The practice of copying texts by hand in notebooks for personal use remained popular even after the invention of the book press. This manuscript is a modern example of a handwritten grammar book from the eighteenth century. It belonged to and was written by the Dutch historian and jurist Petrus Bondam (1727-1800). Bondam wrote multiple studies on Latin grammar. This manuscript was written for his personal use and was not published. It contains Aldhelm's De metris and De pedum regulis liber, two writings on poetry and two fragments on Latin grammar. Aldhelm was a famous Anglo-Saxon scholar and poet whose writings were often used in monastic schools.
This manuscript has a very different lay-out than medieval manuscripts and early printed books (see LTK 237). For example, it does not contain rubrics or any decorated initials. Apart from a few annotations, each leaf is empty on the verso side. Bondam could have either copied these annotations from the exemplar he used or added them himself as he studied the text. One anotation can still be found in Bondam’s version; he did copy the catchwords1 in the bottom right corner.
- Manuscripts were made from parchment, paper or a combination of these two materials. The quality of these materials varied considerably. What material was used in this manuscript and how can you tell?
- Manuscripts were made for specific purposes and how a manuscript was going to be used is often reflected by its material design. Can you infer for what purpose this book was made? How is your verdict reflected by the book’s material features?
- de Meyier, K. A., & Sevensma, T. P. (1946). Codices Perizoniani. Brill.