No backspace key in the 9th century

We sometimes tend to think of the characters of history as the perfect people we see in the movies, with no doubts, no weakness and above all, no mistakes.

The best way of turning them into humans again is to recognise that they were as fallible as we are. This text about how the Book of Kells’s transcribers made several errors in it, and how they tried to fix them, sets a clear example of how human they were.

Imagine the drop of sweat that must have run through the face of someone who copied the same page twice in this unimaginably expensive piece of art.

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