03 May 2014
A Medieval Word Search
Here is a puzzle for our readers, but be warned – it is not for the faint of heart! This is not the simple type of word search we are used to, but a very complex puzzle involving the date of Easter.
Here are your clues: this puzzle comes from a Psalter in our collection and dates from the 13th century. The table contains 35 two-letter symbols, which, if put in the correct order, make up a verse of two and a half hexameter lines, revealing the name of a well-known cleric with whom the book was closely associated. This cleric may have commissioned it or devised this puzzle himself. And those are the only clues we are giving!
Apart from the Psalms, this smallish book contains two verses in a Northern French dialect, prayers and liturgical material added in the latter part of the 14th century and a number of 15th-century additions in Catalan.
This manuscript is not yet in our online Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts but will be published at the next upload, later this year, so you will not find any help there. We know it’s possible to solve the puzzle; a French scholar had it all worked out in the late 19th century. Let’s see if you can do it! You can leave your guesses in the comments below, or on Twitter @BLMedieval. We'll be revealing the solution on Tuesday, so stay tuned!
- Chantry Westwell