The term was coined by Alphonse Dain, a French hellenist and byzantinist, in “Les manuscrits” of 1949. He thought that Germans already had a single word for the study of manuscripts: “Handschriftenkunde”, and that one was needed in English too, so the word “Codicology” came to be. The word itself came by uniting two words: codex, codocis: Latin for “book(s)”; and from Greek –logia: “the study of a certain subject”.

So, codicology literally means “the study of the book”; “manuscripts”, o be precise.

Codicology focuses on the physical aspects of the book. Observing the details of a manuscript, a codicologist is able to learn more about a its origins, provenance, and its role in the life of who owned it, dating, etc.

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