This paper examines the St Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Codex Sangallensis 190, a Carolingian manuscript incorporating Gallic bishops’ letters from the later 5th through the mid-7th century. I first contextualize these literary artifacts of Visigothic and Merovingian Gaul, showing how the letters of Ruricius of Limoges work together to fashion and advertize Ruricius’ post-Roman identity. I then look at how the whole corpus of texts within the manuscript created a compilation that was meaningful to the Carolingians. This project seeks a better understanding of both the manuscript itself and the discrete texts within it, revealing the continued significance of the epistolary tradition and its relationship to constructions and perceptions of identity in the post-Roman west.
Humanist scribes and book producers created books that drew on Classical Antiquity as can be seen in their use of capitals and in all’antica decorative elements often drawn from newly discovered classical remains. But medieval material was also a source of inspiration: the humanistic minuscule is based on the Carolingian minuscule. In this paper, I will use the example of Vergil to argue that in important ways humanist book producers drew more on Carolingian book design than they did on ancient material. Carolingian manuscripts, after all, were those that they thought ancient, and few had access to the few manuscripts surviving from Late Antiquity.
Between the third and the sixth centuries, books changed in many aspects. The elements inherited from the scroll format disappeared and gave way to new forms, shifting from squarish format towards the golden ratio, moving initials from the beginning of a page to the beginning of text section, new scripts appeared… The paper tries to analyse these shifts and changes using both palaeographic and statistic methods.