minstrel: Calligraphy demon

Dbomball sibyll at sl.edu
Sat Dec 6 08:33:19 PST 1997


To HL Cara Angiola de Boccaccio

I have discovered the location of the book which contained the reference to
the patron demon of calligraphers.  The book is _Medieval Calligraphy: Its
history and technique_ by Marc Drogin.  

"I am a pure dyvel and my name ys Tytyvylus."

The first reference to Titivilus by name appears in _Tractatus de
Penitentia_, c. 1285 by John of Wales.  Petrus de Palude also commented
"Fragmina psalmorum/Titivillus colligit horum" (Titivillus collects bits of
the psalms.)

He listened for verbal atrocities in religious services as well as those of
copying and writing.  He became a patron of calligraphers because he
absolved them of guilt since they could blame him for their errors.

Titivillus is still with us.  "for the past half-century every edition of
[the Oxford English Dictionary] has listed an incorrect page reference for,
of all things, a footnote on the earliest mention of Titivillus."

Perhaps we could write a calligrapher's lament, or a paeon or Titivillus.

Astrid Sverige
*****Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.*****


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