Scripts That Few Could Read

Date
26/01/2019 - 30/06/2019
Region
Campania
Town
Benevento
Subject
Writing

Scripts That Few Could Read 

The exhibition is the fruit of collaboration between the Museo Diocesano di Benevento and the Biblioteca Capitolare belonging to the Capitolo Metropolitano “Santa Maria Assunta” and the municipality of Benevento.

Its subject is communication within the church at Benevento between the 8th  and 14th centuries.

As is well known, one of the consequences of the migrations of the Germanic peoples, the dissolution of the Western Roman Empire, and the establishment of the Roman-Germanic kingdoms, was the destruction of the Roman education system. There was a progressive reduction in the number of literate people, and a radical change in the way written documents were produced, with the disappearance of lay workshops.

From the 7th century onwards, writing and reading became increasingly important and ubiquitous in the monastic and ecclesiastical world; activity linked to manuscript production was gradually concentrated in the scriptoria that arose within religious institutions. 

Cathedrals, abbeys and monasteries became the almost exclusive centres of text production.

Bishops and ecclesiastical and monastic elites soon realized the difficulty of communicating the biblical message to the illiterate; the traditional written text  could perform its function only if accompanied by illustrations, symbols or figured images.

For the exhibition illustrates three different modes of transmission of the message (writing, symbols and images), exemplified by codices in Beneventan script, photographic reproductions of panels from the bronze door of Benevento cathedral, a wooden reliquary,  a box of bronze sheet, and lastly a facsimile of the roll Exultet.