Medieval librarian's curse
Medieval librarian's curse, as shown on BBC's "Inside the Medieval Mind", episode 1
Tags: medieval librarian curse
Added: 4 years ago
[Professor Robert Bartlett is sitting in a library, thumbing through an ancient medieval manuscript]
ROBERT BARTLETT: Books were consequently extremely valuable, and highly treasured.
[cut to a closeup of the book's pages]
ROBERT BARTLETT: [in voice over] If they travelled at all, it was usually from one monastery to another. And if they got lost? Well, at least one medieval librarian was not gonna be happy ...
["Manuscript in Barcelona monastery" appears on screen, then cut to various re-enactments of the harsh life for a monk in a monastery]
LIBRARIAN: [in voice over] For him that steals this book or borrows it and does not return it, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy and all his limbs blasted.
[cut to footage of trees on fire]
LIBRARIAN: [in voice over] Let him languish in pain, crying aloud for mercy. And when at last he goes to his final punishment, let the flames of hell consume him forever.
"Inside the Medieval Mind"
Knowledge (Episode 1 of 4)
First broadcast: 17 Apr 2008
Duration: 1 hour
Leading authority on the Middle Ages, Professor Robert Bartlett, presents a series which examines the way we thought during medieval times.
To our medieval forebears the world could appear mysterious, even enchanted. Sightings of green men, dog heads and alien beings were commonplace. The world itself was a book written by God. But as the Middle Ages grew to a close, it became a place to be mastered, even exploited.
One of the world's greatest authorities on the Middle Ages, Professor Robert Bartlett of St Andrew's University, investigates the intellectual landscape of the medieval world in the four-part BBC documentary "Inside the Medieval Mind".
In the first programme, Knowledge, he explores the way medieval man understood the world - as a place of mystery, even enchantment. The world was a book written by God, but it was also a place to be mastered, even exploited.
In Sex, he unearths remarkable evidence of the complex passions of medieval men and women. The Church preached hatred of the flesh, promoted the cult of virginity and condemned woman as the sinful heir to Eve. Yet this was the era that gave birth to the idea of romantic, or 'courtly' love.
In Belief, the supernatural comes under the spotlight. The medieval dead shared the world with the living: the cult of the saints, encounters with the dead, and visions of the next world were all seen as proof of a two-way traffic between this world and the next.
In the final programme, Power, Professor Bartlett lays bare the brutal framework of the medieval class system. Inequality was a part of the natural order: the life of serfs was little better than those of animals, while the knight's code of chivalry was based more on caste solidarity than morality. The class you were born into determined who you were.