs are arranged in a circle and accompanied by their Hebrew names. In the center of the zodiac, the sun god Helios is represented seated in a chariot drawn by four horses. The four seasons appear in the corners of the panel in the form of busts of winged women wearing jewels; they are inscribed with the Hebrew months initiating each season: Nisan (spring), Tamuz (summer), Tishri (autumn) and Tevet (winter).- Jewish Virtual Library
Artwork in Image: The Adoration of the MagiCornelis van CleveAntwerp 1520 - after 1594The Royal Museum of Fine Arts AntwerpAntwerpen, Belgium
Artwork in Image: Bosch, HieronymusThe Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych1490 - 1500Grisaille; OilOak panelAlto con marco: 205.5 cm.; Ancho con marco: 384.9 cm.Museo del Prado - P002823

Quill Quest 30: New Year’s Bosch

31 December A.S. LV

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It’s almost over folks. Share or make artwork that you feel exemplifies 2020.


Artwork in Image: Object: The Franks CasketBritish Library1867,0120.1Middle Anglo-Saxon8thC(early)whaleboneCarved

Quill Quest 29: The Rune where it Happens

17 December A.S. LV

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Share images and samples of Runes!


Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialised purposes thereafter. The Scandinavian variants are also known as futhark or fuþark (derived from their first six letters of the alphabet: F, U, Þ, A, R, and K); the Anglo-Saxon variant is futhorc or fuþorc (due to sound-changes undergone in Old English by the names of those six letters). -Wikipedia

Quill Quest 28: Pen-Insular

10 December A.S. LV

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Share images and samples
of Insular scripts!


“Insular Majuscule
The Insular Majuscule (Insular Half Uncial) derives its name from its origins in the islands of Britain and Ireland. "Insular" is from the Latin for "island", and "Majuscule" refers to the height of the letters, much larger and bolder than those of the complementary Insular Minuscule. As a prestige hand, the Insular Majuscule is characterized by letters drawn slowly and carefully, with many lifts of the pen. In early medieval Britain and Ireland, it was the favoured hand for sacred manuscripts written in Latin, including two of the most beautiful books ever produced, the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells.“ Art of Calligraphy by David Harris: Insular Majuscule (Includes lettering chart)
“Insular MinusculeAlongside each of the major prestige formal hands, there has usually developed a functional complementary hand for use in everyday transactions and for writing non-sacred manuscripts. In the case of the Insular Majuscule, the complementary script is the Insular Minuscule, which dates from the late fifth or early sixth century. Its use continued in England until after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and in Ireland it has survived for Gaelic use into the 20th century, making it one of the most enduring of all Latin scripts.” Art of Calligraphy by David Harris: Insular Minuscule (Includes lettering chart)

Artwork in Image: Harley MS 4379112rc 1470-1472Jean Froissart, Chroniques (the 'Harley Froissart')

Quill Quest 27: Hoist with his own Bâtarde

3 December A.S. LV

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Share images and samples
of Bâtarde or Bastarda scripts!


“The Bâtarde (Lettre Bourguignonne) is the French equivalent of the English Bastard Secretary. It was developed at the end of the 13th century and used until the mid-16th century, evolving from a lowly cursive bastard hand into a formal, prestige script in its own right. Bâtarde achieved its most sophisticated appearance in the mid-15th century, an era when the popularity of the printed book was increasing among a whole new section of society. In this deluxe form, it was the hand favoured by Burgundian court circles, hence its alternative name.”
Art of Calligraphy by David Harris: Bâtarde (Includes lettering chart)
Video: Bâtarde calligraphy taught by Thyra Eiriksdottir
Artwork in Image: Watriquet de Couvin, Dits.1300-140088v

Quill Quest 26: Put your Thanking Caps On

26 November A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/share images or stories of our feast-makers and/or recipes!


A lot goes into feast. Our chefs, cooks, bakers, brewers, servers, dish-washers, and clean-up crew put a lot of time and effort into making things perfect for the rest of us. Let’s take a moment to thank our meal-makers. Feel free to share stories, pictures, and especially scroll ideas for our fantastic feast folks. Also, feel free to share your favorite period recipes!

Artwork in Image: Jebel Barkal images from the Visitor’s Guide
Ram's-head Amuletca. 712–664 B.C.Third Intermediate Period

Quill Quest 25: Kushite Rock Gods

19 November A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/share images of temples, snakes, and artwork
from the Kingdom of Kush!


A huge thank you to Lady Lucy of Wigan for coming up with the content for this Quill Quest!Lucy is just trying to survive plague-ridden 14th century England and praying for a return to brighter days.
About Jebel Barkal“When the Egyptians in the early 18th Dynasty conquered northern Sudan (known as Upper Nubia, or, anciently, "Kush"), they identified Jebel Barkal as the birthplace and chief southern residence of their state god Amun of Karnak. As part of their program of conquest, they established the cult of Amun in many places in Nubia, but Jebel Barkal seems to have had a unique importance for them as a creation site and home of a primeval aspect of Amun . . . . Jebel Barkal's most distinctive feature is its gigantic free-standing pinnacle, 75 m high, which rises from the south corner of its cliff. . . . [I]t could be seen from the west as a squatting god or a rearing serpent; from the east it evoked a standing royal or divine figure, crowned with a White Crown.” – A Visitor's Guide to The Jebel Barkal Temples (The second image from right above has been enhanced to show where the ancient Kushites would have see the eyes and mouth of the serpent who wears a sun-like crown on its head.)
Other Art from the Kingdom of KushKushite pharaohs built and restored many temples and monuments throughout the Nile Valley, and the construction of Kushite pyramids became widespread.The Kushites used relief sculpture to decorate the walls of palaces and pyramids. The cuts used were deeper and more strategic than Egyptian hieroglyphics. The reliefs mostly depict scenes from African daily life, animals, battle scenes, and kings.Kushite portrait sculpture adopts some Egyptian attributes but emphasizes distinctly indigenous features, such as wide faces and unique regalia, hairstyles, and symbolism. Pottery was an important Kushite craft and consisted mostly of pots and bowls that were shaped from clay and then painted in many different colors. Common decorative motifs included animals and geometric and plant-based patterns.The kings of Kush adopted the Egyptian architectural idea of building stone pyramids as funerary monuments. However, Kushite pyramids were built above the underground graves, whereas the Egyptian graves were inside the pyramid. -Art & Architecture in the Kingdom of Kush
More Resources

Quill Quest 24: Qur'an Qur'an

12 November A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/share images
of Islamic medallions!


A huge thank you to Ruqayya bint Rabi'a al-Aliyya for coming up with the content for this Quill Quest!
Ruqayya bint Rabi'a al-Aliyya is a relative newcomer to the SCA, bringing a lifelong passion for Middle Eastern art and language, and for visual and performing arts in general. She lives in Atlantia and is a member of The House of the Lotus, of the East Kingdom.
About the MedallionsThese "medallions", often embellished with vines, intricate geometry, and sometimes calligraphy, mark the ends of verses, or surahs, in the Qur’an. Larger medallions in the outer margins mark the ends of a quarter hizb (referring to a specific section of the text), and also indicate where the reader should bow during the reading. Their design varies from simple circles to large intricate works featuring numbers or even prayers artfully included in the center.
More ResourcesCalligraphy of the Qur’anArt of the Book: Quran & CalligraphySmithsonian: Qur’an
Artwork used in the banner image:Folding Processional Icon in the Shape of a Fanlate 15th centuryw10.3 x h61.6 x d12 cmliturgical objects; fans; icons; paintingsThe Walters Art Museumtempera with ink on parchment, wood handlesPlace of Discovery: Dabra Tana Qirqos (in present-day Ethiopia)Ethiopian
“Painted icons of this type are extremely rare, surviving only at the Walters, the Church of Tana Cherqos on Lake Tana, and the Church of Saint Mary at Däbrä Seyon. Painted on five sheets of parchment that have been stitched together and folded, thirty-eight identically sized figures span its surface. The deliberate variation of costumes and hand gestures creates an animated composition. Only the principal nine figures have distinguishing inscriptions. Reading from left to right, they are: Juliet, Cyriacus, George, John the Baptist, Michael, Mary, Raphael, Paul, and Afnin. The unidentified figures are undoubtedly a combination of Old Testament patriarchs and prophets, as well as New Testament apostles and saints. The painting style exhibits close parallels with the illuminations of the Gospel book from Gunda Gunde (W.850), suggesting that this object was also produced by a Stephanite monastery. Although this object adopts the form of a fan, it is perhaps best understood as a processional icon. The wooden panels at either end of the Däbrä Seyon fan indicate that, when not in use, the object was stored much like a book, with its folding leaves protected between paired covers. Yet, when unfolded, the two covers came together to create a handle for a giant wheel that could be displayed during liturgical processions and church services. Although lacking its original wooden covers, the Walters fan would have formed a circle roughly four feet in diameter when unfolded. The Virgin Mary, whose hands are raised in a gesture of prayer, is then at the top of the wheel. By depicting Mary in the company of saints and angels, the icon powerfully evokes the celestial community of the church.”

Quill Quest 23: It's Icon not Icon't

5 November A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/share images of icons!


An icon or ikon (from the Greek εἰκών eikṓn 'image, resemblance') is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, in the cultures of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, and certain Eastern Catholic churches. They are not simply artworks; "an icon is a sacred image used in religious devotion". The most common subjects include Christ, Mary, saints and angels. Although especially associated with portrait-style images concentrating on one or two main figures, the term also covers most religious images in a variety of artistic media produced by Eastern Christianity, including narrative scenes, usually from the Bible or lives of saints.
Icons may also be cast in metal, carved in stone, embroidered on cloth, painted on wood, done in mosaic or fresco work, printed on paper or metal, etc. Comparable images from Western Christianity can be classified as "icons", although "iconic" may also be used[by whom?] to describe a static style of devotional image. -Wikipedia
Artwork used in the banner image:The Four Horsemen, from The Apocalypse 1498Albrecht DürerThe Met

Quill Quest 22: Of Course then the Four Horsemen

29 October A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/share images of the four horsemen of the apocalypse!


“In the text of Revelation, the main distinguishing feature of the four horses is their color; white for conquest, red for war, black for pestilence and/or famine, and pale (from ‘pallor’) for death (Clint Eastwood, Pale Rider, anyone?). The riders each arrive armed with a rather obvious attribute; conquest with a bow, war with a sword, and a set of balances for pestilence/famine. Dürer’s pale rider carries a sort of pitchfork or trident, despite the fact that he’s given no weapon in the Biblical account; he simply unleashes hell.” -Khan Academy
Artwork used in the banner image:Gaki Zoshi (Stories of Hungry Ghosts)“This narrative scroll depicts the realm of the hungry ghosts (J., gaki), one of the Six Paths of Transmigration (J., rokudô) in Buddhist thought. It was produced in the late Heian period (794-1185), a time of increasing interest in the Six Paths through the dissemination of ideas concerning the “latter days of the law” (J., mappô). According to this widely accepted concept, Buddhist teachings and practices became gradually more difficult after the death of the historical Buddha. The culmination of this process, the final “latter period,” was believed in Japan to have begun in 1052.”National treasureHeight: 27.1cm Total length: 552.3cmKyoto National MuseumA甲229

Quill Quest 21: Oni and Obake and Yōkai, oh my!

22 October A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/share images of Legendary creatures from Japan!

OniObakeYōkaiList of legendary creatures from Japan
More on Hungry Ghosts
Thank you to Lady Kame Gusukuma (Melissa Zweng) for her assistance in this Quill Quest!
Kame Gusukuma is a lady of the Ryukyu court at Shuri. She resides in the Ryukyu Kingdom in the 16th Century.
Artwork used in the banner image:The Tallinn Danse MacabreIn St. Nicholas' Church which contains the Niguliste Museum, a branch of the Art Museum of EstoniaLikely between 1463 – 1466Bernt Notke

Quill Quest 20: Less Misérables More Danse Macabre

15 October A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/ share stories or images of the Danse Macabre, Memento Mori, or just some fun skellies!


“Dance of death, also called danse macabre, medieval allegorical concept of the all-conquering and equalizing power of death, expressed in the drama, poetry, music, and visual arts of western Europe mainly in the late Middle Ages. Strictly speaking, it is a literary or pictorial representation of a procession or dance of both living and dead figures, the living arranged in order of their rank, from pope and emperor to child, clerk, and hermit, and the dead leading them to the grave. The dance of death had its origins in late 13th- or early 14th-century poems that combined the essential ideas of the inevitability and the impartiality of death. The concept probably gained momentum in the late Middle Ages as a result of the obsession with death inspired by an epidemic of the Black Death in the mid-14th century and the devastation of the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) between France and England. The mime dance and the morality play undoubtedly contributed to the development of its form.” -Britannica
My favorite, absolutely related, absolutely not period Disney short
Artwork used in the banner image:
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Nouvelle acquisition française 15939, detail of f.11 (fall of the angels). Vincent of Beauvais, Miroir historial, French translation of Jean de Vignay. Paris, c.1370-1380.

Quill Quest 19: What the Hellmouth

8 October A.S. LV

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Find/draw/paint/share stories
or images of a Hellmouth!


Hellmouth, or the jaws of Hell, is the entrance to Hell envisaged as the gaping mouth of a huge monster, an image which first appears in Anglo-Saxon art, and then spread all over Europe. It remained very common in depictions of the Last Judgment and Harrowing of Hell until the end of the Middle Ages, and is still sometimes used during the Renaissance and after. It enjoyed something of a revival in polemical popular prints after the Protestant Reformation, when figures from the opposite side would be shown disappearing into the mouth. A notable late appearance is in the two versions of a painting by El Greco of about 1578.Nuremberg, Saint Lawrence parish church: Western portal, 1340sMedieval theatre often had a hellmouth prop or mechanical device which was used to attempt to scare the audience by vividly dramatizing an entrance to Hell. These seem often to have featured a battlemented castle entrance, in painting usually associated with Heaven.” -Wikipedia
Artwork used in the banner image: Diego de la Cruz: Virgin of Mercy (c. 1485), Burgos, Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas.

Quill Quest 17: Nonplussed Homunculus

24 September A.S. LV

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Find draw/paint/share some ugly babies!


homunculus (noun)ho·​mun·​cu·​lus | \ hō-ˈməŋ-kyə-ləs \plural homunculi\ hō-​ˈməŋ-​kyə-​ˌlī , -​ˌlē \Definition: a little man
VideoWhy babies in medieval paintings look like ugly old men
PodcastStuff to Blow your Mind: Baby Jesus and the Homunculus - December 21, 2017 • 63 min
Artwork used in the banner image:The Annunciation Diptychca. 1433 - 1435Oil on panel.Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Quill Quest 16: Only the Good Grisaille Young

17 September A.S. LV

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Find draw/paint/share Grisaille artwork!


Pronunciation of Grisaille: /grɪ'zaɪ/ (rhymes with dye, like Versailles)
“In fine art, the term grisaille most commonly refers to a monochrome painting technique by which a painting or drawing is executed exclusively in shades of grey. Since a full colour painting requires more time and skill than one in monochrome (en camaieu), grisaille was often chosen as a quicker and cheaper alternative, although it was also chosen quite deliberately chosen for aesthetic reasons, in order to create a specfic visual effect. Traditionally, when part of a large decorative scheme in fresco or oils, or if incorporated into an altarpiece, a grisaille composition was often modeled to resemble sculpture, either relief or statuary.”Visual Arts Cork
Different Types of Grisaille
  • The basic monochrome method had been used in Oriental Ink and Wash painting, since about 650 CE. It is known as mo-shui in China, suibokuga or sumi-e in Japan, and Soomookwa in Korea.
  • First seen in the West in Illuminated manuscripts. Illustrations were often created with ink and wash
  • Independent finished works
  • Preliminary underpainting for an oil painting
  • Preparatory design for an engraving
  • In ceramic art and certain forms of metalwork, painters sometimes use the grisaille enamel painting technique, in which white vitreous enamel is combined with water, turpentine, and petroleum oil before being applied (typically) onto a black or blue enamel ground
  • Glass painters - a grey, vitreous type of color pigment used in the coloring of stained glss. This was probably the first example of grisaille art since Antiquity

Visual Arts Cork
Grisaille and Its Expressive Power (article from Widewalls)

Quill Quest 15: A lot of Ketubot

10 September A.S. LV

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Find a Ketubah to draw/paint/share!


Singular: Ketubah/Ketubbah
Plural: Ketubot/Ketubbot
“Type of document, sometimes decorated or illustrated, recording financial and other details of the Jewish marriage contract. It was instituted by the authors of the Talmud (the Jewish legal code) in order to protect the status and property of the wife in case of divorce, which the husband could initiate at will, or the husband’s death. The document is traditionally written in Aramaic, the common Jewish language in Palestine and Babylonia during the Talmudic era (1st–6th centuries AD). A basic textual formula developed, with significant variations in the ketubbot of the various communities.Surviving ketubbot, from the Middle Ages onwards, are drawn on one side of parchment (chiefly in Europe) or paper (usually in Islamic countries). The festive occasion of the marriage and the ritual of reading aloud the ketubbah during the ceremony helped establish the tradition, especially among Sephardi (Spanish-Portuguese), Italian and Middle and Near Eastern Jews, of decorating the borders of the contract. The earliest surviving examples, from Egypt and Syria–Palestine of about the 11th and 12th centuries, are decorated with simple designs of flowers, architectural elements and geometric patterns.”-from “Keubbah” by Shalom Sabar
A few resources
Slightly out of period

Quill Quest 14: Pazyryk Roll Your Friends

3 September A.S. LV

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Find something Pazyryk to draw/paint/share!


The Pazyryk culture is a Scythian nomadic Iron Age archaeological culture (c. 6th to 3rd centuries BC) identified by excavated artifacts and mummified humans found in the Siberian permafrost, in the Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan and nearby Mongolia. These indicate a flourishing culture at this location that benefited from the many trade routes and caravans of merchants passing through the area. The Pazyryk are considered to have had a war-like life.
Certain geometric designs and sun symbols, such as the circle and rosette, recur at Pazyryk but are completely outnumbered by animal motifs. The stag and its relatives figure as prominently as in Altai-Sayan. Combat scenes between carnivores and herbivores are exceedingly numerous in Pazyryk work; the Pazyryk beasts are locked in such bitter fights that the victim's hindquarters become inverted.-Wikipedia
A few resources

Quill Quest 13: VantaBlack Hours

27 August A.S. LV

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Find something to draw/paint/share
from a Black Hours!


“Black books of hours are a type of luxury Flemish illuminated manuscript books of hours using pages of vellum that were soaked with black dye or ink before they were lettered or illustrated, for an unusual and dramatic effect. The text is usually written with gold or silver ink. There are seven surviving examples, all dating from about 1455–1480.”-Wikipedia
A few resources to find Black Books of Hours
What is Vantablack and why don’t we like it? (Modern)

Quill Quest 12: Pre-Columbian Codex Craze

20 August A.S. LV

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Find something to draw/paint/share
from a Pre-Columbian Codex!


“The pre-Columbian codices mostly do not in fact use the codex form (that of a modern paperback) and are, or originally were, long folded sheets. These sheets were typically made from stretched deerskin or from the fibers of the agave plant. They also differ from European books in that they mostly consist of images and pictograms; they were not meant to symbolize spoken or written narratives.”-Wikipedia
A few resources to find Pre-Columbian Codices:Mesoamerican codex guide on UNLV LibrariesAztec codices on the New World Encyclopedia

Quill Quest 11: Glorious Graduals

13 August A.S. LV

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Find something to draw/paint/share
from a Gadual Book!


The gradual was the principle book used by the choir in the medieval mass.
Baroness Bubba Blackhammer’s Pinterest board of Graduals: “Gradually Great”

Quill Quest 10: Happy Books of Hours

6 August A.S. LV

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Find something to draw/paint/share
from a Book of Hours!


The Book of Hours: A Medieval Bestseller
List of Books of Hours on Wikipedia
Sandra Hindman, a leading expert on Medieval and Renaissance manuscript illumination and Professor Emerita of Art History at Northwestern University says "Books of Hours take their name from the arrangement of prayers within them for recitation during the 'hours' of the day, and they center on the story of the Virgin Mary and the life of Christ. The Book of Hours was the first text read all across Europe by all people at every level of literacy. Its words reached an enormous audience, more than any written text had ever done. It was the book from which medieval children were taught to read. It was a text which most people knew by heart. It was a picture book, then and now. Luxurious examples that are widely known include the Très Riches Heures for Jean, Duke of Berry. Even today, there are more Books of Hours in circulation than any other type of medieval manuscript."
What to expect in a Book of Hours:• Full page illuminations• Miniatures• Borders• Versals• Florals• Small-area gilding• Calendar pages (with Zodiac symbols)
Quote and list is from Baroness Bubba Blackhammer’s “Medieval Manuscripts - What to Expect” class presentation

Quill Quest 9: Psyched for Psalters

30 July A.S. LV

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Find something to draw/paint/share
from a Psalter!


“A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the emergence of the book of hours in the Late Middle Ages, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons. They were commonly used for learning to read. Many Psalters were richly illuminated, and they include some of the most spectacular surviving examples of medieval book art.” Wikipedia
List of Illuminated Psalters on Wikipedia, many with links to the primary source
What to expect in a Psalter:• Extensive text• Miniatures• Full-page illumination• Capitals• Versals• Gilding• Marginalia
This list is from Baroness Bubba Blackhammer’s “Medieval Manuscripts - What to Expect” class presentation
Manuscript used in the banner image
“The griffin is a winged, four-footed animal. It has the body of a lion, but the wings and head of an eagle. It is born in the Hyperborean mountains, or perhaps in Ethiopia; some say it lives in the Indian desert, which it leaves only to find food. Griffins are the enemy of the horse. A griffin will tear a man to pieces or carry him to its nest to feed its young. Griffins are strong enough to carry away an entire live ox. They are also known for digging gold from mines.”

Quill Quest 8: Bestiary Boys

23 July A.S. LV

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Find your favorite beast from a
Bestiary and draw it! There are
some great descriptions of each
beast in the resources below.


“A bestiary, or bestiarum vocabulum, is a compendium of beasts. Originating in the ancient world, bestiaries were made popular in the Middle Ages in illustrated volumes that described various animals and even rocks. The natural history and illustration of each beast was usually accompanied by a moral lesson.” Wikipedia
An Introduction to the Bestiary, Book of Beasts in the Medieval World
List of Medieval Bestiaries

Quill Quest 7: Hungry Hungry Horses

16 July A.S. LV

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Quill Quest 6: Saddle up your Snails

9 July A.S. LV

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Quill Quest 5: Bodacious Birds

2 July A.S. LV

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Quill Quest 4: Galumphing Goats

25 June A.S. LV

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Let’s get our goat on!

Pride Month: Add some rainbows to let your LGBTQIAP+ goat’s colors fly! Add a rainbow cape, crown, flourish, flag, leaves, really anywhere!

Quill Quest 3: Delightful Doggos

18 June A.S. LV

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Show us your drawn dogs, painted puppies, and carved canines!

Pride Month: Add some rainbows to let your LGBTQIAP+ puppy’s colors fly! Add a rainbow cape, crown, flourish, flag, leaves, really anywhere!

Quill Quest 2: Smitten with Kittens

11 June A.S. LV

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Pride Month: Add some rainbows to let your LGBTQIAP+ kitty’s colors fly! Add a rainbow cape, crown, flourish, flag, leaves, really anywhere!

Find & share, sketch, draw, paint, or create your own cats!

http://www1.arkhenum.fr/bm_verdun_ms/_app/visualisation.php?cote=MS0107&vue=197Ms 107, Bréviaire de Renaud de Bar (1302-1304), fol.-89r-89r, Bibliothèque de Verdun.

Quill Quest 1: Rabid Rabbit Run

4 June A.S. LV

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Find, sketch, draw, paint, or create your own rabbits with weapons!