Medieval manuscripts blog

27 December 2016

Christmas Quiz 2016

How well have you been following our Medieval Manuscripts Blog this year? Find out with our end-of-the-year quiz! We will post the answers in a few days: good luck everyone!


Donatus, trying to solve our Christmas Quiz (Arundel MS 43, f. 80v)

Holiday Traditions

  1. Which manuscript — which provided our calendar pages this year — was a Christmas gift for a young King Henry VI?
  2. Christmas was not the usual occasion for exchanging gifts in elite circles in western Europe. Princess Elizabeth, aged 12, made a prayerbook (as in, she translated all the prayers, copied them out, and even embroidered the binding) to give to her father, King Henry VIII, on which day?
  3. The Royal Prayerbook (Royal MS 2 A XX) includes the first written reference to which creatures, in Old English literature associated with mental illness, demons, and beauty.
  4. Many people now use air travel over the holidays. But who was the first recorded Englishman to fly?

Food and Drink

  1. Next time you drink hot chocolate, which manuscript collector and physician should you thank for popularising it in Britain?
  2. Which manuscript features a recipe for a ‘tostee’?

Picture Round

Picture 1

  1. This image of the Nativity comes from Royal MS 17 E VII, f. 134r, a Bible historiale probably made for which future French king who would later build the Louvre’s library?

Picture 2

8. This busier Nativity scene can be found in which Psalter, currently on display in New York?

Picture 3

9. The above scenes of shepherds and wise men are part of which Psalter, currently on show in the V&A’s Opus Anglicanum exhibition?

Planning for the Year Ahead

  1. Hunters wanting to catch a unicorn would need to bring what with them, according to medieval bestiaries.
  2. According to Petrus Alfonsi and his French translators, how can you test if someone is a true friend?
  3. Why is the Feast of St Matthias sometimes celebrated twice?

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Arundel ms 43, f 80v.

What is Donatus holding in his left hand ?
Clearly the quill pen is in his right-hand, but I notice that there is usually another implement in the other hand in this and other miniatures of scribes.

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