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Time Travel Adventure to the 12th Century as a Scribe

Become a Medieval Monk or Nun...


Introduction:   In the care of the anchoress Jutta, Hildegard spent her life from fourteen years of age until her death at age 81 (nearly 67 years) abiding by the routines of monastic life. 

Assignment:   Assume the identity of a scribe, and as Brother John or Sister Mary Catherine time travel back to medieval Germany in the 12th century and research what it may have been like to live as a Benedictine scribe. Write a fictional account in a journal format, detailing the duties of your day as you live your life at the monastery..."A Day in the Life of a Scribe", if you will. Begin with the insistent ringing of the bells at Matins until the close of the day at Compline. Envision the classroom transforming into a scriptorium and experience this demanding life of work and prayer as a medieval monk or nun! 

Be sure to comment about your experience afterwards, explaining what it is you have learned and what you found surprising in your journey back into time.

Research Links and Videos

Inspiration for the Cloistered Monk or Nun...

Scribe Checklist...



The information shared is well researched and is presented in an organized, clear, and logical way.

Throughout the day's account events are shared in an lively and interesting fashion and clearly follows the Daily Offices of Prayers and the detailed account of copying an illuminated manuscript.

The Latin/German translation of the account is accurate

The spelling, punctuation, and grammar of the writing is accurate

PRESENTATION:  did a good job in presenting the  day's events


Historical Details...

A scribe is a person who serves as a professional copyist, especially one who made copies of manuscripts before the invention of automatic printing. The profession, previously widespread across cultures, lost most of its prominence and status with the advent of the printing press.

To become a Scribe required skills in reading, writing and comprehension. Scribes not only wrote volumes of works on the Medieval Ages but were also often asked to research laws and other matters for kings and nobles. 

The Scribe was often a historian, poet and philosopher. His acquired knowledge was advantageous at the workings of social interaction and his skills provided a written overview of the time period.  Women who lived in convents as nuns were also scribes, copying written works for their library collections.  Scribes usually were of nobility in that the education needed to attain the post was not affordable or available to peasant and common classes.  Most Scribes came from religious abbeys where the skills were learned within the vast libraries of the church.   Their wages were usually standard and average, however the Scribe was entitled to all the benefits and luxuries of castle life or the life at the monastery.

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