Lena Rohrbach (ed.)
The Power of the Book
The transmission of Nordic vernacular laws began in the middle of the thirteenth century and extended long into modernity. Legal manuscripts form a large proportion of all medieval Nordic codices; the legal texts recorded in these codices are well known, and substantial work has been carried out in recent decades on their textual evidence and the material qualities of the codices. This new book considers the way in which materiality constitutes and communicates meaning. The articles in this book discuss the material characteristics of medieval legal manuscripts from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, such as size, bindings, bookmarkers, mise en page, paratexts, and the interplay of illuminations and text, as well as indications of usage throughout the Middle Ages. These studies also shed light on the social functions of the written law in medieval Northern Europe.