View Full Version : Latin Vulgate version of the Bible (pre-1450)

Mark Moore
12-13-2014, 05:25 AM
I have came across scans of a Latin Vulgate Bible from 1685 on a heretical "Catholic" website, but I have not been able to find any images from earlier than that.

In one of my stories, my MC is practicing her writing by transcribing passages from the Latin Vulgate Bible in the 1430s-1440s. This is a bit before it was declared to be the official Latin Bible of the Catholic Church, but it was already in wide use by then.

Specifically, the two passages that she writes are Isaiah 9:2 and John 1:5. Here are the scans of the pages from the 1685 version:

http://www.fatimamovement.org/images/eBooks/1685CatholicLatinVulgateApocryphaNominumInterpreta tio1200w/1685CatholicLatinVulgateCompleteApocryphaNominumIn terpretatio_0508.jpg

http://www.fatimamovement.org/images/eBooks/1685CatholicLatinVulgateApocryphaNominumInterpreta tio1200w/1685CatholicLatinVulgateCompleteApocryphaNominumIn terpretatio_0778.jpg

The text on these pages are printed, right?

How would an older, pre-print version look? This is for a screenplay for a film that I eventually want to shoot, and I want to make the pages look as authentic as possible.

12-13-2014, 05:37 AM
There you go (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulgate#mediaviewer/File:Bible.malmesbury.arp.jpg).

Robert Dawson
12-13-2014, 05:46 AM
Well, it would be hand-written (of course). It would probably be on parchment or vellum (calfskin parchment.)

The style of handwriting would depend mostly on the place and time, with little variation in one culture and time. Look up "medieval calligraphy" or "medieval handwriting" to get an idea of this. [ETA: Edward Johnston's 'Writing & Illuminating & Lettering' is a good source if you want to know a lot about this.]

Medieval scribes used a lot of contractions - letters omitted, bars and squiggles over words, etc. (see what I just did?) I do not know to what extent this would be done in a Bible. Homework project for you.

The writing would often (not always) be very dense and underspaced by modern standards. The biggest variation would be in decoration. The most basic Bible would have small pages, small writing, and narrow margins. The fanciest ones would have illuminated capitals, marginal illustrations, gold leaf and all kinds of stuff. Sometimes even whitespace...

Google "medieval bibles" and choose "Images". You'll see what I mean.

Mark Moore
12-13-2014, 07:10 AM
Thanks. :)

12-13-2014, 07:25 AM
Yeah, by the 15th century, it would be written in "blackletter" (aka "gothic" or "textura").


Although there were still many variants of this style of writing depending on place and time. The wikipedia article detail a number of those, and this pdf goes into more detail: http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/jmag0042/LATIN_PALEOGRAPHY.pdf

(It covers in general the evolution of the Latin alphabet in Europe from Roman Antiquity to the printing era; gothic scripts are considered from page 51 onward).

Mark Moore
12-13-2014, 07:02 PM
That's very helpful. Thank you! :)