The Page

The Giant Bible of Mainz is composed of 459 vellum manuscript leaves, bound in two volumes. The manuscript is written in two columns of sixty lines each. In this section, explore the structure of the Bible’s pages by looking for the following:

Running titles (line of text at the top of a page indicating the title of a book, which repeats on every page or every other page)


Catchwords (words written in the lower right margin). A catchword was used to tell the binder the opening phrase on the next grouping of pages, known as a “quire”.

The proportions of the margins are typical of those found in other manuscript books at that time. There is very little discoloration to the margins of the vellum leaves, normally caused by thumbprints, and the binding is in excellent condition. This suggests that this Bible was not for everyday use and was preserved under ideal conditions.

Biblia latina (Bible in Latin), probably Mainz, 1452-1453. Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

Giant Bible of Mainz

Giant Bible of Mainz

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