A Mediaeval Teaching Aid. An Analysis of One Page from the Manuscript by Jakub of Piotrków

Dorota Masłej


The purpose of this paper is to characterize page 190v of the manuscript preserved in the Jagiellonian Library (cat. number 1297). The foregoing research has considered the page as a separate item, what allowed the author to ask new questions concerning: the writer’s intention, the function of the page, and the possible status of this page. In the main part of the paper, the author makes an attempt to reconstruct the sequence of writing the elements of the layout (page composition), paying special attention to the relations between the elements. According to the author, it is possible to reconstruct the probable sequence of the writer’s actions, and therefore to retrace the creative process of the scribe (known as Jakub of Piotrków, the Canon of Płock).

Reconstructing the sequence of writing the texts on the page allows the proposal of a hypothesis of how the creative process might have looked. The analysis proves that the writer’s intention could have changed as subsequent elements were being written on the page.

Certain elements of the page were selected for use depending on the audience of the lecture and its purpose. We can assert that linguistic relics like this one, closely bound up with orality of the medieval language, are not (were not) complete works in their final shapes, but rather texts in statu nascendi. The discussed text is an example of a genuine teaching aid, that served the writer, Jakub of Płock, and after that – probably the next clergymen, in ministering. 


* Polish text: D. Masłej, “Średniowieczna pomoc dydaktyczna. Studium jednej karty z rękopisu Jakuba z Piotrkowa,” Terminus 2/17 (2015), pp. 219–240.


Publication of this paper was financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education uder the grant 643/P-DUN/2018.

Słowa kluczowe: macrostructure of a page, layout of prayers and commentaries, creative process, lecture in the Middle Ages, mnemonics, mediaeval teaching, Jakub of Piotrków, basic prayers and commentaries

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