Upper cover of Morgan MS M.569, 9th–10th century AD. Leather over papyrus board; gilded parchment, thread. The Morgan Library and Museum, Purchased for J. Pierpont Morgan, 1911, MS M.569A1.

This symposium, organized in conjunction with the exhibition The Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity, aims to give an overview of the scholarship around the innovation of the codex in late antiquity and its gradual establishment as the standard form of the book until today. Speakers will focus on two distinct but complementary aspects—the historical, which derives primarily from the study of codices as texts, and the material, which derives from the study of codices as physical objects. The purpose of both the exhibition and the symposium is to merge different disciplines, points of view, and approaches in order to gain a better understanding of the early history and evolution of one of the most fascinating and culturally significant objects, the book.

Throughout history the number of books produced must have been huge, but the number of books lost is also substantial. Subtracting those destroyed from those created leaves us the number of books preserved today, which, especially for those produced in the earliest stages of the evolution of the book is frustratingly small. This scarcity of physical evidence is partly what makes the surviving codices from the early centuries extremely important, not just for their texts but also for their technical and material culture aspects. Conserving these precious relics is a challenge that poses both physical and theoretical problems, but at the same time grants a privileged access which enables a closer study and understanding of the technical history of codices.

Peter N. Miller
Dean and Professor, Bard Graduate Center
Ivan Gaskell
Professor, Curator and Head of the Focus Gallery Project, Bard Graduate Center

Georgios Boudalis
Head of the Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory, Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki, Greece

Brent Nongbri
Independent Scholar
The Emergence of the Codex in the Roman Empire

Dirk Rohmann
Lecturer, University of Wuppertal
Canon Formation: Book-Burning and the Christian Codex in Late Antiquity

Francisco H. Trujillo
Associate Book Conservator, Morgan Library & Museum
Incipient Forms: Codicology of the Coptic Bindings Collection at the Morgan Library & Museum

Maria Fredericks
Drue Heinz Book Conservator, Thaw Conservation Center, Morgan Library & Museum
The Coptic Manuscripts at the Morgan Library & Museum: Conservation Then and Now

Georgios Boudalis
Head of the Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory, Museum of Byzantine Culture
Codex as Craft: Can a Book be Compared to a Sock?