Apr 21, 2016


It's very difficult to do research on line-fillers in medieval manuscripts. When we searched for 'line filler' on the Web, all we got were advertisements for wrinkle creams. (Try it yourself.) But a line filler, for a manuscript scholar, is a decorative element that continues a line of text to the right margin:

University of Saskatchewan MS Ege 10 (detail)
Line-fillers in medieval manuscripts have a couple of functions. One of these purposes is to create complete lines that reach to margins to create an appearance of balance on the page. Another purpose of the line-fillers was to act as a mnemonic device, to help differentiate pages and mark passages. Christopher de Hamel notes that 'People in the Middle Ages loved to see order and patterns in things, and readers of manuscripts were probably more visual than we are' (de Hamel 2001, p. 28).