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What was the process of copying manuscripts? What were its drawbacks?

Last updated date: 22nd Jun 2024
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Hint: Manuscript culture uses manuscripts to store and propagate information in various regions. In the West, it usually preceded the age of printing, which came much later.

Complete answer: Before the printing was invented, in countries like China and in Europe all written documents had to be both created and re-created by hand. Historically, manuscripts were composed in the form of scrolls or books. They were produced on vellum and other parchments such as papyrus or paper. The absence of the printing press didn’t leave much of an option and thus the scribes used to copy down the manuscripts. These were hand-written. Sometimes it was challenging to identify the original script or document. This led the scribes to develop their own way of interpreting the facts. As a result of this, there were differences found in the copies written by different Scribes. Each of them interpreted it in their own way. Therefore false facts or information was also circulated as a result of interpolation. As all the copies were handwritten which made it hard to recognize which was the original one. This was a major drawback of such copying. Copies were made not just of religious works, but a variety of other texts such as astronomy, herbals, and bestiaries.

Note: Medieval manuscript culture deals with the passing of the manuscripts from the monasteries, where they were copied, to the market in the cities. This eventually gave rise to universities.