A scriptorium (also spelled scriptorium) is a room or building specifically designed for the production and copying of manuscripts, typically by monks in the Middle Ages. Scriptoria were a common feature of monasteries in the medieval period and were often located in the cloister (a covered walkway surrounding a courtyard) or in a separate building.
Monks who worked in scriptoria were known as scribes, and their work was crucial to the preservation of knowledge and literature in the medieval period. In scriptoria, scribes would copy manuscripts by hand, using quills and ink to transcribe texts from one parchment or paper to another. They would also illustrate and decorate the manuscripts with ornate decorations, such as gold leaf and intricate drawings.
Scriptoria were typically well-lit and quiet and were designed to provide a suitable environment for the concentration and focus required for the work of the scribes. The work of the scribes was highly respected, and the skills required to produce beautiful and accurate copies of manuscripts were highly prized.
Today, the term “scriptorium” is often used to refer to any place where manuscripts are produced or studied, and it is also used to describe collections of manuscripts or archives of written works.