A new Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) aims to involve people are volunteer historians who are needed to decrypt and decode 1,500 pages of medieval manuscripts from the Cathedral of Burgos (Spain). Even better, there is a Massive Open Online Course that accompanies the process.
Deciphering Secrets: Unlocking the Manuscripts of Medieval Burgos
This Massive Open Online Course explores Spain’s complicated history of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim cultural coexistence. Although it’s about medieval Spain the course is in English and the level of knowledge required to do it is minimal. You will learn about medieval manuscripts along with kings and knights, religious minorities and tradesmen, and bishops and churchmen – shaped the formation of Catholic Spain. Along with the Spanish Reconquista, a convoluted Christian crusade that focused on reclaiming Iberia from Islam, and the curious alliances among Christians and Muslims.
They use an interesting and novel technique that means you don’t need to know spanish to decode the manuscript. It’s called paleographical training.
It’s free to audit the course and participate in this. Sounds totally fascinating and I will be giving it a go. As a woman absolutely fascinated by ancient texts and mysterious medieval cultures, this course is definitely for me.
How it works
You may not understand Spanish but once taught how to do it – you will be able to decode the symbols. In the words of the course creator: “Sometimes it is more desirable for a person to not understand the language so that they do not read words that are not there.”