Lorsch Abbey is also famous for its valuable manuscripts, including some of the most important documents in European intellectual history. These include the Lorsch Pharmacopoeia, transcripts of Virgil’s entire oeuvre, the Lorsch Bee Blessing and the Lorsch Confessions, the Lorsch Rotulus (the oldest liturgical scroll in the West), the Lorsch Annals and the Lorsch Gospels. Writing was a noble activity that the Lorsch monks pursued for many centuries.
„O how hard it is to write: It dims the eyes, crushes the kidneys and brings torment to every limb! Write with three fingers and the entire body suffers.“
(A writer in the 8th century)
In the Middle Ages, very few people, mostly monks and clerics, mastered the skill of writing. The work involved in drawing up documents and producing books was almost exclusively carried out by monasteries. Lorsch Abbey had an important scriptorium (writing room) that devised its own regional writing style.
The Lorsch manuscripts offer a wealth of texts to transcribe and initials to copy. Visitors can write with real goose feathers and ink on elephant skin paper and create their own individually designed documents, recipes and colourful initials using handmade mineral colours.