This image is supposed to be the earliest and most authentic portrait of the poet Chaucer. He certainly looks like someone who knew a thing or two. His finger is pointing toward a line in the poem which refers to the portrait. Such relationships between text and image are not unknown in medieval manuscripts, and probably acted as prompts for reading the text. This image could be considered to be a very elaborate version of the manicule. These usually appear as fairly simple drawings of pointing hands in the margins of texts, indicating something of particular note.
Hoccleve's Regement of Princes (British Library, Harley 4866, f.88). All images by permission of the British Library. All Images are made available by the British Library under a Creative Commons licence.

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Click on each of the above to walk your way through a segment of the text. The transcript will appear in a separate window so that you can use it for reference at any time. These exercises are designed to guide you through the text, not test you, so you can cheat as much as you like.
Medieval Writing
Script sample for this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 27/7/2014.