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In most cases, the scribe copied an existing text, and would in this sense be a copyistThe copyists' attitude towards the text they were copying may have depended on whether they were professional scribes working for others or private persons producing their own copy of a certain text (cf. copying of texts).


FigFigs. 1 and 2. Extract from two manuscripts probably written by the same scribe. Fig. 1 is from the Old Norwegian homily book (Copenhagen, AM 619 4to, fol 52v), dated to c. 1200–1225, and fig. 2 is from a fragment of a Latin liturgical manuscript (Oslo, NRA Lat fragm 1018), dated to before 1225. While scribes, especially in larger scriptoria, could be very specialised, they could also be very versatile. The scribe of these two fragments obviously was able to write in Old Norwegian and in Latin, to draw the initials (and the rubrics) himself, and also to add musical notation.


– Klopsch, Paul. 2003. “Die Überlieferung der lateinischen Literatur im Mittelalter.” In : Egert Pöhlmann, Einführung in die Überlieferungsgeschichte und die Textkritik der Antiken Literatur: Mittelalter und Neuzeit, 47–95. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. || See pp. 91–93.
– Pasquali, Giorgio. 1952. Storia della tradizione e critica del testo. 2nd edition. Firenze: Le Monnier. || See pp. 473–474, 478f.
– Reynolds, Leighton Durham, and Nigel G. Wilson. 1974. Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature. 2nd editioned. Oxford: Clarendon Press. || See pp. 1ff., 5ff., 72f., 86f., 223f.
– Salles, Catherine. 2010. Lire à Rome. Petite Bibliothèque Payot. New ed. Paris: Belles Lettres. – 1st ed., Paris: Belles Lettres, 1992. || See pp. 157f., 169f., 182f.
– West, Martin L. 1973. Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique Applicable to Greek and Latin Texts. Stuttgart: Teubner. || See p. 17.